When it came time to release my latest book, I thought I'd try something new to help readers decide to buy: I'm offering the first 6 chapters as a downloadable preview book.
I've seen a lot of chatter in the past few months about authors who do a great job in the sample offered by some retailers, but then the writing takes a turn for the worse. Like the author polished that first part in order to "trick" the reader into buying the book. And, if you're like me, you might buy a book months before you're able to read it--so you can't get a refund once you realize it's terrible.
So I'm offering the first 6 chapters for free to let readers know that I take the same approach to writing the beginning as I do to the whole book. If you don't like what I've crafted in those first 6 chapters, then thank you for trying and I hope you'll give me another try next time. The last thing I want is for someone to feel like I "tricked" them into buying a bad book.
*** The preview chapter offer ended 9 November 2017 ***
“Dylan? I’ve gotta go.” Harry squashed down the lid on his suitcase and ran the zipper around it. “Did you move your car?”
From somewhere else in the house, Dylan called, “You want me to move it again?”
“What?” Harry hefted his suitcase and left the bedroom.
“I moved my car from behind yours the last time you asked. Do you want me to--”
Heading down the stairs, Harry mumbled, “All you had to do was tell me you did it already.”
“I did, hon.”
Dylan leaned against the wall beside the front door. He’d pushed up the sleeves of his sweater, putting his tattoos on display. Crazy-kinky, auburn hair down over his shoulders and a beard reaching for his navel, Dylan looked like trouble on a Viking level. There was even a twinkle in his blue eyes that said he might poke at Harry’s last nerve just for the fun of it.
Harry set his suitcase down and sighed. No stupid fights. Not right before he was set to leave on a stupider visit to a client who couldn’t make a decision without extensive hand-holding.
“Okay,” Harry said. “I guess I didn’t hear you.”
Dylan shrugged, the line of his mouth disappearing behind the hair on his face.
“You’re starting to disappear in all that hair.” Harry blinked at himself. He hadn’t meant to say that aloud.
But Dylan gave a laugh and came over to cup Harry’s cheeks and peck his lips. “Have a safe trip. Call me when you get in. And I’ll see you Saturday.”
Harry frowned. “Tomorrow. I’ll be back tomorrow night.”
“Yeah, but we agreed to spend the night before apart.”
“Night before?” Harry’s whole body jolted as he remembered. “Oh, shit, we’re getting married on Saturday.”
Dylan’s bushy eyebrows sprang upward and his mouth popped open. Clearly he hadn’t forgotten.
How the hell had Harry nearly managed to? His wedding! There had been nonstop talk and planning for months. And he really did want to get married. He did! What was wrong with him?
“I’m so sorry.” He closed his eyes and ducked his head.
Familiar hands made him look up again. “Just meet me at the chapel on Saturday, okay?”
“Yes. Completely, yes.”
So Dylan kissed him again and shuffled him out the door. Harry didn’t want to go even more than before. He hadn’t broken anything between them, had he?
I wanted to share with you the first chapter of the sequel to HEALING TOUCH, titled FOREVER HOME. This book is Ledger Atwater's story in the Destination Lost series. It's been a few months since he was separated from Noah and Charlie, the other survivors. Here's where we catch up with him...
Ledger Atwater grunted as he gripped the sides of the square, metal table. “That’s the last one,” he said, though he knew no one understood him. It was obvious anyway, since each little bundle had been tethered together and that one had nothing but string on the end of it.
His first stint as a drug mule in outer space was over.
His ass throbbing, he rested his elbows on the table and his head in his hands, staying bent over the table. No one seemed to give a damn about him now. He still had his eyes closed, but he could tell they were behind him inspecting their product. He was assuming it was drugs. Since they were aliens it could, technically, be any damn thing, but drugs made the most sense to him. Humans did it on Earth, so why not aliens on alien planets?
The talking got louder, became yelling. Hell. What now? Ledger didn’t move until somebody groped his butt.
“Hey!” He straightened up fast and went to turn, but his pants were still around his ankles. All he really did was flip himself onto his ass on the dirt floor. “Ow. Fucking ow.”
