Starting August 2nd, #TeaserTuesday!

TeaserTuesday

Hello, all! Starting August 2nd here on the blog we’re going to have #TeaserTuesday where I’ll be posting short snippets or a few lines from whatever book I’m currently writing. #TeaserTuesday will happen every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. Next week’s snippet will be from THIRDS, Book 8 Seb and Hudson’s book.

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Heigh ho, Heigh ho, it’s off to write I go

Hello all! As you may have noticed, things are starting to get a little busy around here, and they’re about to get busier. This year, my writing career has officially kicked off. I’ve had to make some sacrifices, but certain circumstances have allowed me the opportunity to write full-time. It’s terrifying yet exciting. Like any job, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Unlike every other job I’ve had in the past, this is the first time I don’t wake up in the morning with a groan. (They don’t call it an evil day job for nothing!)

small_7829361646A lot of folks don’t understand this crazy life of mine, especially friends of the family. They think I lounge around all day in my pajamas, chilling, and doing little else. Although I may indeed lounge around in my yoga pants or pajamas, I’m doing a heck of a lot more than chilling. A part of this misconception has to do with the culture I grew up in. To a lot of these old-school folks, unless you’re doctor, nurse, lawyer, secretary, in pharmaceuticals, or just making a ton of cash, it’s not a real job. It can get frustrating, but I’ve learned not to pay attention to it.

When I decided I was going to take the plunge and do this full-time, I knew I’d be giving it my all. I work from 8 a.m. until midnight, making sure to take appropriate breaks, play with my puppy, make human contact, get exercise, and eat healthy and so on. I take the weekends off, though sometimes when I have a tight deadline I might have to work. See writing full-time, means writing all the time, and I’m not talking about writing books. Before I was published, I wrote, so I’ve been building a book list, plotting out stories, and starting manuscripts.

I now have a writing schedule and tentative release schedule for this year and the whole of next year. This year the releases start in July through Dec (except for Oct), next year they start in Jan through Dec, so there (hopefully) won’t be any big gaps between releases. I’ve learned a lot in the two years I’ve been published and I’m putting that knowledge to use. Like I said before, writing isn’t the half of it. So what’s my to-do list look like? Brace yourself.

  • Edits for Blood & Thunder (we’re on round 3, followed by Galley edits with a tentative release date of Aug 4th)
  • Edits for A Rose By Any Other Name (we’re on round 1, release in Sept)
  • Write blog posts for Hell & High Water release day party
  • Write 10 blog posts for Hell & High Water Blog tour
  • Edits start on Rack & Ruin end of June
  • Rise & Fall manuscript due July 1st
  • Set up he Blood & Thunder Blog Tour & Cover Reveal
  • Facebook chats in July & Aug
  • Twitter Takeover in July
  • Finish the THIRDS website
  • Sort out GRL swag
  • Writing deadlines Jul-Dec
  • Blogging

Aside all that, there’s the emails that come in, my social media accounts I need to manage, and maintain a presence on, several other guest posts and I’m sure there’s stuff I’m forgetting.

small_6574317555I know what some of you may be thinking–those who aren’t hyperventilating–I don’t have to do a good deal of what’s on that list, or I could release less books, but like I said, this is my career. When I worked in management, I worked my butt off, so why would I give any less to something I’m so deeply passionate about? I love writing fiction and love sharing those stories with readers.

Despite all the work that goes into it, I love what I do and I’m lucky to have the support I do–the ones who don’t think I should get a real job. I also have an amazing publisher that works things through with me. If anything gets to be too much, they’re there to help. I make sure to rest and take care of myself, though I have plenty of amazing folks who remind me to come up for air should I need it. So yes, it’s getting busy around here. I hope you’ll join me along for the ride!

rosedivider

photo credit: fiddleoak via photopin cc
photo credit: thomas.leuther via photopin cc

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The THIRDS: Dream Team

Hello all! Many authors turn to various sources for visual inspiration. TV and movie actors, musicians, models, photography, and so on. For me, it’s always been difficult to cast actors as characters in my stories. Mostly, because when I write, I tend to have an image in my head of what they’re like, and trying to find the right visual inspiration to fit my image is a lot of work.

