Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Palliative Care

Me to husband: Ugh, I've got a cold.

Husband to me: I will fix you! *draws a hot bath, makes me homemade ginger, licorice and elderflower tea (which I hate but drink for him) gets me decongestants, fluffs up my pillows*  There you go!  Feel better?

Me to husband:  Kind of.  Not really.  But thank you.

Husband to me: ...okay then, I'm going to go play video games.

I've got to give him credit: he doesn't hover once he's done all he thinks he can do.  When I'm laid up in bed-- well, as long as I'm as comfy as possible, he's got a date with StarCraft.  See you later, honey.  Try not to breathe on my pillow.  I love him, he's awesome, and his penchant for fixing things--whatever they may be--doesn't quite rise to the level of kink, so.  That's me right now.  How's your evening?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Love Letters Post #2

Notes: And here we go, with...more description!  Well, no, there's other stuff, but we're not quite at the funeral yet.  That will come with the next post.  I hope this one answers some questions and brings up some new ones.  Thanks so much for your responses so far, darlins:)

Title: Love Letters

Part Two: The Unexpected Admirer



                It took two and a half hours to fly from Denver, Colorado to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Two and a half hours was more than enough time for Ben to doubt the wisdom of his decision to drop everything and fly to the other side of the country for the funeral of a man he’d never met before—hell, he had never even seen Brody before, apart from catching the tail end of a Blue Devils game once on TV and the occasional family photo included in a letter.  No contact beyond the written word, that was the rule they had put in place for themselves when they were still kids, and Ben had abided by that rule, even when he was making himself sick crushing over Brody in high school.  In retrospect, keeping it as impersonal as they had had been a brilliant decision.  It let them be absolutely honest with each other in a way you simply couldn’t be with someone you saw face to face.

Ben had grown up cherishing the written word, thanks in part to the fact that his family owned a considerable number of Benjamin Franklin’s personal correspondence. Letters were the highest value thing he owned.  When his third grade teacher orchestrated a pen pal project with another class in Concord, Ben had been excited beyond belief.  The other class had had two more students than theirs, but Ben had volunteered to write to anyone who was left.  In the end he got three names: Piper Digby, his original assigned pen pal, Jennifer Schroeder and Brody Kuzniar.  He wrote to each of them, painstakingly careful with his penmanship, and included a sticker at the bottom next to his name.  Piper got a dog, Jennifer got a flower and Brody got a football.

He sent each of them the same letter, telling them his name and why he had it (his mother had insisted), what his favorite things to do were (reading and playing Nintendo) and that he had a cat named Roanoke (after the original colony—his mother had obsessed about making everything, even a pet’s name, of some sort of significance). 

The only person who wrote him back was Brody.  Ben had been over the moon for that letter, avidly rereading it dozens of times before he wrote again.  He’d kept every letter Brody had ever written him, but this one was special because it was the first.


Dear Ben

Thank you for your nice letter.  I liked the football sticker. I play football with my dad every Sunday. My favrite team is the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels but I also like the Broncos which is your favrite football team becoz they are from Denver.

My mom sais it is speshal that you are named after Benjamin Franklin.  I am named after my Grandpa.  I have a big sister who is Pam and a baby brother who is Ryan but he’s just a baby he doesn’t do anything yet.  I like to play football and baseball and I have a dog named Rowsby Woof he is a golden retrever and he plays ball too.

Thank you for writing me.  Please write again.

Your friend, Brody


With that simple missive, Brody cemented himself as Ben’s best friend.  It didn’t matter if months went by without Brody replying, Ben always wrote him without fail once a week.  All of the social cues that felt so cumbersome in interpersonal interactions fell away when Ben wrote, and he was able to talk to Brody about anything and everything.  Brody’s letters had a quality of “my mother is making me write back to be polite” for a while, but after the first year, he started to write more frequently, about more than generalities.  He told Ben about how badly he wanted to play football forever, about how his dad got drunk sometimes and his mom got very quiet, about his stupid sister’s boyfriend (so gross!) and about when his dog got hit by a car and had to be put down.  The first year of their correspondence set the course for the rest of their lives, and after that it never faltered.

Ben had never imagined that it would cut short by Brody dying so young.

It had taken all of his willpower not to Google his friend and get the details.  Ben had resisted that sort of snooping for years, and he wasn’t going to break tradition just to look into his oldest friend’s death.  He’d find everything out that anyone needed to know at the funeral.

Yeah, the funeral…shit.  Ben took out the card and looked at it again.  So formal, so strange…he had been to funerals before, obviously, but they hadn’t really been public affairs.  His mother had been cremated by her request, with a polite, impersonal note that she’d written herself sent out to family and friends.  Actually, one of the replies to that note had come from Ben’s own father, the first time he’d heard from the man in close to a decade.  A few lines of awkward sympathy followed up by a half-hearted inquiry about how Ben was getting on, and a few more lines about his father’s life in Canada, his newest family (he was on his third wife and fifth child, apparently) and his work.  Ben hadn’t answered.

