Category: Writing


It’s been a long, dry spell for my poor blog. Nearly a month, with no posting. I’m ashamed of myself. I had such noble intentions: a post a week, I told myself, was do-able. Little did I know that real life and my muse would step in, and prevent that from happening. It’s not that I haven’t been productive. I’ve been writing like mad! Just…not on my blog. Oops. I’ll also admit that Twitter may have had a thing or two to do with that, even though I’ve exiled myself from that, as well, as of late.

Much has been going on in the Witch’s life. I’ve switched jobs, which is probably a good thing. I start the new one Monday. Better hours, better money, greater potential for advancement, yada-yada. I’ll miss the restaurant, but I won’t miss the hot kitchen. Also, divorce-papers got filed last month. My divorce hearing is set for August 4th. It’s PIMA’s birthday. How amazingly apropriate.

So, I had this idea running around in my head, and it wouldn’t leave me alone. It kept poking at me with a rather sharp stick, whomping me in the head when I was trying to sleep, whispering things in my ear at work, etc. I sat down with my trusty MSWord program, and began to write. 22K later, it’s kind of taking on a life of its own. I’m in a sharing mood, so I thought I would share an exerpt from the first chapter of Reflections of Who We Become. That’s the working title, anyway, although I’ve been toying with changing it.  There’s a quote at the beginning of the chapter–one of my favorites–that I thought apropriate.  

Let me know what you think! I’m happy to improve myself, and my writing, however I may, so con-crit always appreciated:

“There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in it’s proportion.” — Sir Francis Bacon.

It started like any other, ordinary Tuesday morning. Nick crawled out of bed at 5:30, when his alarm went off, and let the shower and the promise of caffeine wake him sufficiently to make his way from the dorms, across the quad, to the SUB’s coffee-bar. His first class didn’t start until 8 a.m. and Mocha Joe’s had just opened, so there was a dearth of customers. It was a perfect start to a beautiful spring day. Except…

What the hell was behind the counter? It looked like the SUB had hired a new server, because he’d never seen anything like that behind the counter before.  Nick scowled. It looked like some guy had had relations with a peacock, and this was their love-child. It smiled. Yep. Newbie. It would learn Nick didn’t do smiles before 10 a.m., at the earliest. He strode purposefully up to the counter, model-perfect face set in what his acting professor called neutral-face, except for the quirk of one eyebrow, which clearly asked ‘who the fuck are you?’

“Good morning.” A shy dip of his head (yes, it appeared to be a man…that mystery was solved, at least), accompanied by a brilliant white smile framed by full pink-lipsticked lips. Now that Nick really had a chance to examine the guy, he was kind of hot…if Nick swung that way, which he didn’t, thank you very much. Nick’s cheek-muscles pulled the corners of his mouth up in a small flash of a return-smile, before he got them back under control, and schooled his features back into the neutral expression of earlier (minus the quirked eyebrow, because…well, just because).

His voice was still rough from sleep, when he spoke. “’Morning. Extra-tall cappuccino, double espresso.”  

Lipstick-boy stood there, the silver bangles on his wrist clinking together and still smiling brightly, as he tapped on the counter with his black-lacquered fingernails. Nick frowned in confusion because he was pretty sure he’d spoken English, well, with possibly a smattering of Italian coffee-speak, but the guy should’ve got the gist of what he wanted. It was too early in the morning for anything beyond that handful of words, and Nick hadn’t had any coffee, yet. And smiley wasn’t moving, just smiling and drumming. Nick tried again, scowling. “Extra-tall cappuccino, double-shot of espresso.”

“I heard you, doll face.” His voice was pleasant—slightly raspy, not too deep, and not too high-pitched, either. He had a nice face, and a beautiful smile…Nick shook his head, not going there. It was the make-up the guy was wearing. Had to be. It was throwing him off, seriously, because he wasn’t into guys. Consequently, he didn’t generally notice when a guy was attractive and smelled nice. What the fuck? Where had that come from?

Nicked rubbed his face with one hand, frustrated, and seriously in need of caffeine. “Uh, then what are you waiting for? Christmas?”

