Flash Fiction Friday – April 27, 2017 – ’Til Death Do Us Part – Bonus Scene

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday is a bonus scene for ’Til Death Do Us Part, with a quick cameo from Nash and Emmitt of To Love and To Cherish. It uses the word left in last week’s post (naïve), and 14 words found at http://creativitygames.net/random-word-generator/randomwords/: captainislandparadecannonfountainprizeeveningbookfilmtargetleadkeyfaintgarden.

2017-04-28 - Words

For more flash fiction and bonus scenes from many of my published stories as well as some stand-alone or recurring character scenes, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

Aiden’s eyes widened as he turned in a circle taking in the array of rides and games offered at the Apple Blossom Festival’s carnival. His jaw dropped as the quickly spinning “Round Up” began to tilt. “Dad, why aren’t those people falling off?”

“Centrifugal Force,” Sam replied.

Aiden’s face scrunched up. Typically, he’d ask for a definition, but this afternoon there were too many distractions. Instead he pointed in another direction and said, “That’s the biggest slide in the whole world!” He turned to me. “Papa, can I go down it?”

After spending most of his life growing up on a tiny island where he’d been marooned with me and two other men, Aiden might have been naïve, but he certainly wasn’t faint-hearted.

“Probably. That’ll be up to your grandparents, though.” We were meeting Aiden’s birth families here to pass him over into their care for the weekend. We’d purchased a carnival ride wristband in advance for him, but not for ourselves. We didn’t plan to stay since we didn’t want to intrude on Aiden’s grandparents’ time with him. There was a film festival this weekend as well, and we’d be heading to that this evening. I’d miss experiencing this with Aiden, but we would have him for the Apple Blossom Parade next weekend, instead.

Sam laid a hand on Aiden’s shoulder and pointed at the line of carnival games. “Let’s go win you a prize while we’re waiting for them.”

“Yeah! Let’s do that!”

Sam took the lead, and we passed by a game where some guy dressed like Captain Hook was luring customers to his booth to fire tennis balls out of a plastic cannon in hopes of getting one to not bounce back out of the angled array of bushel baskets. If there was any way short of dumb luck to win that game, I wasn’t sure what it might be.

We settled on a simple booth where Aiden could throw darts at a wall of balloons. The woman gave Aiden three darts. Sam squatted to Aiden’s level. “Look, the darts are dull, and the balloons are underinflated. The key to winning is to not worry about accuracy. Just throw it as hard as you can and hope you hit your target.”

Aiden reared back and threw his first dart with all the strength his thin little arm could muster. He didn’t hit a balloon, he didn’t even hit the board where the balloons were attached. At least he didn’t hit the woman running the booth. His second dart hit the board and bounced off. He took a deep breath, narrowed his eyes in concentration, and hurled the last dart.

“Yay!” Sam and I cheered. That last dart had barely landed inside the board’s frame but had picked off an edge balloon in the process.

The woman checked the prize marker inside the exploded balloon. “Fantastic!” She was all smiles as she showed it to Aiden. “You won the top level prize!”

I knew before he said it which prize Aiden would select. He’d been learning about dinosaurs lately and was utterly fascinated by them. Especially the—

“That one!” Aiden’s ear-to-ear grin was infectious as he pointed to the large stuffed Tyrannosaurus Rex. When the woman handed it to him, he gave it a big hug (because T-Rex’s are so innately cuddly) before turning and jumping up and down and waving. “They’re here! Hi! We’re over here!”

Sure enough, it looked like everyone in each of the clans—Aiden’s maternal and paternal extended birth families—was here to enjoy the festival. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Aiden’s paternal Grandmother, Rosa, scooped him up and gave him a big hug and kiss. “We’re going to have so much fun today!”

“I know,” Aiden said. “Look what I just won!”

“I see. That’s wonderful!” Rosa raised an eyebrow in my direction, and I took the hint.

“Aiden,” I said. “How about Dad and I take that home for you. You won’t be able to get on any rides holding it.”

The wide eyes and contorted mouth on his expressive face told us his opinion on that. I quickly added, “It’ll be waiting in your room for you when you get home on Sunday.”

He appealed to Sam. “How come I can’t get on rides with it?”

“It wouldn’t be safe, so it’s a rule.”

His brows came together as he heaved an exaggerated sigh. “Okay.” He handed his precious new dinosaur to me. “Maybe he can guard my dinosaur books while I’m gone.”

“There you go,” I said. “I’ll set him up in front of the bookcase.”

He reached for me, and I took him back for a goodbye hug and kiss, then passed him to Sam for the same. We waved goodbye then stopped by a couple food stands to pick up an early dinner before heading to the film festival.

We settled down by a fountain in Memorial Park to eat the sirloin burgers and curly fries we’d picked up at the Ramblin’ Gourmet, and the chocolate dipped fruit on a stick we’d gotten at Shishkaberry’s (because, you can’t go to a festival and not eat some kind of food on a stick).

“Fancy meeting you here!” Nash, Sam’s former fiancé, plopped down next to him, and Nash’s husband, Emmitt remained standing in front of us.

“Small world.” Sam gave Nash a hug then held out a hand to shake Emmitt’s. “Great seeing you guys here.”