His grandfather’s death had been much more broadly publicized, but that was because the man was a renowned author.  The funeral itself had been very small, mostly Franklin descendants, none of them staying for more than a day.  He’d buried his grandfather in a simple pine box up on their cabin’s land.  He could see the headstone from the kitchen window.  It might be a little macabre, but Ben kind of liked that it was there, that he could still have some sort of connection with someone in his family.

And now he was headed to the funeral of a man he’d never physically met, but felt he knew better than anyone else in the world.  Ben had no idea what his role was supposed to be.  Who had sent him the card?  He could believe it was Brody’s mother, if she still remembered him; she took her southern hospitality very seriously, but he hadn’t heard from her since he was ten.  He could still picture her handwriting, elegant, almost like calligraphy.  (It’s so lovely that you and Brody are still writing each other, dear.  It seems he can only be bothered to put pen to paper for you.) 

Brody’s wife Cheryl knew Ben existed, as did his siblings, presumably, but he’d never directly communicated with any of them.  About them, plenty.  Brody had dragged Ben kicking and screaming into the world of immediate communication, and once they started emailing back and forth, Brody restricted his hand-written notes to the end of the yearly Christmas letter.  (Cheryl’s sick of all our family photographs revolving around sports, so this year she bought us matching sweaters and made us wear antlers.  She thinks it’s festive, but one crack about me being Prancer and I’ll end you, man.  I’m Blitzen, anyone can see that.)

Please Come.  Even the handwriting was an enigma, neither blatantly masculine or feminine.  Not that Ben expected curlicues and hearts, but he was used to being able to tell the gender of a writer solely by their style.  This was just…he didn’t know.  Had no idea.  What would he say, when he got there?  How would he explain himself when someone asked him who he was and what he was doing there?  “Hi, I’m Ben DeWitt, I’m Brody’s pen pal.”  He’d be lucky if they didn’t think he was some sort of internet stalker.

Suck it up, he scolded himself.  Nobody forced you to come.  It’ll be fine.  Everything will be fine, as long as you don’t concentrate on the fact that you’re there to say goodbye to your best friend, your sounding board, your soulmate.  Ben had thought that more than once about Brody; it couldn’t be everyone who started with a pen pal and ended up with a true confidant.  There had never been anything romantic between them; Brody was as straight as a nail, and while he’d taken Ben’s coming out with amazing ease he’d never been interested in more than they’d had.  Once Ben had recovered from his crush, he’d realized that he’d felt the same way.  Their relationship was special, and not something that needed the clouding and complication of sexual infatuation.

“Sir.  Sir.  Sir.  The careful tapping on Ben’s shoulder jerked him out of his reverie, and he looked up at the friendly blonde flight attendant who’d obviously been trying to get his attention for some time.  “Sir, please raise your seat back, we’re beginning our descent into Charlotte.”

“Right.  Sorry,” Ben muttered, fumbling for the button that would straighten his seat.

“It’s fine,” she murmured, her voice a soft southern drawl.  All around them people were in the process of waking up; it was nearly midnight out here on the east coast.  She blushed a little.  “Actually…I was wondering, ‘cause you look just like…are you the man who wrote Liberty or Death?”

How did she…oh, that damn book jacket.  Ben had tried to get away with not using a picture for his bio, but his publisher had been adamant.  It wasn’t the first time Ben had been recognized that way, and every time made him uncomfortable.  But now she was beginning to look uncomfortable too, and he didn’t want that.

“That’s me,” Ben answered easily enough, his voice not letting out his discomfort.  She grinned at him, her pearly whites two perfect, shining rows.

“I love your book!  We’re readin’ it for my book club right now.  I’ve got the hardback and the Kindle version, I pick it up every time I have a layover of more than a couple hours.  I just started the chapter on Thomas Payne today, and y’know, it’s just so inspiring!  Thank you for writing it!”

“Thank you for reading it,” Ben said with a smile.  It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy being appreciated, he just didn’t do well publicizing himself.  But then, that was why he had Linda.

“I’ve actually got my paper copy with me.  I was hoping, maybe after we touch down, you could just take a moment and sign it for me.  Please?”

“I’d be happy to.”

“Great!”  Her smile got impossibly wider.  “Thank you!  You won’t even have to move, I’ll bring it right over to you. The girls aren’t going to believe this, that I met you on a flight!  I’m so excited!”

“It’s my pleasure,” Ben assured her.  And it was.  At least someone was getting something good out of his presence.  Tomorrow…well, today at this point, he’d find out if it his being here really meant anything to anyone else.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

So, this is the movie I went to see tonight:

Thin plot vaguely based on the fairy tale?  Check.

Gratuitous violence that is practically hilarious it's so out there?  Check.

Regrets about seeing Jeremy Renner handling a weapon of any kind?  Zero.

