Books, bowling, boys, and possibly even more B words!

One New Start is available now!

I’m so proud of myself! Not for writing a book, I mean, I guess for that too. Mostly because I’m actually posting on the day it’s released. I’m a serious author, don’t I always do that? Cue the nervous bisexual laughter.

Anyway, let’s focus on the positives. Like One New Start! Available now.

Here’s an excerpt. Ryan and Luke are on a double date at a bowling alley. Ryan has never bowled before but that’s not going to stop him from dominating. (it probably will stop him but shhh, he believes)

bowling-596766_960_720

Ryan

I looked to the… playing area where I would soon have to throw the thing into the other things. How many balls did I get to throw? The other people were only sending one ball at a time. That didn’t seem right. I had two hands. And also two feet.

I watched for a few moments, but yeah, everyone only sent one ball down the hallway at a time. Maybe they were all doing it wrong? I glanced at the people I came here with. Lydia smirked at me as I realized this might prove challenging.

I turned back to Luke. “If I don’t knock them all down, I’ll throw my shoes at the pins,” I decided sensibly. “That’s what the shoes are for.”

“That’s… well.” Luke thought about it, then nodded. “Okay, as long as you’ve got a plan.”

There was that whole thing where he wanted to keep me from hurting myself and others, so normally he wouldn’t agree to me wildly throwing things. However, if there was a competition, all bets were off. Unless the contest was betting and then bets were totally on.

I looked to the… playing area where I would soon have to throw the thing into the other things. How many balls did I get to throw? The other people were only sending one ball at a time. That didn’t seem right. I had two hands. And also two feet.

I watched for a few moments, but yeah, everyone only sent one ball down the hallway at a time. Maybe they were all doing it wrong? I glanced at the people I came here with. Lydia smirked at me as I realized this might prove challenging.

I turned back to Luke. “If I don’t knock them all down, I’ll throw my shoes at the pins,” I decided sensibly. “That’s what the shoes are for.”

“That’s… well.” Luke thought about it, then nodded. “Okay, as long as you’ve got a plan.”

There was that whole thing where he wanted to keep me from hurting myself and others, so normally he wouldn’t agree to me wildly throwing things. However, if there was a competition, all bets were off. Unless the contest was betting and then bets were totally on.

Advertisements

More on Mondays (totally a thing! I just started it!)

My typical plan for posting deleted scenes and extras from my novels is this: I post them whenever I remember to do that. I decided to go all organized and just start putting up something one day every week. This is when I ran into a problem.

See, I wanted alliteration. Thirsty Thursday. Man Crush Monday. Taco Tuesday. None of those are related to what I’m doing. Though I guess having crushes on men isn’t totally unrelated.

Okay, I spent a few minutes pondering different words. Deleted, bonus, additional, cut, removed. I was looking for any word that also started with the same letter as a day of the week.

I couldn’t find one that worked, so I’m going with More on Mondays.

bookssss

What’s More on Mondays you did or didn’t ask?  It’s where I’ll post new writing that didn’t make it into a previous book or longer versions of a scene. You know, outtakes, edits, revisions, excerpts and other synonyms.

Did I just tell a long story for basically no reason? Now you know why I have surplus content!

Oh, surplus, that could have worked. Surplus Sundays. Or Supplemental Saturdays. Oh well. I already decided.

For the inaugural More on Mondays post, I went with something from my upcoming release, One New Start. Inaugural? I’m so fancy. Here’s what you need to know: Ryan and Luke are boyfriends, Ryan came up with a list of new things to try, and they are maybe going to dance.

(Whenever I sum things up, I have the urge to add ‘and that’s what you missed on Glee’ at the end. Am I going to be like this for the rest of my life? Damn you, Glee!)

Anyway, here’s a story.

~~~

Ryan

Reckless disregard for limb and law time was over. For now. Normally I would be sad about that, but I had dance lessons on my list.

There was no way dancing could go wrong. Saying that might be inviting the universe to show me all the ways things could blow up, maybe even literally, but not this time. My logic is flawless. Go me, using logic! Another new experience!

I really wanted to learn to dance. If that happened, then I picked up a new skill and did what I set out to do. If not, I still got to press my body to Luke’s body. I also really wanted to do that. Either way, I won.

dancing

Not sure if dancing was girly or not, but I wasn’t going to be dancing with a girl. And seriously, dancing was a socially acceptable way to press my body to my boyfriend’s body in public.

If anyone thought dancing wasn’t worthwhile, they were dumb and didn’t have a pretty boyfriend.

We stood in the dance classroom with its polished wood floor and mirror on one side, so there were two Lukes. A dream come true. I could only touch one though. My boo and I stared at each other while mirror boo stared too.

Luke’s blue t-shirt stretched enticingly over his shoulders and I put my hands there, to encourage him, get the ball rolling. To feel his shoulders, warm and strong as always.

“You’re the one that picked this activity,” I reminded him. I had the idea but he’s the one who said we should do this one next.

His hands went to my waist, so we were maybe getting closer to dancing. “I picked this because most of the ideas you had written down are criminal, impossible, maybe going to get us killed or definitely going to get us killed.”

“That sounds like a personal problem,” I told him sagely.

dance