“Yeah, good to see you again, too.” Nash peeked around Sam to flutter a hand at me. “How’s it going, Henry?”

“Life’s good. You guys going to hop on some carnival rides?”

“Nah. Gonna to grab some festival food then check out the Blossoms and Brews. We’re going to see The Secret Garden at the Fifth Avenue Theater tonight.

“We’re seeing that tomorrow night,” I said. We packed a lot into our “free” weekends each month when Aiden’s grandparents took him. Maybe too much.

“Cool.” Nash stood. “Well, I just wanted to say ‘Hi.’ See you around.”

They walked off, hand in hand. I glanced at the time on my phone, and no longer felt like rushing to pack in as many cultural activities as we could. “How bad to you really want to see the Femme Friday screenings?”

Sam quirked an eyebrow. “I thought you wanted to see them.”

“I do, kinda. I really want to see that play tomorrow, but if something’s gotta give so we can get in some quality ‘us-time,’ I’d rather lose the film festival.”

Sam’s Henry-melting grin appeared, and he leaned in so close his warm breath wafted over the sensitive skin by my ear. “We could always rent something very not-child-friendly for our very own private screening at home.”

I shivered deliciously at the thought. “Now you’re talking.”

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.

Flash Fiction Friday – April 21, 2017 – Adventures with Harrison and Mason

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday features my recurring characters, Harrison and Mason, and uses the words left in last week’s post (sneeze and muzzy).

For more flash fiction (including more Adventures with Harrison and Mason), and bonus scenes from many of my published stories, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

Harrison moaned as he rolled and reached for a tissue. He found the box, but it was empty. He didn’t even care when it fell and tumbled noisily across the hardwood floor.

Jaxon poked his head around the corner. “You feel any better, Daddy?”

Harrison blinked a few times, trying to focus on his son. “Feeling muzzy.”


“Brain’s foggy.” He closed his eyes and mumbled, “Could you have Pop bring more tissues, please?”

Harrison reopened his eyes when a heavier tread walked into the room. Mason grinned and set a glass of water on the bedside table. “Jaxon says you asked for a joint.”

“A what? No—tissues!” Harrison sat and covered his lower face. “Sorry. Gonna sneeze.”

Mason ran into the attached bathroom and returned with a wad of toilet paper. It was better than getting snot on his hands, so he snatched the pile in the nick of time.

“Be right back.” Mason dashed out, and Harrison dropped the used TP into the trash can someone had placed by the bed for him.

When Mason returned, he handed Harrison a fresh box of Kleenex and sat on the edge of the bed.

“Thank you. You’re a lifesaver.”

“Chicken soup’s heating on the stove. I’ll bring you some in a minute.” Mason ran fingers through Harrison’s sweaty hair, brushing it back out of his face. “I wonder why Jaxon thought you were asking for a doobie.”

“Dunno. I’m too muzzy to think straight.”

Mason sputtered then leaned across to plant a kiss on Harrison’s brow.

“Aw, I don’t want to make you sick, too.”

“Worth it.” Mason’s grin was extra wide as he chuckled his way out of the room.

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.

Flash Fiction Friday – April 14, 2017 – Adventures with Harrison & Mason

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday is a drabble (a precisely 100-word story scene) featuring my recurring characters, Harrison and Mason, and using the word left in last week’s post (penile), and an image I found on wiki commons (links with the picture, below).

For more flash fiction (including more Adventures with Harrison and Mason), and bonus scenes from many of my published stories, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

“Tossed Salad.”

Harrison turned his head and peered at Mason. The words had been muttered. The man lay on his stomach, his head to the side and eyes closed.

“Treasure trail.” Mason moved a little with the words. I mild kind of stretch one might make when half asleep.

Harrison nudged his husband. “You awake?”

“Wang.” The word was barely breathed.



Harrison snorted. “You’re a nut.”


“I’ll ‘penile’ you!” Harrison rolled and draped an arm across Mason’s back.”

One of Mason’s eyes cracked open as a grin spread across his face. “About time you figured it out.”

Gay Couple togetherness in bed 01.jpg
By rt69 on flickr.comPhotograph on Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Link

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.

Flash Fiction Friday – April 7, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday is a mish-mash using the two prompt words left in last week’s post (whānau and traffic), and the three concepts from P.T. Wyant’s most recent Wednesday’s Words post (a man in odd clothinga tattered book, and a whistle).

For more flash fiction, and bonus scenes from many of my published stories, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

Casey reached back for Hemi’s hand as they crossed the small stream between the car park and the sands of Hot Water Beach on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. “I thought we’d never get here.”

“I hate dealing with heavy traffic,” Hemi replied.

“Aw, it wouldn’t have been bad except for that accident.” Casey turned his head to flash a grin at his boyfriend. “Anyway, we still got here at a good time.”

Hemi glanced at his watch and nodded. “It’s an hour ’til low tide.”

“Perfect timing, in fact.” Casey lifted their shovel in salute. “Best ‘hot tubs’ ever.”

