Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Meredith Medical Center Christmas-- Short Story

Back by popular demand...

A Christmas Eve blizzard holds the upper Midwest in its icy grip. Two paramedics are determined to brave the storm and get home for the holidays, but Mother Nature has other plans…

Larry Wolf shook his head and grinned as he cleaned out the ambulance. His partner was getting sappy around the holidays.
Jared Browning had tied together a sprig of mistletoe and a quarter-size silver star and hung the ornament from the rearview mirror.
Chief Keegan would have a fit if he thought his two paramedics were treating the ambulance like a Christmas sleigh. Larry untied the red satin ribbon and pulled the decoration from the mirror, then placed it in the center console.
The wind howled outside the hospital ambulance bay. As soon as he finished cleaning and restocking, they’d drive back to the fire station, hand off to the holiday crew, and Christmas Eve could start in earnest.
Maybe he’d stop on the way home for an Irish coffee, see if any unattached friends were hanging out at his usual haunt.
Then home. Maybe watch It’s a Wonderful Life, wrap the presents for his nieces and nephews. And tomorrow…
He grimaced. Tomorrow, to his parents’ house for dinner with his three brothers, their wives and kids. As usual, he’d be the ‘extra man’ at dinner, as his mother called him. Since it was Christmas, she wouldn’t surprise him with a date.
The holidays were the pits when you were single. No wonder people got depressed.
He finished stocking the overhead bins.
Jared walked into the heated ambulance bay. “Hey, ready to go?”
“Yeah, no thanks to you. We’re stocked and locked.” He jumped down from the back of the ambulance and slammed the doors shut. “Let’s go.”
“Snowing like mad out there,” Jared said, sliding into the shotgun seat. “You want me to drive?”
Larry buckled his seat belt and hit the remote to raise the emergency vehicle garage door. “You drove last time.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Jared settled back in his seat. “Hey! What did you do with my ornament?”
“In the console. You know Keegan doesn’t go for that stuff.”
“But that’s my Christmas wishing star.”
Larry grinned as he shifted into drive and steered the rig out into the swirling snow. “A what?”
“A wishing star. Gonna ask Santa for something special.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
“Like a girl for my partner.” Jared smirked.
Larry blew out a gusty sigh. Jared was happily married, with two kids and one on the way. At work, too, Larry was the ‘extra man.’ He punched the remote, and the door of bay number three closed behind them. He started down the ramp, away from the Emergency Department.
Jared tightened his seatbelt. “Man. It’s really coming down. Can’t hardly see the road. Bet the highway’s bad.”
Larry gripped the steering wheel. “The firehouse is only two miles outside of town. I’ll have you back in no time, and then you’re home to Cindy and the kids.”
In town, traffic had dwindled to almost nothing. Larry turned onto Highway 61 and headed for Fire Station number 22. He took a deep breath and left the city behind. Gonna be a white knuckler, driving in this.
The blizzard raged around them as they crawled along. The hurricane of snow, now unobstructed by buildings, obliterated visibility and screeched like a polar bear in pain. The vehicle rocked in the wind.
Larry caught a glimpse of Jared wrapping his fingers around one of the grab handles on the doorjamb.
“My driving making you nervous?”
“This storm’s making me nervous. Maybe we shouldn’t have left the hospital.”
Larry squeezed the wheel. “We’ll make it.”
“Yeah, but—”
The sound of tearing metal ripped through the underside of the cab. The ambulance listed sideways and jolted to a stop, and the dashboard lights went out and the headlights dimmed.
“Shit! What was that?” Larry’s gaze flew to the side view mirror. Nothing but white showed at the windows.
“Whatever it was, it’s not good.” Jared pulled on his door handle, and nothing happened. “Door’s jammed.”
Larry reached for the radio handset and clicked the mike, then turned the knobs on the console. “Radio’s dead. How about the computer?”
Jared tapped the keys. “Nada. No Wi-Fi.”
Larry groaned. “Cell phone.”
They pulled out their phones.
“No bars,” they said in unison.
“Shit.” Larry pulled two flashlights out of the console and handed one to Jared, who uncharacteristically cussed.
“Yeah shit. Now what?”
“We wait.”
“I could walk for help—”
“No. Too dangerous, and Cindy would kill me if I let you.”
Jared opened the console and pulled out the wishing star.
Larry raised an eyebrow. “What’re you doing?”
“As bad as this storm is, we need all the help we can get. Better make a wish.”
Larry grinned in spite of himself. “Just a big kid, aren’t you, Browning?”
“Hey. Whatever it takes.” He tied the star to the rearview.
Jared was right. They weren’t going anywhere without help.
Like magic, a light reflected in the driver’s side mirror. The light grew and stopped next to them.
Larry stared. “What in the—”
