Sunday, July 24, 2016

Great Review for The Mule Man

I am so glad I have a Google alert for Deirdre O'Dare. It picks up reviews that I might otherwise never see. It also reveals various pirate sites where my books are being given away with not a cent coming to me. I don't have the time to do the take down notices to all of them and that is almost an exercise in futility anyway these days. So the results from that search are good and bad. Today at lesat one was good. Here is a link to a wonderful five rating review that truly made my day. It is so validating when a reader or reviewer really "gets" what you've said!

A snip:

The Mule Man hit all—and I do mean *all*—of my bullet points for a proper short story: compelling characters, tight knit plot, character growth and development, a balance of description and dialog that provides page turner narrative flow and most important…

…a doggone rousing story filled with authentic details, location-location-location, and two leads—Orr the mule man and Jase his client looking for an adventure—both of whom captured my heart and had me rooting for them from the get go.

Thank you, Diane of Gay.Guy Reading for your kind words and support. You made an often discouraged author's day. I hope you will read and like A Mule for a Princess, too. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jumping Jack Flash--Excerpt 2, (m/m adult, NC-17)

And this comes from a bit farther into the tale, Jack and Doug's first intimate encounter...

While the coffee pot burbled and dripped, he turned to Jack who now stood in the doorway from the front room to the compact kitchen. “Want some?”
The teasing glint that danced in the carnie’s changeable eyes should have warned him but the words still caught him by surprise.
“Depends on what you’re offering,” Jack said. “I’m known to be opportunistic. I’d take a BJ, a hand job or even a cup of coffee.”
Emboldened by this turn of the conversation, Doug found himself grinning.  Maybe this was what he’d wanted all along. “How about all the above?”
“Yep, I’d go for that, too,”
Doug set the mugs on the counter and turned around. He started toward the other man. “Sitting or up against the wall?”
“I was thinking more of going sixty-nine, really. The couch?”
Arranging themselves took no more time than accepting the idea. Jack sprawled on the futon, unfastening the fly of his jeans as he stretched out. Doug approached Jack’s head, eased down with a knee on either side of the mass of wild red hair and then remembered to unfasten his own waistband and zipper. He bent forward and reached for Jack’s eager cock which had shot up nearly as fast as one of those knives—but a lot more tempting.   The next breath he felt Jack’s nimble fingers close around his dick. Oh man, oh wow.
           The electricity was still there, to the tenth power at least. Every nerve in his body seemed to leap, twitch and then scream out in eager hunger. More and more and more. Yes!! Then he felt the hot moisture of Jack’s lips and tongue and gave himself up to pure and total sensation. Belatedly he remembered he was supposed to be doing his part too. The requirement took multi-tasking to a whole new level even while it added to his own arousal and excitement. Jack was hung very well and he tasted salty, spicy and hotter than a mouthful of chiltepines. .

Jumping Jack Flash--Story behind the story

At a previous publisher, we often worked off a theme where a number of authors contributed a story to a series that extended over some weeks or months of releases. At the time they closed their doors, we'd just begun to consider a group of tales based on the titles of Rolling Stones songs. Unfortunately that did not get off the ground before the firm ceased operation and I set aside the story I had begun for awhile. After I submitted Jack to Changeling, the idea caught on like wildfire.  You can watch for more Set in Stone stories from some of your favorite Changeling authors in the months ahead--right now I think they are running well into 2017 and maybe even farther!

At the start, I'd played around with two or three of my favorite songs and nothing quite gelled. Then I decide to try Jumping Jack Flash as my point of inspiration. Good choice! Very quickly the character that was to be Jack came out of the mists and the first scene, which later became the prologue ,took shape. I knew at once that this was going to be a very special and unusual man!   Then on Facebook I saw an old postcard and that really got me going. Not Jack but...  But who would be his foil and eventually his perfect partner?

Well, next I suddenly saw a guy driving down Central in Phoenix, Arizona. I never actually lived in Phoenix but as a long term resident of Arizona, I had certainly driven up and down that infamous thoroughfare more than a time or two and as an invisible passenger in Doug's red GTO, I started letting him speak to me. He was unhappy and depressed. Why? A user druggie boyfriend had just moved out and although he knew he'd be better off, he was hurt and lonely. Then he saw a carnival on the south side of town--Phoenix was a lot smaller in the early 1970s than today's sprawling mega-city. The next thing I knew, he parked, saw the poster advertising a knife act and was inexplicably drawn to get a ticket and go in.... What ensued is the scene I just shared in the first excerpt.