And in sexy black leather.  Ooh yes, more leather, Mr. Renner.  Wait, what?  Ludicrous weapons and costumes given the time period?  Shut up, inner history spoilsport!  I don't need you raining on my pretty person parade!
Was this movie absolutely ridiculous?  Yes.  That's kind of a major selling point.  Did I enjoy seeing it?  For sure.  I actually liked it a lot more than some of the other recent fantasy/fairy tale/bizarro movies I've seen, like that terrible new rendition of Snow White...I can't even remember it's name...the one with a suicidal cavalry charge that, no matter how I tried, I couldn't get my inner history spoilsport to tune out.  I couldn't stop thinking about Twilight all the way through it, which was the one book I had access to in Africa that I couldn't bring myself to read twice.  Hardly anything written in English for hundreds of kilometers, and I thought watching dust devils was more entertaining.  But I digress.
Yeah, silly movie, fun costumes, much violence, pretty people (and some not-so-pretty people, way to work it, makeup and special effects folks!).  If you don't want to ponder deeper meanings for a while, this is a good choice for you.
Hansel and Gretel say, Grr!  Don't take life so seriously!
More Love Letters on Tuesday, darlins.  Have an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Love Letters Post #1

Notes: New story!  This one is, as I mentioned before, a contemporary m/m romance, but a few little things to be aware of...there's going to be mention of a lot of history in this.  American history.  For those of you who aren't American and have no idea what I'm talking about when certain things come up, just shoot me a comment or wait for me to post clarification on my own.  All you need to know for starters is that Benjamin Franklin was a founder of our nation, a respected scientist and philosopher, and a dirty old man.  He's on our money.  We love him that much:)

Title: Love Letters

Part One:  The Question In The Card


Two and a half minutes after his pre-recorded interview on NPR ended, the Psycho theme began playing on Ben DeWitt’s phone.  He stared at the device from across the room, only surprised by his agent’s rapid response and not the fact that she was calling.  Ben wondered for a moment if the call was really worth getting out of his chair to go and get, then remembered the exhaustive voicemail Linda had left for him last time and decided that, yes, it was probably for the best.  He could refill his cup of coffee and grab the mail while he was at it.

Ben rolled away from his computer and stood, then grabbed his phone as he passed from the sitting room into the narrow hallway that led to his kitchen.  Skinny wooden floorboards, warped from over a century of traffic, squeaked and groaned under his feet.  He answered the phone while he headed for the coffeepot.  “Good morning, Linda.”

“Good mooooorning,” she purred, stretching the poor vowel for so long it should have been considered abuse.  “How’s my favorite author today?”

“Please,” Ben scoffed, “Jared Diamond is your favorite author.  I’m a distant second at best.”

“You’re my favorite right now, Benjamin,” she assured him.  “That was a great interview with Terry.  Wonderful synopsis of your work, great questions, this was all very good publicity.”

Ben poured the last of his coffee into the cup.  The Harvard logo had almost worn away, it had been washed so many times.  This had been his mother’s favorite mug.  Ben kept it around more out of a sense of duty than anything else.  “I’m glad you liked it, Linda.”

“Yes, oh, it was loooovely, just lovely.  Almost all of it was perfect.”

Ah, here came the reason she’d called.  “What part didn’t you like?” he asked as he sipped slowly.

“The part at the end.  When she asked about your next project.  And you said…” Linda paused expectantly like she expected Ben to finish her sentence.  He just took another sip, and after a moment she continued.  “You said you were thinking of doing a book on Benedict Arnold.  Benedict Arnold!  Benjamin, what are you thinking?”

He frowned at the phone.  “I sent you that proposal a week ago, you didn’t say no.”

“That’s because I didn’t know what to say!  Benjamin!  The man who has just spent seven months on the bestseller lists for writing Liberty Or Death: The Inflammatory Rhetoric of the American Revolution does not go on from his amaaaazing debut to write a modern-day exposé on a historical figure whose very name is synonymous with treachery!  And you certainly don’t announce your intention during an interview with a prestigious nationally-broadcast radio program!  Not before I clear it!”

“I repeat: you didn’t say no.”

“I didn’t say yes either.  Benjamin,” Linda heaved a heavy sigh, sounding exactly like his mother when he’d brought home a report card with a B on it.  “You’re establishing your brand, okay, and consistency is very important.  You turned what should have been a dry, scholarly analysis of the literature that helped get the Revolution going into an absolute blockbuster.  You make things accessible to people, you redefine them in ways that are exciting and bold.  But no one wants to read about a redefined Benedict Arnold.  They just don’t, okay?  The man is one of America’s greatest scoundrels.”

“He was an interesting man,” Ben said, wanting to fight her on this but not really having the energy for it right now.  It was cold outside, cloudy and gray, and he hadn’t slept well for the past week, his mind running itself ragged with too many ideas.  Benedict Arnold was only the latest one.  “Did you know that he and his second wife wrote encoded letters to the—”

“Benjamin!  No!  This is not a blockbuster idea.  Drop it.”

Ben scowled at his wall as he slipped his shoes on and wrapped a blanket over his shoulders.  It wasn’t far to the mailbox.  He could get out there and get back in and still have plenty of time to listen to Linda bitch him out.  “Do you have any other suggestions?” he asked as he opened his front door and stepped outside.

It had been a fairly mild winter up to now, but apparently January marked the end of that.  There was no more snow on the ground, but the air was bitterly cold.  He walked down his front steps, past the carved stone lions that lounged at the base of his walkway, and down to his mailbox.  The contents looked like mostly junk but he grabbed it all anyway, only listening with half an ear as Linda babbled on about hip, trendy, within your realm of expertise.  By the time he got back inside she had thrown all sorts of ideas his way, each one more ridiculous than the last.