Jared peered out Larry’s window. “It’s a plow.”
A gloved hand knocked on their door.
Larry lowered the window. Snow whirled in and stole the heat.
The plow driver stood there bundled up in heavy clothes. “You boys stuck?”
“Yeah.” The wind whisked away Larry’s words. “Can you give one of us a lift to the fire station down by the wildlife preserve?”
Jared grabbed his arm. “We’ll both go.”
Larry shook his head. “I’ll stay with the ambulance. You go and have them bring a tow truck.”
“Larry, you need to—”
“Time’s a wastin’!” yelled the plow driver. “I can’t stop for long, boys!”
“I’ll be fine,” Larry said. “You’ll be back in no time.”
Jared shrugged into his parka, pulled on his gloves, and clambered across Larry to the driver’s side door. “We’ll be back soon. Stay in the vehicle. No Superman stuff.”
“Yeah, yeah. Go,” Larry yelled.
Jared and the plow driver disappeared. The light moved away from the ambulance, swallowed up in the storm.
Cold infiltrated the cab, and Larry tried the engine. The starter didn’t turn over. Hell. Now he couldn’t run the heater.
“Must’ve damaged something big,” he muttered. He punched on the hazard lights. The yellow triangle flashed as he uneasily watched the dense flakes turn red in the emergency lights. Maybe he should have gone with them. The emergency vehicle belonged to the county, not him, and it could be awhile. Damn it, he’d counted on the heater.
If another plow came along, he’d hitch a ride.
He zipped his heavy winter coat up to the collar and shoved his hands into his gloves, then swung between the front seats into the back of the ambulance.
Nothing looked out of place, even though the vehicle leaned toward the passenger side. He shined the flashlight into one of the wall bins and pulled out a couple of fleece blankets, then tested the battery-operated silver warming wrap. He flipped the switch, and a green light came on, then slowly faded.
“Aw, hell.” The only other heat source. He wrapped up in a fleece, then sat on the gurney.
What a way to spend Christmas Eve.
What difference did that make, Christmas Eve? Not like he had big plans, or someone to get home to, like Jared.
At least the ‘extra man’ would have a good story for Christmas dinner tomorrow.
Assuming he got out of this alive.
Way to be morbid, Wolf.
His breath steamed out, hanging in small clouds in the frigid air. Better get the other fleece. Wrapped in the two blankets, he stepped up to the cab and settled in the driver’s seat. The cold had seeped into the ambulance, and another shiver went through him. A yawn stretched his jaw.Maybe he’d just close his eyes for awhile…
No. Couldn’t sleep. Might get hypothermia or frostbite if it got too cold in here. If he just had his MP3 player, or something to keep him awake. He groaned. What he wouldn’t give for a steaming cup of coffee right now. The warmth had dissipated, and his breath looked like smoke. How long could he stay here without heat?
The blizzard formed mesmerizing patterns like an enormous pinwheel. Absolutely hypnotic. He blinked, then again, and each blink longer than the last, until his lids stayed closed.
A knock on the window jolted him awake.
A figure in red tapped on the glass.
Larry blew out a breath. Thank God. Another plow. Time to get out of here.
He clicked on the flashlight and pushed the door open. Instead of a plow driver, the light illuminated a young woman wrapped in a scarlet parka.
“My car,” she yelled over the wind.
“Get in,” Larry shouted.
The woman stepped on the running board and launched herself into Larry’s lap, and he slammed the door closed. She wriggled, and the friction woke up his cock.
Whoa. Hadn’t felt that in awhile.
The woman swiveled and moved into Jared’s seat, brushing snow off her shoulders. In the glow of his flashlight, she pulled off her hat. Damp auburn hair cascaded around her shoulders. She turned to face him, and his breath caught. The beam revealed a face like an angel. Wide brown eyes, full kissable lips. A gorgeous smile.
A Christmas angel. Maybe there was something to this wishing star business.
Get your mind off your dick, Wolf. This isn’t a date.
“I’m Larry.” His breath puffed out in a white mist, and he freed one hand from a glove to shake.
“Holly. Thanks for letting me in. My car got stuck and the engine died.” She pulled off her mittens and shook his hand.
Her fingers were icy in his. With the flashlight, Larry inspected her skin: waxy white. “Dangerous to be out in this weather. How far did you walk?”
“I don’t know. It seemed like miles.”
Larry leaned in to study her fingertips, and bumped foreheads with Holly. He felt the blood rush to his face. “Sorry. Do your hands hurt?”
A shiver ran through her. “Um, they’re pretty much numb.”
Bad sign. Larry grimaced. “Can I look at your feet?”
She raised an eyebrow, then pulled off her wet boots and socks. Her feet had the same bloodless tallow appearance as her hands.
Larry caught her eyes. “I think you have early frostbite. We need to get you warmed up right away.”
