Home free, but free no more

Home away from home for the past six days…

Well, I made it back from Estrella War XXXVI in one piece (didn’t even break any bones this trip!), but that doesn’t mean I’m free and clear–rather, I’m back to the daily grind starting tomorrow. 🙁 Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.

Lots of things happened while I’ve been silent or away. For instance, the newest box set I contributed to has reached #1 in at least two countries in two separate subgenres on Amazon! The other box sets are still running strong, but this one shot to the top in less than two days. I’m elated, but a bit overwhelmed with all I have to do now that I’m “back.”

There’s the day job. The laundry from the trip. Unpacking the car. Organizing assignments for a group I’m responsible for in one of the box sets. Revving up participation in another group in a different set. Getting Tuesday’s newsletter set up and going. Promoting the three box sets plus ABNORMAL plus pre-promotion for ESCAPE THE LIGHT plus continuing to write Book 3 plus maintaining my sanity through it all….in no particular order, mind you.

The coming weeks are going to be tough. The day job will be short two people for the next week, then my direct manager will be back from maternity leave the week after. I’ll have to keep plugging away at all the writing things. And, somewhere in all that, I’ll have to find a new laptop. Yeah, this one’s about had it. Good thing I have a backup drive.

I can do this. I’ve had my week of decompression and escape–now it’s time to get back in the game. Get focused. Motivated.

I have a lot to do before I leave for work tomorrow, but as wired and refreshed as I am after my trip, I think it’s high time I headed for bed. Sleep deprivation is just no fun.

Askew Ever After

Ladies and gents, it’s Valentine’s Day! 💖 What does that mean for you? Well, whether you’re single or not, I’ve got great Valentine’s news: the next box set I’m participating in, ASKEW EVER AFTER, is now available for pre-order for just 99 cents!!!

That’s right, you can go to books2read.com/askeweverafter and get your Kindle copy reserved today! (Other retailers will be available as well later.) I’m super excited for this story to come out, because it’s a change from my normal wheelhouse. It’s cute and quirky and not too saccharine. 😂

There’s something for everyone in this set: young adult to new adult, sweet to stormy to steamy, and they all have a nice, happy ever after.

Pre-order ASKEW EVER AFTER today, so you don’t miss out!

Writing what I know–kinda

I’m ba-a-a-ack! Back to writing on Book 3, that is, and it feels great!

I’ve been stuck for what seems like forever. For months now, I haven’t made any significant progress in the third installment of the Abnormal series, and it’s had me a little depressed.

Now I’m delving into some subject matter that is both familiar and foreign to me: mental illness.

Yes, anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that I’m bipolar. I’ve mentioned it a time or two. So, in theory, I know what mental illness feels like and how to write it–right?

Except I’m not writing about bipolar disorder. The character doesn’t have that; she has something else, something with similar undertones but entirely different motivations and some wildly different contexts. Still, I’m liking the way things are going this morning, and I hope I can maintain this momentum in the coming days/weeks to get this draft done so I can power through the edits and get it submitted.

Then it’s on to Book 4. Lol

I guess I’m almost halfway through the series now, which is a better way to look at it than “stuck on Book 3.”

I’m going to put my character through hell in the coming days/weeks, but she’ll come out stronger for it, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll come out with a stronger understanding of a condition that I’ll never have.

No Words

I’m an author

A writer

A poet

A wordsmith

So why,

When the right words are needed,

Can I not find any?

I’m mute

Wordless

Thousands upon thousands of words exist in this language

I know hundreds more in another

But I have none

The words I have hidden behind

Leave me exposed

For the fraud I am

Wordsmith, poet, writer, author

Do any of those words truly describe me

If I haven’t any words?

Terminal Love

Sally’s heart sank as she watched the departure board flip through its series of delays. The storm outside raged, and the airport’s intercom had announced moments ago that its flights were all grounded pending a change in weather.

This flight had cost her the last of her savings. Without any extra cash for a hotel room for the night, she’d have to sleep in one of the terminal’s hard plastic chairs. Not something she was looking forward to, especially with her pain level compounded by the stress of recent weeks.

“Good thing I managed to get a room before they all filled up.”

The voice startled Sally, and she jumped. She spun around to see a tall, slender man in khakis and a navy polo shirt standing next to her. He had a slight five o’clock shadow, and despite his attempts to brush it back with his hand, a lock of brown hair kept escaping to fall over his eye.

He smiled down at her. “You staying at the hotel here through the storm, or are you heading into town for the night?”

Sally sighed and shrugged. “I guess I’m staying right here at Gate C.”

He frowned. “What? No. You can’t stay in the terminal overnight. That’s crazy.”

“Look around,” Sally said with a sweeping gesture. “There are plenty of people settling in. I just have to find a comfy chair to huddle up in until my flight’s finally cleared to leave.”

The man shook his head and extended a hand. “C’mon. I got a pretty decent suite for the night; I think there’s even a couch in the room. Come stay with me for a few hours at least. No funny business, just a place to crash until the storm clears.”

Sally looked at the offered hand but didn’t take it. “No offense, sir, but I don’t know you.”

He laughed. “Fair. How about dinner then? We can chat for a while, and if you decide I’m too sketchy then there’s no obligation to come up to my room with me.”

