Friday, May 30, 2014

Welcome guest author Jon Keys to my blog today

I'd like to welcome Jon Keys to my blog today.    Let's make him feel welcome and learn more about his book.

Let's find out more about him and his book, "Men In Uniform Crossfire"

1-How long have you been writing? 

I've been writing fiction for about three years. I started out writing for and then added a few other websites. The people reading those stories started encouraging me to submit my work to publishers. That put the bug in my ear. I was working to improve when I stumbled across my online critique group. They were a huge help in refining the "good bones" of my stories as they said about my work. My first sale was to Dreamspinner Press for their advent calendar for 2013.

2- What is your favorite genre to write?
I tend to bounce around. Almost everything I've written has been contemporary M/M. But I'm working on my NaNoWriMo from last year and it's a Dark Fantasy M/M. I also have a contract on a MMF novel that should be coming out in the next year. I have two new novels I'm developing and depending n the day they flip back and forth. One is a contemporary western M/M and the other is a contemporary super hero M/M. So yeah, I'm a little all over the place.

3-What are you working on now?
Well, i guess I let the cat out of the bag in the previous question. I tend to have several stories going at once though. Then when I start having difficulty with one of them I can put it aside and work on something else. Almost everything is under contract at this point. There are the two stories I was talking about earlier, I also am working on expanding a story called Rut that's about a couples last ditch effort to save their relationship with a fall elk hunting trip. Further back I have a story about a married couple and their adopted kids, a winter trip taken by a man who's lost his husband and now has to put his world back together. There are others, but at this point they're no more than a line or two description.

4-When you begin a story do you start with character or plot?

Plot, but just in a very general way. I'll decide I want to write in a specific setting and then the story develops from there. I do tend to plan more now that I did when I first started. I think the stories don't wonder around as much as they did when I was pantsing it.

5-Tell us about your latest/upcoming release. What inspired it? 

Well I saw Torquere Press's anthology call and was intreged with the idea of writing about men in uniform. I'd also been wanting to write a crime drama. So I had my plot and started working on the setting and characters. I decided I wanted a long term couple and at some point they decided they were both in law enforcement, but Rick is with the highway patrol and Gabriel is a deputy sheriff in a neighboring county (yes, the story and characters sometimes decide what they want to do). I love the Colorado mountains so they formed the backdrop. From there the story began to develop. I am finding out I have trouble keeping under 10,000 words. I did a lot of serious editing to get "Crossfire" under the limit. 

Thanks for having me, Lily! I’m excited to get to announce the release of Crossfire as part of the Men in Uniform anthology from Torquere Press. I’m very excited that two of my short stories are appearing in Torquere Press’s anthologies this year with another short, Showstring, coming in July. But before I get too far ahead of myself I thought I’d give everyone a little insight into my writing process. This time it’s something I’m actually decent at, blocking. Or as I like to think of it, ‘where the hell is everything?’

Like I said, I’m actually decent at this, unlike a lot of other parts of writing. I think it’s because I did well on those spatial tests in school. You know the ones. They would show you an unfolded shape and you’d have to pick what it would look like once it was put together. Oh yeah, those tests I could ace, math…math was another story. But I’m pretty good at knowing where everything is, then I don’t walk through the chair I just pulled up to the bar or I put dished into a cabinet that a few lines earlier was a picture window.

Not too surprising, blocking is important for sex scenes. I know some people use stand ins, like Barbie and Ken…or in my case Ken and Ken. I always thought Ken was kinda cute when I was a kid. But anyway, keeping track of where everything is and what lines up with what. When I read for other people, that’s one of the things I’m fairly good at catching. You can’t go from A to D without finding out where B and C went. Unless you have the superpower of certain body parts stretching far more than normal.

Even though I’m pretty good at blocking, I have found one help in creating the scenes themselves, 

Pinterest. I can search for bedrooms, bathrooms, or kitchens and find all kinds of images to nail down what I had in mind. For Rick and Gabriel’s kitchen I used this technique. It helped tremendously to have a photograph to study to see what would be where.
So anyway, that’s how I work out the blocking in the scenes for Crossfire. I hope everyone enjoys the tale as much as I did.
~ Jon ~

eBook Link: 

Rick Anthis, a forty-five year old veteran of the Colorado State Police, and his husband, Gabriel Thorkelson, a deputy sheriff in a nearby county, enjoy the peace of their suburban Boulder home. Until three gunshots rip through the tranquil neighborhood and Rick witnesses the kidnapping of his buddy, eight year old Jacob.
The clues are sparse until Gabe reminds Rick of something Jacob had said. Rick has a starting point. He and his CSI team locate the remote hideout, only to find the the kidnappers are gone, and Gabe is missing too.

