Weekend Writing Warriors ~ A Most Alarming Rumor

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences, with maybe a few more for those of you have the time.

Happy Spring, everyone! The turning of the seasons kind of crept up on me while I wasn’t looking, and Sunday is Easter! How did that happen? I feel like the little bunny coming out of its burrow, cautiously sniffing the air, munching a dandelion or two while wondering where the winter went.

Today I’m sharing from my romantic gay fantasy, tentatively titled Snow. This scene continues directly from last week. Prince Gabriel has returned home on the evening of the festival of the Hunter’s Moon. As he’s swept up into castle life, he remembers how much he dislikes the politics and pomposity.

***

The courtyard buzzed with activity. Tristan had wasted no time disappearing into the great hall. Servants swarmed around their sodden, inebriated lords, guiding them away toward blazing hearths and dry clothing. High above the inner ward, the clock tower, crowning glory of the new residential wing—new meaning built fifty years ago by his grandfather—chimed eight o’clock. Webster had exaggerated. The feast wouldn’t begin for another hour at least.

Gabriel headed for his old rooms and along with Webster, a flock of unfamiliar servants flustered and cooed after them.  He supposed he’d been assigned a retinue and was again disappointed that he recognized none of them.

“Oh, sir, I did hear a most alarming rumor that you’d been set upon by a centaur and—”

That’s the official Ten. Here’s a bit more:

Gabriel laughed sharply. 

“Five minutes back and the tale has grown taller than the castle walls. I wasn’t set upon by anything.”  He knocked a bit of moss from his cuff as he entered a long corridor, muscle memory guiding his feet as his thoughts went hither and yon.  The common appetite for myth and magic could both help and hinder the Rosenthal family. Wonder and devotion battled with fear and superstition.  In spite of that, the queen had been well loved.  Would he be accepted? The people in the town had seemed happy to see him.

“Thank the gods for that,” Webster said. “I set out the pale blue silk your aunt Wren sent for your twentieth birthday. That with—”

“That’s for weddings and parties. I need to look more serious.” He thought of Falkner, dour and intimidating all in black. “Something darker.”

“You’re absolutely correct,” Webster said, “How foolish of me.” 

Gabriel doubted if what he wore actually mattered, but he hated anything that hinted at frippery.  It was bad enough he’d have to wear a crown.  He hadn’t done so in the three years he’d been gone.

***

Photo 97165497 © RealchemystDreamstime.com

Blurb in progress for Snow:

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel returns home for the first time in three years. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, the new king, but all is not well at Castle Rosenthal. King Tristan has fallen under the sway of a mysterious noble woman with a dark past, and all along the border of the Black Forest, magical denizens are on the move. Gabriel begins to fear for his life. Is the handsome huntsman in on a plot to assassinate him, or is there an even darker, more evil power afoot? A forced flight into the Black Forest may expose ancient magic at work, if Gabriel can survive long enough to uncover it.

***

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome snippets at Weekend Writing Warriors!

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ A Man of Action

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. I’m sorry I missed last week. I had computer issues, and now I return to find WordPress has once again “improved” its interface. Why is it improvements always seem more like irritations than anything actually helpful? Could it be my old brain doesn’t like change? Nah…

So on the snippet. I’m back to sharing from my fairy tale revisited, a reimagining of the Snow White story with a male character in the title role. Last week, Prince Gabriel returned to his family’s castle for the first time in three years, during the autumn Festival of the Hunter’s Moon.

***

The moment Gabriel slid from Tempest’s back in the castle courtyard, his servant pounced.

“Sire! You are due in the great hall in mere moments! Your boots are full of mud and your clothing is inappropriate!” In his panic, Webster impetuously reached out and plucked a twig of holly from Gabriel’s hair.

“I see you’ve recovered from your bee sting,” Gabriel said as he handed Tempest’s reins to a stable boy. Other servants swarmed around them to gather Gabriel’s packs from the horse. “Old Aldous hasn’t lost his touch.”

“Oh, yes, nothing a healing poultice and a brandy couldn’t cure. Although the healer you knew is no longer here. Retired. Gone to live in a cave or whatever it is old alchemists do.”