A cluster of people of varying ages—an extended family group, perhaps—straggled along behind them with their own shovels and buckets. Casey had to restrain himself from making an obvious double-take at the older man’s outfit. Not so much the incompatible pattern matchup between his swim trunks and open shirt, which was funny enough, but the socks he wore with his sandals. Socks. With sandals. On a beach. Not only that, they appeared to be hand knitted or crocheted socks. He carried a well-worn book in one hand, and a women’s large floppy hat in the other.

The group settled nearby at the tide line. Casey shrugged, dropped his towel, and began digging their own personal, natural, hot springs spa. The water that would bubble up from the coastal springs was rich in beneficial minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Simply put, it was an amazing experience, and he looked forward to a tranquil hour or so with Hemi.

He dug out a big enough pool for the two of them in no time at all. Hemi used the bucket they’d brought to fetch some ocean water to adjust the temperature in their little spa. They were all smiles as they slathered on sunscreen, then sat and leaned back on their elbows to wallow in the soothing heated water. Casey leaned across to drop a quick kiss to the corner of Hemi’s mouth, then closed his eyes and lifted his face toward the sun.

They both jumped when a shrill blast of a whistle shattered the calm. Casey brought a hand to his heart and turned toward the source of the noise. The whistle still hung from the old man’s lips. The child standing near the water’s edge turned and ran back to the group at the man’s hand gesture.

Casey turned with wide eyes at the sound of Hemi’s chuckle. “Really?” Casey mouthed the word, but remained silent. Not that he was surprised Hemi would be more amused than annoyed. Nor could he really blame the old man, even for that piercing blast, considering the reputation of the riptides at this beach.

Hemi smiled serenely and lifted a shoulder. “Reminds me of my whānau.”

Ah. His large, extended family. Well, they’d produced a warm-hearted and congenial young man in Hemi, so Casey was inclined to disregard the interruption to his meditation. It wasn’t as if it was a private beach, after all.

They rested their heads on the sand piled around the edge of their little bath, and Hemi’s hand slipped into his. With the distraction of Hemi’s thumb skimming back and forth along Casey’s wrist, he barely even noticed when the old man started reading aloud from the tattered book he’d brought.

Wikipedia: Whānau (Māori pronunciation: [ˈfaːnaʉ]) is a Māori-language word for extended family, now increasingly entering New Zealand English, particularly in official publications.

Maoridictionary.co.nz2. (noun) extended family, family group, a familiar term of address to a number of people – the primary economic unit of traditional Māori society. In the modern context the term is sometimes used to include friends who may not have any kinship ties to other members.



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.

Flash Fiction Friday – March 31, 2017 – Bonus Scene – ’Til Death Do Us Part

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m just using the one prompt word (jockstrap) that was left in the comments of last week’s post. In general I’ll use up to 15. If they aren’t left in the comments, then I may or may not grab some extras off a random word generator site. This week I went with not. 😜

Oh, and sorry, Nell, I broke the rule you attached to your word (“But you have to write something hotter than someone doing laundry and finding a hot jockstrap, that’s the rule 😉”). In fact, it’s literally found in the laundry.

Anyway, since April 3rd is the 1-year anniversary of the release of ’Til Death Do Us Part, I’m going with a bonus scene for that novel, today. The timeframe for this scene falls within the timeline of the story, rather than after it ends, so I suppose you could call it a missing scene. I picture this scene taking place shortly before the action in chapter 4, where Sam hands over his summer class to a grad student and surveys Henry’s office at the university.

For more bonus scenes from ’Til Death Do Us Part, as well as from a number of my other published stories, check out the “Bonus Scenes” tab in the menu at the top of the page.

Sam closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath before reopening them and facing the hamper. In the days immediately following the news of Henry’s plane crash, he’d eyed the tall wicker basket despondently and had instead put his freshly used clothes directly into the laundry basket sitting atop the washing machine.

Would this be his last chance to catch Henry’s scent? It was already starting to fade on the sheets that were still on the bed. His heart wasn’t ready to give up hope, but it warred with the logical nature of his brain. Either way, he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t take care of Henry’s personal effects himself. Regina had offered to handle this task for him, but he’d declined. He both dreaded and wanted to do this himself. He squared his shoulders, removed the lid, and reached in.

His own pajama bottoms lay on top. The ones he’d been wearing when he’d awoken that fateful morning. After watching the news report, he’d been too distracted to think. Apparently, he’d opened the hamper out of sheer habit and tossed them in. He transferred them to one of the laundry baskets he’d placed beside the hamper. Next he quickly sorted the clothes he’d worn earlier that day.

Sam sighed and stared at Henry’s lime-green Nike stretchy fitted shirt that he’d worn when they’d gone cycling together earlier in the afternoon before the flight. Henry had wanted to get his blood flowing before he’d be stuck sitting in an airplane for thirteen hours. Sam’s heart skipped a beat as the sweaty musk that permeated the fabric wafted up to him. He reached, then froze with his hand suspended above the brightly colored material. A sob wobbled in his throat, and he fisted the shirt and clutched it to his chest. He desperately wanted to bury his nose in it, but a vocal corner of his brain cried out, arguing that it would be impossible to turn back, emotionally, if he let himself flounder in his pain.