“I am not doing a recipe book,” he interrupted her, toeing his shoes off and heading back into the kitchen.  “I might as well do a gimmick like one of those ‘year’ books if I’m going to sell out that badly.  Like, A Year In The Life of a Founding Father: Syphilis and Head Lice For All.”  The sudden, speculative silence on the other end of the line didn’t bode well.  “I was kidding, Linda.  I’m not doing that.”

“Why not?  You have a cabin up in the mountains, don’t you?”

“Yes, but it’s still got things like electricity and running water.”

“You could turn those off for the duration of the year!”

“No, Linda.”

“But you’re a direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin!  People would actually read a book like that if you wrote it.”

“Can we think of a project for me that doesn’t cash in on my name, if possible?” Ben requested tiredly.  There was another long silence.  He groaned.  “What?”

“Well…it’s just that, W. W. Norton wants to put out a 50th anniversary edition of your grandfather’s book next year, and the publisher would like for you to write a new foreword for it.”

Oh right, his grandfather’s book.  The one that started it all, the labor of love that had led Ben’s particular branch of the extended Franklin descendants to fame and fortune, relatively speaking.  It was a good book, that was for sure, a look at the more personal side of Benjamin Franklin’s life and work that Grandpa had spent years putting together, in part using a notebook that documented Franklin’s scientific experiments that he’d inherited from his own father, right on down the line from the big guy himself.  Yes, An Educated American was a huge success, but Ben hadn’t had anything to do with that.  He didn’t feel right stepping into his grandfather’s shoes and commenting on it either, but…

“I’ll think about it,” he said, flipping through the mail.  Bill, advertisement, advertisement, advertisement…wasn’t print supposed to be dying?  It didn’t seem that way given the amount of junk mail he got.  Advertisement, bill…

“Eeeeexcellent,” Linda beamed—Ben could hear it in her voice—beamed her happiness through the phone.  “That’s great news, Benjamin.  Now, let’s talk about what the publicists have cooked up next for you.”

“Oh, lets,” he said unenthusiastically, pulling an actual letter out of his pile of junk.  No, not a letter—a card.  Ben looked curiously at the outside of it.  It was sent from Concord, North Carolina, but the only person there who wrote him was Brody, and he’d stopped sending actual letters years ago.  Ben wrestled the flap open one-handed and pulled out the card.  Thick stock, plain but expensive, with only a simple gilt cross on the outside.  Ben opened it up with trembling hands.

The family of Officer Brody Alan Kuzniar regrets to inform you…

“Linda,” Ben said slowly, interrupting her again, but there was no way he could keep talking to her right now.  “I have to go, something’s come up.”

“What sort of some—”

Ben cut the call and dropped his phone onto the counter as he kept reading, every line taking away more and more of his breath until suddenly he couldn’t read at all.


The family of Officer Brody Alan Kuzniar regrets to inform you of his untimely death in the line of duty January 1st, 2013.  He was thirty-two years old and had worked for the Concord Police Department for the past six years, after serving four years in the military.  Brody was a loving husband, father, brother and son, and he will be greatly missed by his friends and family.

Funeral services will be held on January 8th, 2013 at Central United Methodist Church, at 2pm.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Concord Police Department Survivor’s Fund.


At the very bottom of the card, written in blue ink, were the words Please Come.  There was no signature, and Ben had never met any of Brody’s family.  Hell, he’d never even met Brody, not in person.  Mechanically, he checked the card again for a return address, but apart from Concord North Carolina and the area code, there was nothing.  Who had sent him this?  Why?

It didn’t matter who had sent it.  Brody was dead.  Ben abruptly sat down on the floor, surrounded by the puddle of his bright red blanket but unable to look away from the black and blue of the card.  Brody was dead...dead. 

"Oh my god,” Ben muttered, truly unable to comprehend it.  Brody was dead.  Dead.  In the line of duty, whatever that translated to.  A shooting, a stabbing, being bludgeoned to death…  “Oh my god…”

He just barely made it to the closest toilet before he threw up.

Ben heaved over the porcelain, the scent of sour coffee and scrambled eggs invading his nose and making the nausea worse.  By the time there was nothing more to come up he was sobbing, a new and different kind of pain, the kind he hadn’t felt since his grandfather had died.  Ben wasn’t close to very many people.  Brody Kuzniar, for more than two decades, had been one of those people, and Ben had counted on him being one of those people for many more years.  Brody wasn’t supposed to die.  He was laughter and heat and forcefulness and decision, he was bright and brilliant.  He was supposed to live forever.

Ben spit one last time into the toilet, then flushed and stood up.  He avoided looking at himself in the mirror, knowing that if he did he’d only see the shock of loss.  He rinsed his mouth, then moved back to the kitchen, shuffling his feet like an old man.  He picked up the dropped card and forced himself to read it again.  Funeral services on the 8th…that was tomorrow.  And someone, some mysterious member of Brody’s family, wanted him there.

It was noon now.  If Ben was lucky, he could catch a flight today and be in Concord by tonight.  Plenty of time to do…whatever it was he was going to do to prepare for something like this.  He had no idea how to prepare for something like this.

