Flash Fiction Friday – Photo Shoot Bonus Scene – 15 Random Prompt Words

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (coffee) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (build – office – furtive – approach – near – upbeat – receipt – open – undesirable – string – pen – note – smell – lackadaisical) from a random word generator (I used a new one this week).

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This week you’re getting a bonus continuation scene for Photo Shoot, one of the short stories in my Snapshots collection. This is from Eddie’s 3rd-person POV:

Eddie cast furtive glances down the halls of the fine arts building as he passed near the art department offices. The smell of coffee hung in the air, and an upbeat instrumental melody of mixed string instruments drifted out as he approached the open door to the studio where he was supposed to meet Trent.

Ever since posing for that nude photo shoot for his now-boyfriend’s project, he’d been reluctant to go anywhere near the department where the panel of instructors who’d passed judgment on the assignment might be hanging around, and—God forbid—recognize him. Trent knew it, too. He knew Eddie would come up with excuses if Trent asked to meet him anywhere in the building. He knew this from experience. That’s probably why he’d left a cryptic note written on the back of a receipt—so Eddie wouldn’t have the opportunity to come up with some pretext for not meeting him. He’d used that purple pen with ink that smelled fruity as if that would sweeten the deal. It hadn’t.

A woman walked briskly out of the room in question and did a double-take as she strode past. “Trent’s already in there. Go on in.” She turned the corner before Eddie had even registered she was talking to him.

Heat infused his face, and he stopped short of the door. He’d never met that woman before. How did she know he was meeting Trent? Had she seen—

“Eddie!” Trent appeared in the doorway, a huge smile on his face. “You made it!”

More voices drifted out of the room, so he could discount the notion that the woman had made a logical assumption based on Trent being the only one in there. “Yeah. You ready to go?”

Trent seemed confused as he scratched the side of his nose. “Go where?”

“Huh?”

Laughter and a middle-aged rail-thin woman wafted out into the hall. “Ah, there you are, Trent.” She smiled in Eddie’s direction. “And I see your Eddie’s arrived. Come in and join the party.”

Party? Eddie’s eyes widened, but Trent took his hand, possibly sensing Eddie’s urge to run in the opposite direction. “The department’s having a little celebration. One of the professors is getting married.”

“I’m Celia Hall,” the woman continued. “Has Trent had the chance to explain my offer to you, yet?”

Oh, dear God. Did he want to know? “Offer?”

“I need a model for my sculpture class. I think you’d be perfect.”

Perfect? The way Trent looked at him, he’d come to accept he wasn’t exactly undesirable, but he was hardly flawless. Of course, artsy folks maybe wanted imperfections to make things interesting.

“Oh, uh, geez. I don’t know…”

“It pays twenty dollars per hour.”

Eddie’s eyebrows shot up. His gaze darted to Trent, then back to Professor Hall. He opened then closed his mouth. Twenty dollars per hour? He could really use that extra money. He had to at least consider it. “Clothes?”

She shook her head. “Nope.”

His cheeks puffed out as he slowly released a stream of air. Could he really do it? He hadn’t thought he could handle posing for just Trent, but in the end, he’d felt comfortable enough. Maybe it was all about the attitude. He couldn’t walk in there all red-faced and obviously mortified, but if he could cultivate a lackadaisical mien, he could maybe bluff his way through the experience.

“Twenty, huh?”

She smiled, looking every bit like she knew she had him hooked. “Per hour.”

With a soft groan, he closed his eyes. When he reopened them, Trent winked. Bastard had no shame, whatsoever. Eddie’s “okay” sounded a bit whiney, but she didn’t seem put out by the tone.

“Wonderful. I’ll get your contact information from Trent and be in touch.”

Mission accomplished, she returned to the party.

How Trent managed to look so innocent standing there was a mystery. “You tricked me,” Eddie said, but the words lost some of their intended effect since he had trouble resisting a spontaneous grin in response to the thumb Trent was rubbing across his wrist.

“Aw, you’re too self-conscious. There was no reason for you to avoid showing your face in this building.” Trent leaned in to kiss his cheek. A delicious shiver rippled through him as Trent’s warm breath floated across his ear. “And, I’ll be sure to show you how much I appreciate you joining me here, later.”

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

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Click here for more information, review snips, and  purchase-links for Snapshots. Information on all my publications can be found in the menu at the top of the page.

#RainbowSnippets Feb. 11, 2017 – Photo Shoot

I’ve joined the Rainbow Snippets group on Facebook. From their description: “Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).” Pretty cool, eh? Don’t forget to “Like” my Facebook page and/or my Facebook profile while you’re over there checking out this fantastic group!

