I’m honored to be on your blog today, Alex. Thanks for the invitation.
COULD YOU PLEASE SHARE THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU?
I’ve been told by several people that I’m Driven. Most people relax in between projects, but I always feel guilty when I’m not writing, reading, editing, or doing something related to my craft. So yeah, driven is pretty accurate.
Blunt. I have no verbal filters at all. I usually say what’s on my mind and have offended a few people along the way. Conversely, they know where I stand on any given subject, and one can always expect the unvarnished truth when they ask for my opinion. I try not to be rude or offensive, but honesty isn’t always appreciated.
My third word, believe it or not, is Shy. I’m terrible at speaking before a crowd and stress out when I have to make any sort of public appearance with regard to my writing. I’ve been to one book signing, and that’s only because it coincided with a writer’s workshop. Social networking is still a big challenge for me, and I have to make a conscious effort to put myself out there. Nowadays, readers have come to expect a certain level of public sharing, and I’m not entirely comfortable with the concept. I know this doesn’t help with book sales so I’m working on it.
PLEASE ORGANIZE THESE WORDS, PLACING THE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU FIRST AND BRIEFLY EXPLAIN YOUR REASON.
FAMILY, WRITING, SEX, MUSIC, FRIENDS, ANIMALS, LOVE, SPORTS, CHILDREN.
FAMILY, WRITING, SEX, MUSIC, FRIENDS, ANIMALS, LOVE, SPORTS, CHILDREN.
My children are very important to me, and I love them above anything else, but the level of commitment has changed through the years. Two of my four sons have their own families so we don’t see each other as often as we used to because of distance and personal schedules. We communicate by phone and email a lot, but gatherings have been reduced to major holidays. The two who are single live on their own, so again, I’m not that involved in their daily living. I’ve always been of the opinion that they’ll call if they need me. I never wanted to micromanage their lives, and I think it works both ways.
I love dogs and have had several over the years. My thirteen-year-old Dalmatian died two years ago, and I’m getting closer to finding a replacement, but I’d like a smaller breed this time since I live in an apartment.
Sports don’t factor into my life now that I no longer have to ferry a carload of boys to and from practice. I’ll watch the occasional hockey and football game, but baseball has never been a favorite.
Sex and love go hand in hand, don’t they? I couldn’t have one without the other.
Music is a staple and I use it for inspiration and relaxation.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?
Privately, since I was in high school. Publicly, since I discovered fan fiction in 2003. I’ve been published since 2009.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I’ve just submitted a novel that’s a spin-off of Impacted!. It’s set in the same dental universe, but the characters are all new. You wouldn’t have to read the original to enjoy this one. I’m currently working on the fourth book in the Horizons series and plotting one more in the Cutting Cords series. Some writers have two or three WIPs going at once, but unfortunately, I have to work on my stories one at a time.
WHICH CHARACTER IN YOUR BOOKS DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH, AND WHY?
There’s a little bit of me in every one of them, but I have to say I have a soft spot for Sloan from Cutting Cords. He’s the most complex and the most fun to write. I try not to make my characters flawless, because I don’t know anyone in the real world who is. I’ll take a hot mess over a perfect 10 any day.
SHARE THE NAMES OF A FEW AUTHORS WHO INSPIRE YOU.
Oh, God. That’s impossible, because I go through phases. I can tell you that in the m/m genre I’ve come to depend on certain writers to sustain my level of interest and teach me a thing or two. Josh Lanyon, Harper Fox, Brandon Shire, Chris Owen, Rowan Speedwell, and Erastes to name a few. Every day I discover a new talent, and the damn one-click Kindle option is like crack to me. I spend way too much on books!
SHARE THE MUSIC/MUSICIANS THAT YOU LIKE AND HOW THEY ADD TO YOUR LIFE OR WRITING?
My taste in music is eclectic and as varied as my reading. There’s not one genre I dislike, although I can only handle opera in small doses. Cutting Cords was very much influenced by Queen’s “Somebody to Love Me,” and I wrote a pole dancing scene in Daddio around the music of Adam Lambert. I don’t always listen to songs while I’m writing, but I do when I need the inspiration.
IF YOU WEREN’T A WRITER, WHAT OTHER CAREER WOULD YOU CHOSE
Something travel related. I love seeing new places and learning about different cultures. If I had unlimited funds, I’d be traveling three or four times a year. I’ve recently returned from a three-week tour of England, Scotland, and Ireland and I’m hooked! There’s so much more to see in this beautiful world, and I can’t wait to go back to Europe and explore other countries.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ON THE INTERNET?
|Sequel to Fire Horse|
Please enjoy this excerpt from
Ride-Off is my most recent release. It’s a sequel to Fire Horse which released in April 2013, and picks up two years after the ending of the first book. Although the main characters from Fire Horse are an integral part of this sequel, the focus of Ride-Off is on the grown children and how they’re dealing with Preston and Konrad’s union.