The Psycho theme began ringing on his phone again.  Ben switched it to silent, then headed for his computer.





Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Let's talk about an upcoming story, shall we? I just got the cover for by serial novel Cambion: Dark Around The Edges, and it's gorgeous, isn't it?  It's done by Nathie, the same artist at Storm Moon Press who did the cover for Changing Worlds.  The title for each individual episode will appear on the right, in the wing space.
I'm still working on the blurb, but give this a try:
 In Cambion, Devon is the child of an incubus and a human woman, and his life has been a continual struggle to control the seductive powers he possesses. He thought he was finally safe, but now a demon has Devon in his sights, as Devon is the key that demon needs to leave Hell behind forever.

I mentioned before that this is a spin-off of my LiAW story In All Your Ways, which you can get here for free. Once I've got a finalized release date, and pricing info for people who are interested, I'll post an excerpt of the story and see if I can't whet some appetites:) 

In other news, my readerwife read and heartily approved the first chapter of the next serial story for the blog.  I'm going to primp and polish it and make it as perfect as possible before posting it here next Tuesday.  Yay approbation!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Paradise Post #21


Notes: Whoa.  The end.  For reals.  For now.  I always leave things like this open, but I think we can safely say goodbye to our boys for now.  The next serial is starting up soon, and it’s going to be a decidedly new venture for me.  I’ll tell you more about it later.  Enjoy, darlins!


Title: Paradise


Part Twenty-One: Next Steps






                “Just two bags, bucko.”

                “But I can’t fit it all into two bags, Daddy!”

                “Cody, you have some of these same toys back at home,” his daddy pointed out.  “I’ve seen at least five of these Space Rangers before.”

                “But I didn’t have their flyers before,” Cody pointed out.  “Daddy, they hover!  I have to get them home too.”

                “You don’t need ten flying cars, Cody.”

                “But Daddy…”

                “We’re coming back in less than a year,” he said, and he was using his ‘this is my last word’ voice, so Cody knew not to push it.  “Pare it down, bucko.”  He picked up one of Cody’s bags and hoisted it a little.  “This one done?”

                Cody looked at it, wondering if he could possibly fit anything else into it.  Probably not; the seams were bulging.  “Yeah, it’s done,” he said reluctantly.

                “I’m gonna take it out to the ship then.  We’re taking off in fifteen minutes, so hustle, okay?”  He walked out the door and Cody looked back down at the half-filled bag in front of him.  There was no way he could get everything he needed into it.  The helmet that Wyl got special for him was too big, and the geofinder from Robbie wasn’t going to work on Pandora, they didn’t have the right satellites for it.  The book of fairytales from Miles was too nice to just shove into a bag; it was old, it was actually real paper.  He’d already packed the stuffed tiger from Claudia, but without the stuffed lion that came with it, it might get lonely…but he just didn’t have room.  He huffed and leaned against his bed, rubbing at his hot, stinging eyes.

                “What’s wrong?”

                “Nothing,” Cody said fast, turning around so he wasn’t facing the door.  But Garrett came over anyway, touched his shoulder as he sat down next to him.

                “What is it?” he asked softly.

                “I don’t have space for everything,” Cody said, keeping his eyes down.  He didn’t want Garrett to say anything, he didn’t want him to see him crying.  “There isn’t room for everything I need to take with me.”


                “And I know we’re coming back,” Cody went on, because he did, everyone kept saying it, “but not for a long time.”  Because a year was a very long time, no matter what Daddy said. “And…”  His throat was feeling hot now too, scratchy and full, and he stopped talking.

                “And you’ll miss it,” Garrett said.  Cody nodded, eyes still on the floor.  “I understand.  It’s hard to leave things behind, even when you know it’s not forever.”

                “It feels like forever,” Cody whispered.  “And I already miss them.”

                “Yeah, that’s what I thought we were talking about.”  Garrett tugged him a little closer and Cody went, burying his face in Garrett’s side.  “You’ve never really left anyone behind before, have you?”

                “Just Grandma, and I don’t really missed her,” Cody confessed.  “And before, when you left, it was you going away, not me.  I did miss you, though.”

                “And I came back in the end,” Garrett said, rubbing a hand over Cody’s shoulders.  “And so will you.  No one’s going to forget you, and you won’t forget them either.  You’ve got the holos of everyone?”

                “Yeah.”  Cody and Garrett had spent most of yesterday running around and getting videos of everything and everyone he liked here.  He even got a short clip of Thérèse and Garrett arguing, which was just like normal.

                “Then you’ll have plenty of things to help you remember everyone, and you can show them to your friends back home.  You do want to see Lacey and Tamara again, right?”

                “Yeah, I guess.”  Cody did, kind of, but… “This would be a lot better if we were all in the same place all the time.”

                “It would be nice, but…there’s something to be said for the healing power of absentia,” Garrett said.

                “What’s that?”
                He could tell Garrett was smiling from the way his voice changed.  “I’ll tell you later.  First, we have to finish packing.”  He took his hand away and Cody straightened up, then looked at his bag. 

                “I guess I should put some clothes in too, huh?”

                Garrett blinked once, then laughed.  “You haven’t packed any of your clothes yet?”