Mr. Lipstick actually had the audacity to giggle. And seriously? It would’ve been a nice sound, if Nick had had a coffee in his hand—which he didn’t. At his bewildered look, Lipstick smiled even wider. “No, doll face. I’m waiting for the magic word.”

Magic word…what? What the hell was the magic word? Was it something he was supposed to know, and didn’t? His sleep-addled brain attempted to come up with something suitable. “Abracadabra?”

That giggle came again, musical and pleasant, his eyes crinkling as he shook his head, longish blue-black hair swishing against his collar. “Nope. Didn’t your mama ever teach you about the magic word?”

Nick was even more confused now, his voice taking on a pleading note. “Um…no?”

Lipstick threw his hands up in the air in a dramatic gesture of exasperation that clearly stated the Nick’s mother had failed him completely, as a parent because she had failed to clue him into the magic coffee-getting word. Hands on hips that were slender, but not skinny, Lipstick huffed out an irritated breath, “Please. The magic word? It’s ‘please’.”

Nick wanted coffee. Lipstick was not gonna give it to him. This was irritating, to say the least. But if ‘please’ would cause coffee to magically start being made, he’d give it a shot, because seriously? He’d already wasted fifteen important minutes of prime coffee-drinking time. Jaw clenching, he glared at Lipstick-boy, in an attempt to convey just how un-amused he really was. “Fine. Please? Coffee? Now?”

Lipstick smiled again. “Sure thing, doll face. If you’ll have a seat, I’ll bring it right out.”

Nodding, because this was the strangest conversation he’d ever had in the SUB, he turned to find a seat, when Lipstick’s voice sounded again. “Thank-you? Seriously, pretty-boy, your social skills are lacking.”

Nick, caffeine-deprived and feeling picked-on, stiffened, whirling around with an ease he wouldn’t have believed himself capable of at this ungodly hour, immediately on the defensive. “Dude, what the fuck? Of course my social skills are lacking! It’s 6:45 in the fucking morning, I’ve been awake for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes, without coffee, I might add. Then, I come in here and find Miss Manners is now working here, and is keeping me from said coffee, because I have no social skills. Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ! Just give me my fucking coffee! My manners will improve exponentially with coffee. I promise!”

Mr. Lipstick had the nerve to actually look shocked, and a bit frightened at Nick’s tirade, kohl-rimmed blue eyes wide under the fall of deep-blue bangs (they were black with a blue rinse on them, not that Nick noticed this sort of thing, because he so didn’t, but he had considered doing something similar to his own hair a time or two. Perhaps it bore more serious thought…). Silently, the younger man turned and began to make Nick’s coffee.

Walking toward a nearby table, Nick kicked himself, mentally. He had sounded a little frightening. But damn it! How much was he expected to have to put up with on a Tuesday, anyway? And where the hell was Shelby? She was scheduled to work this shift, he had thought. He sighed, disconsolately. The day had started with such promise.

As if on cue, two things happened. His cell-phone buzzed and Lipstick-boy brought a hot, extra-tall cappuccino with a double-espresso shot. Face sober, instead of wearing that smile that Nick could write sonnets about (if, you know, he was into that sort of thing), he carefully placed the cup, in its cheerful, bubble-gum pink cozy, on Nick’s table, and turned to walk away, shoulders set in a defeated posture.

“Hey…uh…” Nick realized, as Mr. Lipstick stopped, but didn’t turn around, he didn’t even know the man’s name. Couldn’t very well call him Mr. Lipstick forever, “Look, I’m sorry for going off. I just…I don’t do well without coffee, y’know? I’m Nick Holt.” He peered at his cell-phone…Shelby. It figured. Boy was she in for an ass-chewing!

Lipstick-boy turned, and his dazzling smile pushed all thoughts of how many ways he was going to ream Shelby far from his mind. The cell-phone continued to buzz, as the prettiest man in Nick’s acquaintance practically skipped back to the table. He held out a hand, and Nick returned the handshake, which was reassuringly firm. “Drew Lawson. And I apologize for sounding like Miss Manners. I’m nervous, I guess. First day on the job. And, well, I kind of have this way of calling a spade a spade. ” Lipstick—er, Drew had a pleasant voice, Nick decided.

