Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Little Art Challenge

A few weeks ago I was wandering about close to sunset, looked over my shoulder, and stopped dead in my tracks. I was near the docks, and even though the temps were in the 30Fs and my fingers were freezing off, it was so gorgeous I had to just stand there and soak it up. I snapped a few photos. Had to. I shared them with a few friends of mine and then spontaneously challenged one of them to a little bit of an "art off". I thought it might be fun to see how our different styles tackled the same image, pretty much the same as seeing how 40 authors tackle the same prompt. ;-) Thorny took me up on the challenge, and if you haven't seen his painting of the photo, you really need to go check it out now. I'll wait. Go on.

He rocked it, right? So did. :-)

As for me, I'd started to do an 8" x 8" acrylic painting of the photo, but well... me and acrylics have a love/hate relationship. Usually it doesn't have much love for me. Or me it. Regardless, I'd started with paint and got more and more frustrated with it, so buh-bye acrylics. Perhaps we'll meet again when you're feeling a little more chipper. After yet another sad break up, I pulled out my tried and true got-nothing-but-love-for-me graphite pencils. I really do love working in graphite. :-) So, here are a couple works in progress of the drawing and the final artwork.

And now... a winter sunset in three parts!

The sketch with sky and water background shaded and blended in.

Starting in some detail. All those cables... Yes, I used a ruler. ;-)

...and the finished piece.
Original 8"x10" graphite pencil on acid-free Strathmore Drawing paper.

If you'd like a little West Coast in your art collection, you can find giclee fine art prints in my Big Cartel store.


Copyright © 2014 L.C. Chase. All rights reserved. No part of my artwork may be copied, imitated, reproduced or republished in part or in whole, online or offline, without my written and signed permission.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Heavens of My Heart

A Flash Fiction Holiday Blog Hop:
One prompt, 40 stories


“Come on, Trey.”

Dylan’s voice had a familiar edge to it—frustrated, tired of the same old argument. I didn’t care. We’d been through this every year for the last seven of our eleven years together. I shook my head and turned to walk away, but he wrapped his arms around me from behind, pulling me tight against his chest, and dropped his head on my shoulder. But I didn’t need his arms to hold me in place, the shock of such a public display did that all on its own.

I did a quick scan of the store where we’d been shopping for last-minute gifts on the worst possible day to be at the mall—Christmas Eve. A large, lavishly decorated tree blocked the main entrance from view, and we were near the back of an empty aisle. There was no one in our immediate area to witness—gasp—two men embracing. Of course. Dylan would never do anything to give away our relationship as more than friends.

“I love you. You know that.” His voice was a breathy whisper against my neck, and I couldn’t help turning into the warmth, to feel the silk of his lips brush my jaw as he spoke. I did know he loved me, but sometimes it seemed…not enough.

“We have an image,” he continued with the same old excuse. “We have a responsibility to the rest of the guys, to the fans. We can’t risk destroying everything we’ve worked so hard to build by coming out.”

“What about the risk of losing us.” To my dismay, my voice cracked, and I slipped out of his embrace, turning to face him. He was the quintessential bad boy, everything a rock star represented with his shaggy dark hair, obnoxious grin, mischievous glint in his hazel eyes, and that FTW lift of his chin. He swaggered rather than walked, and people noticed that danger-danger vibe he wore so well.

Except behind closed doors, when it was just us—like it had been in the very early days when we’d first met through an ad in the “Musician Seeking Band” section of the local music rag—and he could be himself, leaving all that heavy attitude armor at the door. We’d clicked from the very start, first as bandmates, then best friends, and finally as lovers. I couldn’t imagine a life without Dylan, without the band, but more and more the band had started feeling like a wedge between us.

“The band will survive and thrive. I know it will,” I told him, my voice back under control. “It’s no secret that I’m gay, and that hasn’t hurt the band any, has it?”

“One member of the band being out isn’t the same as two members being out and involved. I’m the front man. The rules are different for me than they are for a bass player.” At my raised eyebrows he added, “or a drummer.”

“Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee were the stars of Motley Crue,” I said, as if that would make my case.

“So was Vince Neil.”

“And Phil Collins was the star of Genesis.”

“None of them are gay.”

“Rob Halford’s gay and he was the star of Judas Priest.”

Dylan snapped, “And he didn’t come out until after Priest split.”

“But they reunited,” I said a little quieter, hearing the pout in my voice, but that didn’t stop me from plunging on as Dylan opened his mouth, cutting him off. “Metalheads are far more accepting than you give them credit for, and you’ve read the fan fiction online about us. I know you have. They’re ready for us. We are ready for this.”

Dylan shook his head, as tired of this fight as I was. “Stop it, Trey.”

I pursed my lips and clenched my jaw, biting back the shit I wanted to keep flinging, but knew wouldn’t do any good. I’d said everything there was to say over the years. What more could I say?