                “I needed the room for other stuff!”

                “Yeah, I know.  C’mon.  Clothes.”  They went through Cody’s wardrobe and packed his favorites up, and some dumb stuff that Cody was sure he wouldn’t need but Garrett grabbed anyway, like socks.  He looked over all the other things he was going to have the leave here, and sighed morosely.

                “I guess that’s it.”

                “Sounds good.”

                “Cody!  We’ve gotta go!  Is Garrett—” Daddy came into the room and looked at the two of them, then smiled.  “ I shoulda figured.  Are you guys done?”

                “We’re done,” Garrett told him.  The met in the middle of the room and kissed, and Cody rolled his eyes.  They had been doing that more and more since they got back from their honeymoon.  It was kind of nice, but kind of gross too.

                “We need to go say goodbye now,” Cody announced.  “Don’t we have to go?”

                “Mmmyeah,” his dad said, pulling slowly back from the kiss.  He looked a little dazed.  Cody nudged his hip to get him moving.  “Yeah, we have to go.”

                “Come on, then.”  He hoisted his bag over his shoulder and led the way out of the room.

                Everyone was waiting for them on the landing pad.  Well, everyone except for Jack; Cody had said goodbye to him yesterday, with the lawyers and his dads present.  It was kind of weird, but he guessed he’d have to get used to it. 

                Cody passed his bag to Daddy and made sure to give everyone a hug.  His throat was tight again and he couldn’t say anything, but at least he able to keep from crying.  He kissed Baby Renee on the cheek, and he managed to nod when Wyl whispered that next time maybe he could try driving the tank instead of just riding in it (Robbie smacked the back of his head and made Wyl grin).  By the time his dads got through with their goodbyes and they were all on the ship, Cody felt exhausted.  He let his daddy strap him into his seat and shut his eyes as they were cleared to take off.

                Garrett strapped in next to Cody instead of in the copilot’s seat.  He didn’t say anything, but he took Cody’s hand and held it all the way through the take-off and until they were cleared to move around again.  Daddy set the autopilot, and then they all stood together at the viewport and watched Paradise get smaller and smaller.

                “Are you okay, bucko?” his daddy asked.

                Cody took a shuddery breath.  “Yeah.”  He grabbed both of his dads hands and pulled them in closer, so they kind of surrounded him.  It was sad to say goodbye, but at least he still had the most important people with him.  And they were staying.  “I’m okay.”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

An Appreciative Shout-Out To...

We all have these instants, brief or not-so-brief moments of un-joy,little existential crises of our own making, times when we can't keep ourselves from unhealthy comparisons.

It's dark outside, and bitterly cold and snowy without there being any real snow, just a miserly little dusting.  I'm going over all the projects I've got lined up for the year, getting ready for taxes and wondering if my hobbies are ever going to start paying for themselves.  I'm weighing work and family and education and money and all that shit that makes you unable to fall asleep at night, and it's rather daunting. 

I won't go into the specifics of difficulty, because that's tedious, but I will say this: posting to my blog and hearing from you guys is a continual fucking bright spot in my life.  I'm about to wrap up Paradise and dive into something very new for me, and I'm not afraid of doing that, because I get to experiment here and you generally encourage me.  The rhythm of posting and storytelling here is a happy constant in the midst of heavy fluctuation, and I.  Freaking.  Love you.  'm just sayin'.

That being put out there...yeah!  Final Paradise and probably a cover reveal for Cambion this week, and maybe even some angsting about self-publishing (The Captain, oh, jeez...I've even got a sequel all planned out, but I don't want to actually sell this story if it's not polished enough to merit taking people's money, and getting it there, even with the awesome help I got here, is being problematic).

I think that's all for now.  It's time for some Walking Dead.  Because nothing perks you up like zombies! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Paradise Post #20-B


                Notes: Yay, the honeymoon!  So!  Regular warnings apply here: this is a very explicit chapter, and beyond that, there’s fisting, so if that’s not your thing or is a trigger or you just don’t like the thought of it, skip the second half of this post.  I’m thinking we’ve just got one more post after this, lovers.  Paradise will soon be coming to an end.  But never fear!  I’m plotting out a new serial story for the new year.  More news on that next time.


Title: Paradise


Part Twenty-A: Oh, The Things We’ll Do





                Jonah wasn’t an exhibitionist, but he appreciated the fact that Garrett could be.  Garrett was gorgeous, flirtatious and unabashedly hedonistic, and all of that…all of that energy and passion was Jonah’s now.  Their marriage was a commitment to each other, but it also meant that they were going to have to go deep to figure out how to make each other happy, over and over and over, for the rest of their lives.  When it came to sex Jonah had never done much more than, well, fucking.  Making love, depending on who he was with and what they were doing, but hands and mouths and cocks and…just the body.  Just the other person’s body and his own.

                Jonah knew that Garrett was a lot more used to using technology in the bedroom, or the living room, or the zero-grav room or wherever he happened to be having sex, but this house went beyond a novel location or a new toy.  This house could plunge you right into the realm of different temperatures and electricity and altered states and extravisual stimulation and elastimaterial surfaces and toys…honestly, it was way too much, but Garrett was good at introducing it little by little.

