Friday, February 25, 2011

Tales of the Geek Stable - Character Bio - York

Here's another one of my geeks.

(All right, I admit it - I haven't been able to get the next chapter written. Next week, I promise)

York Hayes
Specialty: Unix
Stats: Mid 20s, 5'10", Green eyes, Red hair
Body: Lean, runners' build, pale or reddened tan
Info: Outdoors type, Still mourning his lover's death


Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'll Alert the Media

Once upon a time, boys and girls, "I'll alert the media" was a sarcastic barb. A jab at someone saying something that no one really needed to hear. A notification that you have passed on TMI.

'I'm going to take a piss.'
'Great. I'll alert the media.'

But we can't use that anymore. Why? Twitter. Seriously. People tweet the most asinine non-sequiturs, as if it's the most interesting bit of information. To the whole world. Not just to their little group of friends. Do I care that some stranger in another state just bought a pack of gum - LOL!!!!? Or OMG!! saw a pile of dog poo!!!!?  

My only response to that is WTF? I'm not a fan of chatter for the sake of chatter. Just because you can share this information with the world doesn't mean you should. I would rather just sit back and STFU if I'm not adding anything.

That said, I now Tweet. Yes, I've joined the masses. I can recognize the media for its usefulness - quickly sharing information, catching up with friends, starting a movement. Talking with like-minded individuals. Getting your message out there. And even have some fun. Or venting. But I don't need to know anything about your bathroom habits. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to hit the head.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rebel - Just 'Cause

Did you know that James Dean would have turned 80 earlier this month?


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

~xxx~ Friday


Today's the day.
I don't feel any different. Woke up the same as every other day this week. Traffic sucked. Again. Work was here. So was I. 

But, today's the day I can honestly say "I'm a published writer." 

Feels a bit unreal. It's something I've thought about for a while, but never really believed could happen. But here it is.

Join all the wonderful authors involved in the Riding Double Anthology for a virtual release party Sunday, 20 February at the Dreamspinner Blog. There will be excerpts and anecdotes from the great authors of the individual stories. Oh, I'll be there too.

Next Friday, I'll be back to my nerds. This week, enjoy some cowboys. Maybe they should be wrangling my Geek Stable......


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is the Romance Dead?

The inside of my kindle.....
Some of you know I've been married for over 20 years. All to the same man, even. So, after 20+ years, what passes for Valentine's around Casa de Xanakas? 

Candy? Nope. Flowers? Uh-uh. Jewelry? Not for me. Nope. I got nothing. And I liked it. 

See, I don't really need candy.  I wear the same jewelry every day - I rarely come across something I like enough to put what I wear now into a drawer. And he knows I think that the money spent on sending flowers could got to much better things.

What things, you ask? Books. Loads and loads of books. Spouse got me the perfect gift a couple of years ago - a kindle. And now, he feeds it. That's just what I wanted, and all I needed, except for him.

Oh, I did get a bath this weekend. It had all the right ingredients - hot water, bubbles, and a six-foot, blue-eyed bear to cuddle with. Yep, he gets me.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is love

No one deserves to be hurt for who they love. Gender, race, religion, economic status, educational level, whatever, shouldn't matter. The only label that counts is human.

Go be human and love.

Don't let society hold you back from something you deserve. Hug your love, tell them you love them, and make sure they know it.  If you have your sights set on someone, make your move.

Because love is love. It really is the one thing there is just too little of.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tales of the Geek Stable - Part V

York set his bag down by the door, next to the rest of his camping gear, and his mountain bike. He had already changed the batteries in his GPS, checked all the seals on his OtterBoxes and verified he had all the adapters for his solar backpack. He dropped his storm-proof lighter into one of the pockets and looked around, making sure he didn’t forget anything. Satisfied with his packing, he cracked a beer and sank into the couch to wait for Milton to pick him up.

He stared at the TV, even though it was off. If he focused on that, maybe his eyes wouldn’t drift up to the pictures on the shelf above it. He couldn’t stop them, though. Haydn. Sweet, beautiful Haydn, with his black hair and grey eyes. He took a long pull off the beer and sighed, closing his eyes against the burn that threatened to spill into tears. He dropped his head onto the back of the couch and rubbed his chest. Thinking about Haydn always seemed to make his scar hurt, like it was new.