Excerpt from Crossfire.
Rick dried the last dish and handed it to Gabriel to put away. Gabriel settled the last plate into the white cabinets. He loved their house and the quiet, older neighborhood it was in. He hoped Mark and Rachel could work out their issues, keeping Jacob in the forefront.
Rick put his hand around Gabriel's slender waist. He's as sexy as he was in college. Damn just being next to him makes me randy. Releasing Gabriel, Rick folded the dishtowel carefully and laid it beside the sink. "Supper was great. You're a damn fine cook."
Gabriel snickered and spun to pop Rick with a wet towel. "It should taste good. Your mother gave me herbs from her garden the last time we visited."
"Mom's just trying to fatten me up. I'm kind of skinny for a forty-three year old Greek man."
The towel snapped against Rick's butt again and he grabbed at it. Gabriel danced away, his face lit with delight. "Where does that leave me?"
Rick swept Gabriel up and kissed him. "It leaves you in my arms, just where you should be."
Rick paused as he remembered the note in his pocket. Leaving his hand on the small of Gabriel's back he reached in his shirt pocket and fished out a small piece of yellow paper. He gripped it between two fingers and dangled the sheet in front of Gabriel.
"Speaking of, I found another note in my lunch."
Gabriel studied the symbols on the page as if he'd never seen them. "Huh, what do you think that means?"
Rick smiled. "I know what it's meant the last dozen times I found one in my lunch."
"Really? And what was that?"
"It meant I was going to be exhausted the whole next day."
"You don't say. Let me see that." Gabriel took the paper from Rick's hand and appeared to study the content. "Looks like Native American symbols. Hmm, maybe 'bear' and 'hunt'." He smiled at Rick with a glimmer in his eyes. "Are we going on a bear hunt this fall?" Gabriel reached up and tugged on the short hair coming from the top of Rick's T-shirt. The slight touch shifted his libido into high gear.
He nuzzled his face against Gabriel's throat and sighed at the spicy fragrance that curled through his nostrils. Rick slid his hand under Gabriel's shirt; the rub of his chest hair on Rick's palm ignited his desire. "What's the sign for otter? Because I think I need to hunt one of those little furry things." I still can't believe Mom gave Gabe my Eagle Scout pictogram project.

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, and comic books.
A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

You can find me at:
Twitter: @Jon4Keys

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Winner of the Blog Hop IS....

I'd like to announce the winner of my contest.


congratulations.  And thanks to everyone for stopping by and entering my contest.

Debby check your e mail.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Surf's Up....Maybe a Weds Brief

It's that time of the week to flash.  Here is my contribution I used a photo prompt this time.

Surfs’ Up….Maybe

“Oh come on, Tom. Aren’t you going to tell me where we’re going on vacation?” It was Saturday morning. Tom and Ben had plenty of vacation time banked between them. Ben remembered getting e-mail from Tom at work one afternoon, simply stating to put in for vacation for the last week in May, and that was all he said. He’d been pretty mum about where they were going, and it was driving Ben crazy.

Tom left some vague clues. The latest was this photo of a surfer in a magazine. 

“We’re going to Hawaii? Is that it?”

Tom smiled as he took a sip of coffee. They were sitting at the breakfast bar at the kitchen counter, enjoying eggs Tom skillfully made for them. 

“Nope, although we’ll have to keep it in mind for the future.”

“Come on, Tom.”  Ben reached out and rubbed Tom’s arms up and down, trying to entice his man to let him in on the big secret.  “Tell me where we’re going.”  He leaned over and planted a kiss on his firefighter husband.

“Mmm, that is tasty, honey, but it’s not going to get me to reveal my surprise.”

“Oh poo.”   Ben sat back and sulked.   His mood didn’t stop him from finishing up his eggs.  He wouldn’t let good food go to waste.

“Don’t worry, it’ll be worth the wait to find out.” 

Their vacation was going to start in a few days, and Tom hadn’t let the cat out of the bag once.   If it didn’t go against the trust that Tom and Ben had built up over their years together, Ben might have been tempted to look at Tom’s e-mails and see if there were any clues there. 