He held her hands between his, feeling the tremors running through her. She was going to think he was trying to get into her pants when she heard the solution. “You need to get out of these wet clothes.”
Her liquid brown eyes widened.
“I swear it’s not a come-on. You’re… you’re safe with me.”
She appraised him in the dim light, then nodded.
Well, that had been easy. He gestured with the flashlight. “In the back.”
Holly swung between the seats, stepped through into the patient area, and sat on the bench.
Larry laid the flashlight next to her and pulled out a fleece blanket and a set of blue scrubs. “Let’s get you out of those wet clothes.”
Holly’s gaze dropped to his lips for a second, then met his eyes. Larry felt a stirring in his groin. Why did he have to meet her like this?
Her voice carried a husky note, and more blood headed south to his cock. He cleared his throat.
“Can you help me with my clothes? I can’t feel my hands.”
More heat warmed his face and his groin. No wonder there wasn’t enough blood left for his brain. He leaned in and unzipped her wet parka, then pushed it off her shoulders.
Cool lips touched his. The flashlight rolled off the bench and spun crazily across the floor like an emergency light. Her mouth was soft but without the expected warmth; still, his body reacted immediately. His cock hardened to steel.
Larry threaded his fingers through her damp hair and inhaled as he kissed her. She smelled so good. Like cinnamon and vanilla. Like sugar cookies. Good enough to eat.
Eat her. Damn.
As if she read his thoughts, Holly pulled back. “Sorry. Your hands are so warm, I just wanted to...”
“No problem. I… liked warming you.” He grinned.
She peeled a wet turtleneck over her head, revealing a red satin bra.
He swallowed hard. Was this really happening? Was he enough of a professional to do this, after she kissed him? He grabbed the light off the floor, and stood it upright on the bench like a torch.
Holly got to her feet. “Can you help me with my jeans?”
Larry complied and stripped off the slush-soaked denim, uncovering a matching red thong. He groaned. At eye level, a near-naked woman’s sex hid behind a thin layer of satin. He could smell her. He could almost taste her. A shiver ran through him, part cold, part desire.
He stood, grabbed a fleece blanket and wrapped it around her, then flipped back the sheets and blankets on the bed. “Get in.”
Holly curled up on the thick mattress of the gurney, and he pulled the covers over her. She turned to face the wall. “God, I’m freezing!”
He lay down on top of the bedding next to her and draped the second fleece over them along with the unheated shock blanket. Larry spooned around her and rubbed her arm. No warmth radiated through the sheets and the fleece.
Holly snuggled against the hollow of his body, and her butt bumped his engorged cock. He tensed.
Did she feel that? Hard to hide something that obvious. What would it be like to— no. Don’t push against her, just warm her up. Forget about sex.
Holly rolled over to face him. Her teeth chattered. “I’m s-s-soooo c-cold.”
Hypothermia. Larry swallowed. “I’m worried about your core body temperature. I need to get you warm.”
Holly nodded.
“The best way to do that is to take off our clothes and share body heat.”
She shivered. “Okay.”
Wow. That was fast. “You sure?”
“Yes. Please, Larry. I’m so cold.”
He swung off the bed, shrugged out of his parka, then stripped off his two shirts. The cold slapped him like an icy hand, and his nipples tightened. Holly gazed up at him as she shook with cold. He kicked off his boots, then turned his back to shuck his jeans, feeling his face heat again as soon as he unzipped.
Of course, he’d picked today to wear the boxer briefs with little candy canes all over them, and the phrase “Welcome to the North Pole” across the front. He’d never take another dare from his oldest brother regarding underwear. His erection strained at the material. He held his parka in front of him and pivoted.
Holly whipped the covers back and invited him into bed, not commenting on his boxers or his pole.
He slid in with her, then pulled out the parka and spread it over them. He hadn’t been this naked with a woman for... well, a long time. Holly cuddled into his chest and belly and he rubbed her back as he kept his groin out of range.
Her cool palm rubbed his erection.
He gasped, and his resolve crumbled.
This time, he brought his mouth down on hers, hot and hungry. His tongue slipped between her lips. God, she even tasted like sugar cookies, this ice angel.
Did she taste like this…everywhere? Another wave of desire traveled down to his cock.
He moved his mouth down to her neck, and then to her red satin bra. Holly rolled to her back and unsnapped the front closure, and he groaned as the thing parted, revealing pale breasts in the low light.
Her nipples looked like gumdrops, and he closed his lips around one peak, suckled. Sweet as a lollipop. Holly whimpered.
Starting to feel warm in here, at least to him. His inner furnace roared, ready to warm her inside and out.
Under the covers, he kissed his way down her chilly stomach, blew warm air into her belly button, then peeked up at her. “Holly.”