He tossed the shirt into a waiting laundry basket and gaped at the next item in the hamper. The jockstrap Henry had worn beneath his biking shorts. In typical Henry style, it was a tantalizing cross between form and function. No strictly utilitarian underwear for Henry, but neither was it meant purely as a fashion statement. It was bright blue with a wide gray waistband—pretty, but functional. And rich with Henry’s personal fragrance.

Again, Sam’s fingers hovered over the garment before finally clasping the material. The tears he’d been holding at bay flowed freely as he clenched and flexed his hand around the material. He kept his hands down at his belly, that corner of his brain now positively screaming that he’d never be able to turn back from the abyss if he lost control here and gave himself over to the desperate desire to wallow in Henry’s scent. His hand shook as he transferred the skimpy garment to the laundry basket. He shivered, picturing himself turning into some shifty creeper that came home and sniffed undergarments in a baggie every night. He ran his fingers through his hair and steeled himself to quickly sort through the rest.

He stood and carried the first load to the washing machine, opened it, and tossed in the clothes and a detergent pod. The bright blue jockstrap teased him from the top of the pile. He closed his eyes and counted to ten as he fiddled with a button on his shirt. When he reopened them, the rational corner of his brain whispered: This needs to be done, regardless. Either Henry will want his clothes clean when he returns, or they’ll need to be clean when you pack them away. Sam pushed back when that reasonable part of his psyche pressed him to accept it was the latter, and aloud, he murmured to the empty house, “I know the odds that you’re still alive out there are far closer to ‘none’ than ‘slim,’ but I’m not ready to let go of you, yet.”

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.

Anniversary Promo 600x600

Flash Fiction Friday – March 24, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

I’m doing something slightly different today. I waited (for the 3rd week in a row) until Thursday afternoon to write the post, but that turned out to be a good thing because I stumbled upon this “daily writing prompt”…


…over at the Writers Write blog on Thursday and decided to use it along with the one prompt word (disappointment) that was left on last week’s post.

So here you go—10 items found in the rubbish, and 1 prompt word. Although this does continue with the same characters from last week, I’ll file it under Random Standalone Flash Fiction because I don’t intend for them to become recurring characters. I’ll revisit that if I change my mind down the road.

It had to be in here. Grant used a finger and thumb to gingerly pick up a rotting banana peel and toss it aside. He shuddered. Who put food remains in their bedroom trash can, anyway. No wonder the room reeked.

“Ew,” he muttered. The used condom could sift to the bottom. He wasn’t touching it despite the fact that Dreamy Daniel from the carnival had worn the thing. At least he assumed it had been Daniel and not Andy wearing the rubber. Either way, no doubt it was a contributor to the funky odor. The crumpled tissues and wet wipe were probably related, and also not anything Grant wanted to touch. He fetched a pair of tongs from the kitchen, because clearly this job needed either that or rubber gloves. This mission had better be worth it.

An empty chocolate syrup container, a candle stub, and an empty can of Reddi Whip came out next. Grant shook his head. Had they made banana splits in the bedroom, or drizzled this shit all over each other and licked it off? He could get behind the latter option, at least if he was one of the participants.

Good grief. An empty champagne bottle and about a dozen bitten off strawberry tops? On a first date? Andy’d pulled out all the stops for this guy. Even if Grant managed to finagle a date with the man, he’d be hard put to compete with this shit.

As he lifted off the last few strawberry greens the paper he was after emerged. Grant’s shoulders slumped with disappointment when he saw it. Daniel’s name was readable, but the ink for the phone number underneath it had run and speared into an illegible mess. Andy’s phone was the only hope of retrieving it, now. That or flirting with the man right in front of Andy. No, he felt low enough going through Andy’s trash. What plausible excuse could he have given even if he’d discovered the number, anyway? It was time to concede defeat. He sighed and returned the garbage to the plastic can.

Andy stood in the doorway with a hiked eyebrow when Grant turned to leave. “Find what you were looking for?”

“My self-respect? No, left it behind.”

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.

Flash Fiction Friday – Prompt Word Ficlet – March 17, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (hamburger) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (screw – conduct – degree – square – print – clever – existence – boot – famous – crack – hungry – hands – ignite – stiff) from a random word generator (screenshot below).

Screenshot 2017-03-16 13.16.09

This week I wrote another random standalone scene, unrelated to any of my existing publications or returning flash fiction characters. I think it might be my shortest non-drabble to date, coming in at only 244 words:

Screw that,” Andy said. “I’m hungry. Let’s go get some hamburgers or something before we get on any more rides.

“The line’s not going to get any shorter, you know.” Grant stood stiffly with his hands on his hips, tapping one gleaming ankle boot on the asphalt, and one eyebrow hiked up so far its very existence was in question, since it was out of sight behind his—admittedly long—side-swept bangs. Grant was famous among their circle of friends for his over-the-top theatrical conduct. “And I can’t stay late, I’ve got to get up at the ass-crack of dawn for work tomorrow. Boss-man from hell doesn’t care that today’s St. Patrick’s Day.”

“But I’m so hungry, I could…” Andy’s gaze landed on a strikingly good-looking man with green-streaked blond hair who’d just gotten into the line in question, and his attitude took a sharp one-hundred-eighty degree turn. It wasn’t a guarantee, but there was a good chance the guy was gay, wearing a shirt with rainbow lettering printed on a black square, stating, “He who is born round won’t die square.” Which was a clever Sicilian proverb meaning people don’t change their fundamental nature. So, yeah, the rainbow lettering was a clue. “Actually, come on. Like you said, it’s not getting any shorter.”