Two years ago. That’s when his life went to shit. When his world came crashing down around him in gunfire. This was the anniversary of Haydn’s death. That’s why his team wanted to take him camping. Get him out of the house. Away from the memories. Away from the ghost of his dead lover. Except he was never really gone.

“I miss you so much,” he said to the portrait over the TV, the grey eyes staring back at him. “I’m so sorry.” He let the tears fall and rubbed his scar again. He closed his eyes and let the memories crash over him.


“I’ll pump, you pay?” York asked Haydn, pulling into the convenience store parking lot.

“You got it. Want me to get you a drink while I’m in there?”

“Yeah, a-“

“Blue one. I know.” He smiled and leaned across the console to give him a quick kiss. “Be right back.”

York grabbed him around the back of the neck and kissed him again. “Better be. I’ll leave without you.”

They both smiled and got out of the car. York watched through the windows as Haydn said something to the cashier and nodded back at him.  The pump reset, and he began filling the tank. He set the latch on the handle and went around the car to wash the windshield. When he looked back into the store, he saw Haydn in line, watching him. He smiled and waved the plastic bottle at York.  The man in front of him finished, and he stepped up to pay. He smiled that million dollar smile at the sales woman, and York could tell from there that she was smiling and flirting with his lover. 

Not a chance, lady. He’s mine. York grinned as he finished at the pump, thinking about the night he had planned. It was their second anniversary. He was going to take Haydn to dinner, and then to a hotel, with room service and a spa, and all the luxury he could afford on his meager salary. He dunked the squeegee into the water again and went to work on the back window. When he looked back for Haydn, his heart stopped.

Two men, dressed in black hoodies, stepped up behind Haydn and pulled out guns. One of the crooks aimed his gun at the cashier, and the other leveled his at Haydn’s head. York felt the wooden handle drop from his hand, then the splash of water as the sponge hit the blacktop. 

“No!” he shouted, running for the doors. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. He felt like he was running through quicksand when he saw the man’s arm bounce up, and the spray of red before Haydn fell. The gunman looked out the window and pointed the gun at him. He looked at the face beyond the gun, and then he felt the burn. Looking down, he noticed the front of his shirt was wet. He stopped and put his hand to his chest and stared at his hand, dumbfounded by the flow of red pumping over his fingers. He heard sirens somewhere miles away, growing fainter, as the world turned grey, then black.

He woke up in the hospital, Ogilvie and Corny next to the narrow bed. There were uniformed officers all around, and Xander was talking to a man in a cheap sports coat. He lifted his hand, and Ogilvie grabbed it.

 “Hey, buddy, how’re you feeling?” His dark eyes looked sad. “You had us scared shitless.”

York tried to look around, but he couldn’t see much from his vantage point. Xander and Sports Coat, who had a badge clipped to his belt, turned and approached his bed. When they parted, he saw Haydn’s shoes, sticking out from the end of sheet. He was laying on a gurney, and his face was covered.

“Haydn? Baby?” He called out, but there was no answer. He tried to get up, but Corny and Ogilvie held him down. “What are you doing? I’ve got to get to him. Help him! Why isn’t anybody helping him?”

“Nurse!” Xander shouted over his shoulder. He reached out to touch one of York’s legs, leaning over to block his view of Haydn.

“Xander! Move! Haydn!” He yelled again.

“Jesus, man. Calm the fuck down!” Corny shouted at him, shoving back against him as he struggled. “You’ve been shot. Fucking act like it!”

York looked up at Corny, and he felt a burning sensation in his other arm. He turned to see a nurse pulling a syringe out of the IV tube. “What?” He tried to look around, to get some fucking answers, but the world went dark again.

The funeral had been the worst. Fuck. Who was he kidding? Everything was the worst. Every next thing was worse than the last. The hospital. The rehab. The funeral, where Haydn’s parents refused acknowledge him, and the family that did looked at him with such disgust and hate, he could hardly bear it. Then the trial. The press. The sentencing. Every fucking day for two fucking years so far.

He stood, trying to get the sobs under control, and walked over to pick up Haydn’s picture. He tipped his bottle to it and finished it.

“Baby. I can’t believe it’s been two years. Fuck. Do you realize I’ve now been without you for as long as I was with you?” He sat down on the floor, cradling the picture. “I should have followed you. I should have been with you. I should still be with you.”