I just want to hold your hand when we’re walking down the street. I just want to lean over and kiss you whenever the urge strikes, no matter where we are, just because I can. Because I love you so goddamn much, and I want the whole world to know I’m yours and you’re mine. But of course, I didn’t say all those things. I couldn’t. Dylan wouldn’t hear it.

He glanced at his watch. The one I’d given him for our first Christmas together. The face was heavily scratched, it was always ten minutes slow, and the battery and leather strap had been replaced more times than I could remember. It wasn’t brand name or even expensive, but there wasn’t a day went by that he didn’t wear it. Because he did love me, and we would continue the way we always had because I loved him too much to ever walk away.

“We’re going to be late for sound check,” he said flatly, and brushed past me and out of the store.

Well, that was a bust. Again.

* * *

We didn’t speak at all on the drive from the mall to the legendary Whisky A Go-Go on Sunset Strip, where we were performing later that night. We only spoke out of necessity during sound check. Short sentences, clipped words. The side-eye glances the rest of the band shot each other didn’t escape my notice. They’d known about us for years, but as supportive and loyal as they’d been Dylan still remained guarded around them.

Finally it was show time and we quickly fell into our groove, like we always did. In all the years since we’d first formed Starlight Sixty, we hadn’t had a single lineup change. These guys were family. My brothers.

Being on a stage once graced by the likes of The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Janis Joplin was such a charge that the earlier argument with Dylan faded from memory. I reveled in the music, the atmosphere, the crowd… Fuck, I loved this.

Our set came to an earsplitting, heart thumping close—always too soon, it felt like, but instead of our usual wave-and-bow routine, Dylan dragged a stool out to center stage and sat down. One of the roadies ran out and handed him his acoustic. Dylan played guitar, but he’d never played on stage—only when he was writing songs or just kicking back daydreaming, his thoughts wandering on the strings.

I looked over at Jake, our drummer, who just smiled at me before returning his focus on Dylan—as did a single spotlight.

“I have something special I’ve been working on, that I’d like to share,” Dylan said into the microphone. “It’s a little different, so if you’ll all indulge me…”

The answer from the audience came back in enthusiastic cheers, whistles and shouts. When the crowd volume settled down to a dull roar, Dylan turned to me, smiled warmly, and said, “This one is for you, baby.”

My heart stuttered. Froze. Exploded up into my throat and threatened to cut off much needed oxygen to my brain. He couldn’t be…

Back to the audience he said, “I call this one The Heavens of my Heart.”

He strummed a few intro chords—slow, melodic, heartfelt—closed his eyes, and the first tenor of that smooth silky voice I loved so much filled the hushed spaces, caressed my soul like it had the very first time I’d heard him sing. The day I’d fallen irrevocably in love with him.

I traced the shadow of your face
In the silent hours of darkness
I felt the beat of your eyes
And saw the color of your heart

He turned to face me, opening those warm hazel eyes—mesmerizing me, entrancing me. The crowded club faded away. The band disappeared. There was only me and Dylan and his song.

Heaven lives in each day
Yet so many never see
The little things you gave
The world on a key

Words faded until there was only the sound of his heart, the love in his voice. It washed over me, cocooned me. His eyes never once breaking from mine.

You are the
brightest star
In the heavens of my heart
You are the
brightest star
In the heavens of my heart

He stopped singing. A smile overtook his handsome face. The last echo of the final note he’d plucked drifted into the night. He held out his hand.

I couldn’t refuse. It was impossible to even consider yet I felt oddly disembodied as I walked across the stage. Toward Dylan. Into the single spotlight. The crowd a distant rumble on the edge of my consciousness.

He stood and took my hand in his. Held it. Then he pulled me into his arms, our bodies flush, fitting together as one like they always had, and kissed me. Right there, center stage.

Dylan Jacobs, lead singer for the popular rock band Starlight Sixty, came out in dramatic fashion tonight by kissing bass player and longtime boyfriend, Trey Templeton, before a packed house at the Whisky... I almost laughed at the announcer-voice in my head.

“Merry Christmas, baby,” Dylan said, and still standing close to the mic, his voice carried to the back of the club. The cheers grew louder. “I love you, Trey.”

“I love you too. So damn much.” I smiled and my vision blurred with tears I wasn’t ashamed to let fall freely. “Best gift ever.”

* * *

Want to read more wonderful holiday flash fiction from some of your favorite authors? Click over to our holiday hop Link-Up page and enjoy! :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Flash Fiction Holiday Blog Hop


Grab the badge and spread the word! :-)


Who doesn't love a little flash fiction blog hop with holiday feels by some of your favorite authors? :-)

Thorny Sterling and Kris T. Bethke had so much fun writing their photo-inspired short stories and were so intrigued by how different just the two of them used the photo, that they wanted to see what a whole bunch of writers might do with a single photo. And what better time to offer free stories than during the holidays? :-)

Because Thorny and Kris are all kinds of awesome they invited me to help them get this done, and after some fun brainstorming, here’s what the three of us came up with.