“Did you know an orgasm can burn up to three hundred calories and generate heat?”
“Maybe we should try that.”
Under the covers, he drew off her thong and pushed off his briefs.
With care, he rolled between her legs and urged her knees apart, and smoothed his thumbs up her inner thighs to her center. Here, heat greeted his questing fingers. Had to get a taste.
As he licked up her cleft, vanilla and sugar flavors melted on his tongue, drawing a deep groan from him and a sigh from Holly. Just like a Christmas cookie. The next laps he teased her clit until she arched, and gripped his head.
He gently bit down, and she cried out. Tremors ran through her, this time induced by orgasm instead of cold. Larry shook with his need and shivered with her.
They should conserve the heat. He moved back up her body and curled her against his chest, wrapping his arms around her. Warmth hovered in the scant space between them. His cock basked in the close proximity, wanting to try out the hot glove of Holly’s body.
Cool fingers closed on his erection. He jumped.
“Wow. You’re still cold.”
She let go. “Sorry.”
“’S okay. Give me your hands.”
He flattened her palms against his chest, gritting his teeth against the cold, holding them there until her hands felt warm.
“Can you flex your fingers?”
She made a fist, then opened her fingers like a flower. “They feel hot, like pins and needles. Prickly. Not painful.”
He kissed her palm. “Sounds like you’re thawing out.”
“Does this feel better?” Her fingers stroked his erection. This time, electric pleasure spread out from his groin. Holly squeezed gently, moved up and down.
His hips flexed, and he pushed into her hand. “Are your fingers okay? You don’t have to—”
Holly pressed a finger to his lips, and swung her leg over his hip. “I want you to warm me. Inside.”
His cock throbbed at her words. How could he possibly refuse her? He slid his thigh between hers, pressing on her core.
She moaned. “Do you have protection?”
Larry nodded and snaked an arm out and pulled his wallet from his jeans. Thank God he still carried the two foil packets. They were cold as snow, and he held them in his hand until they warmed. Holly took one and tore the foil, then rolled the latex down his cock.
Larry covered her with his body and devoured her mouth as his skin heated hers. His shaft rubbed against her cleft, and a delicious tightening curled at the small of his back.
“Warm enough?” he panted.
She wrapped her arms against his neck. “Getting there.”
Larry guided his cock to her opening and pushed inside. She gasped at his entry, and he froze.
“You okay, Holly?” God, could he even stop now?
“You’re… very warm. And big.”
He chuckled and pulled his hips back, then thrust again. Holly’s fingers smoothed his hair off his forehead, and she pulled him down for an open-mouthed kiss, her lips now warm and supple. Her tongue came forward to meet his, sliding along his, hot and smooth. Larry shifted his weight to one forearm and cupped her breast, rubbing his thumb across the nipple.
Her skin had warmed, and his cock thickened inside her. Holly moaned. God, he loved that sound. So sexy.
As he found a rhythm, her hips rose to meet his. Larry reached between them and thumbed her clit, drawing moans from her until she hit her climax, calling his name as she shuddered.
He didn’t last long, coming hard inside her.
After he got his breath, he pulled out.
“Are you warm?” he whispered.
“Very warm. Feels good.”
He kissed her. “Good.” A hell of a way to stave off hypothermia and frostbite. But worth it. Definitely worth it.
Jared breathed a sigh of relief when the ambulance came into view, half buried in a snow drift. As soon as the plow stopped, he jumped out and waded to the driver’s door. Locked.
He hammered on the window. “Larry! You in there?”
His partner’s head appeared around the corner, then Larry stepped into the front, dressed in his shirts and wrapped in a fleece. He pushed open the door.
“Jared. Man, am I glad to see you. I have—”
Jared pushed into the driver’s seat and closed the door. “Sorry it took so long, buddy. Let’s get you out of here. Where’s your coat, man?”
“There’s a girl here too. Her car got stuck in the snow.”
Jared raised his eyebrows. How in the hell had she made it through the blizzard to the ambulance? “Okaaaay. Let’s get both of you out of here.”
A girl in blue hospital scrubs and Larry’s coat appeared over Larry’s shoulder. “Hi. I’m Holly.”
Jared grinned. “Let’s go.”
The morning after Christmas, Jared inspected the retrieved ambulance at the fire station. No apparent damage and the thing started right up.
He opened the back doors, and began the cleanup. Larry had apparently utilized every sheet and fleece to warm up the girl. Lucky she’d found Larry, or she might have died.
Larry had invited her to Christmas dinner at his folks. Jared shook his head. No extra man this holiday for Larry. Quite a gift from Santa.
Jared stripped the gurney. Tangled in the sheets at the foot of the bed was a red satin thong.
Jared stared for a moment, then grinned. “Wishes do come true.”