Nick nodded. Bluntness was a quality he could appreciate. The two men stared at each other, the silence becoming increasingly uncomfortable, as they searched for something else to say. Nick’s cell-phone started buzzing again, he saw it was Shelby calling back, and thanked whoever was listening for her perfect timing. “I’ve gotta get this. But it was nice to meet you, Drew. I’ll see you around?”

“I’ll be here every morning, Monday through Wednesday, and Friday. Nice to meet you Nick.” He walked away, Nick staring at his departing figure appreciatively. He’d forgotten all about his phone, until the maddening buzz stopped. Crap. Shelby. Taking a long drink of his cappuccino, he sighed, and dialed her number.

“How’s he doing? Is he doing alright? Do I need to come in?” Shelby’s voice in his ear was slightly panicked.
“And good morning to you, too. How’s who doing?” He loved Shelby, but her habit of jumping into a conversation right in the middle, leaving the other half wondering what the hell she was going on about could get annoying, at times. Like now. When he was one sip shy of coffee-less. Once he had himself completely caffeinated, he could usually keep up. But he wasn’t. And he couldn’t.

She let out an exasperated breath that reminded him of Drew’s irritated huff earlier. “DREW! How’s he doing? Do I need to come help him? How’s his coffee? Because if he sucks? Martin trained him. If he’s the best barista on the planet? I taught him everything he knows.”  He could hear the grin in Shel’s voice. He took another long sip of coffee.

“Drew? Who’s Drew? And why is the coffee-bar still locked up tight? I’m in the cafeteria, forced to drink the swill that passes for coffee, to the unwashed masses.” He managed (barely) to keep from laughing at the loud screech that came from his phone’s speaker, causing Drew, who was only a few feet away, to look up, concerned. Nick held a finger to his lips, in a shushing gesture, and winked, gaining him an uncertain smile.

“I’ll kill him! I’ll be there in two minutes. That cafeteria shit will kill you, and then I’ll be friendless!” The line went dead, before Nick had a chance to tell her that everything was going fine. He bit his lip, a guilty look crawling across his face.

From his spot behind the bar, Drew frowned slightly. “What happened?”

“Prepare for world-war-Shelby. She called to check up on you, and I kind of maybe planted the idea in her sweet little head that you weren’t here? She’s on her way.” Nick and Drew shared a grimace. This would not be good.

Ten minutes later, Nick was well into his second cappuccino when a short, blonde hurricane stormed into the coffee house with murder in her eye. She pointed at Nick. “Nicholas Aaron Holt! I am going to kill you, you asshole! I looked all over the cafeteria for you, and you’re here? Do you have any idea just how little sleep I got last night, worrying about how Drew might oversleep, or might have some problem? And then you show up, and I call to see how it’s going, and you pull this shit? I absolutely hate you! Buy me coffee. NOW!

Nick took another calm sip of his cappuccino as Drew looked from Shelby to him and back again, finally managing to squeak. “How do you want your coffee, Shelby?”

“Strong, black, with as much caffeine as you can legally force into it. And if you were in on this, so help me!” Her words were for Drew, but her icy blue gaze was all for Nick who refused to cower under her surly, blonde presence. He absently picked some lint from the sleeve of his shirt, calmly took another sip from his cup, and smiled his most winning smile at the angry woman glaring daggers in his direction.

“Good morning, Shelby. How’s your day, so far? I don’t know where you found Drew, but you definitely need to keep him around a while. He makes the best cappuccino on the planet. Even better than yours, and that’s saying something.” His relaxed voice only served to further infuriate his friend to his great amusement. Shelby had been his girlfriend once upon a time, for about three months, so he understood well the delicate process of talking her down when she was in a snit. He continued, voice still soothing, “By the way, where did you find him? I thought you were supposed to be here this morning.”