All stories must be inspired by this photo:

All stories must include in the text:

  1. A winter holiday theme,
  2. A “bad boy” character, and
  3. A gift of some kind (author’s choice).
Try to limit your writing to no more than 3000 words, but 500 to 1000 is preferred. This is flash fiction, which is defined by being brief. Think of it like a specific moment in the characters’ lives instead of their whole story.

We’re asking that it fit under the umbrella of LGBT Romance, so if you want to write about any two characters on the gender and/or sexuality spectrums, go for it. Anything goes as far as genre too, so scifi, mystery, paranormal, contemporary, etc. is fine, just make sure it’s a romance first and foremost.

Have an idea to use characters you’ve already written about? Well, OK, but make sure we know who you’re talking about by giving us a summary of their original story that this flash fiction is spinning off of as an introduction. (And buy links because, you know, tis the season for the one-click clickety.)

Sign-up Begins: TODAY, October 21
Sign-up Ends: October 31

You don’t have to be a published author to participate. But we ask that you make an effort to be professional by having others read and critique your work before you post it. Remember, it’ll be internet-permanent in an instant and you wanna look awesome!

Use the InLinkz system below to sign-up and make sure to complete all the required information. (It doesn’t matter who’s blog you sign-up from because everything’s connected in InLinkz.)

An InLinkz Link-up

Post stories to your own blog starting December 1 and no later than December 7.

If you don’t have your own blog, you can use the “Writings” section of your Goodreads profile. If you don’t have a blog or a Goodreads account, contact Kris to get on the “Host Me” list and either she, Thorny, or I will host your story for you on our own blogs (limited availability!).

Questions? Problems? Contact Kris Bethke (kristbethke at gmail dot com)

So... How excited are you? :-D

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pulling Leather Tour

I have been a touch busy lately, which is good, but also bad in that I've been somewhat remiss in keeping my poor blog updated. The biggest news is a new book! Pulling Leather, book three in the Pickup Men series released last week. Yeehaw! I'll have more updates soon, but for now, details on the Pulling Leather tour can be found here. There are a few more stops later this week, and lots of chances yet to win prizes.

The Blurb:

The toughest ride of his life is all in his head.

Bull rider Scott Gillard has a reputation for quick fists and harsh words. What no one knows is where that anger comes from. After a shocking incident sends him into a tailspin, he knows he needs help: he’s been fighting a battle he could never win. Now he’s trying to navigate a new life and embrace his true self, but some days are easier than others.

Pickup man Cory Ackerson has suffered his share of harassment, but his light still burns bright. He doesn’t let anything or anyone keep him down, so when he meets the rugged cowboy with a battered chip on his shoulder and regret in his dark eyes, all he wants to do is help.

As their unlikely friendship grows into something deeper, Scott must overcome his past to be the man Cory deserves, or lose his best chance at his own happily ever after.

* * *

Pulling Leather is available now at Riptide Publishing, ARe, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Amazon.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

And the winners are...

The Let It Ride blog ride has officially come to the end of the trail. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did, with all the guesses to the drawing, as well as all the favorite cowboys. John Wayne was definitely at the top of the list, and there were so many fabulous characters people loved. I love them all. :-)

So, with the help of a handy-dandy little random generator, I have winners for the tour goodies! Congratulations, everyone - emails coming to you all!

1 ebook from my backlist: Jill
1 signed print copy of Long Tall Drink: Lori
1 original graphite pencil drawing, by me: Jen

YEEHAW!

I'd like to shout out a big thank you to all of you who braved saddle sores and a week of cookout beans for dinner to join me on this little trail ride, and to everyone who was gracious enough to let me stop by their blogs. You all made it rock! <3

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Snippet - Let It Ride

Ready for another Sunday Snippet from my upcoming release, Let It Ride? How about . . . the first kiss! :-)
I hope you enjoy!

* * *

Bridge’s dreams hadn’t come close to the reality of kissing Eric Palmer. Not by a country mile. There was no way he could have imagined the silky smooth feel of Eric’s warm lips, the way day-old scruff brushed over his skin, the strong, wet slide of Eric’s tongue as it dueled with his, and holy hell, their tongues dueled! Never had he been on the receiving end of such an aggressive kiss, felt such demand to be so . . . consumed, so needed, and then there was the taste. Heady and spicy and it shot through his veins like liquid fire.

This. This was what he’d wanted. This was what he’d been looking for all his life. He knew in that moment, without a single doubt, he was head over heels for Eric, and there was no going back. Not now. Not ever.