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This week I’m posting a snip from Photo Shoot (included in the upcoming box set, Snapshots). For context, Trent needs a nude model for a photography class project. Eddie has reluctantly agreed to help his buddy out by posing for the photo shoot. This is from Eddie’s 3rd-person POV, leading off with Eddie’s thoughts:

The bright bathroom lighting did nothing to help his faltering ego. Why hadn’t he thought to visit a tanning salon so he wouldn’t be so pale? The sparse dark hair centered on his chest and trailing down his stomach stood out starkly in the glow of the big round bulbs lining the large mirror over the vanity. The thick thatch between his legs contrasted so severely with his pale skin that it seemed almost obscene. His dick, barely peeking out in the center of it, was appallingly pallid. Christ. He’d been worried about embarrassing himself by springing a boner around Trent, but turtling instead seemed equally bad. No worse—far worse.

#RainbowSnippets

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Blurb – Photo Shoot

Eddie’s a good guy who’d do anything for a friend, especially Trent, but that good-nature is sorely tested when Trent asks Eddie to be the model for a nude photo shoot. Trent’s grades depend on it, so of course Eddie agrees. It’s not easy being naked in front of the guy he wants. There are so many ways he could make a fool of himself. Why does Trent want to take pictures of him, and why does it seem that Eddie’s not the only one blushing?

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Click here for more information on the Snapshots box set.

The opening scene of Photo Shoot first saw the light of day as a ficlet written from a set of prompt words. I liked the potential in that story scene and fleshed it out into a more complete short story.

The first edition was published as a Torquere Sip on November 29, 2008, then a mildly reworked second edition reappeared as a self-published single on November 29, 2009. I took it (and the rest of my older works) down in the latter half of last year for a thorough overhaul.

Photos Shoot will be included in a box set of all my short stories titled Snapshots, to be released at JMS Books, LLC on February 25, 2017. One story from the set, King Kong vs. The Skinny Pirate, will be released as a free single on February 18, 2017.

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About Snapshots

Whatever your romance reading preference — gay virgin, opposites attract, friends to lovers, or simply fun how-they-met stories — this collection contains a variety of sweet, contemporary, short gay romances, sure to make you smile.

Rewritten and re-edited, these stories were previously published singly and are available now in one collection!

Contains the stories:

* Cow Pie Bingo
* King Kong vs. The Skinny Pirate
* Born to Be Wild
* The Straggler
* Now and Forever
* Moving On
* Moving Along
* Dropping Quarters
* Nevermore
* Photo Shoot
* Okay, Then

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Snapshots Preface

I love short stories. Sometimes a brief “snapshot” taken from a couple’s larger story is all that’s wanted. The narrative of “how they met” is the focus of six of the shorts in this set—quirky tales ranging from meeting at a charity fundraiser, to college kids pranking each other, to a mishap at a XXX adult video arcade.

Also included is a story featuring a well-established couple’s wedding dilemma, a friends-to-lovers tale, a coming-out-of-the-closet drama, and a continuation short that follows one of those how-we-mets. Rounding out this collection is an account revisiting the main characters from my full-length novel, ’Til Death Do Us Part.

All of these stories are contemporary, although one has a bit of paranormal flavor to it. Heat ratings range from “fairly sweet” to “rather steamy.” Excepting the final story, all were originally written in 2008 and early 2009. One (“Photo Shoot”) started out as a prompt word ficlet that I later fleshed out to a more complete story. Each has received a thorough overhaul, some more extensive than others. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.

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Both Snapshots and the free singleKing Kong vs. The Skinny Pirate, are available for pre-order at the publisher’s website and at a number of distributor sites. As with all my books at JMS, they are in the KINDLE UNLIMITED program at Amazon:

Snapshots Pre-order Links

JMS Books, LLC – eBook Link | JMS Books, LLC – Print Link

Smashwords | Amazon Kindle Universal Link | iBookstore
B&N Nook | Kobo | Google Play

King Kong vs. The Skinny Pirate Pre-order Links

JMS Books, LLC – eBook Link

SmashwordsAmazon Kindle Universal Link
B&N Nook | Blio | Google Play

Projects, projects, projects…

What have I been up to lately? I have not yet started on a brand new story, but I’ve been busy, nonetheless.

As previously mentioned, I’m working on overhauling my earliest stories with an eye toward putting them up on Kindle Unlimited (then eventually all the distributors). The old versions have all been taken down. So far I’ve made progress on Snapshots, a collection of all ten of my early short stories. Some of them have needed significant updating.

Muscular Men, perfect body, abs, six pack. Strong athletic guy in jeans showing his abs. Bodybuilding, sport, fitness ,workout, active lifestyle concept.

It’s slow going, since I don’t think I’ll be able to concentrate on other writing projects until edits for To Love and to Cherish are done. That story is determined to dominate my thoughts until it’s completely in the can. Speaking of To Love and to Cherish, I expect to be able to show the cover and advertise a release date (beyond “sometime in November”) sometime early this coming week.

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But, as you can see, although I can’t seem to concentrate on words, I’ve been busy having fun making covers for the overhauled stories. The Dreams Do Come True series covers, below, are for the overhauled and renamed versions of A Dream Come TrueAnother Dream, and Dreaming of You. I feel like the extent of the updates justifies fresh names, although I’ll make sure it’s known in the listings that they are previously published stories so as not to mislead anyone.