It’s just tough finding actors who I think not only look the part, but who I could see playing the role. Well, with my THIRDS series, I found my dream team pretty quick. Obviously everyone will see the characters differently, and I may end up changing an actor or two along the way, but I managed to find my cast. Woo!

The hardest to find was Dex, but I think Chris Pine would be a perfect fit. He has the exact color eyes, has played a blond, is adorable, sexy, and silly. He also has a gorgeous smile. I needed an actor who could pull off Dex’s energy–not to mention shenanigans, and I think he can. You can check out my dream team on my THIRDS Pinterest board here: www.pinterest.com/charliecochet/thirds/

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WIP Excerpt: Blood & Thunder, Book 2 in the THIRDS series

I often post excerpts of my current work in progress on Facebook, so I thought I’d post them on the blog as well for those who don’t have Facebook accounts. Here’s a little excerpt from the second book of my THIRDS series which I’m working on now tentatively titled Blood & Thunder, and what Dex’s poor team has to deal with:

*****

“Oh my god. Turn around. Quick.” Sloane tried pushing Cael back out the bar’s entrance, but Rosa and Letty were crowded around him with Hobbs blocking the doorway.

“Why?” Cael stood on his toes, trying to look around Ash, and Sloane.

Damn it, there was no time. “Just get out, go, go, go.” He grabbed Ash’s arm, hissing in his ear. “Threat Level Fuchsia. Fuchsia!”

Ash’s eyes widened, and he turned to usher everyone toward the door. “Shit. Everyone out before—”

“What?” Dex swept passed them, slowing when he saw what Sloane had been trying so hard to avoid. He turned and threw his arms up with a loud ‘woop’ in victory, followed by a sing song, “Karaoke night!”

Ash delivered a punch to Sloane’s arm. “What the fuck, man? You couldn’t have said something sooner?”

“Damn it, Ash.” Sloane rubbed his arm, glaring at his best friend, and replying through his teeth. “I didn’t see the equipment until it was too late.” He returned Ash’s punch to the arm. “You’re the one who wanted to come here.”

“I didn’t know they’d started doing that shit. Now what?”

“Now we get drunk. He’s already checking out the playlist. It’s too late.”

“We could knock him out.”

“That’s your answer to everything isn’t it?” Sloane lowered his voice to mimic Ash’s growl. “Dex is singing in the shower, you want me to knock him out? Dex is eating gummy bears during the briefing, you want me to knock him out? Dex is napping during the assembly, you want me to knock him out?” Sloane shook his head. “How can you knock him out if he’s already out!”

“Chill, man. Don’t get your fucking panties in a bunch. I suggest you skip the beer and go straight to the vodka.” Ash held a finger out to signal the barman. “Also I could have woken him up, and then knocked him out. Just saying.”

*****


Copyright © 2013-2014 Charlie Cochet. All Rights Reserved.

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WIP Excerpt: Hell & High Water, THIRDS, Book 1

workinprogressHere’s an excerpt from my current work in progress that I’ve mentioned. From book 1 of my sexy law enforcement shifter series. A little background info:

Dex is a Human, ex-homicide detective from the Human Police Force turned rookie Defense Agent for the T.H.I.R.D.S. –a special military funded law enforcement agency. Sloane is a Therian (shifter) Defense Agent with over 10 years experience, ruing the day Dexter J. Daley walked through his door. Or rather descended upon him in a whirlwind of chaos and cheese snacks.

More on it to come soon!

@*@*@*@

Dex beamed at him. “That was good. I really liked that one. It was even better than the strawberry and white chocolate thingy with the little chocolate shavings.”

