Monday, July 25, 2016

Christmas Story 2016 Contracted

Photo from the Library of Congress
I signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press to have my 2016 Scroogish story "The Orpheum Miracle" included in their holiday anthology.

Last year's story, "Blame It on the Fruitcake," was about how the Christmas staple brings two men together. This year's story follows a homeless man who lives in the Orpheum Theater and his journey to love. It also mentions the holiday film I detest the most--"It's a Wonderful Life."

More information on ordering the anthology and the story will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Preorder Relative Best and Foothills Pride, Vol. 1

Want to read the next Foothills Pride story, #5 Relative Best, as well as get a paperback edition of the previous four books in the series, AND save money at the same time? Well, Dreamspinner Press is making your dreams come true today and tomorrow (July 19 and 20) by discounting everything in their store.

For Relative Best, #5 in the series, click here.

For Foothills Pride, Vol. 1, click here.

And I'll see you in the foothills!

Monday, July 11, 2016

All Four Foothills Pride Novellas in One Paperback Edition

On August 17, Foothills Pride Stories, Vol. 1, will be released by Dreamspinner Press. The paperback volume will include What's in a Name?, Redesigning Max, Behr Facts, and When Adam Fell, the first four Foothills Pride novellas.

What’s in a Name?: Barista Jimmy Patterson falls for bartender Guy Stone. Do coffee and booze make a happy ever after?

Redesigning Max: Interior designer Fredi Zimmer remodels Max Greene’s mountain cabin and the outdoorsman himself, but everything’s not peaceful as they find love.

Behr Facts: When someone tries to scam contractor Abe Behr, accountant Jeff Mason comes to the rescue. Big, burly, bearish Abe never thought he’d come to rely on anyone else, much less handsome Jeff.

When Adam Fell: TV Chef Adam de Leon left his longtime lover in San Francisco. Now David is back saying he’s no longer a junkie and is ready for forever this time. Can David be believed?

When more information becomes available, I'll post it here. To buy the novellas individually, use the links on the titles or at the right of this post.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Foothills Pride #5 Coming Soon

Relative Best, the latest Foothills Pride story, is releasing from Dreamspinner Press on August 17, 2016. And I am so excited to announce this!

Here's what the book's about:

Sometimes love sneaks up when you’re least looking for it….

Zeke Bandy, owner of the Bandy’s Finest Hotel in Old Town Stone Acres, California, is too busy for love. Not only does he oversee the operations of the historic hotel and uphold his family’s tradition of offering refuge to strays and runaways, Zeke also sings and plays down-home music two nights a week at the Stonewall Saloon and for occasional celebrations. Then Zeke meets Victor Longbow, the man of his dreams.

Vic isn’t looking for love either. In fact, because of his upbringing in a strict, white foster home, Vic’s not sure he believes in love. He’s in Stone Acres to open a branch office of a national brokerage firm. He’s also hoping to find a vintage photo of what might be his Native American ancestor.

After their paths cross,  they become friends, then more. Connected by their experiences as orphans raised by flawed fathers, Zeke and Vic realize that some men must find love, hone it, and create families for themselves.

There are no ARCs or preorder links at this time, but I'll be sure to add preorder and any other information as it trickles in.

Mixing and Matching

Coming up is the paperback edition of the first four books in the Foothills Pride series. The compilation is titled Foothills Pride Stories, Vol. 1, and even writing that I feel a little like Quentin Tarantino and the Kill Bill movies. Although if you haven't read the Foothills Pride series, don't expect anything remotely like Tarantino. The blood count is much, much lower in the FP series.

At any rate, AngstyG is working up a cover that melds the Old Town map and the Stonewall Saloon. Since the series starts off with What's in a Name? and the first chapter begins in the saloon, I think it's only fitting that the cover of volume 1 be the image of Stone's bike and his business.