Drew carefully set a steaming cup in front of Shelby. This display of anger was so far from anything he’d seen from the tiny blonde in their brief acquaintance that he wasn’t sure how to take it. He walked away deciding it would be better to let Nick handle her, which he seemed to be doing rather well. He’d have to ask her about Nick later, because the tall, muscular frame, dark blonde hair and hazel eyes were pushing every button Drew had. He wanted this pretty man, and it’d been a long time since he’d felt such a strong attraction so quickly. Checking to see that the other two or three customers were settled, he busied himself behind the bar where he could keep an eye on the proceedings at the front table, as the friends spoke in now-hushed tones. Nick winked at him conspiratorially, and the bottom dropped out of Drew’s stomach. Did he even know how hot he was? Drew suspected the answer to be a resounding ‘yes’.

Taking a careful sip of her hot coffee, Shelby sighed in contentment. This was what she needed to calm her nerves. Nick had scared the hell out of her but now the adrenaline was fading and she felt the anger fade along with it. She still might kill him, but not right this minute. “So, I didn’t want to tell you until I was sure I had the job. You remember the strip club on the edge of town, Caprice? I got hired as a bartender, there. I had to cut my hours here because I’m there mainly on weeknights. I met Drew there, and he was looking for a second job. He applied here and he is taking over my weekday hours, since he mainly works weekends.”

Nick nodded. “That’s great, Shelby. Congrats on the new job. So that’s how you met Drew, then? He works there with you?”

“Yeah, we sort of work together a few nights. But I actually met him in my dance class last semester. If you’d bothered to come to the final show, you’d have seen him. He’s an amazing dancer. I’m surprised you haven’t seen him around. He’s a double major—dance and theatre. I figured he’d been in a few of your classes too.” Shelby was nursing her coffee like it was mother’s milk, as she spoke. Their shared caffeine addiction was one of the things that had drawn them to each other, at first. Neither of them were morning people, per se. They just got up early to feed the caffeine-junkie that lived deep in their souls, which didn’t make a great deal of sense to anyone except them.

“I don’t think so. He’s kind of hard to miss, so I think I would’ve noticed.” They shared a laugh at this. Yes Drew was kind of hard to miss. Shelby had lamented, in her journal, many times that it was really too bad he was gay.

Checking the time, Nick rose to pay his and Shelby’s tab. Drew smiled as he walked to the cash-register. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah. You just have to know how to handle Shelby first thing in the morning. The coffee was great, by the way.” Nick pressed a couple of dollars in the tip jar. “So you’ll be here tomorrow?”

“Yeah, I will.” Nick smiled broadly at the news, and Drew felt his knees grow weak.

Not sure why this news made him so cheerful, Nick nodded. “Good. I look forward to it, then. Have a great day, Drew. It was nice meeting you.”

“You too, Nick. See you in the morning.” Drew returned Nick’s wave, and the butterflies in Drew’s stomach fluttered at a fever-pitch as he watched the blonde-haired man walk away, making a mental note to grill Shelby for information later.

It’s been a bitch of a weekend. That’s all I’m saying about my blog post being *checks timepiece* 7h 40m late. So I’m quite sorry. Mea Culpa, and all that..

Major blogger-fail aside, I’m congratulating the hell out of myself, today. I did my utmost to prove that I am clearly insane. I entered three fic challenges (two original fiction, one fan-fiction) that had June deadlines. Why? Mostly to prove to myself that I could. To be fair, the fanfic challenge had a 6 month window, and a 20k word min. Challenge opened January 1, submission date: June 6.

The second, for a blog called ‘Reviews by Jessewave’, had a word-limit of 3500-55oo words (and let me tell you it’s a pain in the ass trying to tell a full story, with my own brand of dry humor, AND naughty bits, in 5500 words). That contest officially opened June 1. Submission date: June 15.

Here’s where it gets tricky…

The third is for the m/m romance group, on GoodReads. It’s called ‘Hot July Days’, and I’m looking forward to reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing the story I’m submitting. Let me set the ground work: group member looks through the photo-archive, picks a picture, and posts an open letter requesting a short story to go with the picture. I claimed a letter (and posted my own) May 30th. Submission deadline: June 21. My story is 10k-ish (give or take 50 words, or so), called “Riding for a Fall” (it’s featuring Cowboys, because I love them soooooo much), and it’s done. It’s being edited by a good friend, or two, and I’m feeling the heady rush of excitement that comes with accomplishing this much in a short time. I hope, sincerely, that my letter-writer enjoys the story. I know I’ve enjoyed the hell out of writing it.