The young Therian placed his hands on the stainless steel table behind him and arched his back, his eyes on Dex’s lips. “Tell me, Agent Daley. Do you like café con leche?”

Dex’s face lit up. “I love café con leche.”

“Agent Daley,” Sloane barked, causing the two to jump.

“Crap.” Dex cleared his throat and gave the young chef an apologetic smile. “Sorry, Jordan, duty calls. Thanks so much for the free samples.”

“Any time, Agent Daley.” The Therian was practically purring.

Sloane waited, his eyes narrowed, and his jaw clenched as Dex hurried over. As soon as they were outside the kitchen, Sloane turned to Dex in disbelief. “We’re in the middle of a case and you’re flirting?”

“I wasn’t flirting, I was eating. I’m starving. Which is your fault.”

My fault?” Clearly he’d had a momentary lapse of judgment by thinking the two of them could get along. The urge to punch the guy was steadily rising. “How is this my fault?”

“You gave my Cheesy Doodles away!” Dex hissed.

“Jesus Christ, again with that?” Sloane tried to summon patience but instead, he kept seeing Dex’s stupid tongue poking out to lick his bottom lip. He pushed that thought away, grabbed Dex’s arm, and hauled him toward the exit. “That back there had nothing to do with food, unless we count you being part of the menu. The guy was two seconds away from pouncing on you.”

“What? No way. We were talking about chocolate and café con leche.”

Sloane stopped in his tracks. “You’re not serious are you? You can’t be that oblivious.”

“To what?” Dex’s wide eyes told Sloane he most probably was. How could a guy like Dex be so clueless? The way Hudson kept trying to have eye sex with the guy, the Therian in the kitchen ready to rip off his clothes? Hell, Sloane had even caught Letty eyeing Dex’s ass on more than one occasion. Yet Dex never seemed to notice.

“To the fact that he wasn’t talking about drinks, you idiot. He wanted to be the café in your leche.”

Dex frowned, when it dawned on him. “Ohhh. I misread that.”

“I don’t…” Sloane shook his head. He didn’t even have words. “Get in the damn truck before I shoot you.” He pushed Dex from behind, guiding him into the lobby, grunting every time Dex paused to talk at him over his shoulder.

“You know, you should try Yoga. Find a way to channel all that aggression,” Dex said thoughtfully. Sloane gave him another push.

“I have found a way. It’s called shoving my foot up your ass.”

“That doesn’t sound very relaxing.”

Push. “I’m sure I’ll feel plenty relaxed afterward.”

“You got a problem.” Dex grimaced and Sloane gave another push to get him moving again.

“Yeah, and I’m looking right at it.” This situation was a heart attack waiting to happen. He just knew it. The stress of the job, now this. Yep, he was going to keel over. He could see the heading on his tombstone now: Sloane Brodie departed this world at age 37 due to massive coronary trauma as a result of idiot partner Dexter J. Daley.

“Ouch, man. That’s harsh.”

Sloane had just about reached the front door when Calvin’s voice came over his earpiece.

“Agent Brodie, we got a problem.”

“What is it?”

“Press is outside.”

“Shit.” Sloane crept up to the large glass front, grateful for the wall to ceiling venetian blinds. Careful not to jostle the thin wooden slats, he peeked outside. Damn it, there were at least three news vans that he could see. He pulled back and tapped his earpiece. “What about Cael and Rosa?”

Rosa’s concerned voice came over the line. “We’re in the truck. We didn’t see you guys so figured you’d already headed out.”

Sloane cast Dex an accusing glare. “We got momentarily held up. Dex had to take a shit.”

Dex’s jaw dropped. He made to touch his earpiece when Sloane caught his wrist, and twisted his arm behind him, making him double over.

“Ow, ow, ow,” Dex hissed, glaring up at him.

“Thank you for the disturbing visual,” Rosa grunted. “What now?”