Tom was very good at keeping secrets. One morning, Tom had left for work. And Ben was working from home. He picked up the phone.   “Hello?  No, Tom isn’t home. Who—” Ben listened to the man on the other end of the phone.  “You have a cancellation on the flight and you want to know if we want an upgrade to first class?  Where’si this flight going again?”  Just as the man mentioned the destination, the caller ID beep went off.   Ben glanced at the phone and saw it was Tom calling.   “Um, hold on I have another call.”  He pressed the flash key and was transferred to Tom.    “Hi, honey, talk about timing. I have the airline on the other line. They said they have a last minute cancellation and would we want to be moved up to first class.”

“Really?  Did they tell you where we’re going?”  Tom inquired.

“No, you called just as they were about to…darn it.”

“Good. You tell that man NOT to tell you about the flight, get his number and I’ll call him. Please, Ben, don’t spoil the surprise for me.”

“I won’t, honey, I promise. “   Ben went to the other line and got the information for Tom and relayed it.

“It won’t be long now, baby.  You’ll love it.”

It was a few days later when Tom and Ben packed up their suitcases. They made sure they only packed enough into a carry on so they wouldn’t have to pay the fees for checking bags in.

They made it to the airport. Tom had printed out their boarding passes the night before, and checked on the airline to make sure they were going to be leaving on time.

Just before they got to security, Tom stopped Ben.  “I wanted to let you know our destination now.”   Tom reached into his suitcase and pulled out a bag and handed it to Ben.  Ben opened it carefully, a big smile stretched out on his face.  “You’re kidding?”  He pulled out two Mickey Mouse ear hats from Disney.  

“Nope, Ben, we’re going to“Disney World!”

Ben put the hats on each of them, then wrapped his arms around Tom’s neck and kissed him.   They headed for security and then boarded a plane for the happiest place on Earth.

TBC (I’ll weave in my trip to Disney,  Hey these guys deserve to enjoy their own version of the Magic Kingdom)

my fellow authors links:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia contest

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It's the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.   Things certainly have changed over time, there was a time that this was all locked up in a closet somewhere and the 'general' population pretended that homosexuals and transgender people didn't exist.    Or that they were going to hell, or should be locked away, etc.

Flash forward to 2014 and it's, thankfully, a different world.   But unfortunately there is still hatred out there,  still those who would use violence and lies to spread their message of hate.   Just like I want so desperately to think anti-Semitism is a think of the past,  but recent events at a Jewish Community center in Kansas City tells me that the hatred is still alive.  

We must all stick together to wipe out the hatred.   That we all have a right to be who we are and that love is what is important.

Speaking of love,  a few weeks ago I was at the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC.  I went on a cruise, which I  highly recommend.   Earlier in the day I met up with my nephew and his boyfriend,  they had come into town and were spending the weekend enjoying the festival too.    We had lunch and then walked down the mall to take a look at the Capitol and other sites along the way.  They were walking me toward where I need to meet up with some friends who were going on the cruise with me.

One of the things I saw was that my nephew and his boyfriend were openly holding hands,  something that some gay couples still feel uncomfortable doing in public.   I was so happy that he has found someone to love and that they are open about it.   They have every right to show their love like any couple, gay or straight.   I am also happy that there are many states that allow gay marriage, and that the list is growing every year.    I hope that all 50 states will join in and let people who love one another have the right to marry.     There is so much more work left to be done.  Gay couples should also be allowed to adopt if they choose to as well.  

You also hear so much about transgender folks who are beaten, treated like they are worthless.  Well they are NOT worthless.   I was in the grocery store recently, and saw a transgender man checking out.   I tried not to stare,  but I was curious.  I was looking around to see if anyone else was taking notice.   No one did.   He was having problems at the self checkout and one of the workers helped him.  Treated him like they'd treat any other customer.    I was happy to see this.  

I want to celebrate today by offering up my books.  Because of the bru ha ha at Silver two of my books have been taken off publication.  I have the rights to both books.   "Catch of the Day"  and "From the Depths"  

And my Dreamspinner book, "The Finest Thing."  was put into out of print.  I have the rights to that book as well.  

Right now RL is in an upheaval so I haven't been able to write much, nothing beyond my Weds Brief.  I am thinking of turning Tom and Ben's story into a full length story.  

I am running a contest.    The winner will receive a copy of any of my books,  including those that are no longer available.  Hey the belong to me I can choose to give them away if I want.  :D

All you have to do is leave a message and contact info.  The hop ends on May 24th.  I'll select a winner and announce it on May 25th.

Thank you for your support.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Hat Party Interview

Hi Everyone,

Today I did a Hat Party Interview at on Raine's blog.

