Love's Landscapes (DRitC) - Sugar and Sawdust

So, the thing is this.

I got to the end of Checking Him Out, and it was all ready for submission. And, as all writers will know, it's a bit difficult to...

...just let go.

I had plenty of other stuff to be getting on with, but I was watching the forums for Love's Landscapes. As I explained a couple of posts back, members of the MM Romance Group submitted "Dear Author" letters, detailing the story they wanted to be written, and authors claimed these prompts, which is their agreement to write that story. Unfortunately, circumstances mean that some authors have to pull out, and their prompt is then 'open' again for someone else to claim.

On this particular evening, I was home alone, when two prompts became available at the same time.

One was a sports-related prompt, which I had ideas for, but the prompter was hinting heavily at baseball, and I know next to bugger all about baseball (played with bats, and has that weird ballpark organ music, that gets faster and faster and freaks out my sister).

The other prompt, I read a couple of times, and I liked the prompt, but I wasn't sure about the photos that came with it.

I can't post the photos here, but both are of men with very defined musculature. The first is older - I said thirty-five, the editorial team say he's forty, if he's a day, maybe even fifty. I've since found the model's portfolio online, and the editorial team be right, and he looks a rather lovely, homely sort, except in the prompt photo, where there is absolutely nothing homely about him. Besides, the story's written now. The man in the second photo is younger, possibly around twenty, dark, slim, and a bit pouty.

The prompt:

Dear Author,

I adore my baby brother and I try not to meddle in his life but since our parents are halfway 'round the world, looking out for him is up to me and he is so unlucky in love, I can't help it. Guys are always taking advantage of his kindness and generosity (okay, gullibility). Yesterday, I saw him in a restaurant with this man, and I'm beside myself. Shall I send champagne or a walker? What's a big sis to do? Yeah, this guy doesn't look like he'll take his money but what about his heart?

Note: brother is twenty-something, just very youthful-looking.

Fingers crossed,



And it dawned on me that the younger of the two guys in the photos looks a lot like someone I know who is a fashion model, which was enough to spark an idea for the story.

Except I had a tiny, weeny problem.

I know NOTHING about fashion. If you know me in the real world, you'll read that and no doubt think, "You can say that again." I'm fine with it. I like what I like. I don't have a look, or not deliberately.

However, fourteen years of teenagers asking me if I'm a goth/emo/mosher, whether I like Slipknot, not to mention a previous headteacher asking me to mentor the senior pupils who were "going through an emotional time", aka the sad and dangerous self-harm-littered emo trend, leads me to conclude that I do have a look.

I like to think of it as 'aging skater dude', other than that I can't skate (except virtually), and actually it's just that I like hoodies and baggy t-shirts T-shirts (nod to my enduring and amazingly patient editor - she is a superstar), and DC skate shoes are THE comfiest footwear ever invented.

But anyway, I digress.

I needed help, so I went to the one person I know who is something of a fashion aficionado. OK, so I'd spent months mocking him for his 'hobby' - he collects brand-name clothes like I collect ebooks. In fact, the contents of his wardrobe are probably worth the same number of quids as there are words on my Kindle!

So, he tutored me, quite extensively, via Twitter, on the current trends that would most likely appeal to my two main characters. He also read the story, and I think is probably still recovering from the experience - I did warn him that it was a little on the erotic side, which is why you're only getting the first half of Chapter One here. For the record, 'the real Jorje' shares only a couple of traits with the main character (he's male and knows about fashion). 'The real Alec' shares only one trait, but you'll need to read the story to find out what that is!

After much playing around with ideas and consulting with my 'creative assistants' (you know who you are - thank you for your input), I settled on this cover.

And lastly, here's an excerpt from Sugar and Sawdust, which will be released as part of the Love's Landscapes Anthology (published by MMRomanceGroup) during Summer, 2014.


by Debbie McGowan © 2014

Chapter One (Excerpt)

Jorje stirred from somewhere under the muddled, muffled mass of duvet, trying to fight his way to the top of the bed before his phone stopped ringing. He made it. It stopped.


As he lay there, puffing his bottom lip out to try and clear the sweaty strands of hair from his face, he realised three things. Number one: he had a massive hangover, which meant he'd also been massively drunk the night before. Number two: this wasn't his bed. It wasn't even his bedroom, or his apartment. Number three…

The blonde head approximately six inches to his right emitted a low grumble, something between a snore and a groan. In the distance, Jorje's phone started up again. Slowly, carefully, he turned on his side and sat on the edge of the bed, squinting and locating the painfully bright glow of the phone screen across the room. The ringing stopped. The screen dimmed once more. Hesitantly, he pulled the duvet away, amazed and relieved to find that he was still wearing his Cavalli briefs. He rose to his feet and peered under the duvet—blonde dude was still in his underwear too. Well, that was both good and bad. Good, because he had yet to remember anything about the night before. Bad, because it didn't look like it was worth remembering, and that, at least, would have compensated for feeling like death warmed up.

So. No idea where he was. Not a clue how he got there. Absolutely no memory of the dude in the bed. In fact, the last thing he could remember was being at Bella's night club with Ben and the gang, dropping shots like they were going out of fashion. And now he was here, and it was daylight, and his phone was ringing again. He made it across the room.

"Tay," he mouthed soundlessly at the sight of his sister's profile pic on-screen. He absolutely did not want to talk to her right now. He dismissed the call, gingerly pirouetting to take in the sight of the room—the curtain-muted daylight, the rough woven rugs, like stepping stones, between the door just to his left and the king-sized bed with its king-sized occupant, back turned, still fast asleep. Jorje picked up his clothes, cracked the door open a few inches, and crept through the gap.

The light in the hallway was blinding, and he automatically screwed up his eyes, wincing in pain. At one end was a vast arched window, the sun streaming through and replicating the arch in shadow form on the floor, fading where it collided with the white heat beaming from the skylight above. Light bounced off the plain white walls, starkly contrasting with the black wrought iron banisters that ran the length of the hall and swirled down around a spiral staircase. Jorje used the rail to steady himself, tugging on his Balmain biker jeans. The slim fit was a pain in the ass when sober, near impossible when hung-over (possibly still smashed), staggering with one leg in and one leg out. He almost toppled, but not quite, the slap of his bare feet against the wooden floors echoing loudly up into the rafters. He finally got the jeans on, zipped them, glancing along past the doorway from which he had just emerged, hoping to locate a bathroom. There were two other doors, both identical. Tentatively he opened the first, got lucky, dived in and unzipped his jeans again, the pleasure of that gush of piss utter bliss and loud enough to drown out the sound of someone else entering the room behind him.

"Good morning."

Jorje jumped and stopped peeing. A deep, gentle laugh like distant rolling thunder rumbled behind him.

For more information on the Love's Landscapes event (and previous events), visit the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads /


Popular posts from this blog

No Filter - Loaded Banana #RainbowSnippets #LGBTQIA

A big decision? #amwriting

To all the books I wrote this year... (2018 roundup)