From that point on the story seemed to pretty much take off on its own. That happens to me a lot. I am a total seat-of-the-pants plotter and shun outlines and their ilk like a bad case of hives. This one threw me curve balls just about every time I put fingers to keyboard! But gosh, it was one fun, wild ride. Before it was over, it had become a prequel to my Thin Green Line rural fantasy stories about the new arm of the U.S. Border Patrol which has been established to resist the most dangerous and unusual aliens ever to invade the USA!

I can't tell you a lot more without giving away far too much and I do not believe in spoilers but I promise you will meet some amazing characters, share some very sizzling scenes between Jack and Doug and encounter some Smurfs-gone-bad critters that are part of the first wave of other-worldly invaders! I had a great deal of fun with this story and I hope my readers will enjoy it, too. There is humor but also plenty of angst, action and adventure. I also have a vague hunch that we may cross paths with Jack and Doug in a future tale as I fill in some of the gaps between Jumping Jack Flash and say, Bonds of the Runes, which released last month as a package of two prior novellas, edited, heated up a tad, and combined so the whole story of Clay Chiles and Arondel Wanderer is available at once. Others of the previously released Thin Green Line stories as well as new ones will be coming along soon. Stay tuned for one more excerpt of this one, an adult level excerpt at that!

Jumping Jack Flash--Excerpt 1 (PG-13)

Jumping Jack Flash

This comes from Jack and Doug's first meeting, early in the story.