“We’re going out the back. Have the Bearcat ready to go as soon as we get there.” He released Dex’s arm, pulled him up, and grinned at the sour expression on Dex’s face.

“That was not cool, man.”

“Maybe next time you’ll think twice about wandering off. Now let’s go.”

They rushed through the lobby and reception area to the double doors on the right. Behind him Dex mimicked him, lowering his voice as he repeated Sloane’s words, adding an unintelligible rambling of grunts and growls at the end.

“There’s something seriously wrong with you,” Sloane grunted, following the hallway he’d come in through earlier, to the pantry, and finally out into the hall leading to the loading dock.

“Must be the company I’ve been keeping,” Dex quipped. Sloane turned and grabbed Dex by the shoulders.

“Okay, shut up for a minute. Let’s pretend you’re a normal agent for a sec, and that you weren’t sent here to drive me out of my freaking mind. Can you do that?”

Dex pursed his lips. “I’ll have to reach really deep for that one, but I think I can manage.”

“Good. Soon as we get out there, make a B-line for the truck, and try not to shoot anyone.”

“No promises,” Dex muttered.


Copyright © 2011-2012 Charlie Cochet. All Rights Reserved.

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What’s coming up next?

weeklynewsupdateHello all! This month has been pretty crazy what with my current WIP and The Impetuous Afflictions Blog Tour. The tour is still going on until the 1st of Dec for anyone who’d like to catch up with the excerpts or wants to enter the contest. Here’s a little rundown of what’s happening at the moment and what’s coming up.

The Impetuous Afflictions of Jonathan Wolfe has gotten some amazing reviews! I just want to thank all the lovely readers and reviewers who’ve taken the time to read Johnnie’s story and leave such wonderful comments. It really makes me so happy hearing you’ve enjoyed it. Thank you to all the new readers who’ve picked up The Auspicious Troubles of Chance. You can bet Chance is basking in the attention. And finally, thank you to everyone who followed the tour. You’ve all been so great!

– I have a tentative release date for The Heart of Frost: Dec 18th. I’m not making an official announcement yet in case the date changes, though I don’t expect it to. I reckon it’ll hit Dreamspinner’s “Coming Soon” page any day now, so it’ll be confirmed. I just saw the final artwork for the cover and oh my god! Paul Richmond did the most AMAZING job. I was squeeing like a crazy person when it hit my inbox. Jack and Rudy are on the cover and… oh, I’m just so happy with it! Don’t worry, I’ll share soon as I can. There will also be a blog tour, and on Dec 14th a Facebook chat, but I’ll let you all know the details of both closer to the time.

– I’m currently finishing up the first book of a four book series. This is a new venture for me with it being a contemporary shifter series. Unlike An Intrepid Trip to Love which is contemporary/fantasy, this new series is set in NYC, modern time, and revolves around a special law enforcement team, their adventures, and of course, the romance centering around two of the team’s very different agents.

I’m really excited about it, but I’m waiting until I’ve got the first one contracted before squeeing all over everyone and sharing more with you. The schedule for this series is pretty tight, though the first book more than the others. But my hope is to get them released within a month or so of each other in 2014 so readers don’t have to wait a year between releases, so yep, a lot of work going on. I’m hoping the first three books will be available in eBook and paperback by the time next GRL rolls around. I’ve also got at least three spin-offs in mind as well. So this series is pretty much consuming my life between now and June of next year writing-wise, though I hope to get a few shorter stories out in between. I really hope you’ll love these fellas as much as I’m loving them!

– I’m hoping to get a newsletter started in the new year Jan/Feb. It’ll be once a month and feature all kinds of fun stuff, including exclusive scene extras, flash-fiction, giveaways, and more, so stay tuned for that!

Also Dreamspinner is having a most awesome sale until Saturday! So if you’re looking to pick up some Christmas stories and you like the sound of sweet Christmas elves foiling some dastardly deviants and falling in love, Mending Noel is 30% off!