After a few moments’ consideration, Sally nodded and took his hand. She could use a good meal, and the airport bars and restaurants were crowded enough that there would probably be plenty of witnesses if he tried anything.

They sat at one of the airport bars, eating, drinking, and chatting away for hours. Sally warmed to him with each passing moment, and more often than not she found herself reaching out to place her hand over his. By the time the waiter shooed them to the door at closing, Sally had learned that the man’s name was Kevin, he worked in a large corporation (but despite his business casual dress, he wasn’t traveling for work–though he wouldn’t say why he was), and–best of all–he was single.

Kevin put a steadying arm around Sally as they made their way to his hotel room. Despite her initial hesitation, she had enjoyed the meal–and the drinks–enough to agree to his proposition. He even offered to take the couch so she could sleep in more comfort.

Sally took first crack at the shower, and the plush hotel robe felt wondrous against her skin afterwards.

When Kevin took his turn, she giggled as she heard him moan when the water started. He must’ve had a rough day, too, she thought, until she noticed that the moaning hadn’t stopped. Rather, it deepened and grew more frantic.

Curious, Sally tried the knob on the bathroom door–and found it unlocked. She inched the door open until she could see into the steamy bathroom. On the other side of the frosted glass shower door, Sally could make out Kevin’s silhouette. She grinned and entered the bathroom, letting the robe slide to the floor.

In the shower, Kevin stroked his massive cock. Even with all the steam and frosted glass, Sally could tell that he was built for pleasure. She opened the shower door and stepped inside. Kevin’s eyes stayed hooded, and his hand continued to pump, but he whimpered when he heard her come in.

“You don’t have to–” he whispered. “I–“

Before he could finish his protest, she wrapped her fingers around his dick and slid her slender hand up and down the silky shaft. “I don’t have to,” she purred, “but I want to.”

She pressed herself against his hard, wet body and placed her lips to his. For a few minutes they allowed themselves to explore each other, hands roaming and stroking. She shuddered when his fingertips brushed her breasts, and by the time he slid his long fingers into her soaking wet pussy she was more than ready. Sally let out a moan of her own and leaned her hips closer.

Kevin teased for a few moments, pumping his fingers in her tight slit. His breath quickened, and before she knew it, Sally found herself spun around and pressed face-first against the wall of the shower.

She expected a swift entry, but Kevin waited until his fingers had her writhing and screaming in ecstasy before he finally slid his cock inside. He snaked his hands around to her front and grabbed her firm breasts, massaging them as he pumped his hips. Sally arched her back as his thick shaft rammed into her time and time again.

Steaming hot water rained down on the two of them, and Sally was grateful for the hotel’s excellent water heater. She knew that if they’d been at her place, the water would have been ice cold by the time Kevin finished.

He filled her with one final thrust, and they stood under the stream for a few minutes, pressing against each other and trying to catch their breath. Kevin’s hand drifted from her breast to shut off the water. He pulled out and opened the shower door, grabbing each of them a fresh towel.

Minutes later, Sally and Kevin lay snuggled together on the king-sized bed, arms wrapped around each other as they basked in the afterglow. Sally’s head rested on Kevin’s shoulder, and he had one arm around her while the other stroked her nipple.

“Your breasts are so beautiful,” he said. “They’re perfect.”

A bitter laugh escaped Sally’s lips, and despite her best efforts she was reminded of why she had been traveling in the first place. “You can thank the reconstructive team at Johns Hopkins for those,” she said. “They did a great job.”

“Reconstructive? So–“

She nodded. “Yep.”

To Kevin’s credit, he didn’t back away. Instead, he held her closer. “Did they get it all?”

Sally sighed and shook her head. “Nope. Metastasized too fast. This trip was my one last chance to knock a few things off my bucket list. Y’know, Paris, London, Barcelona–I never got the chance to travel when I was younger. Too damn busy with crap that doesn’t even matter now.”

“I hear ya.” He opened his robe. “I’ve had some reconstruction done myself. You can’t even tell which testicle is fake. Sometimes even I forget.”

Sally sat up straight and turned to look Kevin in the eyes. “And yours? Did they get it all for you?”

This time it was Kevin’s turn to shake his head. “This was a bucket list trip for me, too, I guess. Got to see some great sights in Africa and Egypt. I’ll have some great memories to take with me to the grave.”

Sally nodded and leaned back into Kevin’s chest. “Where are you headed tomorrow, when the storms have let up?”

“Home. I’ve got a few things to get sorted before it’s all over.”

“What gate are you leaving from?”

“Terminal M, I think.”

“Oh. Mine’s C.”

He rested his chin on her head. “I remember.”

“Do you think you’ll have time for one more trip? Maybe come up to Baltimore for a few days?”

Kevin shook his head. “Nope. By the time I made the flight arrangements, it would be time for my parents to get started on my funeral arrangements.”

“I understand.”

“Not that I wouldn’t love to take you up on that invitation,” he said.

Sally and Kevin’s phones buzzed in unison on the bedside tables. Sally pulled out of Kevin’s arms and checked her message.

“Guess the flights are back on. Gotta get back down to my gate.”

“Me, too.”

Sally stood up and started to put on her clothes. “So–I guess I’ll see you again on the other side?”

“Sounds like a date.”