How loose is your goose? Just kidding. What does that even mean?
I love reading reviews (both of my own books and of others). I know some people subscribe to the old adage that authors shouldn’t look at reviews, but I see them as a way to find out what works for people and what doesn’t—what readers are looking for in a book and what they absolutely hate.
Now, will I tailor my writing to a reader’s preference, regardless of my own instincts or desires? Probably not, but if enough reviewers make a similar comment about a book, it can certainly make me think when composing the next one.
For my free M/M story Sticking It, I adopted a HFN (happy for now) ending. It’s a short story, and my college boys began a tentative relationship by the end of my 13000 words. Had they been a couple already in an established relationship at the beginning of the story, of course they would have gotten the complete package—happily ever after (HEA)—by the end. But a short isn’t long enough to create a believable long-lasting relationship, in my opinion. Flowers and promises and long-term commitments aren’t realistic to me in so few words—heck, it’s hard to pull that off in a full-length novel.
Some people really want that, though, short story or no. I’ve seen comments, both on my own story and other people’s, to that affect. Of course, maybe what they really wanted was another 30,000 words, which I suppose is a compliment in a way, but I personally didn’t have time to pull a novel out of my hat in six weeks and still get my other projects done.
My latest release, Forever is Now, is a novel, complete with happily ever after. It took 51, 000 words to get my guys there, and I gave a flash-forward epilogue to make it realistic. They also had an established relationship nine years before the meat and potatoes of the tale take place. I’m writing the second book in my Shooting Stars series right now, and Chance and Alex of Forever have a walk-on part in the next book. So, people who want to check in on their HEA and make sure the flame is still burning can pick up Gio’s book, Double Takes, in a few months.
At the end of the day, everyone has their own likes and dislikes when it comes to reading (and every aspect of life, of course). Good thing there are so many books to choose from, so we’re all guaranteed our own personal happy ending. You want fries with that?
Blurb for Forever is Now:
If you love someone, set him free. If he steals something of yours, hunt him down and make him sorry.
Alex Bremen is over Chance Ralan. Ever since his high school boyfriend ditched him nine years ago, Alex has barely thought of Chance at all. Sure, Alex attended a concert or two when his ex’s band, Armageddon Showdown, was in the area, but that was more curiosity than anything else. Who wouldn’t want to see firsthand how his once clean-cut boyfriend transformed into a pierced and tattooed heavy metal god?
But when Chance has the nerve to record a love song Alex wrote for him years ago, Alex crosses the country to confront him. Revenge becomes a dish best served sizzling hot. The two men lock horns, but find the chemistry between them has only intensified with time, and occasionally love needs to do some growing up before it can be done right.
“I bet you never got over that first boyfriend, huh?” Delia must have been a scab-picker as a kid. She just did not quit.
“Him? I gave up on him a long time ago.”
“Well, he sounds like a real asshole, letting you go.” Delia shrugged.
“Yeah, his loss, right?”
Chance picked up his beer glass and chugged the remainder before he slammed it down on the table. He nudged the startled groupie, who scooted out of the booth with him right behind her. Like a pent-up and poked lion, he stalked to the bar. Judging by the two fingers Chance held up, he ordered a double of something clear. He threw back the shooter and stomped off toward the men’s room.
“What’s his deal?” Delia asked no one in particular.
Alex’s glass was low, and he used the opportunity to excuse himself. Jools grabbed his computer and slid it over to pick up where he left off without a skipped beat. Miles racked pool balls across the room, while Jimmy laughed loudly and chalked his cue. Alex breathed a sigh of relief to see his assistant occupied.
He was so stupid for sticking his dick in that guy. He’d have to look for another position for him—one where they wouldn’t work closely together. Obviously, Miles hadn’t gotten past it.
When Alex entered the men’s room, he initially thought Chance wasn’t in there after all. A toilet flushed, and the door on the end stall flew open hard enough to crash against the tiled wall behind it. Chance squinted at him as they both stood before the row of sinks, the rocker washing his hands and Alex giving him a dull stare.
“What the fuck are you playing at, Alex? Why are you here?”
“What am I playing at? You’ve got to be kidding, right?”
“You come here just to screw with my head?” Chance stared accusingly into the mirror, moss-green eyes skewering Alex.
“Like you need any help with that, Chance. I think your head is fucked well and good, and it’s got nothing to do with me. Besides, you sent me a goddamn bat signal on the airwaves when you used my song!”