ThanksgivingAd_DSPsite_zps8b43f556

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Love Has No Boundaries – Teaser

Here’s a little teaser from my LHNB story. Enjoy!

♥♥♥

“It went under the bed,” Robbie murmured, pointing at the bed across the room—which had yet to be made at six in the evening. Leaving that gripe for after he corralled their unwanted arachnid guest, Trip weaved through the valley of sharp, angular toys and made it to the bed unscathed. He got down on his knees and lifted the comforter hanging off the side.

“For crying out loud, Robbie, there’s more stuff under your bed than out here. Did you leave anything in the closet? I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a nest under here.” Robbie let out a whimper and Trip rolled his eyes, glancing over at the pup and trying not to laugh at his little worried face.  “Relax, there’s no nest.” He shifted his gaze back under the bed and saw something move. “Aha! I’ve got you now you little sucker. I don’t know what you’re so scared of, Robbie, it’s not that big.”

“It is so! It’s like one of those facehuggers from Aliens. What if I’m asleep and it jumps on my face and tries to lay eggs in my tummy and then it bursts from my chest all argh!” Robbie dramatically threw himself back against his desk’s chair, his tongue poking out one side of his mouth as he made gurgling noises, his body twitching.

“That’s the last time I let you stay up to watch a Sci-fi marathon.” The movement stopped. Taking the cardboard, Trip slowly slipped it under the bed toward the black lump, only to poke it and realize it was a balled up sock. What the hell? Something shifted beside it—something much bigger. It turned and darted right for him.

“Holy fudge!” Trip shot away from the bed, managing to curb the copious amounts of colorful swear words ready to roll off his tongue. Scrambling, he climbed onto the bed in a manner which could only be described as astoundingly undignified, losing one of his socks in the process. Getting to his feet, he wobbled on the bed a moment before finding his balance, his plastic container out in front of him like a shield and the piece of cardboard brandished in his right hand like a sword. He was ready for battle.

“There it is, dad!” Robbie squealed and Trip gave a start.

“Where?”

Robbie frantically pointed at the huge hairy black spot in the middle of the blue carpet. “There!”

“Oh my Gods,” Trip gagged. “What is that? That is the most revolting thing I have ever seen.”

“What about when grandpa Hagan lost his swim trunks at the lake?”

“You’re right. This is the second most revolting thing I have ever seen.”

Robbie swiped a book off his desk, ready to hurl it.

“Hey, don’t throw your math book.”

Dropping his math book on the desk, Robbie swapped it for Trip’s tablet.

“Throw the math book! Throw the math book!”

Robbie obliged, picking up the hefty hardback and chucking it across the room. It landed like a tee-pee over the spider. They held their breaths. Pages ruffled and seconds later the spider leisurely crawled out. “It’s still alive, dad! What do we do?”

“What is that thing made of? All right, that’s it. Ain’t no eight legged creep gonna get the best of Tristan Hagan.”

“Go, dad!’ Robbie cheered him on.

Trip inched closer to the foot of the bed when the beast turned toward him and leapt forward. “Holy shit, it jumps!” He scrambled back until his back hit the wall behind him.

“You said a curse word,” Robbie admonished, wagging a finger at him.

“Yeah, I know, I’m sorry. But, did you see that?” Trip’s smart phone rang in his pocket and he shuffled his weapons into his left hand to grab it, pressing it against his ear. “Brook?”

“Trip? What’s wrong?”

“Put her on speaker phone,” Robbie demanded. “Mom! Mom! There’s a huge spider in my room and it looks like one of the facehuggers from Aliens!”

“What have we told you about watching those Sci-fi marathons?”

“You sound like dad. Why are you fighting with me when you should be fighting the Aliens?”

“It’s a spider,” Trip clarified.

“A mutant spider that probably has mutant babies,” Robbie added.

Brook sighed. “He gets that from you, you know.”

“No, but seriously, Brook, the thing is fugly.”

“No one says fugly anymore.”