Grant’s eyes about popped out of his head. “What the hell ignited a—oh.” He turned and started walking. “Just because you saw him first does not mean you have dibs.”

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.

If you’d like to enter a big giveaway that includes signed print copies of ’Til Death Do Us Part (which includes the short story, From This Day Forward), To Love and To Cherish, and Snapshots (my collection of eleven short stories), then hurry on over to Day 4 on the Diverse Reader week-long March Madness party: http://diversereader.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-madness-week-long-giveaway-day-4.html


Flash Fiction Friday – Prompt Word Ficlet -March 10, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (champagne) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (bike – aromatic – bad – limit – hiss – bow – squeeze – train – soap – snow – improve – rainy – pain – grass) from a random word generator (screenshot below).

Screenshot 2017-03-08 21.25.31

This week I wrote a random standalone scene, unrelated to any of my existing publications or returning flash fiction characters:

Darren squeezed through a group of passengers standing near the exit and stepped off the train. He pulled up the hood of his jacket and hummed “Rainy Days and Mondays” as he made his way to the bike rack. A deep-toned hiss behind him indicated the doors had shut and the train would move on to its next stop.

Mondays were usually bad enough, but he’d reached his limit today when his pain-in-the-ass boss had dumped another project on his desk and announced he’d probably have to work through the next weekend to meet the deadline. There hadn’t been much he could do except bow his head in acceptance of his employer’s decree. Could his day—no, week—possibly get any worse?

“Could be worse,” a deep voice behind him said, as if its owner could read his mind. “At least it isn’t snow.”

Darren turned toward the holder of that sonorous sound, and his heart leapt into his throat, blocking the automatic reply he’d intended. Instead, he stood with his mouth hanging open, staring at the greenest eyes he’d ever seen. They were green as fresh grass on an early spring day, and framed by strawberry blond hair that seemed the perfect accompaniment to the aromatic cologne or soap the man wore that hinted of the apple-y floral scent of a fine French champagne.

Instead of raising a haughty eyebrow at his graceless reaction, the man smiled widely as his head tilted inquiringly to the side as if he both recognized and returned Darren’s undefended interest. “Hi.” He put out a hand for Darren to shake. “My name’s Stuart.”

Darren grasped the offered hand and found his voice. “Darren. And you’re right. It could be worse.” In fact, it was starting to improve already.

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.

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).


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?”


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.

Promo - Teaser - Snapshots

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.

Flash Fiction Friday – To Love and To Cherish – Bonus Scene

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m back to using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (patriarchy) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (level – cleanwaitcrimeapparelrocktestyagreeableunhealthyhangchannelbackrelyisland) from a random word generator (got them in three batches, otherwise they’re blocked by ads—screenshots below).


I should get bonus points this week for getting the word “island” and not using it for a scene from ’Til Death Do Us Part. 😇

“Oh, please. Don’t even try to tell me patriarchy isn’t alive and well.” Nash’s head snapped up as Angela’s voice carried over to where he and Emmitt were arranging a tray of fruit and vegetables to offer their company. “Did you read that idiotic letter to the editor some fool politician in Utah wrote?”

“No need to get testy with me.” Harley put his hands up in surrender. “I didn’t say it wasn’t still a concern, only that my company doesn’t discriminate or pay women less. I run a clean business.”

“Misogyny should be a crime,” Angela grumbled. “And don’t get me started on the sexism rampant in children’s apparel, either.”

“Lock ’em all up,” Harley prodded. “Send ’em all to ‘The Rock.’ Lower level, in solitary.”

Angela’s eyes narrowed. “I can always rely on you to stir in a little hyperbole.”

“I don’t suppose,” Emmitt whispered, “that it would be a good idea to inform her the Utah guy resigned two days later due to the backlash, would it?”

“Go ahead,” Nash snickered. “I’ll hang back here and wait while you go over and point that out.”

Emmitt chuckled and picked up the tray. “Not on your life.”

Nash grabbed a bag of chips out of the pantry since Harley had requested “something unhealthy” to go along with the nutritious stuff he’d known Emmitt would select.

“Or better yet,” Harley said, “ship the offenders off to that little island where Nash’s—”

“How about we change the channel,” Angela’s husband, interjected, “to something more agreeable than the news?”

“Good plan.” Harley’s fiancé, Oliver, picked up the remote and switched to a music channel. “Get us in the right frame of mind before we head out to Winterfest.”

Nash sat next to Emmitt on a sofa, and snuggled up under his husband’s arm with a spontaneous smile on his lips.

Harley raised an eyebrow and smirked. “Honeymoon’s still not over?”

Emmitt’s body shook with restrained laughter. Nash said, “Never. Is yours?”

“We’re not even married yet!”

“But you live together.”

“Not for that long. Not alone, anyway.” Harley waggled his eyebrows at Oliver, then pointed his finger at Nash. “It’s only been a few months since you moved out.”