Eric broke the kiss first and stepped back, lips glistening in the low light of the rodeo grounds, chest heaving. Tiny gossamer clouds puffed out into the space between them as their heated breaths collided with the cool night air. “You’re not alone here.” His thickly accented voice was low and ragged.

“Knew it.” Bridge smiled, forcing himself to stay still even as his skin felt tight on his bones and his fingers itched to pull Eric back against him. He didn’t know what to do next, only knew that he wanted more. More kisses like that, more of that unique flavor, more of that lean body notched so perfectly to his. They may have just crossed a line, but fuck if anything had ever felt more right than Eric in his arms.

* * *

The Blurb:

Pickup man Bridge Sullivan is the kind of cowboy everyone wants—as a brother, a friend, a lover. People think he’s straight, but Bridge isn’t one for labels, and when a sexy male paramedic jumpstarts his heart, he charges in with all guns blazing.

New York City transplant Eric Palmer grew up in foster care. While he always had a roof over his head, he never felt love or a sense of belonging . . . until he joined the California rodeo circuit as a paramedic and found a band of brothers who took him in as one of their own. Now, one in particular is making Eric’s pulse race.

When things heat up between Bridge and Eric, Bridge has to prove to Eric he’s not just experimenting with the rougher sex, while Eric must overcome his fears of being unwanted and cast aside. He knows that trusting Bridge may be the key to his happy ever after, but getting in the saddle is much, much easier than learning to let it ride.

* * *

Available for pre-order now at Riptide Publishing, in ebook or paperback.

Note: The above photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Photographer See-ming Lee.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Snippet - Let It Ride

Time to saddle up for another season on the rodeo circuit, ladies and gents! May 26th my cowboys are dusting off their boots for more adventures, this time with Bridge and Eric. I thought I'd kick things off with the first of four Sunday Snippets to bring us to release day. I hope you enjoy!

* * *

Eric looked up and met Bridge’s stare across the table. The wheels were clearly turning in the man’s head, and there was a glint of humor in his expression. He reminded Eric of a big cat readying to pounce. He shifted slightly in his seat, wanting to be the mouse as much as he didn’t. “I’m afraid to ask.”

“I want to teach you to ride,” Bridge said, lifting the soda cup to his lips.

“Oh, believe me,” Eric said, pitching his voice low. “I know how to ride quite well.”

Bridge choked on the sip he’d just taken, his eyes widening while a flush spread over the swells of his cheekbones. Endearing, Eric thought, how Bridge could manage embarrassed and turned on at the same time. But also telling how quick Bridge had picked up on his meaning.

“A horse, stud,” Bridge said, his voice ragged from the reversed bubbles, and reached for a napkin to wipe the spilled cola from his chin, pooled right in that little cleft Eric kept wanting to slide his tongue into. “I can’t believe you’ve been hanging around the rodeo this long and haven’t ever ridden a horse.”

Eric shrugged, eyes following Bridge’s hand as he wiped. “I’m here for the cowboys.”

Bridge shook his head, furrowing his brow, and a disapproving frown pushed the corners of his mouth downward. “Seriously, dude. A cowboy without a horse is like a PB&J without the J.”

“I’ll have you know, there are a lot of cowboys in New York who don’t have horses.”

“Yeah, like that naked guy who plays guitar in Times Square? Please.” Bridge rolled his eyes and tossed the soiled napkin on the table beside his plate. “I saw him on YouTube. He’s no cowboy. Nice legs, though.”

Eric raised his eyebrows. How many straight guys did he know who said things like that? Answer: none. “Seriously? You were checking him out?”

“I can appreciate an attractive man,” Bridge said. There was a playful note in his voice, but there was no teasing in the heated, promising look he leveled on Eric. It was another one of those bells-and-whistles stares that didn’t need words to indicate what it meant, and his pulse quickened in response.

* * *

The Blurb:

Pickup man Bridge Sullivan is the kind of cowboy everyone wants—as a brother, a friend, a lover. People think he’s straight, but Bridge isn’t one for labels, and when a sexy male paramedic jumpstarts his heart, he charges in with all guns blazing.

New York City transplant Eric Palmer grew up in foster care. While he always had a roof over his head, he never felt love or a sense of belonging . . . until he joined the California rodeo circuit as a paramedic and found a band of brothers who took him in as one of their own. Now, one in particular is making Eric’s pulse race.

When things heat up between Bridge and Eric, Bridge has to prove to Eric he’s not just experimenting with the rougher sex, while Eric must overcome his fears of being unwanted and cast aside. He knows that trusting Bridge may be the key to his happy ever after, but getting in the saddle is much, much easier than learning to let it ride.

* * *

Available for pre-order now at Riptide Publishing, in ebook or paperback.