“I just did.”

“Yeah, well, you’re a nerd.”

“Aw, thanks, babe. I gotta go now. Got aliens to kill. Don’t worry, if I end up an incubator for mutant spider babies, I’ll remember the good times we had.” When Brook next spoke, he could hear the smile in her voice.

“Do you want me to send Deacon over? He’ll be home in about fifteen minutes.”

“Hm, do I want to emasculate myself further by having my ex-wife’s husband come kill a spider for me?”

“Dad, it’s moving again!”

“Fifteen minutes you say? That’ll work for me. He can let himself in. Tell him to bring his shovel. And a blowtorch.”

♥♥♥

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Work In Progress – Johnnie’s Book

I’ve been making the most out of the fellas and their momentary chattiness. Of course this would happen as I’m trying to get Julius’s synopsis done. I swear, they’re like a bunch of kids. When I want them to talk, they’re all quiet and serene, then the moment one of them starts chatting, they all want to talk at once and be the center of attention. I have Johnnie on somewhat of a schedule and am trying to do less of the hopping around stories, and more of the working on one thing at a time. It worked for Julius’s book, and so far *fingers crossed*, it seems to be working for Johnnie.

So I decided to share a scene. Here Johnnie has been behaving like his usual charming self while Chance is getting real tired of his bull and calls him out on it. It’s first person POV, Johnnie’s obviously. For those who don’t know Johnnie, he was in The Auspicious Troubles of Chance as one of the brats, had just turned 19, was a pain in Chance’s backside, foulmouthed, loud, and could drive anyone insane. He was also very troubled and reminded Chance too much of himself at that age. Now Johnnie is all grown up, 27 years old, devastatingly handsome, but just as troubled, foulmouthed, and can still drive anyone insane. But especially Chance. I think this scene sums up the dynamics between grown up Johnnie, Chance and Jacky pretty well.

♥♥♥

“What do I keep telling you?”

I thought hard for a moment. “Don’t leave the toilet seat up?”

“Besides that.”

“Which by the way makes no sense. We’re all guys.” There were eight bathrooms in the house. Did he realize how many toilet seats that was to keep track of? What was I, keeper of the bog? I couldn’t be the only one in a house full of fellas who left it up. That was just statistically unsound.

“That don’t mean we gotta live like animals.”

“When did you become such a dame?”

“About the same time you became a real prick.”

I merely shrugged the insult off. “Takes one to know one I guess.”

Chance came to loom over me, his index finger inches away from my nose. “Now you listen to me you ungrateful little shit. Henry doesn’t need to be on the receiving end of your bullshit. He deserves more respect than that.”

“Fuck you.” I swatted his hand away with a growl. He knew how much I hated when he did that, which of course was why he did it.

“I know you’re looking for a fight, but I ain’t giving you one.”

“Oh? And what the hell would you call this?”

“This is me worried about you and you know it.”

I let out a resigned sigh, my shoulders slumping. Chance had a habit of making me feel like that lost nineteen year old kid he’d met back in the desert. It seemed like a lifetime ago.

“All right then.” He pressed his lips together before giving me a wink and held his arms out. “Come here and give me a hug.”

“Lay off.” I tried my hardest not to laugh and reminded myself I was annoyed with him. When I folded my arms over my chest and moved away from him, he gave up and walked over to the wingback chair, taking a seat and looking like the goddamn king of the castle.

“You’ll give in one of these days.”

I scoffed at that. “Over my dead body.”

“That can be arranged all too easily.”

“You are unbelievable,” I said, shaking my head at the truly sinister smile on his face.

“I know.”

“That wasn’t a compliment.”

“Wasn’t it? It sure sounded like one to my ears.”

“Yeah well, you are screwy in the head.”

“I keep hearing compliments.”

