Wednesday, December 13, 2017

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - Her Two Dads #amwriting #lgbtqia



WIPpet numbers for 13th December, 2017:
13(th) + (20)17 – 12 = 18 paragraphs from Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet Context:
Over the weekend, I wrote a short story, which I’ll blog about separately once it’s ready for release, because it’s one of those quickies with no pre-release shenanigans.

For now, I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past. The pictured cover is NOT the cover, which is finished, but I’m keeping it to myself for now. :) It’s likely this novel won’t be out until next Christmas, because it’s nowhere near done and I’m looking forward to writing on it during my Christmas–New Year downtime.

This snippet coincides with a scene that happens in the first season of Hiding Behind The Couch (which you can download for free: http://hidingbehindthecouch.com/?n1=where_to_buy#free). This conversation happens away from the original focus of the scene but is overheard by another character. It’s a long snippet, but I didn’t want to leave it dangling.

* * * * *
“I was thinking…” Krissi flipped the battered ball of chicken with her fork and swished it back and forth through the sweet and sour sauce. Food that bright red really couldn’t be good for her. Around the table, people chatted away in their own little conversations, except Kris, to her right, waiting for her to elaborate, while she was waiting for her chest to stop vibrating with the hard, fast thump of her heart. She jabbed her fork into the chicken—“I might try to find out about my real dad”—and quickly crammed it into her mouth.

Silence.

Well, not silence, because everyone else was still talking and eating, and the restaurant was busy. Waiters bustled; music played; the phone rang. But Kris was silent at her side. She couldn’t bring herself to look his way, could see, in her peripheral vision, his fork hovering above his plate. Shit, I said ‘real’. I didn’t mean to do that.

“Why?” he asked. His voice was quiet and steady. Flat, really.

“I…” What could she say? She hadn’t expected him to ask why, more ‘I’d rather you didn’t but if you must’. Maybe she should have. “I love you,” she said.

He chuckled. “I know you do, Missy. I love you, too.”

“No, I mean…I don’t want you to think it’s because you’re not…enough, and…” Shut up, you’re just making it worse. “Right, say he’s got, I dunno, diabetes or something that he might’ve passed on to me. It would be good to know, wouldn’t it? So I could change my diet and stuff.” Stop eating bright red food.

“OK,” Kris said amenably. “That makes sense.”

Krissi glanced at him and smiled but quickly averted her eyes again. Kris was an amazing actor. It was what he did for a job, so he had to be, but he could’ve put on an Oscar-winning performance—or whatever radio actors won—and she’d still have known he was upset. “You’re my dad,” she said. “When I said ‘real’, I didn’t mean it like you’re not, you know?” She put her fork down and fake-sobbed into her hand. “I’m so messing this up.”

“You so are,” Kris agreed.

“Sorry.”

“Missy.”

“Forget I said anything, OK?”

“Missy, look at me.”

Turning half towards him, she shut one eye and grimaced.

He sighed and shook his head, but he was smiling. “Real dad or not, I know you’re mine when you only open your mouth to change feet.”

“You’re not mad?”

“I’m not mad.”

* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?

WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Friday, December 08, 2017

To Be Sure - Out Now!


Saorla Tierney's sons are conspiring against her, and at their age, they should know better. After all, she's nearly seventy-one herself, and, quite frankly, whether she still 'has needs' is none of their business.

OK, so, maybe she was a bit harsh with Sean when all he did was ask if she and Aileen wanted a double hotel room. And of course she feels bad for biting Finn's head off when he was only having a wee joke.

Between her grandson's unconventional baptism and the decades-long feud between her sons, even with Aileen at her side it's not as easy a decision as they seem to think. Or maybe it is. Saorla doesn't know anymore, and until she's sure...

To Be Sure is a stand-alone novella-length character special in the Hiding Behind The Couch series. (Part of Never Too Late - a collection of nine stories featuring LGBTQIA characters over the age of fifty)

Purchase Links:

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Sock Advent Calendar - 7th December


It began 28 years ago, with a wonderful, kind woman called Sylvia, who bought me a pair of Christmas socks...

