The Three Amigos (and Ryan)

Baseball bros for life, Joey, Zach, and Luke have a conversation about solidarity, sex, and how stupid the current conversation they’re having is. Luke’s boyfriend Ryan observes the scene. This was almost a scene from Falling in Love and Other Bad Ideas.

For context, here is a two word description of each of these characters.

Joey: Dumb Jock
Zach: Cool Prick
Luke: Clueless Boy
Ryan: Very Awesome

This was like 75% of an idea, which I meant to find a place for but never did. Which means that when posting on the blog, this was a fun exercise where I needed to fill in certain spots even though I did not remember what my original intent or plan was.

~

Ryan

The kid hassling Zach or Joey, or Zach and Joey, must be a colossal idiot. Because if antagonizing Joey, it kinda looked like a fly buzzing around a cow’s ass, where eventually the big, dumb animal got tired of the buzzing sound and swatted the insect with its tail. Not sure if that was what happened, probably not because nobody had a tail. It seemed like someone tried to give Zach a hard time. A foolhardy task because vain divas who thought they were better than everyone generally did not give a single flip about the opinions of lesser beings. Still, random heckler did his best.

Seriously, I heard a few comments which boiled down to ‘eww, a gay!’ My guess about the reasons for these comments? Zach likely never received his quota of prejudice from small-minded high schoolers for being bi. He escaped some homophobia when he came out after Luke and wasn’t actively dating another guy, and the homophobes could not let a gay go un-insulted for being gay or god would cry. So heckler heckled, and Joey decided to respond.

“Grrr!” Joey said. Okay, I walked over after this part, so the words remained a mystery, but the general message and tone definitely meant ‘grrrrr.’ The person still didn’t want to quit, so Joey made a threat, then followed it up with, “Seriously. I will hurt you and then,” he gestured to Zach. “He’ll make fun of you, and it will be a really good time for us, but you’ll hate it.” I would buy tickets to that movie. “And Zach will take all credit, and then you’ll have gotten your ass kicked by a f—” a teacher walked close by. “Friend of mine.”

A little shaky at the end, but all in all, pretty supportive. Especially as he glared at the person who walked away and draped a friendly, protective arm around Zach’s shoulder. Which actually, considering what they were just talking about, looked a little gay, but no one said anything. And Zach looked too close to actually almost having feelings to warn him.

This aside wasn’t as random as it appeared, but Luke loved when I acted like a huge weirdo for some reason. I guess I understood because I loved when he covered his eyes during scary movies or acted like a huge dramatic baby. Like now! He turned on Joey, all indignant. “How come you’ve never defended me like that?

“Oh dude, come on.” Joey crossed his arms and rolled his eyes, which would not protect him from the dramatic baby.

“No, I’m your best friend too,” my boo insisted.

“Has anyone considered,” Zach offered quietly, “That having a discussion about who exactly is whom’s best friend forever and what any special BFF privileges would entail will, in fact, be the dumbest and gayest thing ever.”

Luke and Joey thought about that for a minute.. I gave Zach a dirty look for using ‘gay’ in a pejorative light, but he gestured to the two dummies lost in thought, which I translated to something like ‘I know my audience.’

The time for quiet contemplation had ended.

“I’m your best friend too!” Luke quietly hollered at Joey, which served to only make it more dramatic.

“I think we have to risk it, dude,” Joey told Zach, squeezing his arm one more time and then removing himself from the other’s close proximity. “I can’t say I would ever go after dick—”

“Good,” I interrupted. “Or else I’d owe Lydia $20 bucks.”

“But if someone doesn’t have similar compunctions,” Joey talked loudly over me.

“Compunctions?” Zach judged his word choice. “Dude, are you studying for the SATS or something?”

“How dare you. I’m just saying.” He raise a hand. “Here’s all the girls Zach could be with,” He raised the other hand. “Here’s all the guys. Put it together, it’s more potential action.” He brought his hands together with a clap, which hopefully did not mean anything because the clap was not a fun, sexy thing.

“I get action!” Luke defended.

“And if you want that action to continue,” I filled in smoothly.

“It is a private and special matter between Ryan and I,” he wisely finished with.

“Being with one person is stupid, playing the field is smart,” Zach said. “Have you never seen a 90’s movie, listened to a rap song, or talked to other human males before?”