At the time, I was thinking…well, obviously I wasn’t thinking anything at all, except possibly ‘sure you can do it. you’re full of words!’. But I’m glad I did all three. I needed to prove that I could. To myself. The fan-fic is getting lots of kudos. And a little con-crit, which I always appreciate (apparently there were a couple of things I didn’t make quite clear…oops. Naughty author!). I haven’t heard, yet, from Jessewave. I’m guessing that I’ll know in a few weeks, as the readers get to pick the actual winner, after the judges pick the two best. I have no actual designs on winning, but it was fun to do. Definitely presented a challenge. The GoodReads story will be posted to the site in July, sometime. I’m anxious as hell, for the feedback from that one, as well.

My ultimate goal is to be published, and I think that’s true of most authors. In the meantime, I’m honing my skills. A couple of the stories I’d like to expand into full-length fiction. And I may do just that. One of them is at a good stopping place. That seems to be my major stumbling block: Stopping when the story’s done. But I think that’s what sequels are for, right? LOL!

At any rate, lovelies, life is going well, and continues to present challenges. As long as there are stories to be told, I will continue to do my best to tell them. And maybe, if  I’m lucky, someone will deem them worthy enough to share, someday. Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones said it best: No, you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.

I bid you peace. *mwah*

WIP

Attempting to do something a little different, this week. A bit whimsical, if you will. I am working on several fictional short stories. Most of the WIP’s have a deadline sometime this month. Yes, I am insane, but that is completely beside the point.

I decided to share a bit of one of them. Fair warning: this is m/m romance. I stopped before I got the the really naughty bits b/c why would anyone need to read it when it’s done, otherwise. This is a work in progress, in this case, its currently being edited. I hope y’all enjoy. OH! and remember, I’m a complete feed-back slut, so please comment. ConCrit is always appreciated. If you love it, or if you hate it, let me know, as long as you’re willing to tell me why. 😉

A disclaimer: this is a work of original fiction. Any similarities to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

If he was looking for atmosphere, he’d certainly picked the wrong joint, but as luck would have it, Chris was looking for nothing more than a cold beer, and the neon signs in the window of Auggie’s pub proclaimed that they had several varieties. The general lack of cars in the parking lot almost guaranteed that he’d be able to drink, and think, pretty much all by his lonesome, and he was relieved. It had been a brutal day, what with the long drive from St. Louis, to Lyneville, MO, and then the funeral. It was beginning to wear on even his perpetual good humor. He walked through the door, and stopped, briefly, to let his eyes adjust to the light (or lack, thereof), noting that he appeared to be one of only two customers, this particular Saturday. Of course, it was still fairly early.

Not wanting to appear unfriendly, he sat next to the only other warm body on that side of the bar, and gave his order to the bartender, who was attempting to appear busy, polishing beer mugs. Taking a deep pull off his long-neck, he savored the bitter tang of hops and barley, and sighed with obvious pleasure, happy to just be, for a time.

Out of the corner of his eye, he studied his ad hoc companion, dressed to the nines in a black western-style shirt and Wrangler jeans, Stetson pulled down low over his eyes, as he nursed his own beer. Clearing his throat, Chris put the bottle to his lips again, and spoke, before taking another long swallow, “Nice night.”

The cowboy snorted derisively, not bothering to grace him with so much as a glance. His voice, when he spoke, was deep, rich, like chocolate, with a hint of a Texas drawl, “Yeah. Right.”  The stranger motioned the bartender for another beer, and continued to stare pointedly at a spot on the bar, apparently lost in thought.

He tried, once again, to make conversation, because Uncle Harry would have been rolling in his newly-occupied grave, if he hadn’t, “So….uh, I’m not really from around here. I was kind of wondering…”

The stranger turned to him, in irritation, and cut him off, cold, “Mister, my give-a-damn shattered a week ago. I don’t mean to be rude, but I ain’t lookin’ for conversation. I just wanna’ have a beer, or six, and forget today ever happened.”

Chris swallowed, nervously, and nodded in understanding, “Yeah…I, uh, I got it. Sorry.”