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - A Morning After #amwriting #lgbtqia



WIPpet numbers for 6th December, 2017:
6 + 12 = 18 sentences from Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet Context:
I’ve not had much time to write so far this month. To Be Sure is out tomorrow—part of Never Too Late, which is a collection of nine stories featuring LGBT+ characters aged 50+.

Anyway…I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past. The pictured cover is NOT the cover, which is finished, but I’m keeping it to myself for now. :)

In this snippet, Krissi is lying in bed, pretending to be asleep, and her parents are talking just outside her door.

* * * * *
“She’s asleep,” her mum said at a slightly lower than normal volume but still loud enough that she’d know Krissi could hear.

“What time did she get home?” That was Kris.

“Half past three.”

No way…

“She’s not going to want to come with us, is she?”

“We could postpone it until next week.”

This was grossly unfair. She thought she was probably still drunk, never mind hungover, and really tired. So no, she didn’t want to go with them, wherever they were going.

“But they might find another home before then,” Kris said, maxing out on the sadness factor.

“There’ll be others,” her mum consoled, also laying it on thicker than the chocolate spread Krissi used to plaster on bread when she got home from school. She still refused to take the bait.

“Yes, you’re right. It’s not as if he’s the last Labrador in the world…”

Krissi shot out of bed and sprinted across her room, staggering as she flung the door open. “Whoa!” She gripped the doorframe for balance. “Labrador?”

* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?

WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Monday, December 04, 2017

Character Spotlight: Ade Simmons (Hiding Behind The Couch)


Another CV / character profile from the Hiding Behind The Couch series.

Profiles posted so far:

Hiding Behind The Couch is an ongoing series about a group of friends—‘The Circle’ (the original main characters in the series), which has expanded and changed over time to include the ‘extended circle’ (additional main characters, below the circle on the right).


It’s Ade’s turn today, who—in my head—looks a bit like the Daz3D image above (if you squint). Images used in these character spotlights (this one included) which aren’t from book covers / Daz3D are from Pixabay. Ade’s first appearance isn’t until Season Three (The Harder They Fall) and only then from other characters’ perspectives.

You can find both the writing and suggested reading order for the series on this page: deb248211.blogspot.co.uk/p/hiding-behind-couch.html

Ade Simmons
Name: Ade (Adrian) Simmons
Eyes: Hazel
Hair: Copper red
Complexion: Fair and freckly
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 11 stone?
Build: fairly slim
Tattoos/Piercings: None.
Education: Drama academy - Acting, direction and production.
Accent: Northwest English / Manchester.
Languages: English

Quickfire Questions:
Place of Birth: Manchester, England.
Siblings: Julia (older sister).
Children: None.
Places lived: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Northwest England.
Jobs: Stage actor, radio producer, tour manager, TV actor.
Interests: Reading, writing, live performance.
Pets: Casper (by 'marriage').
Greatest Success: Leaving Fergus.
Worst thing you've ever done to someone: Worry friends/family.
Biggest Trauma: Fergus.
Do you have a secret: No.
Favourite Book: The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafón).
Favourite Food: Pasta.
Favourite Drink: G and T.
Strength: Quick-thinking.
Weakness: Easily persuaded.
Best way to spend a weekend: Lie-in, followed by a walk, visit mum and Jules, go out on the town. Pass out on Sunday.
Closest Friends: Pip, Shaunna.
Love of your life: Kris (and what could have been with Ferg).

And here are some excerpts featuring Ade. They’re quite long, because…he talks a lot.
Note: all excerpts will be spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read up to Season Three.

Crying in the Rain

(Setting: the cafeteria of the radio station where Ade works as a producer; with Kris.)

Conscious of Kris’s continued attention, Ade took out his tablet, checking his watch as he did so; almost time to go back to the studio and get the room set up for rehearsing and sound checks. OK, what else do I need to do?