“So it would be better if I was having lots of gay sex with different people?” Luke wondered.

“See, that you can’t even understand shows how bad it is,” Joey said seriously.

“This is the dumbest conversation we’ve ever had,” Zach told them both.

“Okay, I get that you wear glasses and want to seem smart in front of your nerdy gay friend,” Hey that meant me. I allowed the description because I enjoyed the idea of Zach trying to impress me. “But that is so not true,” Joey said. He apparently did not understand that glasses did not translate to IQ points.

“Yeah,” Luke agreed. “You’ve actually taken part in way dumber conversations than this.” And then they proceeded to list them with glee while Zach tried to walk away and they wouldn’t let him.

-the end, I guess, because the words stopped at this point.

Meet cute, scene from gay romance

In romcom terms, this is the meet cute between the main characters. This scene is from Falling in Love and (Other Bad Ideas).

Zach

Joey moved ahead of Luke, walking even with me to better annoy me, unless he just wanted to walk down the stairs with me for some reason, which would be weird, so the first one. Or more like, he attempted to walk with me while still narrating his fever dream and gesturing broadly.

Basically, I was doomed. Joey was a catcher, built to stay where he was planted. Me, being the shortstop, had to be the opposite: quick, flexible, and able to cover more ground. So the math was easy. He made a motion with his arm and pushed me, and I wasn’t prepared. I went flying, sailing over the last few steps instead of stepping down them. Down I went.

…There so many situations where I would happily go down, but this wasn’t one of them.

Except instead of hitting the ground, I instead landed right in the pages of some fucking chick flick novel. I fell right into somebody’s arms. It couldn’t have been choreographed better. I stared up at an unfamiliar face, his light brown eyes looking into my darker ones. The guy who caught me, the whole picture he painted boiled down to this: a standard male protagonist.

Should I ask Luke what romcom this meet cute was stolen from the pages of? He would probably know. Or wait, this could have been a terribly contrived introduction to the handsome stranger who saved me, but him being a stranger meant something. While entirely possible there were closeted guys at school I didn’t know about, it seemed unlikely. Either through firsthand knowledge or rumors from the guys I shared the aforementioned firsthand knowledge with, I had a pretty comprehensive understanding of any dudes at this school with queer leanings.

“Hi there,” the guy said to me with a little smile. He righted me and continued, “This is one hell of a meet cute, huh?”

No, I already decided it wasn’t! I dusted myself off, unnecessarily, but it made me feel more in control. “I don’t do cute. Not meet, or as a button, or otherwise.”

“Uh oh, is it about to get gay?” Joey asked, looking between us. “It’s fine, just give me some warning.”

“No, it’s not,” I said while the almost-protagonist said, “Yes, it is.”

“So, they answered differently, is that another clue?” Joey directed the question to Luke. “It’s about to get gay, right?”

“Well, I am gay,” the stranger answered. “So I’d argue whatever is happening is already gay.”

We all stared at him. Because… huh. Technically, I was right. This wasn’t some closeted guy I didn’t know about. Because he wasn’t closeted. Which threw us off. Until right then, everybody out at our high school was already in our friend group. And since we had never seen him before, he clearly did not meet these standards. His casual words weren’t anything we expected.

“Am I offending your family values?” he asked us, not really surprised. Seemed he’d been doing a lot of that lately.

“Don’t worry, he doesn’t have values,” Luke responded helpfully.

“Family or otherwise,” Joey added.

Luke looked between me and the new guy slowly. Uh-oh. “You did fall right into his arms.” Don’t let the jock thing fool you, he was actually a huge girl because I could see the words ‘fate’ and ‘destiny’ running through his head. “And did you hear what he said?” Luke asked me, nudging my side with an elbow. “About being gay?”

“I’m standing here with you, in front of him, so obviously I—”

“Dude, come on,” interrupted Joey. “He’s queerballs, and so are you.”

“Seriously?” I asked him.

“It’s destiny or some shit,” Joey reasoned. “Even I’m not strong enough to stand in the way.”

“Two queer people crossing paths doesn’t mean we need to kiss,” I argued. My life wasn’t a romcom.

“I agree,” the Standard Male Protagonist said. “But it is cool to meet you. You’re gay too?”

“Bi,” I corrected.

“Oh, you’re bi?” SMP asked.