I’ve purchased the rights for the royalty-free images, so those won’t change. Who knows, though…between now and when the stories are ready for release I may still fiddle with the effects and/or fonts. I’m pretty happy with them, though.

The images fit the stories well, I think. Wes is a doctor. Although it’s somewhat hidden behind the title, the model in the first cover has a stethoscope around his neck. Marty is a construction worker. Quinn is just a goofball.

How are these stories related? Why are they a series? Marty is Mike’s uncle, mentioned but not seen in the first book. The characters from the first story are revisited in the second. Trevor was Marty’s occasional boy-toy before he met Larry, but thought (or at least hoped) to be more. Needless to say, Trevor was a bit bitter when Marty ended up with Larry.

Since I’m reworking so many stories, I figured my website needed a little overhaul, too (restructuring under the “My Publications” tab in the menu, anyway). Hopefully you’ll find it logical and easy to navigate, since that was the goal.

What else? I’ve been thinking about ’Til Death Do Us Part lately, and how I’d love for it to be available as an audiobook. That option remains with the authors at my small publisher, so if it’s going to be done, it’s up to me. I don’t have the big bucks available to pay for producing it upfront, and–let’s face it–although the book was very well-received by most reviewers, it’s not popular enough sales-wise to attract a producer for a royalty split deal.

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Therefore, it’s author narrated or bust! I’ve been playing around with Apple’s Garageband app, and have completed a draft of the prologue. A few people are going to give me their valued opinions on that before I proceed. My voice isn’t particularly girly so I think it’ll be acceptable for an M/M story. I’m actually pretty happy with my narration voice, but I’m pretty sure one critique will be for me to work on better differentiating voices for the dialogue. I was hoping to distinguish them by playing with the effects on the tracks separated out for each character, but I don’t think that’s going to cut it. I’ve gotten comfortable with the app, though, and it’ll be a breeze to tweak passages here and there without having to redo entire sections.

Update: What I’m Doing…

It’s coming along. As I mentioned in a post a week and a half ago, my next project is to overhaul my self-published second editions. I guess it’s no longer my next project, it’s my current project.

I’ve now officially unpublished the books from all vendors. It might take a few weeks for them to disappear from all the Smashwords distributors, but it’s just a matter of time.

The overhauling process has only just begun. It’s been a while since I’ve had the gumption to reread those old stories, and I’ve got to say, it’s eye-opening. Clearly, I’ve learned a lot about how to properly tell a story since I first started putting words to paper.

I’ve only completed the overhaul on two of the short stories so far. The Dreams overhaul might end up involving some more significant changes affecting the storylines, but the shorts will remain mostly the same in essence, although the telling of the stories will be improved.

Born to Be Wild was the first to be reworked. Cute story…I really do like it. But, damn, it was one of my earliest efforts. Let’s just say that many changes were made to my wording choices. King Kong vs. The Skinny Pirate, on the other hand, was the last thing I ever wrote before my long hiatus. I’d already worked with the wonderful development editor (at that time) at Loose ID as I whipped Cultivating Love into shape. I learned so much from that wonderful woman. Anyway, I only tweaked maybe two dozen words in the King Kong short. It was already in fantastic shape. I still love that story.

I’m going to miss a few of the covers I’d made for the short stories. I always thought the Moving Along cover was cute, and I really liked the one for Dropping Quarters. The ones I was most proud of were King Kong vs. The Skinny Pirate and Photo Shoot. Those were each made from three separate images…the backgrounds plus two forward images (as well as some fun with lighting and framing in Photo Shoot).

The apps I have now won’t allow me quite that much manipulation–or if they will, I haven’t figured them out yet–so I’m going with single images for the new ones. I’ve already had fun mocking up covers for those future releases, but I haven’t purchased the images yet. I’ll share them once I’ve made my final decisions and put them together.

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Plans

I’ve finished writing To Love and to Cherish, the story where Nash from ’Til Death Do Us Part gets his Happily Ever After. Look for it in November at JMS Books. I’ll share the cover and the specific release date when I have them.

So what’s my next project? I’m going to overhaul all my earliest stories and upload them to KDP Select, including Kindle Unlimited for however long that deal requires–90 days?–then I’ll probably upload them to all the usual distributors.

The books in question are my Dream series books (A Dream Come True, Another Dream, and Dreaming of You), and my short stories. Currently the Dream series books are together in a trilogy. I plan to separate them once again. The short stories are currently all being sold separately. I plan to put them all together into a collection.

I’ll remove their present incarnations from all the distributor sites probably some time this week. I’ll keep you posted on the status of the overhauls. It could be significant. I love all the stories, but I know I can tell them better now than I could when I first started writing.

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Once I’m done with that project I’ll start on another new story. I haven’t decided yet whether to give Nash a little more drama, possibly give Henry and Sam some more obstacles to overcome, or begin something completely new. I’ve got an idea or two brewing, so we’ll see. 🙂