3. Tell Kris about the thing

Kris sipped absently at his coffee, his gaze unfocused, making it impossible for Ade to know whether he was paying him any attention. He looked up, his eyes meeting Ade’s, and smiled. Ade attempted a smile back.

“I need to tell you about the thing.”

“The thing?”

“Err, yes. The thing—my thing.”

“OK?” Kris sat back and folded his arms, his expression one of bemusement.

“I always tell new people, well, not always. I don’t bother if I’m just buying a coffee in a new café, but…” Ade stopped rambling and just said it. “I have a speech impediment.”

“You do?”

“Yes.” He watched Kris’s facial expressions change, as he worked through their conversation, searching for evidence, followed by a doubtful frown.

“I didn’t notice,” Kris said.

“No. You wouldn’t, because I’m careful with how I speak. It only affects one letter. Well, not the letter, the sound.”

“Hmm.” Kris’s brow furrowed thoughtfully. “Can I try and work it out?”

Ade shrugged, finding it kind of funny, whilst also appreciating Kris’s efforts to put him at ease by making light of it.

Kris bit his lip, studying the ceiling as he replayed what Ade had said so far. “OK. It’s not ‘S’, because you’ve just said ‘sound’, and it was perfect. ‘Th’? No—you pronounced ‘thing’ correctly too. ‘R’?”

“That’s the one.”

“That must be so hard to avoid.”

“Not usually. However, when faced with communicating what I need to an actor whose name contains the much-feared letter…”

“Ah. Sorry,” Kris said, feeling terribly guilty when he had no part in choosing his given name. “If it’s easier, you can call me K, or KJ, or even Mr. Johansson.”

Ade smiled. “Thanks, but I have to get it over with sooner or later. It’s just a little less of a nightmare doing it this way. And now I can see you analysing what I say.”

Kris blushed. “Sorry.”

“I don’t mind, but so you’ve heard me say it, let’s start again.” Ade held out his hand for it to be shaken. Kris accepted. Looking him right in the eyes, Ade said, “Hi, Kris, I’m Adrian Simmons. I’m the producer.” Kris held the eye contact—no trace of reaction to the soft pronunciation of the ‘R’, just a heart-warming smile and a glint of something more.

“Hello, Ade. I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“The feeling is mutual. I need to go and start setting up. I’ll see you in there.” Ade rose to his feet. Kris did too.

“I’ll come with you, and on the way you can tell me how you came to be working in radio production.”

***

(Setting: walking to work, with BFE Pip.)

“Where did you stay last night?” she asked, trying to pass off her nosiness as concern. Ade hummed secretively. Pip gasped. “Were you with him?”

“Who?” Ade asked innocently.

“That guy from Monday morning?”

“Maaaaybe.”

“No way. What’s his name? Is he an actor? What did you do? Did you get up to anything—”

“Kris, yes, went for a meal, and no.”

“Oh.” Pip looked dead ahead, her chubby cheeks colouring up, and wobbling slightly with each step. She looked sideways at Ade and grinned. He, too, was blushing. “Are you seeing him again?” she asked.

“Yes. I think so. I hope so.” And he really did. Pip squeezed his arm with hers, until he squeaked.

“He seems nice,” she said.

“He is. And so’s his wife.”

Pip stopped walking and looked at him in mock horror, hoping he was just saying it to wind her up. Now she wasn’t so sure. His mouth twitched as he fought the smile. “You’re serious,” she said. Ade nodded. “He’s married. To a woman? Ade…”

Ade started laughing and hooked her by the arm. They set off again, and Ade explained properly about Kris and Shaunna being separated, and Casper, and Kris’s stepdaughter, and his shellfish allergy, and so on, chattering away the entire ten-minute walk to the studio. They parted company at the fourth floor, with Ade promising to call as soon as he heard from Kris, and to keep Pip posted on the arrangements for later. Ade was dreading it, but for the first time ever, he believed he had the strength to see it through. A few hours from now, Fergus would be out of his life, for good.