“So, you didn’t just show up ’cause you missed this, huh?” He grinned maliciously into the glass while he grabbed his crotch in a mocking gesture. In the harsh lighting, even with his dark makeup ringing his eyes from the concert, and the ebony spiral of a dragon’s body curling around his neck and disappearing into the ripped collar of his shirt, Alex could still see flashes of the boy he once knew. The row of stainless steel rings that marched up his left earlobe, and the skinny black leather pants, the anti-social hair and full sleeves of ink—even the cold and cynical glint in his eyes couldn’t completely mask the Chance Alex used to adore.
“How could you sing that song? I know I lost the competition. You needed to be a rock star more than you need me. I’m over it. But here you fuckin’ are, Chance—you made it to the big time without me, and without that song. The least you could do is show an ounce of fucking respect for what we had.”
“I do… I didn’t…” He tripped over his words, and Alex shook his head, about to walk out. Distance was the best thing to have between them. Why did he think confronting Chance would bring some sort of resolution, some kind of healing to the wound that never closed no matter how much time passed? He should have known being so near Chance would tear him apart all over again.
“Wait. Alex?” Chance exhaled a deep breath as if trying to decide if he really wanted to say whatever he was about to.
“I was drunk one night. I couldn’t get you … that song out of my head. I just thought if I sang it, I could sleep, ya know? Cliff heard me. Said we had to cut it.” Chance shook his head as if to negate his words. “He had the rest of the band pressure me.”
“So, once again, I lose to the band, huh? It’s classic Chance. You fucked me over for your career already! Years later, with an entire country between us, you do it again? I let you go, Chance. You should do the same.”
“Did you really?” Chance turned toward him, closing the distance between their bodies. Alex smelled sweat and leather, and Chance’s breath held the essence of liquor as he spoke. “You want to tell me you didn’t think about me at all this whole time? Is that why you never tried to find me? Never called?”
“Are you fucking serious? Is that what I was supposed to do?” Alex clenched his fists, torn between wanting to hit him, and dying to know if his lips, his tongue, tasted like vodka, or beer, or both.
“It woulda shown you cared.”
“I see the world still revolves around you. Nice to know some things never change.”
“Yeah, some things don’t. Your eyes are still that same amazing blue.” Chance leaned closer and the tip of his tongue flicked out to smooth his lips. “I still feel like I could just … dive into them and drown.”
Fuck. A shiver of excitement rumbled through Alex’s body. He had come here to yell at him, to make him realize what a self-centered prick he was. Hopefully shame him, at least a little. After that he was going to leave.
Instead, he leaned in, and his lips were on Chance’s. And, good lord, he tasted and smelled just the way Alex remembered underneath the burn of booze. Chance’s face was rougher against his chin and cheeks, not like the smooth-faced boy Alex used to steal kisses from. Damn, if the man wasn’t so much hotter. He licked the seam of Chance’s closed lips and the guy groaned beneath Alex’s onslaught while his mouth opened in response. Their tongues met, and Chance molded his warm body against Alex’s.
Christ, he feels almost too good.
Alex’s hand wrapped around the back of Chance’s neck. He loved the thatch of hair at Chance’s nape. Different color, but still reassuringly soft. Threading his fingers through the silky mass, he pulled Chance’s mouth closer, his tongue deeper into his own moist heat.
Alex smiled against Chance’s mouth as the rocker ground his hips upward into Alex’s throbbing groin. The guy’s cock was hot and hard, wrapped in buttery leather. It surged against Alex’s hard-on.
Not everything changed.
The squeak of the outer door being tugged open broke the love buzz, and Chance wrenched guiltily out of his arms.
Alex turned on the tap in a liquid-lightning move and started splashing water around as nonchalantly as he could manage. The sink was the right height to cover most of the bulge in his pants, and he prayed it would be enough.
When Dave wobbled in with a shit-faced grin and a “Heyahh!” Alex knew they were safe. Chance was safe, actually, because Alex had quit giving a donkey’s dick what anyone thought about his sexuality a long time ago.
He ran wet fingers through his dark-brown hair and spared Chance a last look. He wouldn’t even make eye contact. The guy was obviously freaked out of his mind.
Alex laughed out loud at the look of abject terror twisting Chance’s face, and gave Dave a nod as he walked out. His balls burned with disappointment, but his heart was lighter than it had been in a long time.
Find Forever is Now from Liquid Silver Books: http://www.lsbooks.com/forever-is-now-p827.php
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-foreverisnow-1291116-149.html and other major e-book retailers beginning 9/9/13.
And stop by My Blog to help me name the puppy in book two of my Shooting Stars series. The winner will get a shout-out in my acknowledgments, an e-copy of book two (Double Takes) when it releases, and a $20 Amazon gift card. You have until 10/6 to get your name suggestions in, so get to work on something totally rocking! And thanks for playing!