His cell phone rang, dragging him out of his thoughts.

“Hey, I’m pulling into the lot now. Need help with your gear?” Milton asked when he answered.

“Yeah, come on up.” He took a deep breath and wiped his face. He took one more look at Haydn and set the picture back in its place before opening the door to let Milton in. If the farm boy could tell he’d been crying, he didn’t show it. He just hefted the bike over his beefy shoulder and picked up York’s sleeping bag before nodding and heading back down the stairs to his truck.

York shouldered the backpack and took one last look at the picture. “Miss you, babe.”

He put his sunglasses on and left, locking the door behind him.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Weigh in Wednesday #6

Nothing to see here. Move along.

(I'm such a loser. Only not, I guess.)


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Derailed by an Evil Plot Bunny

I finished with my sheriff. The story finally came (teehee) together, and I've submitted it for consideration. I've edited Snakeskin Boots, and it's off for the last round of beta reading before I pull the trigger on submitting it.

So, I'm thinking I can now devote myself to my little spider monkey, who has been swinging from the rafters waiting for me to get back to him. You'd think I'm ready to sit down and weave his tail. Or tale. Whatever.

But no, someone comes along mistaking me for another writer and asking why I haven't passed a certain story on. It's not any kind of story I've ever written before. But once the damn plot bunny started bouncing around in my head, it multiplied. Soon I had a whole colony of bunnies, leaving droppings everywhere. I had to write the story. And it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed exploring the ideas in it and re-writing, and twisting the ever loving stuffing, out of ancient events, even though it's possible that no one else will ever see it. And it ensured my first-class accommodations straight to hell. But I'm okay with that. So, thanks, D. Hope you enjoyed it.

My poor monkey is still left hanging, but at least he'll forgive me.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Tales of the Geek Stable - Part IV

Xander leaned against the filing cabinet in Roth’s office, glaring at the marketeer. Corny was under the desk, connecting the receiver for the new wireless keyboard and mouse. 

Roth cleared his throat and ran a hand along the back of his neck and looked down at his shoes. “Look, I didn’t push him into anything.” He turned back to Xander, but whatever he was going to say died when he saw the man’s face. 

Corny popped his nicotine gum as he tested the new peripherals, making sure everything worked properly. When he was satisfied, he packed up the old gear and left the two managers alone.

“Look, Xander–”

“Don’t,” Xander snapped. “Don’t try to spin this. You should have never started anything to begin with. And once you did, you damn sure should have kept your fucking mouth shut.” Xander crowded him into the corner of the office.

“I know. But you know how he is.”

Xander closed his eyes and turned away from Roth. Yes, he knew how Dub was. And he was not how Roth painted him. He didn’t deserve to be the company mattress based on the rumors this jackass started. He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed.

“Come on, Xander. Look at that hot ass and that sweet mouth.” Roth leered. “He’s a born cum dumpster.”

Xander whirled around, his eyes blazing. Roth cowered back into the corner as the bigger man advanced on him, locking his jaw tight. “Just. Fucking. Shut. The fuck. Up.” His hands were shaking with the desire to rip something apart - starting with Roth’s body. He turned and opened the door, stepped out into the hallway, and nodded to the audience that had gathered looking for dirt.

Roth hovered near the doorway, looking pale and scared. Xander turned to address him directly. He cleared his throat and kept his voice even and clear. “If you need any further support, please call me directly. My team is too busy to clean up after your clumsiness.”


“Man, I wish I could have seen that,” Val laughed as Corny told the team what happened in Roth’s office. “Glad Iceman finally brought him down a peg or two. Couldn’t have happened to a better man. Fucking weasel.”

“Val.” York said, nodding at Dub.

Val put a hand on Dub’s shoulder. “Oh, hey, man. Sorry. It’s just–“

“It’s okay,” Dub interrupted. “Never expected anything from him.”

Everyone looked up when Xander walked into the room and closed the door.  “Listen up, guys. From now on, any keyboard calls go to York, Ogilvie, or Corny. In that order. Got it?”

“Why not me?” Milton asked.

“Because you’re still new. The users will walk all over you. And before you ask, Val, they think you’re fun, just like Dub. York’s been here long enough they won’t try anything, and Ogilvie will shoot them down quick if they did.”