~~~

Just going to casually add (in a casual way!) that One New Start comes out on Sept. 15.

Awkward turtle. Do people still say that?

Ryan Miller and Luke Chambers do everything they do in the most terrible and awkward ways, including, well, you know… it.

Doing it.

IT!

You understand. That’s enough.

SEX! Sex was the it in that case. In case you weren’t aware.

One Little Change features Ryan and Luke navigating intimacy and a long distance relationship. Here are some outtakes involving Ryan’s feelings about all of this.

Ryan

First experiences were always weird. Right? Right. I think so. Especially if I was involved. Things would only get better! I had to remember that. Just, it was difficult. Since this was the last memory before I left.

I didn’t want to worry but freaking out and jumping to conclusions was my natural state. I had so much experience with it and much less with being calm and not panicking. This was why we had a plan. It might suck but we could get through it. Who knew that would apply to our first time?

No, don’t think about that. Just, the plan was for me leaving. Oh god. I was already leaving but at least I had been leaving on a high note. Except now. I was leaving on a not high note. An awkward note.  It might suck but we can get through it. We can handle it. I hoped that was still true.

I was the rightest person to ever right and everyone should always listen to me because I could do no wrong, but my powers were too great. The common folk feared my gifts and never heeded my advice. Too bad. Cause see, I told Luke we should freak out first. So we could get it out of the way. Granted, that was about me leaving, not about—

We definitely should have freaked out beforehand. Because I was so going to freak out now.

This is an excerpt from Summer Romance, one of F.N. Manning’s M/M YA novels

*

“Carter Ford is working here too?” I asked. I had to be sure this wasn’t a hallucination. I guess I could just call him Carter now; being coworkers meant we would be on a first name basis. “Carter Ford?”

He always seemed well-dressed and in control. I didn’t expect him to need a job like this when he could be doing whatever good looking, popular people did in the summer. Maybe the same thing I did – sitting on the couch and watching TV or occasionally going out into the world – but just being good looking and popular while doing it.

“Do you know him?” Lily asked me. Perhaps being older than him or being his boss meant she wasn’t fazed by the presence of one of the most popular guys in my grade. And she was a great pseudo sister for even asking that question and implying I could be in the same social stratosphere as him.

“No,” I told her. “I don’t know Carter Ford at all.” I knew of him, but I’d never been properly introduced. Oh god, was that about to happen now? I sat up straighter in my chair.

“You could just call him Carter,” she recommended and then he came in and sat with us and I tried to be normal, listen to what Libby said, and basically do anything other than obsess over the guy sitting next to me.

-Summer Romance is available here.

Scene from What Love Means

IMG_1107-1371.jpegMy novel What Love Means is about boys and spelling bees. This is a scene from the beginning after Max’s sister April wins a small spelling competition at her school and wants to train for the harder bees.

This excerpt contains a little bit of material from the book but is mostly an extended scene that didn’t make it in the final version.

***

After April won, I walked over to where she stood with a crowd of her friends. She had a gold star sticker on her shoulder for winning. I gave her a high five. Her friends scattered. They had a hard time being in my direct vicinity without blushing to death.

“Will you help me prepare?” she asked.

“The real thing is different. It’s a lot harder,” I warned. These were easy vocabulary words that anyone who studied had a shot at. It was different when there was a whole dictionary to choose from and kids who wanted it just as badly.

“I want to do it,” April said firmly.

“Kids study a lot for it. It’s all they do,” I warned.

“Give me a word,” she ordered.

“What?”

“Give me a challenging word. Come on,” she urged.

We had a mini stare-off before I relented. “Alright… how about ‘sputnik’?”

A boy near us giggled at the word but she didn’t even hesitate. I thought a little harder this time, then tried again. “Salve?” My favorites had been Salvic, German and Old English languages because I thought they were the most fun to say.

April got it again.

“What about shrieval?” Okay, maybe that one was a stumper. It was an old English word used for sheriff.

She nailed it without hesitation and smiled confidently at me.