“Shut up.” I narrowed my eyes at him and shoved my hands in my pockets. Why the hell was I sticking around? Surely it wasn’t because I wanted to. That would really mean it was time for me to get carted off to the loony bin. Chance, however, wasn’t all that concerned about the daggered look I was giving him, as per usual. I, on the other hand, was very concerned about the stupid smile on his face. It meant he was up to something.

“Remember what Jacky says, frowns are nothing but upside down smiles.”

“Jeepers Creepers, would you just shut the fuck up?”

“Glen’s a high-brow, gold-digging grease-ball.”

I froze to the spot. So we finally got to the heart of the matter. How did the bastard always manage to get the drop on me? No matter how ready I was to plant a fist in his face, Chance always knew how to burst my temperamental bubble. Damn him. I flopped down onto the couch feeling drained. “I know.”

“So why do you keep seeing him?”

I shrugged. Sure, I could make up a bunch of baloney, but Chance would see right through it. He always did.

“I do.”

My gaze shifted up to me his smug one. “Well don’t let me stop you from dazzling me with your brilliance.”

He chuckled. “Was I ever such a wiseass?”

“What the hell are you talking about? You still are!”

“Hm. Anyway, it’s because it’s easy.”

“Easy?” Well that was news to me. Glen had to be the most obnoxious Brit I had ever met. “You think putting up with his pain in the ass is easy?” I donned my best prissy accent. “Johnnie do stop slouching. Johnnie take me to London. Johnnie I need a new waistcoat.” Sometimes I just wanted to plant one in his whiny, pasty face.

“Easier than risking your heart and the heart of a good man like Henry. Yeah, it’s far easier. I should know.”

Damn him and his sound logic. “And here I thought Jacky just kept you around ‘cause you’re pretty.”

“Nope.” Chance wriggled his brows. “I happen to be amazing in the sack too.”

I groaned. Loudly. “Please shut up.”

“I do this thing with my tongue—”

“You are a monster!” I jumped to my feet, ignoring his laughter, and started to pace the room.

“Good talk.”

“Piss off!” My God, how the hell did Jacky put up with him? Speaking of Jacky, when I looked up, he was walking into the room. He came to stand next to Chance who made to give up his seat when Jacky simply put a hand to his shoulder. Jacky smiled widely at me.

“Having a heart to heart?”

I didn’t reply, merely narrowed my eyes at him. Chance decided to answer for me. “Yep.”

“How’s it going?”

“Good,” Chance replied, smiling at me. “He hasn’t even taken a swing at me yet.”

Jacky’s eyebrows went up. “Really?” He gave a nod and patted Chance on the back. “Impressive.”

“There’s still time,” I grumbled, wondering if they had somehow forgotten I was still in the room with them.

“I’m wearing him down,” Chance said pleasantly.

Jacky seemed pleased. “See? What did I tell you?”

“Don’t strangle him?”

“And hasn’t that worked out well?”

Chance shrugged. “It’s not as fun.”

I was standing right there. “You two are unbelievable.”

“I know,” Jacky replied with a chuckle.

“He’s corrupted you.” I couldn’t help my pout. “I don’t know why you keep him around.”

When Jacky’s eyes got that mischievous look, I should have run for the hills. “He’s good in the sack. He does this thing with his tongue—”

“Jesus! What is wrong with you two?” I threw my arms up, gagging when Chance leaned up to kiss Jacky. How could two such hardboiled mugs be so squishy and lovey and I think I’m gonna to be sick.

“I love you,” Chance purred.

Jacky planted a kiss on the tip of Chance’s nose. “I love you too, snugglepup.”

“I’m getting out of here before you two make me lose my lunch.”

When I walked out, it was to the sound of their infectious laughter, and damn it, if I didn’t end up with a dopey grin on my face. Bastards, the lot of them.