Holding onto the table, he got back on his feet and pulled up his pants. He was woozy. Had to still be under the influence of whatever that little bastard had given him to knock him out so he could shove all those drug bundles up his innocent ass.
Ledger snorted. Well, his ass wasn’t that innocent, but he sure wouldn’t be letting anyone back there for a long damn time now that he’d shit out twenty-five spicy rocks the size of ripe cherries. His hole had a goddamned heartbeat.
It took him some time to steady himself, plant his feet, and then draw his cheap, almost paper-like pants up to his waist. While he did that, he kept an eye on the aliens having the argument. Over what, he didn’t know, but it seemed like maybe it involved him.
There was the spindly, green son of a bitch who smelled like dirty socks in one corner. Stinky kept pointing at Ledger every time he said something. In the other corner was the brackish-colored little bastard who’d turned Ledger into a drug mule. Pukey had the worst halitosis Ledger had ever gaged over and kept slashing at the air in Ledger’s general direction every time Stinky pointed.
Oh, goddamn. They were fighting over who got to keep him.
And then the weapons came out.
Garland Sawyer hated shoveling snow. He was a kid at heart, so building a snowman or making snow angels or even having an impromptu snowball fight were the things he loved about winter. Even driving on slick streets was more enjoyable than shoveling. He’d do just about anything to avoid shoveling snow.
So when he saw Carter Crowe, that gorgeous man, out there shoveling a driveway and making it look like some kind of winter porn—second only to locker room porn in Garland’s mind at the moment—Garland found himself out on the porch in his sneakers and without his coat, waving to get Carter’s attention.
“Will you do the path and the sidewalk for me?” he asked and tucked his hands into the pouch of his hoodie since it was a little brisk out here, despite the rare display of bright sunlight.
“What’ll you give me if I do?”
He should’ve expected that, really. Nothing was free anymore.
Carter leaned on his shovel and smirked. Even some fifty feet away, Garland could clearly see the smirkiness of his smirk. “Come on, Gar. You can do better.”
Frustrating man. “Well, what do you want?”
Mister Sexy Winter Chore sauntered closer, snow covering his boots as he came down the uncleared path to the porch steps. Garland felt a shiver that had nothing to do with the temperature when Carter was close enough for Garland to see the twinkle in his blue eyes and the pink on his pale, lightly freckled cheeks.
Garland blinked. No way did the man just ask for a blowjob as payment for shoveling snow!
The smirk turned into a flirty grin. “Don’t act so shocked. I’ve heard you gay guys give great head.”
Well, wasn’t this an interesting development? Carter Crowe was going to play it straight, hmm? Well, two could play this game. Honestly, that Carter—all macho jock—could look at Garland—all pudgy banker—salaciously was titillating. He wasn’t about to fall for any of this so easily, though.
“All right, but we’ll have to do it on the porch.”
When the call came out for authors to enter the Queer Sci Fi 3rd Annual Flash Fiction Contest, I had seen this post-apocalyptic vision of this Japanese airport by GENSO Tokyo. His work features a world without humans, a guess at what we've made would look like without us. So what if it was long enough that we forgot what we made? Reduced it to myth, to fantasy, that only a few still believed in?
I submitted my 300-word story to the judges without much hope of being chosen for the anthology. If they didn't want it, I'd just post it here. And, technically, I didn't make it into the anthology...except for the fact Ben Brock chose my story, Weren't Fantasy, as his judge's choice.
Ben said: "The voice struck me, and the rich character detail. I could hear Bud and Hadley yacking in my head as they worked through the swamp. The setting was heavy and sticky, but with the revelation at the end, the characters soar with excitement and hope–up and up and up! This piece made me feel it all."
Click on the image to see more of GENSO Tokyo's artwork and visit my page for FLIGHT to see more about the anthology with 110 author's 300-word stories.
In my search to discover just on whose Tumblr stream I found this photo request for a cuddle buddy that inspired this story, I discovered several thousand requests for the very same thing. Young people sending a note out into the world for someone to come along and cuddle them up for a while. It was rather heartbreaking to see so many teens and twenty-somethings looking for someone to curl up with them just to watch a movie. Closeness and not being alone was all they wanted.