Nash shuddered. “That was a fateful day.” The injury he’d sustained during the drive to move the last of his belongings to Emmitt’s condo had affected his life in so many bizarre ways.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again,” Harley declared. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to you.”

Nash wouldn’t have accepted that statement while enduring the pain and confusion of his recovery, but as Emmitt’s arm tightened around his shoulders, pulling him in for a hug, that familiar warmth spread through his chest, and he knew Harley was right.

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.


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

Flash Fiction Friday Feb. 17, 2017 – Drabble – Adventures with Harrison & Mason

Flash Fiction Friday

I’m going with a drabble this week—a precisely 100-word scene. It’ll be based on the image below, as well as use the word I got in the comments from last week’s post: cookie.

Snowy 024

This week will be another installment in my Adventures with Harrison and Mason series.

“How is he not freezing his buns off out there?” Harrison peered out the window at Jaxon with his friends.

“They stay warm running around.” Mason approached and laid a hand on Harrison’s shoulder. When he saw the snowman the kids had built he burst out laughing.

“You didn’t give them that idea, then?”

“To build it upside down? No, but I like it. What’s that they’re using for buttons?”

“I brought out a tray of those cookies I baked. I guess they had extras.”

“Those were good.” Mason nuzzled Harrison’s neck. “Mm, but not nearly as tasty as you.”

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.

15 Random Prompt Words – Flash Fiction Friday – ’Til Death Do Us Part


For this week’s 15 random words I’m using:


mix – vegetable – disagreeable – immense – aboard – invincible – food – intend – old – hand – alike – romantic – muscle – bad

Above are screen prints of the words it gave me (I got them in 3 batches because otherwise they were covered by ads).

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I went with an alternate POV scene from ’Til Death Do Us Part. It won’t be obvious from the start, but this is a scene that occurs in the story. This time it’s told from Devon’s 1st-person POV.

At the same time, it seemed like only yesterday and yet forever ago that I’d felt invincible. I frowned, remembering how the lyrics of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” had run through my mind aboard that damned plane. I’d been flying high, both figuratively and literally, having just completed a successful freshman year as a linebacker for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and was on my way to a fun-in-the-sun vacation with a couple buddies. I’d felt on top of the world…right up until we’d dropped out of the sky. Being one of only four survivors of a plane crash should arguably reinforce that feeling of invulnerability, but it didn’t.

Sitting in the shade, a few yards into the northern tree line, I looked out over the immense expanse of ocean and shivered despite the heat. I used to think of myself as a romantic, but now, sometimes if felt as if the only thing keeping me from acting like a disagreeable old man in a perpetual bad mood was the kid, “Buddy.”

I didn’t intend to be difficult, and mostly I kept the ever-lurking hopelessness that triggered the occasional outburst at bay.  I rolled my shoulders and shook out my hands to metaphorically push the threatening melancholy away.

I sighed and stood, listening for Buddy, then cut through the interior toward the large rock where we tended to gather. It was our “table” for meals, and it was where Henry kept a basket with extra food for snacking. Fish, fruit, nuts, seeds, and seaweed…day after day after day. Henry tried to mix it up with his meal prep, but after a while, they all seemed alike. Maybe, not entirely, but the menu was short. What I wouldn’t give for a big juicy steak, or a piece of fried chicken, or a hamburger. I even craved vegetables—the non-seaweed variety.

The thought of food reminded me I was thirsty, so I detoured by the Papaya tree grove where our little fresh water “spring” was located. It was little more than a deep puddle that slowly but continually refilled itself, but it was one of the key reasons we’d survived all these years.

With my hands cupped, I scooped a couple mouthfuls before noticing a batch of tadpoles had hatched. We would have to be careful with the water for the next couple months so we didn’t harm them. Henry had schooled us early on about how the tree frogs on the island kept the fruit flies in check. Without the frogs, the flies could easily decimate our fruit supply.

Startled, I jumped to my feet when a scream pierced through the background noise of the ocean’s waves. Buddy! Something had happened. Something bad. My gut twisted with fear as I took off running toward the heart-rending sound, then spun, because Buddy was apparently darting around the corner of the island as he shrieked.

I turned to take the path that led to where the screams had come to an abrupt halt, but now Garrett was hollering my name. Like Buddy, his voice was a moving target so I kept going in the direction I was already headed.

When I burst out onto the beach, Buddy’s arms and legs were wrapped around Henry, with his face buried in the man’s neck, and Garrett’s head spun back and forth. He turned and ran back in my direction, then veered toward the water’s edge with his arms waving. I ground to a halt with my heart in my throat, confused, until I saw it.

A plane—no, it was close, silent, and too small to be manned—a drone was flying past us. I chased it, screaming, “Stop! Stop!” and waved my arms like a lunatic until it was out of sight. But it circled and returned from the other direction.

Circling meant we’d been spotted. The drone operator knew we were here. It couldn’t actually stop, as I’d reflexively yelled, but did he (or she) realize we needed help—that we were stranded? Probably. Our general appearance would make that apparent, and if not, our hysterical chasing and arm waving would’ve put any doubts to rest.

The three of us came together in a huddle on the beach. Henry patted Buddy’s back, but his ragged breathing and wide eyes belied his own fears for the future, mixed with his obvious excitement. Garrett panted. “Sticks. We need sticks so we can write in the sand.”

