I’ve been a total slug lately. Here it is, the first full week of summer “vacation” (I insist on quoting that word because it’s a joke to moms everywhere–stay-at-home or otherwise, it’s not our vacation). I just dropped my youngest two at a 9-12 camp. My oldest is still asleep (I guess the slugginess runs in the family). I need to start cranking out the words. This is my chance, possibly my only chance today.
But, I am not all that inspired lately. Part of it is seeing which books top the MM romance charts on Amazon. They aren’t the sort of books I write, generally speaking. Shifters and BDSM, rehashed Cinderella stories, cops, sports, motorcycle gangs. I get to thinking that maybe I shouldn’t bother with what I’m working on. Maybe I’ll spend months on a book that hardly anyone will read. Not to whine. I freaking hate when authors do that on Facebook. No. I’m not whining. I’m second-guessing, and it makes for a shitty writing mindset.
I have to remind myself that I can’t write anything I’m not interested in. Not only would it be painful to complete, but it would probably suck. It wouldn’t be me.
So, no matter how disheartening it is to not be burning up any charts with my books, I’m not going to try to come up with an alpha-mating-50-shades-of-tiger idea. I’m not going to stare at my current WIP and think I’m just wasting my fucking time.
I’m going to make a goddamn pot of coffee and finish this bitch because I love these characters, and really, their fictitious shit just hit the fan, so what the hell am I waiting for?
Here’s an unedited snippet from Balancing Act: Shooting Stars 3.5 to help rev the engines. I embrace cheerleaders, so feel free to give me a K. Give me an I. Give me an M. You get the idea. 😉
“How many?” The hostess smiled, revealing crooked teeth. Her name tag said Leya.
The girl checked a seating chart. “I should have something for you in five or ten minutes. Unless you’d like to sit at the bar.”
Greg’s attention was frozen in the direction of the bar to his right.
“I’m good with it.” Kyrie tugged on Greg’s arm.
“Great.” Leya slid two menus from a stack behind her.
“Umm. You know what?” Greg swallowed and then looked from Kyrie to the hostess. “Actually, we…I’d much rather…”
A waiter walked up. “I just need to wipe down nine, if you want to put them there.”
“Table then?” The hostess gave them wide eyes.
“Just one minute.” The waiter hustled off.
“What’s up with you?” Kyrie folded his arms over his chest.
“Just didn’t want to have a football game blaring when we’re trying to have…”
A romantic dinner?
“Conversation.” Greg glanced at the hostess who was busy rubbing black grease pen off a laminated seating chart.
They were ushered in a moment later, and Kyrie began scarfing down more white bread, this time with butter, as they waited for their order. The waiter brought them both a beer. Greg sipped his and his shoulders relaxed.
“So, how did the photo shoot go?”
“Ugh. I’ll never make fun of models for taking the easy way out again. It’s actually pretty labor intensive.”
Greg gave him a skeptical look while his foot rubbed Kyrie’s calf under the table. “Poor baby. You need a massage when we get home?”
“What?” Greg thunked his beer glass down on the table. “What’ve you done with the real Kyrie?”
“I’m just saying there’s no guarantee I’ll stay awake during a massage.”
“Then the massage is after.”
“After what?” Kyrie gave him a seductive grin. Beyond Greg’s shoulder he eyed a slim brunette woman walking toward their table with a smile on her face.
“Greg?” The woman touched Greg’s shoulder and he jumped a good five inches while a wingtip nailed Kyrie in the shin. “Oh, my! I didn’t mean to startle you.” She touched her chest in sympathy, and then looked from Greg to Kyrie and back. “I’m so glad you decided to try this place out.”
Greg coughed, seemingly on air, and then gave a weak grin, his eyes watery. “So far so good, Mel. Thanks for the recommendation.”
She smiled wider. “Hi, I’m Melanie Church. Greg and I work at Warner and Hall together.” She waved at Kyrie.
“Nice to meet you.” Kyrie swallowed most of the bread in his mouth before answering, but it still came out stuffy. He reached for his beer.
“Kyrie’s my ex-wife’s brother. I told you about his modeling job.” Greg’s nod was overenthusiastic as if all that action would draw attention away from what he’d just said.
Ex-wife’s brother? Why don’t you rip a huge fart and really throw her off the scent, Greg?
“Yes. How exciting.” Melanie didn’t seem to notice Greg’s odd behavior. Kyrie couldn’t help but glare at him. “Would it be out of line to ask for your autograph?” she added.
Kyrie turned his terse smile from Greg to his coworker. “Why not?”
She dug in her purse and pulled out a note pad.
“Well, aren’t you the Girl Scout?” Kyrie gave a hollow laugh and took the proffered paper and pen.
Greg’s grin looked like a snapshot, frozen and awkward.
Kyrie wrote: Mel—It’s been illuminating meeting you! Thanks much! Love, Greg’s ex-wife’s brother, Kyrie Li.
“Did I forget anything?” He held it up for Greg’s perusal, a saccharin smile on his face. Greg turned beet red. Kyrie slowly shook his head. “Don’t suppose so. Here you are.” He handed the pad back, grinding his teeth, just as the waiter arrived with their plates.
“Well, my husband’s pulling the car up, so I’d better go and let you two enjoy. See you tomorrow, Greg. So nice to meet you, Kyrie.” She slipped the paper and pen back in her bag, tossed the tail of her wayward scarf over her shoulder, and turned with a smile and wave.
“Her husband. How odd. I wonder whose brother he is?” Kyrie huffed and viciously stabbed his eggplant parmesan with a fork.
“Don’t Kyr me.”
“Don’t do this.”
“No. Why would I? I’ve sat and watched you pretend I’m your gay friend for the past year.” He slapped both hands on the white tablecloth and gave Greg a flip grin. “Why should anything change now, huh?”
“Stop.” Greg glanced around. “Can’t we just…” He tugged in a breath and then at his tie. “Let’s talk about it later, huh?”
“’Course, babe. We’ll do it later. It’ll probably work then.” Kyrie hated himself for being such a bitch, but goddamn it, he was sick of the same shit over and over. Sick to death of feeling like a dirty secret, no matter how good Greg did dirty when they got home.
“I work with her,” Greg whispered vehemently.
Kyrie just stared, daring him to elaborate and dig himself further. “Yup. Only right you should be able to act accordingly in front of co-workers.” He plugged a forkful of eggplant into his mouth and nodded, cramming the food between a manikin sneer.
“What do you expect?” Greg asked, and then fiddled with his napkin when Kyrie’s piercing gaze narrowed on him.
“Not much, anymore.” He grinned coldly. “Make sure you don’t, either.”