Buy all fourteen MMC stories at Amazon: Everything Erotic

NEW! Midwinter Night's Dream a Christmas story from Loose Id On Amazon

Copyright © 2010 Whitley Gray

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Blog Hop--Midwinter Night's Dream

Midwinter Night’s Dream—a Christmas Story Coming December 10th from Loose Id! Meet Errol Lockhart, and learn a bit about him and his relationship with Joe.

Describe yourself in four words. Determined. Loyal. Romantic. Creative.

Boxers, briefs, or commando? Weeell, considering Joe worked for a high-end underwear company, I’d have to say designer briefs by Escalade. Before that it was a gold thong for work. If you want the details, you’ll have to read it yourself—too embarrassing!

Favorite food? Ordinarily I’d say anything—beggars can’t be choosers. Joe is a much better cook than I am, and I really like Joe’s five-alarm chili. He fixes it at the fire house about once a month. I’ve eaten enough Ramen noodles to last me a lifetime.

What about Joe makes you crazy in a bad way? Joe is a great guy, but he can take overprotective to a new level. Getting him to understand he doesn’t have to keep the bad things away all the time is one of the things we’re working on. As far as a bad thing, though, it’s endearing. He means well, and I love that about him.


Two years ago, Joe Blake lost his secret lover, firefighter Bryce Marshall. Grieving, Joe left his job as a fireman and paramedic to become the spokesmodel for undergarment company Escalade. They lured him into the limelight and drove him deeper into the closet. Modeling doesn't provide fulfillment; Joe wants privacy and to feel useful again. A holiday at his mountain cabin outside Denver is the perfect escape. The last thing he anticipated, or wanted, was sharing his retreat with another man.

Last Christmas, actor Errol Lockhart discovered boyfriend Carson had stolen a play. Carson accused Errol and then blackballed him in the theater community. Some Christmas that was. Now Errol has to take whatever work he can to survive. Delivering a singing telegram during a blizzard isn't wise, but it pays double and rent is overdue. He's got dreams, not of a white Christmas, but of getting a shot at Hollywood. He's determined to make it, if he survives this storm.

As Joe and Errol ride out the blizzard, more than marshmallows get toasty in front of the fire. When Errol discovers Joe's identity, he's sure he's found his way in, his big break. But Joe won't sacrifice Errol to the Hollywood sharks. Unless they can forge a compromise, they're going to wake from their midwinter night's dream to lumps of coal in their stockings.

Link back to the hop:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Midwinter Night’s Dream

When it came time to think about a Christmas story, the weather was still in the fifties—no snow—and winter seemed a long way off. Coming up with something that appealed to me was a challenge. I thought back to Christmases when I was a kid growing up in the Rockies.

Waking up in a warm house to toys and a big breakfast spread didn’t sound like a lot of conflict, and I didn’t want to make a huge tragedy out of what should be a happy holiday. What could be a better Christmas gift than finding love?

What if love literally showed up on your doorstep?

Some of the family had a log cabin in the mountains. We used to go up there for the weekend—it was a mass of aunts and uncles and cousins. The cook stove burned wood, the fireplace was the main heat source, and a generator provided a little electricity for lights and bath water. Although this family cabin had more than a single room, it was still the inspiration for the story Midwinter Night’s Dream.

Add two damaged guys and a blizzard, and voila! A Christmas story was born.

Errol is at the end of his rope—his career is going nowhere, and he doesn’t have the means to effect a change. Joe is still in love with a ghost. A blizzard throws them together to ride out the storm.


Two years ago, Joe Blake lost his secret lover, firefighter Bryce Marshall. Grieving, Joe left his job as a fireman and paramedic to become the spokesmodel for undergarment company Escalade. They lured him into the limelight and drove him deeper into the closet. Modeling doesn't provide fulfillment; Joe wants privacy and to feel useful again. A holiday at his mountain cabin outside Denver is the perfect escape. The last thing he anticipated, or wanted, was sharing his retreat with another man.

Last Christmas, actor Errol Lockhart discovered boyfriend Carson had stolen a play. Carson accused Errol and then blackballed him in the theater community. Some Christmas that was. Now Errol has to take whatever work he can to survive. Delivering a singing telegram during a blizzard isn't wise, but it pays double and rent is overdue. He's got dreams, not of a white Christmas, but of getting a shot at Hollywood. He's determined to make it, if he survives this storm.

As Joe and Errol ride out the blizzard, more than marshmallows get toasty in front of the fire. When Errol discovers Joe's identity, he's sure he's found his way in, his big break. But Joe won't sacrifice Errol to the Hollywood sharks. Unless they can forge a compromise, they're going to wake from their midwinter night's dream to lumps of coal in their stockings.


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Sunday, December 8, 2013

What Christmas Means to Me
It's that time of year--we're all going crazy, trying to get shopping done, meet with friends for parties and celebrations, and bake cookies.
It's that time of year--time to say thanks for all the good things in our lives. I'm especially thankful for my family. I have a lot of good memories of Christmases when I was growing up. In Colorado it's often a white Christmas, which is great if you get a sled but not so much if Santa leaves you a new bike.
I'm thankful for having a roof over my head and food on the table. The fireplace is lit, and considering it's eight below zero outside right now, it's truly a blessing. There are plenty of goodies in the kitchen, ensuring I'll have snacks while I write.
I'm thankful for friends, who come to the rescue when things aren't going well and help celebrate when things are good. The published author thing is like a rollercoaster, and it's good to have people who know you to keep things on an even keel.
I'm thankful for books--where would I be without them? A love of books led to a love of writing. I still read like a fiend, about five books a week.
And now, for the cookie recipe promised y'all:

No Bake Chocolate Cookies
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • Waxed paper
In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonful, until cooled and hardened.
Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for my upcoming release Midwinter Night's Dream from Loose Id!
Keep hopping.... QTA Blog Hop

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hometown Secrets

I’m Dawn Flemington and I’d like to thank Whitley for inviting me to talk on her blog today. She’s popped my ‘author cherry’ as this is my first interview for my first book, Hometown Secrets, which
debuted November 19th  from Loose Id Publishing. My second book, Blah, Humbug will be released December 1st from Dreamspinner Press. Yes, I have many things to be thankful for this holiday season and at the top of the list? Finally seeing a lifelong dream come true! I am book published! *SQUEE!*

Question – Are you a plotter or pantster?  Like all things in my life, instead of being either black or white, I tend to be a shade of grey… I call myself a ‘fencer’ – that is, I kinda do both plotting and pantsing. I must plot out the characters and have a vague outline of goals… then I pants it, which unfortunately leads me into some murky middles if I’m not careful.