That’s the traditional Ten. Here’s a bit more for your reading pleasure:

Webster cleared his throat and stared at the cobblestones. “I’m sorry to have abandoned you at such an inconvenient time.”

“Nonsense, Webster. You would have hated tramping through the muck after game anyway.”  Gabriel brushed the remaining petals from his sleeve, disappointed to learn another trusted member of his mother’s court was gone, but determined not to dwell on it.  “I thought I’d remain dressed as I am. Gives me more the appearance of a man of action, does it not?” He ran his fingers through his hair and found another twig, this one still attached to a leaf.

Webster gaped at him in abject horror. The servant himself had donned his finest blue tunic with silver trim and tied his long brown hair back in a tidy bun. He looked more like a worried old woman than ever. Gabriel smiled and Webster let out a breath of relief.

“Oh, sire, you had me—ha, ha—naturally, you wouldn’t—you were joking, weren’t you?”

“I was, but I’m only submitting myself to your tortures because I have to make a speech.” 

***

© Olgasyrova | Dreamstime.com

***

Blurb for Snow (working title):

Following the death of his mother the Queen, Prince Gabriel returns home for the first time in three years. Gabriel hopes for a reconciliation with his estranged brother, the new king, but all is not well at Castle Rosenthal. King Tristan has fallen under the sway of a mysterious noble woman with a dark past, and all along the border of the Black Forest, magical denizens are on the move. Gabriel begins to fear for his life. Is the handsome huntsman in on a plot to assassinate him, or is there an even darker, more evil power afoot? A forced flight into the Black Forest may expose ancient magic at work, if Gabriel can survive long enough to uncover it.

***

Don’t forget to check out the other snippets at Weekend Writing Warriors!

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ In the Dark

Hello Everyone, and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences, with maybe a few more added on for your reading pleasure.

I think this is the last snippet I’ll be sharing from Shameless In Seattle. I’m getting into territory where it’s hard not to reveal too much, as Aaron’s stalker is about to make an entrance. I wish I could share more, as I really love that character, but you know, mystery and all.

I’m continuing on from last week, with Aaron and his ex, Martine, at Bumbershoot, hoping to flush out the elusive Olympia Konstantin.

***

Martine handed Aaron his beer so he could flip through the photos again. Aaron practiced scanning the crowd without appearing to scan the crowd. It was a natural enough thing to do, with all of Seattle’s weirdness on glorious display; jugglers, face painters, mimes and dancers mingling with glassy-eyed tourists, teenagers looking for trouble and the serious art minded folk who came for the poetry readings and stayed for the over-priced wine. And that was only a minor fraction of the human array on display. So easy for a nondescript, non-performer to meld in and never be noticed.

“Whoa, someone you dated, mayhaps?” Martine asked. He’d stopped at the yearbook photo of Elliot Fadley.

“No, he was two years behind me. I don’t even remember him.”

“Hmm. Must of bloomed late.”

That’s ten. Here’s a bit more if you’re so inclined:

“And I didn’t date guys in high school, remember?”

“Oh, yeah, speaking of blooming late. Wow, look at the maracas on this one.” He’d moved on to Liz’s photo featuring a canyon of cleavage.

“She’s my main suspect. Most likely to have been friends with Victoria.”

“Who’s Victoria?”

Aaron hesitated. He’d never told Martine about the Mr. Tuck incident and certainly not about Victoria. Withholding information was getting awkward and was the main reason why he hadn’t called in his cop friend earlier to help track down the stalker. But Martine wasn’t an investigator for nothing.

“She’s the one with the big secret you’re afraid your stalker is going reveal?”

“Yes. Can we leave it at that for the moment?”

“Sure, but working in the dark won’t help me help you.”

***

Cover by Robin Ludwig Designs

Shameless In Seattle is now available. Click here to view on Amazon.

Aaron Schafer, star reporter for the Seattle Times, is shocked to find out he’s the inspiration for a series of bodice-ripper romances written by a reclusive author no one has met.  He’s even more surprised, and disturbed, on discovering intimate secrets from his past buried in the pages of Shameless in Seattle. Who is this mystery author, who has clearly been stalking him and stealing details from his life? Are they dangerous? And worse, will they reveal Aaron’s darkest secret to the world? Aaron decides to stalk the stalker, a decision that might change both of their lives.