                Like in the pool.  Jonah didn’t even know that there was something other than regular water that you could swim in, but apparently there was, and it existed in this house.

                “Check this out,” Garrett grinned, positioning Jonah in one corner of the pool.  He reached out to the edges and pressed a button on either side, and all of a sudden Jonah was almost completely immobile.  The water felt thick, like he was trapped in clay.

                “Okay?” Garrett asked him.  “Not too claustrophobic?”

                “No,” Jonah said, giving up straining after a moment.  His skin tingled a little, but apart from that the water was still the same temperature and clung to him just as intimately, it just…wasn’t the same viscosity.  “How does this stuff even exist?”

                “Nanotechnology,” Garrett grinned.  “Gotta love it.  And the best thing is, it holds you down because it’s attuned to this part of the pool, but it doesn’t have any effect on me.  Stay here for a second.”  He pulled himself out of the pool and walked out of Jonah’s line of sight.

                “Yeah, ha-ha, like I can go anywhere,” Jonah groused.

                “Aw, baby, don’t be like that.”  Garrett slipped back into the pool, wearing a thin pair of gloves and something over his nose that Jonah actually recognized.


                “The nasal version, because I want to be able to use my mouth,” Garrett told him. 

                “And the gloves?”

                “They have a very particular pulse effect in this kind of water.  Let me show you,” Garrett said with a smile.  He dipped his left hand under the water and made a slight pushing motion toward Jonah.  And the water rippled…and it felt like Jonah’s whole midsection was being gently bombarded by a thousand tiny waves, just barely sharp-edged before they dissipated against his flesh.


                “I know.”  Garrett changed the angle of his hand and slowly snapped his fingers, and a tighter, squeezing sensation crawled up Jonah’s chest and over his nipples before ending at the waterline.


                “And that would be so much fun, but I want to suck you.  If you don’t like anything, just say stop loudly and I’ll hear you.”  Before Jonah could say anything else Garrett sank into the water and leaned forward, moving effortlessly through the liquid until his lips wrapped around Jonah’s cock.

                Jonah hadn’t been hard when the water had locked him into place, and he’d wondered how he’d be able to when his entire body was in stasis, but inside of Garrett’s mouth he could swell and expand.  He groaned at the feel of Garrett’s tongue caressing him, rubbing ruthlessly along his shaft, and he tried to spread his legs wider, then cursed.

                Garrett moved his hands, and frissons of shivering water cascaded up Jonah’s legs and hips, and god he just wanted to twitch away from it, but he couldn’t move.  It wasn’t his favorite, but he wasn’t about to tell Garrett to stop it, either.

                But Garrett knew what Jonah liked better than he could articulate for himself, and the next waves that washed up his body were like slow, rolling embraces, feathering off at the top into a light, pattering touch, and Jonah had no idea how his husband was doing that, but he loved it.

                Garrett kept Jonah’s cock in his mouth, until the head touched the back of his throat and even then, he just hummed and swallowed and made Jonah see stars.  When he did finally pull back to the head with his lips, swirling his tongue in greedy circles, the stillness he was trapped in reminded Jonah that he wasn’t going to be able to move his hips, no matter how hard he tried to.  No thrusting, no reaching down and grabbing, just Garrett having him however he wanted him.  It was a relaxing realization, actually, and Jonah let his head tilt back against the pillow of water behind him and let his husband do what he wanted.

                What Garrett wanted, apparently, was to up the ante.  Jonah felt Garrett’s palm settle between this thighs and then gentle pulses of water started to push upward, pressing rhythmically against his perineum.  It was like a massage, and coupled with the rolling sensation that Garrett was somehow keeping up and the warmth and eager pressure against his cock, it was just about as much sensory overload as Jonah could handle.  He was so hard and ready, but he couldn’t give himself any relief, Jonah knew he was going to be coming on Garrett’s schedule and no one else’s. 

Fortunately, Garrett didn’t like to keep him hanging when he couldn’t hear Jonah begging for release.  He moved his hand again, and this time a gloved finger actually pressed against Jonah’s hole, slowly circling, swirling the water around it, and his other hand wrapped around the base of Jonah’s cock and jacked him fast, the first fast thing he’d experienced since being locked in place.  Jonah groaned a hard exhalation and came slowly, achingly, his balls held in place by the static water, no tight rush to speed things along.

By the time the stars had faded from his vision, Garrett was standing again, the rebreather was gone and he was kissing Jonah hard.  “You’re so good to me,” he said, the words tripping over themselves to get out as they kissed again and again.  “You’ll do anything I want, won’t you?  You’ll do anything I ask of you.”

“Seems that way,” Jonah managed, kissing him back a few times.  “Though I’d kinda like to stretch my shoulders out, darling.”

“Right.”  Garrett hit the buttons again and the hold suddenly released, and Jonah slumped into Garrett’s arms.  “Are you okay?”

“I feel great,” Jonah told him, “but you feel like you could use somethin’, sweetheart.”

“Mm, yeah.”  Garrett kissed him again, then peeled the gloves off and set them next to the rebreather on the side of the pool.  “I could really go for fucking you right now.” 