The cowboy sighed deeply, and pushed his hat back on his head, grinning ruefully, “Nah, man, I’m the one who should apologize. It’s been a bitch of a day, but that’s not your fault.  I’m Jesse, by the way.” He extended a hand, and Chris couldn’t help but notice, as he shook it, that it was well calloused–hands that were used to hard work.

“Chris. I…I was wondering what’s there to do for entertainment, ‘round here? I’m in town for a funeral, and looking for something to pass the time. ” The last time he’d spent a summer with his uncle, entertainment of the grown-up variety had been the farthest thing from his mind. Fishing, bike riding, the occasional horseback ride had been high on his list of priorities. Now, time and distance had dulled his memory to what the small town had to offer.

Jesse gave him a speculative look, studying him just a bit longer than necessary, which made Chris just the tiniest bit curious about this cowboy’s game. Finally, Jesse offered a small shrug, “This is about it, I’m afraid.” He motioned to Chris’s beer, “You want another?” Not waiting for an answer, he signaled the bartender, who busied himself filling the order.

Chris cleared a sudden lump in his throat, “I, um, my uncle was buried today. ‘S why I’m here, I had to stick around to talk to his lawyer, tomorrow, about some stuff.”

He held up his beer, “To your uncle. May he rest in peace.” The two men clinked the necks of their beer-bottles together, and took a deep swallow, as Jesse wondered absently whether or not he knew the kid’s uncle. He’d have to ask, later, if it didn’t come up.

Chris was amazed at how easily the conversation flowed between them, in the quiet dimness of the small bar. They made small-talk, about the weather, life, whatnot, which was fine, because he found himself drifting off into Jesse’s turquoise eyes, losing track of the conversation rather easily, whenever they’d glance his way. Somehow reasoning that applying more beer would do wonders for his focus, he ordered another round for them both. Such a bad idea, the voice of reason warned, just before he bound and gagged reason, and pitched it into the corner.

His imagination may have been playing tricks on him, with an occasional flirtatious look, but there was no mistaking the warm press of the cowboy’s thigh against his, and when that subtlety failed to get a response, a kick against the sole of his own boot. When he looked up, a question in his eyes, Jesse’s face held that a note of semi-amusement,  as he peered out from under the brim of his hat, his tone coy, “You tryin’ to get me drunk?”

Chris felt the corners of his mouth tug upward, in an answering grin, “That kinda’ depends–Is it working?”

“Well,” long, slender fingers played absently with the label on the bottle, “that kinda’ depends on what you had in mind.”

Chris searched the cowboy’s face for some indication that his words were intended to sound like a come-on, and wasn’t the least disappointed to find that same teasing smile. Chris shook himself, and returned Jesse’s grin, “You know, I was just thinking, you know, about my uncle. I hadn’t seen him in years. Life kind of got in the way. But I remember him being so exuberant, and happy, and just…over the top. I kind of think he’d approve of this, you know, sitting in a bar, drinking a beer, finding some way to celebrate life. You know what I mean?”

Jesse raised one eyebrow, a snort of laughter escaping, “Seriously? ‘Some way to celebrate life?’ That’s the line you’re going with? Why don’t you go freshen up, and see if you can think up something a little more original. Then we’ll see.” Chris excused himself, confused. Line? What line? He was trying to make simple conversation, attempting to cover up the fact that he’d love to do the tall drink of water seven ways from Sunday, and Jesse had somehow seen right through it? Was he really that transparent? Calling himself eleven different kinds of idiot, for even entertaining thoughts of taking the cowboy back to his motel room, he splashed cool water on his flushed cheeks. Reason had somhow slipped it’s bonds, and was screaming at him BAD IDEA! Really bad! This will NOT end well.

He was washing his hands, when he heard the door open, and shut, and the unmistakable snick of the lock being turned. He glanced up in the mirror, and saw Jesse, standing there, back pressed against the door, gazing at him. Chris shot him a questioning look, in the mirror. A lazy grin spread across Jesse’s handsome face, “I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt. You’re so hot, probably haven’t needed much practice at pick-up lines—which you really suck at, by the way.”

That’s it! It’s all you get. Let me know what you think.