***

In The Stars Part II

(Setting: a secluded bar in London.)

Ade watched Kris all the way to the bar. He was still in love with her, so why had he come? No, that was too cruel a way to think, because he liked Shaunna. She had been an incredible friend, and sharing the house had been almost too perfect. They liked the same music, the same TV programmes and films, drank way too much tea. Then there was Casper. He missed him, too. And Krissi. And the thing was, he’d have shared Kris with Shaunna—with them all—if he’d been allowed to do that much.

Kris returned with their drinks.

“Thanks.”

And the coolness. That was back also.

“So what was that dog people thing?”

“Oh. Josh said it. When we walked the dogs together the Saturday we got snapped, he picked up on how genuine dog owners are.”

“Chicken or egg.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do open, honest people choose dogs as pets, or do dogs make them that way?”

“I’ve no idea. I’m just an actor with no brains.”

“I hope you’re joking.”

“I’m not. I love intelligent people, but I’m not one of them. Shaunna is. Josh is. George is, and you. Shaunna’s going to uni in September, to study psychology.”

“Is she?”

“She made friends with this psychologist guy. That’s all she’s gone on about ever since.”

“And you’re not bothered? That she’s friends with a guy?”

“Nope. I trust her. If there was anything going on, she’d tell me.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Absolutely. But did you ask me here for me to talk about Shaunna all night?”

“Honestly, Kris, I don’t care what we talk about, as long as you’re here. Like I said, I’ve missed you.”

“I’m sorry, Ade. You were right. I did push you away, and I kept you away from my friends.”

“Yes, you did. I thought it was me, that I couldn’t figure out what they wanted from me, if there was some kind of hazing I had to go through to be accepted.”

“You only needed to be who you are. It was me who kept you out.”

***

(Setting: a TV studio.)

“OK, Lundberg conference scene,” the director called, “That’s scene—” he checked his script “—fourteen. Who the f*ck numbered this? Look.” He stormed over to one of the writers; there were now four of them, and the Shadows creator was executive producer, along with her husband, Barry the director. To say they didn’t much like each other was something of an understatement. Barry slammed the script down in the poor writer’s lap, knowing she was little more than a typewriting monkey, doing his wife’s bidding. “Eleven, twelve, fourteen. What the hell’s happened to thirteen?”

“There isn’t one, Barry.”

“Why not?”

“Bad luck.”

“F*cking bad luck?” He went stomping back the way he had come. “OK, folks, so that’s the scene formerly known as fourteen, which is actually scene thirteen.”

Kris cringed. “That’s going to upset a few people. She’s very superstitious. You should’ve seen her freak when I walked under a ladder back in the early days. Now I know better.”

Ade laughed. “Hey, you never know. You might have a new director by Monday!”

Kris rolled his eyes. “Yeah, unlikely.” He gave Ade a kiss. “We’ll talk later,” he promised sincerely and then slipped straight back into role. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, Mr. Simmons, I’ve got to brief my team on a couple of matters.” He winked and walked back on set. Ade watched him all the way, and sat down again. Someone nudged him from behind. It was one of the runners from reception.

“Have they just started?” she whispered. Ade nodded. “Will you let Kristian know there’s some people downstairs for him. They say they’re friends of his? Said to tell him they’re not twins.”

Ade grinned. “OK. I’ll let him know,” he whispered. The woman started to walk away. “Actually,” he said, “I’ll come with you.”

***

Two By Two

(Setting: an on-location recording of a TV drama/Ade and Kris’s home.)

Jan gave the order to cut and advanced on Kris and Ade, her breathing shallow from excitement.

“Oh my god,” she gushed. “I’m tingling all over. That was incredible. The energy between you two, and that pause, Ade―it’s not even in the script, but it’s just perfect. Will you play the part, Ade? Please?”