Here’s a scene from Chapter 2 where Preston and Kon are discussing a recent fight between their sons.
Preston opened the door of the study and paused when he saw Konrad. His partner was leaning against the wall, arms folded, Stetson tipped back, and one booted foot crossed over the other. Being back in familiar territory had jump-started Kon’s inner Texan, which had been in hiding for over twenty-seven years. By looking at him, no one would guess he hadn’t been around these parts forever. His weathered jeans and soft cotton shirt were typically Western, as were his mannerisms, but once in a while he’d slip and say something in Hungarian―a stark reminder of his not too distant past. Today though, he appeared quite at home and intent on solving his partner’s current dilemma.
“Is everything okay?” Kon asked.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“What I’d like to do is get the fuck out of here. Are you up for a ride?”
“I’m always up for that.”
They snuck out the back and headed toward the paddock, where they kept their personal mounts. There were several buildings strategically scattered around the thriving ranch, manned and maintained by seasoned men Preston’s father, John Fawkes, had trained and employed. When Konrad had reappeared on the scene, they’d combined the livestock from both ranches and renamed their new business.
The P&K Ranch was a prosperous stud farm, one of the few in the country that concentrated primarily on Andalusians, the pure Spanish breed Preston and Konrad had fallen in love with in the early nineteen eighties. They also trained polo ponies, using either thoroughbreds or quarter horses, or a combination of both. This was the other side of their business that was the true moneymaker. Trained ponies were much in demand and their buyers assumed, and rightly so, that Konrad and Preston knew what they were doing. As their fame spread, so did their stock, as well as the need to add on ranch hands, to keep the place humming in perfect harmony.
The partners acknowledged that having the Spanish horses was an extravagance, but they refused to give them up. Their history with the magnificent breed went way back and it would have felt sacrilegious to let them go. Few could afford the stiff price the Andalusians commanded, and therefore sales were sporadic. Finding an enthusiastic buyer, who gladly forked over their outrageous asking price, was simply icing on the cake. Fortunately, there was enough income generated from other sources to indulge this whim.
They saddled Storm and Diablo, Andalusians they kept for their own use, and held off on their conversation until they were out of earshot. Konrad could only surmise the gist of the discussion between Bandi and young Conrad. He’d seen the anger written all over his son’s face but couldn’t coax him into any kind of confession. All he could extract was a sullen admission that there’d been a disagreement of some kind. Ned wasn’t any more helpful, so he hoped that Preston would provide some insight.
Both men had realized from the beginning that blending two families with adult children would be a challenge, considering the huge difference in Conrad and Bandi’s upbringings, and the fact that neither party had been aware of the others’ existence until recently. It wasn’t a simple matter of letting them loose in a playground to get acquainted. Those years had long passed. All their fathers could hope for at this point was a modicum of civility with an optimistic view of a future where they might become friends.
When they got to the small grove of ash trees that had witnessed similar conversations between them throughout the years, they stopped instinctively and dismounted. After tying up the horses, they sought out some shade. It was far too hot and humid to be outdoors, but it afforded them the privacy they needed to get this conversation out of the way. Preston reclined against Konrad’s chest as he, in turn, leaned back against an old tree.
“Talk to me, Flea.”
“Dammit, Kon! You know I have.”
“I guess I’m to blame.”
“Maybe it would have been easier if we’d introduced all the players from the get-go instead of waiting two years.”
“We needed the time, Kon.”
Sighing, Kon agreed. “You’re right.”
They’d been apart far longer than together, and trying to fill in the gaps of a twenty-seven year separation hadn’t been easy. Not surprisingly, they’d spent the first few months of their reunion in bed, relearning the fine art of making love to each other. Konrad had been sexually deprived for years, and he’d gorged on Preston’s body like a newly released prisoner of war. Unleashing the bottled-up emotions had been liberating for both men, but Kon had forgotten how to trust after years of living a duplicitous life. Preston had his work cut out for him as he picked his way through layers of fear and suspicion. Getting Konrad used to public displays of affection, which Preston continued to promote, had been a monumental hurdle. He’d always been demonstrative, a trait that had led to heaps of trouble in the past, but one he could never rein in, especially with the love of his life.
During the lost years, as Preston now referred to the period in time when they’d been separated, he flitted from one meaningless relationship to another, and it, too, had left its mark. Emotionally, he was just as unstable as Konrad, except he’d learned how to hide his insecurity behind a jaded veneer. Now, he had to unlock the fierce love he’d kept under wraps for so long, which left him vulnerable; he knew there was always the possibility of getting his heart broken again. Kon had assured him things would be different this time, and he swore that nothing would ever separate them, but old habits die hard, and the child in Preston kept expecting the worst.