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ The Perfect Opportunity

Greetings and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in excerpts of ten sentences, and maybe a few more to round out the scene.

I’m continuing to share from my latest release, Shameless In Seattle, a contemporary gay romance. I might spend a few more weeks on Shameless, and then switch to my new project, as soon as I decide what that is! I’m suffering from the pandoldrums, in which continued isolation gnaws away at my creativity. Luckily I have digital stacks of dusty first drafts that I can nibble away at and trick myself into writing. I recently opened an old file, thought ‘hey, this doesn’t suck’, and soon found myself with sixty fresh pages. I’m hoping the enthusiasm lasts.

On to the snippet! In this chapter, Aaron meets up with his ex-boyfriend, who is also a cop, at the Seattle music festival Bumbershoot. He’s hoping Martine can help him flush out Olympia Konstantin, the mysteries writer who seems to know everything about him.

****

Martine speaks first:

“What are the odds on your stalker showing up here?”

“I have no idea. She or he knows where I eat, where I take Humphrey to get groomed, where I shop, where I buy my clothes, who I sleep with.” He sucked in a deep breath. “I announced online I was going to be here today. Seems like the perfect opportunity to spy and find out what beer I drink, right?”

“Sure, if they’re as active a stalker as they seem to be.” Martine accepted a plastic cup of amber beer while Aaron paid. They pushed their way back out of the mob. “Would have worked better if we weren’t together.”

That’s ten. Here’s a few more:

“I suppose, but it was hard to explain in a text.”

“There’s this new invention called voice mail, Aaron.” Martine sipped his beer. “Also, time to look over the photos and run background checks would’ve been helpful.”

“I know. It’s just—” Aaron glared up at the Space Needle looming above them. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to drag you into this. I don’t feel threatened by this person, only violated, like I have no privacy. I didn’t want to waste too much of your time.”

“Admit it. You wanted to see me and get me drunk.” Martine grinned and slapped him on the back.

“If you’d had time to think about it, you would’ve recruited half the department to set up a perimeter around the center. Then the stalker wouldn’t show up and I’d be even more embarrassed than I already am.”

“Poor Aaron, always so worried about what people think.”

“I’d rather Seattle PD doesn’t think I’m a flake.”

****

A taste of Bumbershoot, so you can see what they’re up against.

Shameless In Seattle is now available. Click here to view on Amazon.

Aaron Schafer, star reporter for the Seattle Times, is shocked to find out he’s the inspiration for a series of bodice-ripper romances written by a reclusive author no one has met.  He’s even more surprised, and disturbed, on discovering intimate secrets from his past buried in the pages of Shameless in Seattle. Who is this mystery author, who has clearly been stalking him and stealing details from his life? Are they dangerous? And worse, will they reveal Aaron’s darkest secret to the world? Aaron decides to stalk the stalker, a decision that might change both of their lives.

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ Touchy-Feely

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in short experts of ten sentences, with maybe some additional lines to help round things out.

I’m sharing from my new release, Shameless In Seattle. Our hero Aaron has recruited his ex, a Seattle police officer, to help him flush out his stalker. I’ve skipped ahead a little from last week.

***

“So what’s this about a stalker?” Martine dropped his hand and became professional, brown eyes serious and questioning.

Aaron dug into his coat pocket for the photos to gain time. He hadn’t decided if he wanted to tell Martine about Shameless In Seattle. Martine would find the situation hilarious.

“Let’s get in line for a beer, so it looks like we’re here to have fun, not spring a trap.”

“Like a date?”

“Yeah, like that, only no touchy-feely.”

“Then what’s in it for me?”

“My eternal gratitude.”

That’s ten. Here’s a bit more for your reading pleasure:

Martine sighed melodramatically. “Gratitude. Doesn’t exactly help relieve the hard-on, does it?”

“You never know.” Aaron grabbed Martine by the elbow and steered him toward the beer line. The cop smelled so damn manly with his combination of Ralph Lauren cologne and salty sweat. Aaron swallowed the collecting drool in his mouth and brandished the photos. “I have good reason to believe someone I went to school with is following me, gathering info off the internet and most disturbingly, spying on me as I go about my day. These are the suspects. The top three are prime.”