“Not what I meant.” I tried again. “Bye.” Got it that time.

I walked away.

-Get your copy here!

Being friends with your boyfriend is important. Maybe.

Luke Chambers is captain of the baseball team as a junior. That’s pretty cool. Starting with a positive is better than not starting with a positive, because of science, so that’s the good part. His personal life is a lot more complicated due to his grumpy boyfriend.

Wait, he’s straight. His boyfriend is not straight, but that’s okay because Ryan is actually his “boyfriend.” They get along really well, if you say it like this: Ryan and Luke get along “really well.” While that is not the biggest problem in Luke’s life right now, he thinks it’s the only issue he can solve.

So in this scene from the new edition of One Little Word, Luke is trying to smooth over the animosity between them so they can be friends. You cannot say it like this: Ryan and Luke are going to “be friends.” Because when put like that, it sounds like they won’t really be friends but are something else instead, it’s almost suggestive, and that is very bad.

~

Luke

I drove Ryan home after my baseball game.

“Can we at least try to get to know each other?” I asked. Might as well take this opportunity to clear the air while he can’t run away.

“What’s the point of making nice? You’re just using me to get out of trouble.” Ryan spoke while staring out the window, wanting to ignore me as much as possible.

“Well, have you ever heard about making the best of a bad situation?”

“Yeah, it’s called high school and I do that every day. Though you’re making it especially challenging lately.”

“Maybe you’d have a better time if you weren’t so busy trying to embarrass me,” I reasoned with more patience than I felt.

“That’s the only good part.”

I reminded myself I wanted to make peace. “If we tried, maybe we’d get along. Who knows what we have in common?”

“Nothing,” he responded immediately.

Patience wearing thin, I snapped, “How would you know if you never stop for two seconds to find out?”

“Let’s see, I enjoy microbiology, hot guys, and embarrassing straight jocks with big mouths. How many of those interests do we share?”

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There was no need to answer. I obviously wasn’t a fan of the last thing, and science confused me and wasn’t my best subject.

“I don’t understand why you have to make this so difficult,” I said instead. “Why even do this?”

“For my dad.”

“Even though you clearly hate me and spending time with me?”

“Duh.”

Which wasn’t a great answer for me, but I stopped being annoyed with him. He lived to torment me, yet now I remembered he didn’t hate everything. He really cared about his dad.

“Well, I appreciate what you’re doing for me,” I told him with as much sincerity as I could.

“Does baseball lead to brain damage? I told you, it’s not for y—”

“I’m still grateful. Did I ever thank you? Thank you, you’re a good son.”

~

 

Christmas boyfriends

A short scene from One Merry Christmas because using words I already wrote is easier than thinking up new ones. Happy holidays!

Spots of color from the Christmas tree lights danced across Luke’s face when I looked at him. Blankets were piled on excessively. It was almost hot, but no one complained, not even me. A Christmas miracle.

He looked relaxed, sunk into the couch, cheeks a bit flushed, looking warm and happy. Same. The tree lights would twinkle and change colors and I’d think, wow, he looks good in blue light, wow, he looks good in pink light, wow, he looks good in green light, the soft hues changing too much for me to keep up and just going with, wow, he looks good.

Totally what whoever meant when they said, ‘Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.’

 

 

 

The Five W’s

Here’s what you need to know about my book What Love Means using the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why.

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Who: Finn Manning. Me! That one was easy enough. And I’m not an egomaniac by putting that one first, it’s just how the list goes.

If you want to know a little more about me: I’m a queer author who writes queer fiction. I’m in my early 20’s and I live on the West Coast in North Carolina. I have two nephews I adore, a dog I spoil, and my interests include Zumba, going to the beach, and working my way through a giant queue of books and TV shows. I’m currently reading Reasons to Love a Nerd Like Me by Becky Jerams and just got done watching the latest season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I planned on watching season five of Arrow next but started Wild, Wild Country instead because Netflix told me to.

What: What Love Means is a gay YA romance. Without falling back on my fancy synopsis, it’s about two old friends who parted on bad terms. Max and Cal are about as opposite as can be. One is rich and the other is poor, one is an uptight academic and the other is a bad boy with a motorcycle, one is brunette and the other is blonde. You get the idea. Aside from mutual lust, the only other thing they have in common is that they both have younger siblings. When the kids both start competing in spelling bees, Max and Cal must confront their past and find out whether they could have a future together.