So for those wondering what the two separate images look like, here they are. Now we'll see what AngstyG can do to make these two become one.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Free Fiction: Biting Back

I've been reading a lot about bullying lately, including a compilation of writers' memories and fictional accounts of bullying while they were in school. This made me remember a Flash Fiction piece I wrote for someone else's blog, using the opening line seen below. At the time, I experimented with using the line not only as an opening, but as a closing. I hoped to show that the meaning changes depending on what the context is. At any rate, here's a piece of free fiction for you to enjoy.

by Pat Henshaw

“Do what I tell you and everything will be fine.”

The arms of the guy behind me banded around my torso. Déjà vu of high school nightmares. I knew who it was and now ten years later could beat him at this game.

When he took a breath, I elbowed him in the chest, whipped around, and kneed him in the groin. Bernie went down with a thud.

Before I could have it out with him, the restroom door opened, and a vision of handsomeness entered, his glance going from Bernie on the floor clutching his groin to me standing over him.

“Joel?” the vision asked.

“It’s not what it looks like.” My fury eased as I recognized him. “Stephen?”

“Uh, Steve now. Can I help?”

I grinned, looked down at Bernie, and laughed.

“Nope. Think I’ve got it under control.”

Since Steve had been another of Bernie’s victims in those long ago high school days, we shared a laugh as we stared at our groaning harasser.

“Should we kick him?” I wondered.

“He’d do that to us,” he muttered.

“So which is better? An eye for an eye? Or let bygones be bygones?”

I walked to the sink, keeping my eyes on Stephen’s golden brown hair, his sturdy build, the beautiful abs being displayed through his mohair sweater.

“If I’d known you were going to be here at the reunion, I’d have brought the book with me.”

“What book?” I was confused. Weren’t we talking about Bernie on the floor?

“Your book, silly.”

Oh, right. Wait. He'd bought a copy of my book?

“I’d get your autograph.”

While my mind swirled around the knowledge he owned my book, I washed my hands and listened to Bernie’s moans ease. Was he going to try the assault again?

Then the door to the restroom opened again. This time vice-principal Martin came in. Back then he’d earned the name “vice” as far as I was concerned.

He stopped and stared down at Bernie, whose groans were getting softer.

“Is there trouble here, boys?” He glared at me and Steve. “What happened?”

“Tripped,” I said as much as I could like Bernie had each time I’d been on the ground and he’d been standing over me. Now, however, I was taller and broader than Bernie.

Steve started laughing beside me. Martin couldn’t do anything to us now. Unless Bernie wanted to press charges—what kind, I had no idea—we were at a standstill.

“Bernie? What happened?” Martin’s voice sounded confused.

And there it was. The shoe on the other foot. Tit for tat. Was Bernie going to roll over like he’d always wanted me to do? Or was he a scrapper like I’d been?

His mouth hung open and saliva was dripping down his chin. His hands still sheltered his groin. He had to clear his throat a couple times before he could speak.

“Nothing happened. I tripped. I’m fine. Everything's okay.”

Let’s see. Steve and I were standing. Mr. Martin was standing. Bernie was in a fetus roll on the filthy high school bathroom floor. And everyone was all right?

The years of abuse and resentment eased themselves from my mind and my soul. I’d survived Bernie. I’d survived Mr. Martin. I was successful, and from the looks of him Steve had both survived and was successful too.

With a shake of his head, Martin left. He gave us one evil eye before letting the door shut behind him.

Bernie held up a hand.

“Help me up?”

I extended a hand and hoisted him to stand, ready to retaliate if he decided to continue his harassment.

On his feet, Bernie shook himself like a dog coming in from outside.

“You don’t understand, Joel. I never meant to hurt you. I just wanted to be your friend.” His voice whined, and his body slumped.

“Funny way of showing it.”

Steve put his arm around my waist.

“So are you going to autograph my copy of your book?” As he pulled me closer, he more or less snuggled into me. “I think they’re playing our song out there.”

I glanced at Bernie who looked completely nuked.

I slung my arm over Steve’s shoulders. “Yeah, you’re right. They are playing our song.”

As we walked out the door, Steve growled, “Do what I tell you and everything will be fine.”