The nextr instant, the man in the poster seemed to materialize right through the wall.  He entered with a hand stand and sprang to his feet, capered  around a moment and then spoke a single syllable. The music muted to much less that the ear-splitting shriek while the noise from the other box seemed to pick up, both in pitch and volume.
Before Doug could wonder what came next, a swarm of knives shot out of the mysterious box. They seemed as thick as a bunch of killer bees and all flying straight at the man who had stopped abruptly, going dead still.
The whole audience gasped. A woman screamed. Doug could not see the scarlet and gold clad man move so much as a muscle yet somehow not one knife actually touched him.  Some seemed to halt in midair for a blink while others swerved, bent, changing course a degree or two before thudding into the wall. It had to be pretty solid because not one went through.
This’s got be a trick. Doug blinked a couple of times, sure he was not seeing reality. How in hell did he do that? And what the fuck was that? While Doug sought to wrap his mind around what he had just seen, Jack calmly gathered the knives and pitched them back toward the humming box. After that he pulled a much longer blade from a hidden spot in the stage side of the box. He ran a fingertip up and down the blade and then extended it to a kid in the front row.
“It’s real,” he said. “Touch it, run your finger along the edge—slow, real careful now or it’ll cut ya.” The child did. Doug could not see the lad’s face but he could imagine the awed expression. Then Jack took the sword back, lifted one leg and laid the blade across his knee. It sure looked like he bore down hard. The sword bent very slightly but did not break. When he released the pressure it emitted a high pitched sound.
By now, Doug was mesmerized. He had no idea how this stranger managed but the guy was damn good, whether a trickster or as magical as he appeared.
The redhead straightened, held the sword vertical as his lips moved, seeming to chant some silent mantra or spell. Then he pulled a lighter out of a hidden pocket in his flashy costume. He sparked it and then ran the blue flame up and down the cutting edge of the sword. Blue flame tipped in red and gold sparkled to life along the blade. Again he held the sword aloft. He flipped it to change his grip on the pommel which looked to be wrapped in dark red leather beneath the huge red stone that twinkled at the apex.
Then without further theatrics, he tipped his head back and to all appearances took a good half the blade into his mouth and down his throat. He pulled it up and did the same thing again.  This time he ran a fingertip down the sword’s length which made the flickering flames fade and vanish. As he lowered the blade to his side, he seemed to speak a single syllable although Doug could not hear it.
As had happened earlier, a cluster of short daggers shot forth from the humming box. This time they sang too, with shrill tremolo sounds, whispery yet keen.  Again they all came close, some even making some of the dags and tatters of his costume flutter. One clipped a single lock of hair as it passed him. The crowd broke into spontaneous applause. Coins rattled and a few bills fluttered toward the stage and settled around Jack’s feet.
He smiled, bowed and vanished back through the partition without a glance at the money. Once again the wall, solid enough to stop knives, did not deter his exit at all.
Doug stood with the rest and followed them out of the tent. He might have been able to stay and watch it again but it was too late now. He’d have to get another ticket to go back. On impulse he went back to the gate where a blowsy blonde dispensed tickets from a big roll and stashed the money in a noisy old cash register.
“Good show, ain’t it? That Jack is groovy. Here ya go, darlin’. There’s a lot more to see and great games to try your skill and luck, though. Hang around, there might be even more fun to be enjoyed later.” Her bold wink left little question as to what kind of fun that might be but Doug was not interested.
He wandered around for awhile, watched a couple of other shows which were obviously faked and not well done. Then he got a couple of corn dogs, a sno-cone that tasted like the scent of cheap cologne and a serving of funnel cake. Finally, as he had known he would, he went back to Jack Flash’s tent. This time he sat through the whole performance twice. He still could not figure it out. If the red headed carnie was a fake, he was a damn good one. The sword swallowing part was probably done by some mechanism that collapsed the blade by sections although it certainly looked seamless, catching the light without one ripple or distortion.
How Jack managed to elude those knives, though, was something else. The blades belched out of the machine in clusters and did not spread very far yet they hit the wall behind Jack in many places. He did not seem to move. Was there some clever distortion in the light that tricked the eye? Doug felt a compulsion to find out. The third time he moved forward and took a seat right in front, just behind and to the left of the humming box from which the knives emerged.
This time Jack noticed him. He went through the whole routine and disappeared behind the wall only to emerge again as soon as the rest of the crowd had left. He came back through the partition which Doug had decided was subtly divided, this time without a handspring or any capers. He stopped a long arm’s length from Doug, and planted his fists on his hips.
“What’s with you, Dude? Do you get off on steel or something?”
Up close, Jack was a striking looking man. His face was tight and clean, more angles than curves. When he parted his lips in a mocking smile, he revealed even, white teeth. His eyes were a changeable mixture of colors flickering from blue to gray to green. When he shook his head, Doug would have sworn the ears that peeked for an instant through the wild red locks were as pointed as Spock’s.
For a breath, he hesitated, not sure what he wanted to say. “I can’t figure out what you do, how you’re doing this, the knife thing. I’m pretty sure the sword folds in on itself but this other—it’s the weirdest trick I ever saw.”
That was when Jack grinned, an honest but mischievous grin that made him look like some kind of elf. “I move things,” he said. “No trick, really. It took some practice and refining a talent I guess I was born with but it’s easy. At least for me it is. A mechanism in the machine lines them up and then shoots them out by pneudraulic force—that’s compressed air power, actually.”
“But they don’t stay in a cluster and they don’t fly straight.”

“Nope. That’s ‘cause I make them move.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It's a Gas.!!.

Get ready for Jumping Jack Flash! It will hit the market this coming weekend, first at the Changeling site on Friday and soon thereafter at the regular ebook sales venues. And sale priced the first week of release! This is a brand new story, loosely linked to the Thin Green Line rural fantasy series as a kind of prequel. It is also the kick-off story for the new Set in Stone themed group of tales coming at Changeling from many of your favorite authors. All of these will take off from the title of one of the Rolling Stones many great songs and the way different authors interpret that inspiration will blow you away!

Here is a quick scoop on Jumping Jack Flash:

Jack never knew his father, and his carnie mother died when he was in his teens. The carnie is the only family Jack’s ever known. He perfects a knife and sword act where he keeps himself safe by making the steel blades go exactly where he wants them. Getting his GED and working to educate himself while keeping up his carnival act leaves Jack no time for a social life, but he’s been too busy to miss what he never had.
Doug’s a pretty ordinary guy with a college education and a boring IT job. When his loser druggie boyfriend moves out, Doug’s lonely and hurt. Looking for distraction, he goes to a carnival. When he sees the mercurial red head, he’s enthralled. Jack Flash is the opposite of everything Doug’s ever known. Can two men with such widely different lives find common ground on which to build a bond?

Stop by tomorrow for an excerpt and some story behind the story!