Please stop by and check out the interview.    (I was away so I forgot to ask her to post a link back to my blog.   Hopefully she'll fix that.)


The Hat Party interview

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Weds Brief Surprises

It's that time of the week again.  Time to flash.
This week's prompts:

“I’m going to ask one last time.”
“Isn’t that the one I pointed out?”
“Do you need help?”
“I can’t help with that.”
“What are you talking about?”
“And how was your day?”
“I called you three times today.”
or have pool boy in your story
or use: butter, tornado, bird seed
or have a character eat icing
or use a lawn service in your story
or use: tire, golf ball, fan
or use: shrub, box, drink
or “If at first you don’t succeed, call a plumber”
or “How many times can you wish on a star before you give up?”
or use a munchkin in some way
or “Love is winged Cupid painted blind”

Find out what Tom and Ben are doing this week.


“I’m going to ask one last time. Are you going to tell me what the surprise is, or am I just going to sit here on the couch until you do.  ‘Cause we’re not going anywhere until you tell me what the hell is going on.  Why the mystery?”  Bencould be the most amazing man that Tom had ever met.   But he hated surprises; Tom knew that when they first started dating.  The only surprise he didn’t get into a huff about was the day he proposed to him.  

“Honey, I just wanted to do something special for you.  I know how stressed you’ve been since you lost that big real estate deal.”  Tom sat next to him, wrapping his man up in his big firefighter arms.

“I’m sorry, Tom.  I know you like to do special stuff for me, but you know I’m worried about Stanley. He’s not just my new boss.  I’ve known him for years.   He and his wife just had a baby, and I just found out the baby isn’t doing well.”

“Oh, Ben. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”

“They’re  worried sick.  She was a preemie and they have her on a ventilator.”

“Do you want to go over to the hospital and see how they’re doing?”

“Yeah, I think I would.   Would you come with me?”

“Of course, Ben.”

They spent some time at the hospital.   Ben was consoling his friend.   Tom stood by, politely making conversation with Stanley.   They were allowed to visit his wife, Rita, for a little while. 

“Thanks for coming by, Ben.  It was nice to finally meet you Tom.  I’ve heard a lot about you since taking over the real estate office.   Ben and I knew each other from college. Rita and I just moved back to Lancaster a few months ago.”

“Where were you living before?”  Tom asked him, thinking that sometimes small talk helped keep a person’s mind occupied.

“We were living in Texas for a while, Rita’s family lives there.  But I just couldn’t stand the heat and I was homesick for Pennsylvania.  So Rita said let’s give it a go, and here we are.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re back, and I’m glad you’re my boss.”

“Whoa, don’t say that too quickly.  ‘Cause once I come back, I’m going to be cracking the whip on all of you slackers.”

“Slackers? Who are you calling a slacker?”  Ben and Stanley were kidding around, like old times.  They shared a dorm in college; that was how they met.  

“Tom, am I a slacker?”

“I can’t help with that one.”  Tom feigned ignorance.   If there was one thing he knew about Ben, he was a hard worker.   He put in the long hours to prove it.

“Oh you.” 

“Wel,l I think we’d better go.  Rita, you take care of yourself.”  Ben reached down and kissed her on the cheek.  The redheaded woman was understandably anxious about her daughter. 

“Thanks for coming, Ben.  It was nice to meet you, Tom.”

“So, what was the big surprise you had planned for me?”  Ben asked as they drove out of the hospital parking lot.

“Oh, it can wait, I guess.”  Tom was still being cryptic.

“Come on, I know that look.  You were looking forward to going out with me.”

“Okay.  Well, you have to put on a suit and be ready to go by six,”  Tom informed him.

Tom drove Ben to a famous inn at the outskirts of town.  The drive up to the place was picturesque.   He stopped the car in the restaurant parking lot and got out.  He opened the car door for Ben and helped him out.  

“Tom, what is this all about?”

“Shhhh, just don’t say anything.”  He led the way inside, spoke to a waiter, and then took Ben by the hand, and they were taken to a deck overlooking the woods.  

“Tom? What did you do?”

“Happy Birthday!”

“Oh my goodness, I forgot my own birthday!”   Ben couldn’t believe it. 

“Considering all the things on your mind lately, I’msurprised you can remember your own name.”

“Oh honey, thank you so much.”

Tom had planned this whole night out, including the meal and dessert. All of Ben’s favorites were placed on the table.

They sat holding hands, , and held each other as they enjoyed nature and were thankful to have found the love of their lives.