“How do you know that?”

“I’m smart,” she said like it should be obvious.

“I never doubted it,” I assured.

“Good, then I should have no problem competing.”

It dawned on me. “You stole my old workbooks,” I accused.

“Borrowed.” She waved that off. “I’ve been training.”

“You didn’t tell me.”

“I knew you wouldn’t like it.”

Well, she was right. I stared at her as she tried to stare back seriously without grinning. Crap. I didn’t want to give in. We both knew I would.

“Alright,” I relented. “It looks like you’re going to be a spelling champion.”

Check out the full book here.

Blast From the Past

father-2770301_960_720My absent father wanted to speak to me, maybe meet up, and I… I could barely stand to think about reconnecting or whatever.

“I can’t deal with a nightmare from my past right now” I told my mother.

She laughed at me. “You’re so dramatic. That’s a bright side, huh? You won’t even have to come out to your dad, just say that.”

“Ugh,” I groaned. “Shut up.”  Drinking and denial were better than drudging up the past. This conversation was proof. Shit.

“I’m just asking,” she said gently. “It’s your decision.” She was using a weird kind tone I didn’t like. Mom typically took the tough love approach with me these days. Her parenting advice normally involved stern words and phrases like ‘stop being a dumbass’ and ‘make smart decisions because I’m not paying for bail.’

“What would we even talk about?” Dad and I hadn’t had anything in common, something he worried about often. I wasn’t a ‘normal boy’ who’d liked sports and bugs and whatever normal boys were supposed to like. “Maybe dad and I will just hug and go play catch?” I quipped. Oh god, what if he really did want to play catch? He didn’t hide his disappointment at my inability to play sports very well when I was younger, but I was stronger now.

Mom thought about it. “Maybe you could guilt him into buying you beer.”

I laughed. “Tempting.”

She walked to stand in front of me. “I’ve got to go to work.” She bent down and kissed my forehead. I scowled as she smiled back at me. “Make good decisions, dumbass.”

Excerpt from What Love Means

Daily Prompt: Guilty

Premonition

I discovered Robert Downey Jr. later than those who fell in love with him in Ally McBeal or his movies from the 90’s but earlier than those who discovered him as Iron Man. It was a few years before his Marvel days and a movie was playing on some cable channel when I should have been going to bed. It was ‘Only You’ and I almost turned it off and went to sleep like I should until the most attractive man came on screen and I watched the entire thing for him.

67c23c2908bd858004b10943889da711

The movie is about a woman who strongly believes in destiny who’s searching for her soulmate, Damon Bradley, because a fortune teller and a Ouija board told her that’s her true love and instead of asking for credentials, she believed them. Robert Downey Jr. is of course, not Damon Bradley. Therein lies the conflict, where she must reaffirm her commitment to a man she’s never met because of her belief in fate or take a chance to find love where she wasn’t expecting it.

That’s what I thought of for the prompt premonition, this movie. So how would it work as a gay teen love story? Maybe the main character has a dream of himself in the future. He’s everything in college that he isn’t in high school: he’s confident, he has lots of friends, his acne has cleared up and he has a boyfriend. Of course he doesn’t see his boyfriend’s face, but he’s wearing a distinctive shirt that he sees clearly. I’m going to say a St. Louis Cardinals jersey because the red color could stand out in a dream; everything else would but be hazy but the red cardinal on the shirt would be vivid and clear as day,

The MC lives on the west coast or somewhere far away from the Midwest, but a new kid at school arrives the next day. He’s a transfer student from Missouri, he’s gorgeous, he plays baseball and he’s wearing the same Cardinals jersey that MC saw in his dreams. The main character is convinced this guy is his One True Love, and what makes it even better, it could actually happen because they have a flirty interaction that leads the MC to think the guy is gay.

Except his best friend doesn’t think so. Best friend thinks the baseball player is just fooling around or in the closet and will just hurt and use his friend. And of course, the best friend just happens to have a Cardinals jersey too, but the MC doesn’t find this out until the climax of the story when he shows up to his friend’s house unannounced because he’s on the cusp of getting the guy he’s been chasing over for the first half of the novel and wants to celebrate with his best friend. Only he sees the shirt and asks if his bff just bought that but nope, he’s always had it, he has family that lives in St. Louis. BFF tries to play it off at first but then he kisses the MC and tells him that he thinks he’s the one from the MC’s dreams instead of the other guy, or at least he wants to be.

41039bf64cfdbaf930f7f74447fea8de

And then there’s confusion and chaos, but probably a happy ending. The MC just has to figure out who he wants the happy ending to be with.

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Premonition

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