“Then why the fuck do I have to do them?” Corny groused.

Xander’s smile was cold. “’Cause they’re afraid of you.”

Corny looked at him for a minute, then shrugged. “Okay.”

“Uh, Boss?” Dub asked from behind him.



Xander nodded and turned back toward his office. “Why don’t you guys head on out? I’ll handle anything that comes up.”

“Don’t gotta ask me twice.” Val stood up and slung his messenger bag over his shoulder. “Coming, guys?”

“Yeah, just hang on a sec,” York said, picking up his backpack and gathering his stuff. 

“I’m going to finish up this account list before I head out. I’ll meet you guys at the lake.”

“Just make sure you bring the beer. If we’re stuck out there without any, I’ll be seriously pissed,” Corny said, slapping another patch on his arm.

“You’ll be pissed, anyway.” Ogilvie chuckled and shook his head. “Don’t worry. I’ll get it. See you guys later.”

He waited ten minutes to make sure the team had the chance to clear the parking lot, then he knocked on Xander’s door.

He lowered his eyelashes as he looked into Xander’s eyes. 

“Hey, Boss,” he said huskily before stepping inside and locking the door.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cock, Unblocked

I've had a story plaguing me for a few weeks now. I finished it, but it wasn't quite right. There was just something off in the big sex scene. (Why, yes, it was about a certain cock-blocking sheriff) It was explicit. But awkward.  I couldn't quite figure out what was off, so I had no way to fix it. It left me feeling unsettled, almost dirty in a way, because I couldn't clean it up.

A member of my critique group (thanks, Harper), pointed out it was it was descriptive, but mechanical.

IKEA sex. Instructional. Boring.

Well, duh. No wonder he was blocking me. I didn't give them any emotion.

Sex is about passion. Releasing some kind of emotion. I certainly don't mean to say it's impossible to have sex without strings. It happens all the time. But, it's still about some sort of release. Even the get-your-rocks-off, just-passing-through kind of sex requires some sort of emotion to get the ball rolling.

Hunger. Need. Lust.

Love? Hate? Anger? Possession. Belonging. 

Once I processed that little suggestion, the words started flying through my keyboard and onto the page, like a copious, and well placed, money shot.

Now, I'm ready to kick back in a big bathtub. Preferably with a cowboy. Or an unblocked sheriff.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Weigh-in Wednesday #5

So, one month in. How'd I do?

Stop Eating Crap?  Nope. Still eating food from a bag. We've tried cooking, but I < insert excuse #1, #2, #3, #4..... >, so we wind up taking the easy way out. Something I don't have to leave the car - or even the house (Pizza and Chinese is getting boring - we need more delivery options) - to get.

Start Moving? Unless you count a few 8 hour days of schlepping hardware leaving me a sore, agonizing mess, I didn't get any extra exercise. So, yeah, fail on count 2.

Here's where I'm supposed to pledge to do better, and promise myself I'm going to try harder, and that these new fat girl pants I had to buy will be too big very soon. And yada, yada, yada. Truth is, I'm human, and I'm lazy.

Blogging? I really don't think I'm that interesting, so only missing 5 days isn't that bad, is it?

What Did Work?  The story I submitted in December got acccpted last month. So I got that going for me. I also wrote a new short story (yes, it's about the cock-blocking sheriff). I'm doing some cleanup and edits on it, and it'll go out next week.

The biggest thing I did last month was finish my first novella/novel-light/novel. So far, reaction has been mostly good. The people who have read it seem to like it and have provided some good (read: constructive) feedback. I'm digesting the comments and trying to decide how to incorporate it. I will submit it by the end of the month - and that terrifies the ever-lovin' stuffin' out of me. There may be some alcohol involved afterward. Just saying.

What's Next?  My geeks will get more of a real story line – or at least they’ll finally leave their stable and venture into the outside world. I think a group camping trip to the lake, where they all get wet and drunk may be in order. And some nerdy geo-caching (they can’t just mountain bike). ‘Cause nerds do it with gadgets.  ;-)

And I'll continue with my plan of world domination through likable shape shifters. My spider monkey will get some affection. He's been telling me I may have been mistaken about his story. We'll see.....

And I really will try to do better at not eating crap and starting moving. I'm getting too old to feel this old.