Question - Tortured hero or tortured villain? I love to read stories and watch movies where the villain is totally a tortured soul. I’ve tried writing my version of a sympathetic villain, and alas, I haven’t mastered that yet. But I will keep trying…

Question - Easy on your characters or as hard as possible? Compared to my colorful, event-filled life, I don’t make my characters go through anything I haven’t been exposed to, so I believe I’m pathetically easy on my characters – however, my characters would vehemently disagree.  

Question - What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story? Hands down and no breath holding… it’s gotta be the characters. In my humble opinion, if you have wonderful, believable characters that touch a reader’s soul on an intimate level, you have it made. It doesn’t matter if you head hop or if your plot is quirky or if you start laminating in purple prose… if you have beloved characters and remain faithful to them, the reader will be more apt to forgive you for weaker story elements.

Question - What is the hardest part of writing your books? In all actuality, not letting real life get in the way. Ignoring procrastination and trying NOT to feel guilty over the laundry, the dishes, the simple dinners, and the abandoned vacuum cleaner/mop/feather duster. However, if we are talking about the actual mechanics of writing, I would say I have trouble surfing murky middles. If my middles are not sound, they have the tendency to become like quicksand and swallow me whole. Then the story never gets finished. (*sigh*) Sad, but true. I have a file drawer filled with great starts and beautiful endings, but the middle just sucked the life out of me.  

Question - How do you develop your plots? Do you use any set formula? If I told you, I’d have to kill you. (*snort*). Seriously, I have tried everything under the moon and then some, and for me, I haven’t found anything that compliments my mood at the moment, nor the current alignment of the stars or my bad hair days. More than likely I will continue to seek out the elusive magic ingredient guaranteed to make my writing life easier – and if I should stumble upon it, I would probably covet it for a period and call it ‘my precious’ before feeling guilty and then share it with the world…

Can you tell me a bit about your most recent release?  I started Hometown Secrets in as a submission for an anthology. Much to my chagrin and delight, the characters took on a life of their own and refused to be limited to 12,000 words. Never one to let an opportunity pass, I decided to flow with the voices to see where the characters wanted to take me. Wow – was I ever surprised.

As for my characters Pete, Asher, Virgil, Pastor Trumball and Trenton-Lee they; are as real to me as most of my family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances and the town of Delton became as memorable as my own hometown. Maybe that's because the location and all characters are a combination of places I lived in and people I grew up with or have met over the years. (A bit of trivia - Trenton-Lee is the name of my oldest grandson and has his Uncle Kelley's (my oldest son's) personality growing up. Vera is based on my grandmother and my fifth grade teacher.) Unlike past stories I've penned, it was hard to end this book.

I hope to someday revisit Hometown Secrets and expand, as I have a couple of secondary characters who are dying to tell their own stories and share their own secretes.

An old secret. A new secret. A surprising secret. A dirty secret.
Coming to terms with his sexuality, Pete Stubbs has found his 'Mr. Wonderful' and wants to celebrate his happiness by coming out. Yet admitting he is gay to his family is taking more courage than he originally thought, especially when his mother stuns him with her unexpected homophobic hatred. He starts to wonder if his coming out will be more selfish than freeing.

Out and proud Asher Gilford is tired of always being the 'throw away boy'. He deserves to be loved by a man who's not ashamed to be with him. Though his current lover reassures him it's only that 'more time is needed' before they can go public, Asher fears he's becoming someone's 'dirty little secret' yet again.

When a church sponsors Pete and Asher for a charity event, it explodes a series of startling secrets within their hometown. As Pete watches life crumble around him, he realizes that by remaining in the closet, he could lose more than his family. If he doesn't step up, he could lose Asher.

Buy link    Hometown Secrets
Dawn started out hobby writing fan fiction back in the 70’s and has had a few things published in fanzine form and on fan-fic websites. She has written a weekly column for a county newspaper and has had a few magazine articles printed.
Other than writing and reading, Dawn loves to quilt and crochet and has keen interest in green living, natural remedies, and self-reliance living skills.

Dawn is engaged to Scott Flemington, a retired HS English teacher who pines to be a co-author someday. They are life-long Michiganders and between the two of them, have five children, seven grandchildren, a fat spoiled cat and a turtle. They are highly active with their local GLBT and BDSM community.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What the Heck is a Character Outline? Why do I need one?

Character bible or character outline, they both boil down to the same thing. But what is it?

The short answer: it’s a biography.

The long answer: It’s a list of everything you know about your character, starting with his family of origin and ending at the start of your book. There are many, many lists out there for making a character outline, ranging from extraordinarily detailed to “just the basics.”