“Jan, I don’t feel comfortable―”

“Please. If it’s your speech thing, we can always rewrite around it, but I really can’t see anyone else in that role, not even Caleb, and I’d thought he was ‘the one’, but now I’ve seen the best. Will you think about it?”

Ade studied the ceiling. Kris was watching him carefully, sensing that he wanted to say no outright, but didn’t want to let the team down, and as Jan said, his performance was perfect, with a charge of energy, real emotion. Ade Simmons, whether he liked it or not, was an incredibly talented actor.

They continued with the rest of the day’s filming schedule, and with Ade in role there were no additional takes, other than one due to poor lighting. He didn’t fluff lines, or get the giggles, and he was so intense that he drew the other actors right into the mood of the scene. By the end of the day he was exhausted, but they’d got down a couple of scenes from the schedule for the next day, and agreed to start a little later.

At home, things were tense. Kris didn’t share his thoughts with Ade, knowing the last thing Ade wanted to hear was how amazing he was, and so they barely spoke at all. They went to bed early and were up early the next morning. Kris walked Casper; Ade made breakfast and then they travelled together to the school, once again getting through the filming in record time. On-camera, Ade was whatever he needed to be; off-camera his despondency was increasing by the minute and he wasn’t ignoring Kris and Jan, but he wasn’t speaking to them either. They still had nobody else to play Dale Hanrihan, and soon it would be too late. There wouldn’t be enough time to re-film with the new actor in role.

The third day of filming came and went; Ade headed straight upstairs and ran the bath. Kris walked and fed the dog, and then sat on the edge of the bath, watching Ade pretending to read a book.

“What do you want to do?”

***

Reunions

(Setting: Christmas Day at Barbara and Len’s house; Barbara is giving Ade the grand tour.)

“And this is the master—” at the sound of footsteps in the atrium below, Barbara dropped her voice to a whisper “—bedroom.” She beckoned to Ade to follow her inside, watching over the banister as she closed the door. Krissi and Kris left the dining room. There was still a coolness between them, but less so than in the kitchen earlier.

Before Barbara could ask, not that she was planning to, regardless of how much she wanted to know what was going on, Ade smiled apologetically and said, “It’s not my place to share.”

“I don’t expect you to, lovey, but I hope whatever it is doesn’t get in the way of us enjoying Christmas together.”

“It won’t,” Ade assured her. “Kris respects you. I’d even go as far as to say he loves you. You’re his second mum.”

“I’m very fond of him, too, and it’s lovely to see him happy at last. Well, I imagine he was happy with Shaunna…” Barbara pursed her lips before she said something she ought not.

Ade made a point of looking around the room they were in. “That window lets in a lot of light, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, it does, especially considering the time of year. The rest of the house is a little on the dark side, mind you.”

Ade nodded, still facing the other way. “Did Andy crush on her as badly when he was young?”

“Oh, he was shocking,” Barbara admitted with a certain amount of relief. For a minute, she’d been worried she’d offended Ade, but judging by his sweet smile, it wasn’t so. “Between you, me and that bedpost, he had crushes on so many girls I couldn’t keep up, but all the rest came and went. There was always something special about Shaunna.” Her mind cast back to the nights she’d spent listening to whichever son slamming doors, enduring their obstreperous remarks until she could take it no more, which was normally around the same point they’d crack and pour out their soul. “It’s horrible being a mother sometimes,” she said. “Teenaged girls know how to break a boy’s heart.”

“Teenaged boys do a fairly thorough job of it, too,” Ade said ruefully.

“There speaks the voice of experience.” Barbara patted his arm. “Of my three, Andrew was the worst. He always fell so hard, and Shaunna…well, she broke his heart more than once.”

Beneath them, the doorbell chimed and the front door opened with a creak worthy of a horror movie. Barbara cringed. “Remind me to put a drop of oil on those hinges, will you?”

***

Thanks for reading! :)
Deb x