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The Power of Dreams

992166_2365335300Have you ever had a dream so vivid you wonder how the hell it was possible? The mind is an incredible thing, we know that, but I admit there’s something I find absolutely fascinating about how we dream. See, I’d been fretting about Henry’s character. He’s one of my protagonists, the love of Johnnie’s life. Yet I’ve been feeling disconnected from him. He hasn’t been talking to me as much as the other fellas. Granted, when those other fellas are Johnnie and Chance, it’s understandable. Anyone would be lucky to get a word in edgewise. I needed Henry to step up and stop being such a wall flower because if he wasn’t careful, Johnnie’s ostentatious personality was going to wipe him clear off the map.

This fretting was obviously floating around in the back of my mind when I dozed off last night, and the whole thing filtered into my dreams, because I dreamed I was in the 1930s. It was weird. It was one of those things where you kind of know you don’t belong there yet you’re still a part of it, a sort of semi-awareness. It’s not the first time I’ve dreamed of a different time. (Welcome to the head of a historical writer). Anyway, the thing is, it was the 1930s. Not surprising considering how much of my day I spent trying to immerse myself in that time. What I found surprising was the incredible vividness of the dream. I swear, it was as if I had closed my eyes and woken up in that time.

I remember a restaurant, and the incredible detail of it just blew me away. I don’t know what restaurant it was, whether it may have been something I had seen at some point somewhere or if my head had just made it up and turned the colors up full blast, but the details took my breath away. From the clothing the people were wearing to the gorgeous ceiling and the tiled floor. It breaks my heart that I can’t remember much of it now, but I remember at the time just standing there in awe.

Just where had my head conjured up this place from? Believe me, I might know my era, but I’m nowhere near as good as that, where I can just piece something together off the top of my head. There was also a hotel lobby and busy sidewalks at night, all illuminated by signs. Mostly I remember indoors. I remember a good deal of it was sort of in a shopping arcade, which is where this restaurant was. I remember green marble tiles in a diamond pattern on the floor with white marble tiles. Lots of gold inside the restaurant, intricate designs.

HenryNow the best part was, there was a man in a dark blue, three-piece suit walking beside me. He had his hands in his pockets and a gray felt hat on his head with a black ribbon around it. He was tall, slender, very unassuming, soft spoken, and handsome, though I couldn’t see his face clearly. He would talk with his head lowered. I couldn’t see what color his hair was. Then I remember he took me back somewhere. There was a gift shop, but it was closed. I remember sun coming in through a window on my left and cloth tarps covered a good deal of the furniture. Even though I can’t remember what he was talking about, I remember there was an odd sense of peace mixed with sadness. Either it was him giving off this sadness or it was whatever he was talking about.

When I turned, I saw a table filled with pretty souvenirs. They were British. I knew then the man was Henry. Henry’s English, you see. He’s tall, slender, unassuming, soft spoken, and handsome. For the life of me, I can’t remember what Henry was talking to me about. I wish I could say I woke up and knew everything there was to know about him, but I didn’t. I did wake up feeling a little more connected to him. It might sound strange, and a little silly, but I also woke up feeling somewhat sad. Because for a moment, he had been there, real and in the flesh, living and breathing like any other person we talk to on a daily basis. Except he was a man of his time, and in the here and now, he would have passed on many a year ago. Henry was gone.

What does this mean for the story? Well, it’s made things a little more complicated, so hold onto your hats. See, now that it feels as if I’ve met Henry in person, I can’t get into his head. I’ve mulled over the POV of Johnnie’s book endlessly. At first it was going to be Johnnie’s POV because the first book was written from Chance’s POV and I thought I should continue that. Then it changed to third so I could get into other characters’ heads. Now, it only feels right doing it from Johnnie’s point of view, to see and feel things through him, and most importantly, to see Henry through Johnnie’s eyes, the way I saw him through my own. See, there’s a reason they say we writers are screwy. So I feel as if I can’t let Henry down. I have to give a life and a love worthy of the man who had walked beside me in that shopping arcade. Henry, I apologize in advance for what Johnnie will put you through, but I promise you, you’ll get your happily ever after.

x Charlie

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