“And why is that?” Martine asked as he took the stack of photos and shuffled through them.

“Due to their connection with a girl who knew something about me, something the stalker knows and shouldn’t, unless said girl told them.”

“How did you discover this stalker? Are they harassing you?”

“Not exactly.” Aaron sighed. There was no way around it. “They’re publishing their findings in a work of fiction.”

“I see. And you’re sure about this?”

“Absolutely. The facts are thinly veiled and there’s way too many to be a coincidence. You’re in there, only you’re female.”

“What kind of fiction is this?”

“Does it matter?”

“If you want me to help you profile the perp, I need all relevant information on their psychological make-up.”

“Actually, I just want your cop eyes to help me scan the crowd for one of these faces.” Aaron jabbed at the photos. 

***

Cover by Robin Ludwig Designs

Shameless In Seattle is now available. Click here to view on Amazon.

Aaron Schafer, star reporter for the Seattle Times, is shocked to find out he’s the inspiration for a series of bodice-ripper romances written by a reclusive author no one has met.  He’s even more surprised, and disturbed, on discovering intimate secrets from his past buried in the pages ofShameless in Seattle. Who is this mystery author, who has clearly been stalking him and stealing details from his life? Are they dangerous? And worse, will they reveal Aaron’s darkest secret to the world? Aaron decides to stalk the stalker, a decision that might change both of their lives.

Weekend Writing Warriors ~ Dangerous Flames

Hello and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop where writers from a wide variety of genres share from their work in short excerpts of ten (or maybe a few more) sentences.

Happy Hearts and Chocolate Day. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a V-Day Scrooge, but as a romance writer, I totally approve of other people getting mushy and reading lots of steamy stories about love and other squishy stuff on this very strange holiday of ours. Stuff like Shameless In Seattle, my new release (was that subtle enough?)

I’ve skipped ahead in the story a few chapters, because every where I turn now, spoiler alert! In this scene, Aaron has a new plot to flush out Olympia, his stalker-slash-unauthorized biographer. He’s posted on social media about where he’s going to be, and hopes to spot one of his suspects lurking in the crowd.

***

Standing in the crush of bodies at the Seattle Center, Aaron had to admit his scheme was hopeless. The Bumbershoots festival was a stalker’s dream. So many people, so many places to lurk unseen. Trying to find Liz or any of his other suspects with the aid of old photos was like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles.

One person, however, stood out, cutting an impressive swath in the twisting lines of people crushed together in front of a beer tent.

Officer Martine Martinez strode down the crowded pathway with an easy grace. At six four, Aaron’s ex-Latin lover attracted looks from all sexes. After several nights spent pouring over Olympia’s steamy m/m stories, Aaron was almost ready to forget about catching his stalker and jump Martine’s bones. 

But it had been hard enough to extract himself from that tumultuous relationship the first time. Rekindling dangerous flames wasn’t on his to-do list.

That’s ten. Here’s a few more to round out the scene:

Although the sex had been unbelievable, out of bed they couldn’t get along for five minutes. As Olympia might say, two Alphas sharing one cave are bound to clash.

Aaron also didn’t like having to look up to meet his lover’s gaze. He was used to being the tall one.

“Damn, you look good,” Martine said when he reached him, flashing a high voltage smile. “Remind me again why we broke up?”

“I’m pretty sure you do not want to be reminded,” Aaron said, because the truth was too much of a minefield. In order to keep the mood light, he fell back on their old go-to argument. “We broke up because you’re too bossy.”

***

Cover by Robin Ludwig Designs

Shameless In Seattle is now available. Click here to view on Amazon.

Aaron Schafer, star reporter for the Seattle Times, is shocked to find out he’s the inspiration for a series of bodice-ripper romances written by a reclusive author no one has met.  He’s even more surprised, and disturbed, on discovering intimate secrets from his past buried in the pages ofShameless in Seattle. Who is this mystery author, who has clearly been stalking him and stealing details from his life? Are they dangerous? And worse, will they reveal Aaron’s darkest secret to the world? Aaron decides to stalk the stalker, a decision that might change both of their lives.