It took months for them to get to a place where they could spend a few hours apart without having panic attacks. Shadowing each other was far preferable to the uncertainty of an unexplained absence. Preston got back into the habit of deferring to Konrad, and putting his needs ahead of his own, while his lover slowly reclaimed his place by Preston’s side. In the interim, life had continued and former obligations had been ignored. So yes, Conrad’s accusation was spot on.
“What are we going to do about it?” Kon asked.
“Try and make up for it by being more supportive of his career.”
“How in hell did you end up with an actor for a son?”
“He’s never shown an interest in polo or ranching?”
“I think he wanted a different sort of life. I wasn’t around much, and he resented the sport for taking me away. From what I understand, he spent most of his days glued to the TV set. Of course, Monica encouraged him. The last thing she needed in her life was another polo player.”
“I’m surprised your dad allowed it.”
“The earth stopped spinning on its axis the moment Conrad was born, which was a good thing. Dad’s focus shifted and he stopped meddling in my life.”
“Is Conrad any good?”
“What do you mean?”
“As an actor.”
“I don’t know enough about it to make a judgment call, but I’m told he’s pretty good.”
“Who do you think? Monica says he’s got all kinds of talent. He won awards in college, and he’s been in demand during Summer Theater, so I guess that means he’s good.”
“I’d like to see him in a show.”
“Broadway’s not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump from here.”
“Should we try and patch things up between the boys?”
“Conrad said he’d handle it, and by the way, you should start referring to him as Sasha.”
“His stage name is Alexander Nell, and Sasha’s his nickname. Now that you’re here, it’ll lessen the confusion.”
“If that’s what you want.”
“It’s not me. Conrad ditched his real name as soon as he made his trek east.”
“Does he dislike Conrad that much?”
“God knows. Half the time I have no idea what he’s thinking.”
“Well,” Kon continued in a modulated drawl, “if it’s any consolation, Monica called me an asshole the minute she cornered me in my old bedroom. Said I didn’t have the balls to tell her I was gay way back when it counted, and if I had, she never would have tried to lure you into her bed.”
Preston snorted. “She got a son out of the deception. Back then, I’m pretty sure she’d rather have had Conrad than hear that you and I were fucking on the side.”
“Have you asked her why she’s never remarried?”
“Maybe she still loves you?”
“Why is that so impossible?”
“For one thing, I’ve never encouraged her. And now that she knows I was longing for you my entire fucking life, she probably hates me more than ever.”
“I don’t see hate in her eyes when she looks at you.”
“She couldn’t possibly love me, Kon. I’m the most unlovable person I know.”
“Why are you so hard on yourself, Flea?”
“It’s a part of my new image.”
“What image are you referring to?”
“The self-enlightened grown-up, instead of the fun-loving Peter Pan Ned has accused me of being time and again.”
“I happen to love your Peter Pan side.”
“Is that right?”
Kon’s hand was already roaming the familiar terrain of Preston’s body, and it didn’t take but a second for his man to react.
“When I’d lie in bed, alone and desperate in a country I hardly knew, I’d think about you and your wicked ways.”
“Now, which ways would you be referring to?” Preston teased.
“I don’t remember now but it sure helped at that time.”
“Shall we add one more memory to your jack-off repertoire?”
“There hasn’t been a need to play solitaire since we got back together,” Kon admitted with a soft chuckle. “In fact, I’ve been accused of being quite inappropriate for a fifty-two-year-old. Bandi thinks we’re sex maniacs.”
“We are,” Pres replied with a shit-eating grin, “but his attitude isn’t that surprising, is it? Our kids can’t imagine us having sex, period. People our age are supposed to spend their days gardening or playing golf, not fucking like rabbits.”
“What do they know?” Kon remarked. “Wait till they have to blow out more candles than a cake can hold and realize all their parts still work.”
“Not only do they work,” Pres pointed out, “they seem to have a mind of their own. Why don’t you wrap those unseemly lips around my forty-seven-year-old cock, and we’ll show those upstarts how the old farts do it.”
That's all folks. If you want more of this story, pick up a copy of Ride-Off. If you haven't had a chance to read the first novel, Fire Horse, well you are missing one scorcher of a story.
Thank you Mickie B. Ashling, you are a terrific guest; I so look forward to reading more of your work!
Alex, thank you very much for featuring me as writer of the week on your blog. A few years ago, I watched a Barbara Walters interview of Nacho Figueras, the world renowned Argentinian polo player, and it planted a seed. That tiny seed grew roots resulting in Fire Horse. Writing is such a solitary endeavor, as you know, and most writers find joy in the simple telling of a story. Seeing it come to life in print, and more importantly, catch the interest of a reader, is a huge accomplishment, and the perfect ending to the private journey between me and my characters, I couldn't be more pleased with the results, and knowing that you and others have fallen in love with Konrad and Preston is quite a thrill.