“Of course,” I said. “I’ll get some.” I brushed my hand across my eyes to clear the tears of relief that welled up as I ran down the path to our wood-stand. When I arrived, the muscles in my legs gave out, and I stumbled to a stop and leaned against a tree for support.

“I’m going home,” I whispered to the universe. I pictured the look of shock that would appear on my parents’ faces when they got the news. My brothers—after five years they wouldn’t look the same. I snickered, remembering how I’d just been thinking about the foods I missed as if they were what was important. No, that craving was overpowered by the yearning to see my family—a longing I’d suppressed for too long to keep despair at bay. I’ll see you, soon, I added silently, then I grabbed three sticks from the kindling pile and dashed back to the beach.

As always, because I can’t resist a good challenge, I’ll take the first 15 prompt words given to me in the comments, below, for next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please. I’ll make up the difference using a random word generator site if I don’t get 15 here.


Quick links to my website pages with buy-links, blurbs, excerpts, review snippets/links:

’Til Death Do Us Part | From This Day Forward | To Love and To Cherish


15 Random Prompt Words – Flash Fiction Friday – Vows Series


For this week’s 15 random words I’m using:



lighten – level – self – language – wistful – warn – precede – end – weak – stiff – simple – wobble – fine

Above are screen prints of the words it gave me (I got them in 3 batches because otherwise they were covered by ads).

New rule…up until now I’ve used the words exactly as they show up on the random word generator lists. Starting this week I will only promise to use a form of the word. One issue is I write in past tense, and the verbs on the list are always present tense. That can make for some awkward wording if I’m not allowed to modify the form of the word. 15 words is enough of a challenge…I want a little flexibility overall.

This week I went with a bonus missing scene that would be primarily from ’Til Death Do Us Part, but it could also arguably fit in with Nash’s flashback dreams from To Love and To Cherish. I’m going to include it in the bonus scenes links for both since it features an MC from each and is pertinent to both stories. This scene takes place right after Henry has arrived back home, Sam and Nash clash, and Henry and Buddy are leaving to go stay for a short while with Sam’s parents, so Sam and Nash can have their much-needed discussion in private.

I’d originally included a similar scene in ’Til Death Do Us Part, but ended up removing it in favor of keeping the readers in suspense (along with Henry) as to how things would resolve.

It’s told from Sam’s 3rd-person POV.

Flash Fiction Friday

Sam would’ve rather been anywhere, doing anything, than staying where he was, watching Buddy precede Henry as they walked out the front door with Harley. He’d rather stand in front of a classroom full of incoming freshmen and use the words “epic fail” to describe his recent actions—or lack thereof. He’d rather have his career depend upon the outcome of his entry in a timed Sudoku contest against the math department professors. Hell, he’d rather get his balls waxed. In other words…anything.

If he needed a carrot on a stick to motivate him to turn around and face Nash, he supposed it could be the promise of getting Henry back after he’d suffered this long-overdue conversation.

Henry had been correct. Sam needed to do his level best to handle this properly. Much as he’d love to lighten the mood, to do so would be unfair to everyone involved. Sam straightened his shoulders and cast one more wistful glance out the window as Harley’s pickup backed out of the driveway, then turned to face his now-former fiancé.

Nash still stood with his arms stiff at his sides, his fists clenched as if he’d like nothing better than to unleash his admittedly righteous fury on Sam.

“I’m sorry,” Sam said, hoping a simple, sincere declaration would be a good start.

But, Nash’s face grew even redder. “Fuck you!” he shouted. Shrieked, really.

Sam wobbled on weak knees. Where the hell had that come from? Sure he’d known Nash was upset, as he should be, but they’d never raised their voices, let alone shouted at one another. That had come out of nowhere, with no warning. Language deserted Sam as his jaw dropped.

“First you couldn’t make a straightforward decision. Him or me? Do I stay or do I go? Then when you finally fucking did you couldn’t even pick up the goddamned phone and call me? Fuck! You!” At least Nash wasn’t yelling anymore, but his voice was cold and hard as he bit out the words.

What Nash said wasn’t entirely fair. Nash had contributed greatly to Sam’s indecision. He was the one who’d made the point that Henry would certainly have changed in five years and might not even want to get back together with Sam. It was almost as if Nash had seen the writing on the wall and actively lobbied to sway Sam’s decision.

But Sam didn’t want to make this about himself. This needed to be about helping Nash cope with the abrupt end to their engagement.

“I am sorry,” Sam whispered. Tears threated to fall as he ran a hand through his hair. “I do love you. Please remember that. You deserved better than a breakup over the phone, but I should have thought about how that reunion scene was being broadcast on TV.”

Nash stared at him for a moment, then his eyes became unfocused, and his gaze dropped.

“I didn’t want to hurt you,” Sam continued. “I would never have caused you pain deliberately.”

Nash sniffed loudly and lifted his gaze. The torment in Nash’s eyes ripped through Sam’s heart. Sam stepped forward instinctively to offer a hug, but Nash put up a hand, palm out. “No.” Nash shook his head. “That won’t help me anymore. It would hurt.”

Sam stilled, and his arms dropped. “What can I do to help.”