The reason you need one: to make sure you’re consistent about what your character looks like, sounds like, and acts like.

“Why? I know this character inside and out!” you say.

Sure, but like so many things, details can be forgotten. Plus if you ever write a sequel, you have a nice reference to ensure continuity. The character interview—talking to your character and asking him/her questions—can be a great way to get to know him/her.

“We’re well acquainted—I created him, after all,” you say.

True—but it’s amazing what you can discover about your character this way. A lot of this information can be mined for plot. Worth the time and effort.

Here’s my list of what you might want to include for starters in the character outline:

--Vital statistics—like height, weight, build, hair color, eye color. Here you can add in tattoos, piercings, or other distinguishing marks.

--Married? Single? “It’s complicated?”

--Where he lives—physical location. City or town, rural or metro.

--What does he live in—house, apartment, dorm. Single story or many floors? Stairs or elevator or both? Roommates?

--What he drives, and/or how he gets around.

--Where he works and what he does for a living. Consider salary—minimum wage or well-off?

--Education: high school drop-out? Graduate degree? What schools did he attend?

--Family—who are they, and how are they related to the character?

--Major formative life experiences (military service; losing both parents at a young age, suicide attempt, etc)

--Accomplishments—won a marathon, speaks fluent Japanese, makes the best chili this side of the Rockies.

--Major life ambition—climb Mount Everest, swim with sharks, get a GED.

I like to add in the character’s biggest fear, and what the character would never do. These come in handy when plotting. Of course, we’d like to make him face his biggest fear, and do what he never would do.

Two traits: serious, short-tempered, deliberate, honest, ruthless, mouthy, shy. Opposing/complementary traits are useful in putting together a pair of protagonists.

A list of favorites will help flesh out the character:

--Food (Pepsi; anchovies on pizza; allergic to shellfish)


--boxers or briefs?

--favorite movie/book/TV show

--favorite characteristics in a significant other—looks and characteristics

For the character interview, think about interpersonal relationships: family, friends, and firsts (first kiss, first intimate encounter, first job).

Here’s a set of good character interview questions from Gotham Writers’ Workshop:








Monday, November 4, 2013

Burdened to Death with Meg Perry

Today Meg  Perry is here to introduce the protagonist of her new release, Burdened to Death. Take it away, Meg...
What is your name and occupation?

My name’s Jeremy Brodie, Jamie for short. When I was born my oldest brother was two, and he couldn’t say Jeremy. It came out sounding sort of like Jamie, and the nickname stuck. I’m a librarian with a subject specialty in history at the Young Research Library at UCLA.

How old are you? 33.

How did you come by your current occupation?

I had originally planned to teach history at the college level. When my boyfriend at the time left me, near the end of my doctoral program, I decided to take a different path. I enjoyed doing research, so I went to library school and became an academic librarian. I teach a class in history research for the library school every spring.

Do you like your job?

I love my job! UCLA is one of the top universities in the country. Our patrons are mostly graduate students and faculty, so the research questions we get are always interesting. I learn something new every day.

Who is the person you dislike the most?

I have never met her, but I despise my boyfriend’s mother. Pete was sexually abused by the parish priest when he was fourteen, and his mother didn’t believe him – or his older brother, who’d actually caught the priest with Pete. She chose the priest’s reputation over her own sons. I don’t think I can forgive that.

Who is the person you respect the most?

My dad. He raised three boys as a single dad and served our country for 35 years as a Marine. He’s the most awesome person I know.

Is there anyone special in your life?

My boyfriend, Pete Ferguson. We’ve been together for a while now. We dated once before and couldn’t make it work – this time we’re both committed to building a relationship.

What’s your favorite meal? Do you fix it yourself or have someone fix it for you?

Shrimp and grits! I can’t cook it very well myself. My dad makes it the best, and he’s taught Pete to do it too.

Favorite color?

Blue. The color of sky and water.

Football or baseball?

Baseball. I played when I was a kid, and both my boyfriend Pete and my brother Kevin played baseball at UCLA on scholarship. Kevin still plays for the LAPD team, the Centurions. We go to Dodgers games pretty often. Having said that – my favorite sport is rugby. I started playing youth rugby when I was in grade school, and I kept it up all the way through college and graduate school. I won two national collegiate championships playing with the rugby team at UC-Berkeley.

Favorite exercise?

Swimming. I love being alone in the water. It really clears my head.

I hear you’re planning a vacation. Where are you going? Is anyone going along?

I’d like to take Pete to England with me next year, to show him Oxford and introduce him to my friends there.

Favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving. No presents, no unrealistic expectations, just food and family.

Favorite song?

I listen to a lot of classical music to relax. My ex, Scott, is a cellist in the LA Philharmonic and he got me hooked on it. I love the Bach cello suites.

If you had one wish, what would it be?

That I could go back in time and erase Pete’s abuse. I’d do anything if I could change that for him.