Jonah stretched lazily, then wrapped his legs around Garrett’s waist.  “Then maybe you should.”

“Oh, I think I absolutely should,” Garrett agreed.  “Did you know I can change the viscosity of this water to be more like a lubricant?”

And then he did.  It was a little hard to hold, but completely worth it.

Sometimes it was like that, strange and new and novel, and other times all Jonah wanted was to be wrapped up under the blankets with his husband, holding onto each other and only each other, no eyes on them, no house watching them, nothing but them.  They got plenty of both of those things over the first two days, a marathon of exhausting, satiating, mind-blowing sex.   

                The last night they were in the house, they went for a compromise, something novel but needing nothing more than the two of them.  For the last night of their honeymoon, Garrett decided he wanted to be fisted.  Tonight there was nothing beyond Jonah’s hand, Garrett’s ass and a hell of a lot of slick, no vibrating gloves or pressure point work.  Nothing but Garrett on his back, and Jonah completely transfixed as his fourth finger slid into his lover’s body.

                “Yesss…” Garrett hissed, arching his back a little.  He wasn’t pulling away but he wasn’t pushing down either, not like he had with the first three, and Jonah waited, patient but trembling with a need he hadn’t even realized existed before now.  He wanted to see it, see all of his hand inside of his husband.  He still couldn’t quite believe that it would all fit in there.

                “You’re sure,” he began, his voice dwindling as he slowly punched his fingers deeper.  Garrett groaned.

                “I’m—yes,” he gasped.  “Yes.  More.”

                “Not yet.”  He was still so tight.  Jonah moved his hand gingerly, pressed a kiss to Garrett’s abdomen and was almost surprised that he couldn’t see the outline of his own fingers beneath him, they felt so deep now.  And they had more to go.  He added more lube, then gently brought his thumb into position and pushed in again.  Garrett shuddered and squeezed his eyes shut.  “God…”

                “Tell me,” Garrett urged him.  “Tell me what it looks like.”

                Garrett was, unsurprisingly, very good at dirty talk.  Jonah didn’t have near the sort of practice his lover had, viewing talking as more of a distraction than anything else, but he could see how hot it got Garrett, and that made him appreciate it more and more.  “Looks so stretched, darlin’…your skin’s so tight around me.”  He pulled his thumb back and rubbed the edge of the tight ring, and Garrett moaned appreciatively.  “Can’t believe you can do this, sweetheart, you’re amazing.”

                “I can take more,” Garrett said, “I can take all of it.  I want all of you.”

                “You sure, darlin’?” Jonah asked, always playing it safe despite his desire to be all the way in. 

                Yes,” Garrett insisted, and that was all Jonah needed.  He tucked his thumb in close, pushed slowly but didn’t stop, not until his knuckles slipped past the ring and his hand, his whole hand, was inside of his husband.  Garrett gasped and clenched tight around his wrist and it was all Jonah could do not to come, untouched, right there.  The way this looked was ridiculously hot to him, and he couldn’t tear his eyes away.  He couldn’t even consider it.

                “You’re so good, darlin’,” Jonah said, leaning in and kissing his stomach, watching avidly as Garrett’s cock responded to the pressure of his whole hand inside of him, the faint twists and turns rubbing constantly over his prostate.  Garrett had gotten a little soft for a minute, but he was coming back now.

                “Just good for you,” Garrett groaned, smiling a little.  “I’m a bitch to everyone else, just ask them.”

                “No you’re not, you’re always perfect.”

                “Love must mean—oh, mm—a short memory.”

                Jonah acknowledged that with an absent nod, but he didn’t stop moving, he couldn’t stop watching Garrett writhe on his hand.  “How d’you feel?”

                “So full,” Garrett said breathlessly, “and I know it’s already enough but I want more, I wish you could put your dick in me and fuck me with that at the same time.  I want to feel you inside of me all the time, I never want you to go.  I want you to fuck me until I’m loose and empty and helpless and then I want you to do it again, I want you to use me for everything you need.”

                “Yeah?”  Very slowly, Jonah curled his fingers together into a fist, and then he rubbed the knobs of his knuckles right across Garrett’s prostate.  His husband’s eyes widened and his mouth opened, and the sound that came out was so low and pitiful someone might have thought he was dying if he hadn’t been coming all over his chest.  That view, Garrett wide-eyed and helpless, was enough to send Jonah over the edge and he with just one stroke of his hand over his cock he came as well, across the foot of the bed.

                Getting out was another slow and careful affair, but after a few minutes they were both clean, tired and Garrett was using Jonah as a body pillow.  “So,” Garrett said sleepily, “are you ready to go back to reality?”

                “Don’t suppose we have much of a choice,” Jonah replied.  “And I am ready to see Cody.  Think he missed us?”

                “What, in between the bouts of outrageous spoiling that everyone is lavishing on him?  Maybe,” Garrett said.  “But I’m betting he didn’t miss us while he was riding around in a tank.”

                “You think he’s gonna do okay, adapting back to a normal life?”

                “He’ll do fine.  Cody is pretty happy wherever he ends up.”  Garrett tilted his head up and caught Jonah’s gaze.  “Will you?”

                “I’ll be fine,” Jonah grinned.  “I like our new normal.”