When: It’s contemporary, so it takes place now. The main characters are beginning their senior year of high school.

Where: New Jersey. Let’s see, the action takes place in many locations. There’s a party at an abandoned warehouse where our heroes have a chance encounter that makes sparks fly. There’s one tiny apartment and one fancy ass mansion. Max has two uncomfortable conversations in two coffee shops. A sexy scenario happens in the least appealing place Cal can think of: his old middle school. An emotional conversation happens in what Max considers the worst place for a serious discussion: the parking lot behind the auto shop where he works.

 Why: My previous work, One Little Word, involves the classic jock-nerd dynamic. I wanted a similar opposites attract scenario without doing the same thing, and I love spelling bees. That led to the concept of two old friends meeting again years after their last bee. One of them is the studious, hardworking teen one might expect would come from the spelling bee (i.e. an uptight nerd for those who aren’t familiar with spelling bees) and the other has gone through a complete transformation and become the dangerous, carefree rebel that first character really shouldn’t be attracted to, but dammit, he is anyway.

What Love Means is available now on Amazon.

What Love Means- April 15 Release!

It’s almost here! My new book What Love Means will be released on April 15. You can order it here. As a celebration, I’m giving away ten gay YA romances and you can enter here.

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What Love Means

Can two opposites turn their attraction into something more?

On the surface Max Keller and Calvin Winthrop-Scott should repel each other. Between their shared past that ended badly and their polar opposite personalities, there should be no love in their love/hate relationship. They have nothing in common. Except for their attraction to each other.

A friendship between their siblings and the kid’s shared interest in spelling bees brings the former best friends back together. Neither one of them wants to be friends anymore, but can they admit to themselves and everyone else that they want something more?

Max and Cal know how to spell love, but they’re about to find out what it means.

This high school romance features a bad boy with a soft spot for his little sister and a prep school brat whose perfect world is about to get more complicated. In this teen LGBTQ story, opposites attract, enemies become lovers and a second chance means two old friends could become more.

Excerpt:

 

Our jibes weren’t really antagonistic or biting, and the mood had turned almost playful. I only realized once it ended. Max scowled and his hands clenched. Oh well, I might as well take the advantage when it’s offered. “Touch a nerve?” I asked.

Just when I thought I might get the upper hand, Max smirked. “You touched more than that,” he leered. His face turned wolfish. I wanted to smack that look off his face or bite and kiss it away.

It was my turn to grimace. “About that.” I couldn’t let my stupid libido win. I had to be reasonable about this. Being reasonable and careful was as easy as breathing for me. Except when Max was around.

“We should keep it between us?” he whispered, sounding mocking as he stepped closer. We probably looked ridiculous: two teens outside a library acting like we were auditioning for West Side Story as we postured and glared. Or maybe Romeo and Juliet. “Well, what’s in it for me if I do?” he flirted.

“The feeling of being a good and decent person?” I suggested, struggling not to lean into the tempting heat of his body.

“Maybe I’d rather feel you instead.” His hands ghosted right above my chest. I prided myself on not moving into the touch. It was just a little chilly out suddenly, and his broad, hot body next to mine was alluring. Because of the temperature. It’s not like I had a leather jacket to keep the cold at bay.

“This doesn’t have to be a big thing,” I said and immediately realized my mistake.

Max grinned. “Oh, you didn’t just say big thing.”

I made a frustrated noise. “Can you take anything seriously?”

“Do you wanna see what I can take?” he shot back. I was the one to walk away this time even though Max followed merrily after me.

“Is this what we’re going to do? Just annoy each other to death?” I asked while he trailed behind me.

“Why, you can’t handle it?” Max caught up and stopped me before I entered the library. His hand was on my arm where I wore a navy long-sleeved shirt; the heat of his hand bled through easily. I didn’t say anything. “Hello?” he asked after a few moments.

I thought of and rejected several responses to his question. “I just don’t know how to answer in a way that won’t sound like an innuendo,” I admitted.

His lips pressed together in a mocking pout. “You’re no fun.”

“You’ll stop teasing me then?”

His eyes sparkled with mischief. “I didn’t say that.”

Yeah, I didn’t think it would be that easy.

 

 

Freebies

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.

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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.