A phone call in the middle of the night is never good news. When Pete Ferguson’s phone rings, he learns that one of his childhood friends, Mark Jones, has committed suicide. Mark’s family is shocked, and wonders if Mark was abused by the same priest at whose hands Pete suffered. Pete and Mark’s family want answers, and they ask Jamie to find them.  Pete is convinced the priest is connected to his friend’s suicide. Jamie isn’t so sure. When the evidence starts pulling them in different directions, will it tear them apart?



We spotted Mark and Marcia’s mother near the driveway. She turned as we walked toward her, saw Pete, and came to him with her arms open. “Pete Ferguson! It’s so good to see you!”

Pete hugged her for a minute then introduced me. “This is my boyfriend, Jamie Brodie. This is – um, Mark’s mom.”

She smiled and took my hand. “Elaine Smith. It’s lovely to meet you.” She turned back to Pete. “I went from Jones to Smith. Isn’t that silly?”

Pete smiled. He said to me, “All the cookie recipes I have are ones that I got from Mark’s mom.”

“Oh, wow.” I smiled at Mrs. Smith. “I have a lot to be grateful to you for, then.”

She laughed a little. She and Pete went through the “how is everyone and where are they now” questions again, and she took Pete’s hand in both of hers. “I’m so glad you’re doing well.” She didn’t say anything else, but I knew what she meant.

“Thank you.” Pete didn’t elaborate either. I knew he was over talking about it.

She nodded at the driveway, where we saw Mark’s father departing. “He’s handling this very poorly. He didn’t react well when Mark came out. I think the wife is partly to blame. She’s very concerned with appearances.”

“Is that the same woman? She looks different.”

Mrs. Smith made a sound of disgust. “Oh, no. That’s wife number four. The other two and I meet for coffee sometimes. They were at least decent human beings. Wife number two is here, as a matter of fact. She loved Mark. This one, I don’t even want my granddaughters in her home.”

“So Mr. Jones feels bad now that he rejected Mark.”

“Bad doesn’t begin to cover it.” She made a dismissive motion with her hand. “But forget them.” She turned to me. “You seem like a lovely young man. Where are you from and what do you do?”

“Thank you, ma’am. I’m from Oceanside. and I’m a librarian at UCLA.”

“Oceanside. Did you grow up in a military household?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

She nodded. “Good.” She put her arm around Pete’s waist and gave him a squeeze. “You take good care of this boy.”

“Yes, ma’am. I will.”

Her smile faded. “I have to go see to Mark’s boyfriend. He’s having a terrible time. I’m trying to convince him to stay with us for a few days. He doesn’t have any contact with his own parents.” Her eyes teared up. “How can anyone turn their own child away? How can anyone do what your mother did?”

Pete said softly, “I’ve wondered that myself.”

Mrs. Smith hugged Pete fiercely then stepped back. “I’m so glad to see you. We’re in the same house. I’d love to have you visit some time.” She smiled mischievously. “I’ll make cookies.”

Pete laughed. “I’d like that.”

Mrs. Smith moved away and Pete turned to me. He looked tired. “Ready to go?”

“Yeah.” I’d been hoping to talk to the boyfriend, but he didn’t look like he was in any shape to talk. Right now he was sobbing on Mark’s mother’s shoulder.

“Let’s go find Dan’s grave.”

I’d brought flowers. I knew Ben Goldstein, Dan’s boyfriend at the time of his death, had made arrangements with Forest Lawn to keep flowers on Dan’s grave, but I wanted to make my contribution. We walked along the drive away from the subdued hubbub of Mark’s family. Dan’s grave was in the next section over. I was glad to see it was well tended. I laid my flowers at the base of the headstone and we stood for a minute. It was peaceful. There were birds singing.

Finally Pete sighed deeply and took my hand. “Okay. Let’s go home.”

We drove home without saying much. When we got there, Pete dumped his jacket on the loveseat and headed straight for the kitchen. He took down the bottle of Glenmorangie that Kevin and Abby had given us for Christmas, poured two fingers into a glass, knocked it back and poured two more. He gestured at me with the bottle. “Want any?”

“No.” I took a beer out of the fridge and took a long drink. “This’ll work for me.”

Pete went back down into the living room and dropped onto the sofa. He pulled off his tie and tossed it in the direction of his jacket; it fell to the floor. I picked it up, straightened his jacket over the arm of the loveseat and laid his tie over it, then draped my own jacket and tie over his. He waved his glass in the general direction of me and the jackets. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” I sat down beside him, but not touching. I didn’t know if he’d want to be touched. “Tough day.”

“No shit.”

“I didn’t know that anyone else knew about what happened to you.”

“Like Marcia said, word got around.”

“That’s bad.”

“Yeah.” Pete had his closed face on.

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Yeah.” He took another drink. “You can find out if the same thing happened to Mark as happened to me.”

“Do you really want me to do that?”

“Yeah. I do. I want to know what happened to him. I want to know why he did this. And I want to know if that son of a bitch Terry Moynihan did this to anyone else. And I want to know where he is.” He glared at me, his expression fierce. “Will you do that?”

I swallowed hard. “I will.”

“Good.” He turned his face back to the window.

I had my orders.


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