Take My Hand

TakeMyHand_lowres

“Take my hand.” A simple request with the power to change everything.

Artist Clay Cahill retreats to her hometown of Pine Cone, Georgia, when she’s betrayed by a woman she thought cared and the pressure of the New York City art world becomes too much. Setting paints aside, she takes a job at her grandfather’s garage seeking the restorative comfort of small town life where women are sweet and life flows as slow as molasses.

Manhattan art gallery owner River Hemsworth is preparing for a show when she’s informed her aunt has bequeathed her a local gallery in Pine Cone, a place where the idea of fashion is anything with a Carhart label. En route to review inventory and unload the property quickly, River wrecks and Clay comes to her rescue.

If River can convince Clay to start painting again, she may be able to pull off the show that will make her career and quench the desires she never expected to feel again.

Welcome to part one of the sweet, romantic adventures of Pine Cone, Georgia. I was super excited to write this trilogy with two of my favorite authors: VK Powell and D. Jackson Leigh

Trilogy wallpaper

 

Getting started

Isn’t that the hardest part sometimes? Just sitting down and putting the first lines on paper. I can’t seem to move forward until I get a first paragraph that I feel good about and the very first line needs to feel just right. I’ve realized that many of my books begin with taking a first step, crossing a threshold, which is usually a signal that things for the main character are about to change.

For my newest work in progress, Spencer’s Cove, there is no first step. There’s a cat, who has no concept of how much he weighs (18 lbs.) and a mystery to be solved… oh, and a painfully shy heiress.

Now, back to work on that first chapter.

Spencers Cove LOW res

Provincetown schedule, see you there!

IMG_7336Here I am, in one of my signature plaid shirts, in front of Recovering Hearts preparing for a signing in 2015. This year, I’m aspiring to wear solids, but I might not pull it off.

Okay, so it was summer for like a minute, and then I blinked… and now it’s October. Which means… Women’s Week in Provincetown, Mass!

My first visit to this charming coastal village was in 2015 and I’m excited to be back this year to meet up with old friends and a few new ones. I’m doing a quick post here to share my signing and reading schedule:

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12TH:

2:00-3:00 PM @ GABRIEL’S: I’ll be moderating a panel titled “Out of This World.” Panelists include: CJ Birch, Jane C. Esther, M. Ullrich, Ali Vali, Brey Willows, and Barbara Ann Wright.

5:00-7:00 PM @ HARBOR LOUNGE / 102 BRADFORD STREET: Bold Strokes Books Meet ‘n’ Greet. All are welcome to attend.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13TH:

10:00-11:00 AM @ LIBRARY: Author Q&A: Genre, What Genre? Moderated by Melissa Brayden. Panelists include: Missouri Vaun (aka: me), Jean Copeland, Jackie D, M. Ullrich, Ali Vali, and Barbara Ann Wright.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14TH:

2:00-3:00 PM @ LIBRARY: Pivotal Moments, moderated by I. Beacham. Panelists include: Radclyffe, Missouri Vaun, Mickey Brent, Robyn Nyx, Aurora Rey, and Emily Smith.

3:45-4:15 PM @ RECOVERING HEARTS: I’ll be there signing books with Radclyffe, Aurora Rey, Mickey Brent, Robyn Nyx, and Emily Smith.

For more information about all these great authors check out the Bold Strokes Books website.

 

 

The End

theend

My wife Evelyn took this picture.

I finished the first draft of the manuscript for Crossing The Wide Forever today. Weighing in at just over 67,000 words it’s the longest story I’ve written to date.

There seems to be a moment about seventy-five percent into every book that I have written thus far where the whole thing stalls and I worry that I’ve gone off the rails and have no idea how it’s all going to come together. I lose sleep, I fret, I drive my wife Evelyn crazy recapping scenes in the story. (She says not, but I’m sure I do.)

With a fourth cup of coffee in hand, my writing playlist piping in through noise-cancelling headphones and the lights in my studio dim… I write the next 1,000 words. Because you just have to. You have to push through to the other side.

Four thousand words later I crawl into bed, exhausted, frustrated, and dream about the book. Scenes flash through my mind like I’m watching a movie. And then it happens. Somewhere between asleep and awake, at about four o’clock in the morning the whole thing comes together in my head. I can see it all the way through.

In the dark I get up and go downstairs to scribble all of it down on a giant yellow legal pad. My cat Otis is happy. He finally has somewhere to sit. (Cats and paper, what is that?)

I’ve also noticed that every time I finish a book, the minute I type the words “The end,” I’m euphoric. My head feels lighter. I can finally stop worrying about these characters that I’ve been living with for weeks. I’ve gotten them through to the end and they’re going to be okay.

Everyone gets what they need in the end, except me, because now I’m feeling sad. I begin missing those characters. They have more stories to tell.

I email the acquisitions editor Sandy at Bold Strokes Books and tell her I have a great idea for a sequel. Sandy is always kind in her correspondence, so she promptly replies and gently reminds me sequels don’t sell as well. Sigh.

#TheWritingLife

Writing Book 3: Whiskey Sunrise

Royal of Whiskey Sunrise

One of my favorite characters in Whiskey Sunrise. Stay tuned 🙂

I’ve been working on my third book for Bold Strokes Books titled, Whiskey Sunrise, and it’s been interesting to watch the characters for this story evolve. Unlike with my first book, All Things Rise, where I knew the characters well before I started writing, these characters have been revealing themselves to me a little at a time. Currently, of the two leading women, one character is more butch and one character is more femme, but I’m learning that the fabric of their personalities is much more complex than those two labels imply. In addition to the context of operating a moonshine operation in a dry county in the Deep South in 1939, this book is also turning into an exploration of gender.

Over the past few years, I’ve come to be good friends with a few trans men and it has made me take notice of the subtle aspects of gender conditioning in our culture. Neither of the characters in this book are trans, but my exposure to a bit more trans culture has broadened the way I think about gender, and how we are expected to act, even write, a certain way depending on who we are perceived to be in our gendered society. I think my trans friends uniquely experience this reality, and they have influenced how my Whiskey Sunrise characters tap into this truth.

This story is also tapping into deeply personal religious experiences that I had growing up in the South — experiences that relate to gay issues, roles of women in the church and racism. I realize I’m making this sound like sort of a heavy read, but believe it or not, there’s actually quite a bit of humor in this book. The best humor has its roots in heartache I suppose.

Oh, and yes, there is a steamy romantic thread weaving all of these elements in the story together. The one thing that has been obvious from the first few lines of this book is that these two characters have incredible chemistry. I’m enjoying this glimpse into their world, feeling what they feel as they learn to be authentically themselves while at the same time falling in love.