Rolling his shoulders and clearing his throat as if consciously trying to pull himself together, Nash looked around the room and said, “You know what? I’ll be fine. The sooner I clear out of here and move on with my life, the better off I’ll be. If you want to help, take a pass through the house and see if there’s anything I’ve missed packing.”

“Of course.” But Sam couldn’t bring himself to move his legs.

Nash wiped the back of his hand across his wet eyes. “I want to be ready to leave when Harley gets back.”

Stomach clenched, Sam nodded and stepped away. Nash might not want a hug, but Sam needed one desperately.


Sam turned at the sound of the softly spoken word.

“I…I love you, too. That’s why…” Nash snuffled. “You know.”

“I know,” Sam murmured.

“Maybe…maybe one last hug for the road. I don’t want to end things like this.”

Sam’s hands trembled and one of the tears that had been threatening finally traced down his cheek. He opened his arms, and Nash stepped into them. “Thank you,” Sam whispered into Nash’s hair.

As always, because I can’t resist a good challenge, I’ll take the first 15 prompt words given to me in the comments, below, for next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please. I’ll make up the difference using a random word generator site if I don’t get 15 here.


Quick links to my website pages with buy-links, blurbs, excerpts, review snippets/links:

’Til Death Do Us Part

From This Day Forward

To Love and To Cherish

15 Random Prompt Words – Flash Fiction Friday – ’Til Death Do Us Part


For this week’s 15 random words I’m using:


rainy – immense – blue – sweet – gorgeous – club – bone – wilderness – jolly – shock – endurable – rail – shaky – muscle

Above are screen prints of the words it gave me (I got them in 3 batches because otherwise they were covered by ads).

This week I went with a sweet little bonus continuation scene for Henry and Sam of ’Til Death Do Us Part. It’s told in Henry’s 3rd-person POV.

Flash Fiction Friday

As always, because I can’t resist a good challenge, I’ll take the first 15 prompt words given to me in the comments, below, for next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please. I’ll make up the difference using a random word generator site if I don’t get 15 here.

Henry cracked open one of the French doors leading outside to the patio and whispered, “What are you doing?”

Sam turned from where he stood gazing at the predawn southeastern sky and smiled. “No clouds in this direction. Come look at the stars with me.”

Likely it would be rainy later, but it was nice to get this glimpse for now. Henry slipped out and joined Sam under the large blanket he’d wrapped around himself. Sam’s arm muscle flexed as he pulled Henry close.

Pointing toward the horizon, Sam said, “Mercury’s rising.” Trailing his finger in a line up and to the right he added, “That’s Saturn next, then that bright star is Antares. Just past the moon is Spica, and that’s Jupiter right above it.”

“Back on the island…” Henry’s voice was shaky, and he paused to take a deep breath. They were seeing a therapist together as well as separately to help them deal with this upheaval in their lives, and he’d learned that bottling his feelings was a big no-no. “I, uh, would do that corny thing people make fun of in movies—I’d look up at the moon and wonder if you were doing the same.”

It was such a cliché, but it had helped make the separation more endurable. Then in the daytime sometimes he’d looked out over the immense expanse of wide blue ocean and tried to determine the exact direction that would point to home. Home to Sam with his gorgeous, always-kind eyes and sweet quirky smile.

Sam landed a kiss to Henry’s forehead and held him tighter. Sam was as sensitive and serious as he’d been before their separation, but he was also happy. Not in a boisterous jolly kind of way, but it was clear enough to Henry.

“I did the same in the early days, before giving up hope,” Sam murmured into Henry’s hair.

“I worried so much about how you were managing.”

“It was such a shock. I felt like I was all alone in the wilderness trying to make sense of my life. All I wanted to do was rail against the airline, the bomber, fate…the universe.”

“Welcome to the club.”

Sam snorted, then shivered. “I’m chilled to the bone. Let’s go inside.”

“Aiden should sleep for another couple hours, at least.” Henry waggled his eyebrows.

Sam’s crooked grin appeared. “That sounds much better than the coffee I was planning.”


Wednesday Words – Jan. 18, 2017 – Adventures with Harrison and Mason

Wednesday Words - FB-1200x628

P.T. Wyant posts a weekly prompt for writers, and followers of the blog are encouraged to write a bit of flash fiction (approx. 500 words) using those words/ideas. Last Wednesday’s post gave the prompts: a snowman, a park bench, and an empty bottle.

I went with a drabble—a precisely 100 word scene—featuring my recurring characters, Harrison and Mason along with their son Jaxon. I also found a fun image to fit the words:


This is my drabble using that prompt:

“He looks so sad,” Jaxon said. The snowman on the park bench sat with its head in its hands.

“I wonder why he’s so unhappy?” Mason asked.

“Maybe he’s lonely,” Harrison replied.

Mason squeezed Harrison’s hand then quirked an eyebrow at their son. “Jaxon?”

“I think he’s thirsty.” The boy placed his empty juice bottle between the snowman’s legs.

“Hmm,” Mason said. “Maybe we should recycle that for him.”

“Oops.” Jaxon handed it to Harrison, then squatted to pick up a piece of black cloth and draped it over the snowman’s leg. “Maybe he was sad ’cause he dropped this.”