This bittersweetness prompted me to write my new short story Come Cuddle Me.
In my head, this is Tucker. He’s living on his own for the first time after his parents kicked him out and he has two friends to whom he sends this photo and a request that they come cuddle him. Never does he even contemplate that they might reblog his photo and because he didn’t think of that he didn’t hesitate to let his friends know his new address in the message. The one other thing Tucker has is a neighbor named Bill who’s going to make it his mission to save Tucker from his dumbass self once strangers start showing up at Tucker’s door.
Even Bill has a reason for responding to Tucker’s innocent request, though. I mean, I had to get Tucker his cuddle, right? And a whole lot more besides.
Sometimes angst-free is a good thing. There are times when I’m all for those stories that make me read fast because I just absolutely have to know what’s next. Will they make it out? Does he live? There are those other times, though, when I’d much rather know that the outside world isn’t out to destroy them. I like the stories without a lot of emotional ups and downs or the potential for someone to end up in the hospital.
Sometimes happy is what I need to see. This goes along with angst-free above, but it’s more than a lack of drama (of the CNN or Bravo variety). Sure, there are times when crying is welcome, but I like smiling more. Happy tears? Bring it. I’m all for the reward of joy at the end of bittersweet or sorrow. This doesn’t mean I want constant, sugar-coated, Care Bear cheering, though. I still require well-written and meaningful with the happy. Sighing with a smile on my face when I reach the end of a story means it’s a favorite, a keeper.
Sometimes a little humor with the sexy makes it real. Farts happen. Stubbed toes, falling out of bed, “Ow, you’re on my hair!” and the occasional bad breath moment are the reality of relationships. Every now and then, it seems like you have no control over your own limbs and then there’s a whole other set belonging to someone else that you have to navigate. I like to laugh at the mishaps or the dumb things and, when someone else’s humor aligns with mine, I’m smitten.
Sometimes short fits the bill. Everyone has to wait. Certain places have entire rooms just for waiting. I don’t enjoy staring at the latest in cheap wall prints and no way am I contracting the newest virus from some old magazine, so I like to bring a book along. A story I can read during that 20-minute wait is perfect to me. Bus rides, holiday check-out lines, salons, that time I didn’t trust the washing machine to stay put and had to sit with it… I read short stories while I’m waiting. This doesn’t mean that a short story is a moment in time for some characters who I learn absolutely nothing about. It might be short, but it’s still complete, well-written and researched.
Now, aside from declaring what I sometimes like to read here, I’m also stating that these stories are what I like to write. The majority of the time, anything coming from Missy Welsh will be mostly angst-free, on the happy side of life, including a few moments I hope are worthy of a laugh, under 40,000 words, and complete in themselves. I aim for feel-good stories that leave you smiling.
My views on religion are infamous in my family, especially from my mother’s point of view. We do not discuss it and so can live in peace together.
Not even here under a pen name do I want to get into what I really think about The Bible or God or even the faithful.
I’ll just say that I have some ideas, I’m cool with those changing as I continue to grow up, I’m also fine with you doing your thing over there while I do mine over here, and leave it at that.
And then I had to go and write about Satan falling in love with a very special guy from the point of view of the devil himself.
Of course, I don’t want to give away the little twist in this story that’s made quite a few gasp, but it’s who Oscar actually is that’s gotten me in a little, uh, boiling brimstone.
My mother prays for me. She really does.
What inspired this particular story, though? Pure wickedness. A little bit of “oh what the hell” and a dash of “this might be interesting” while seeing if it’s possible to get a few folks to clutch their rosaries in scandalized titillation.
I think I’ve succeeded at that last bit.
And since I earned the first zero-star review from a blog that's since gone the way of the dodo who ran it, I'm quite proud of my evil little self. I mean, if your faith can't take a hit now and again, that's your issue not mine.
Honestly, though, if I showed you the image that inspired this story, I’d ruin the really fun bit near the end and I could never forgive myself for that. I will offer up that age-old assurance that if I’m going to hell, at least I know I’ll be among friends.
Until we meet again on the other side of the rainbow.
We all woke up to the terrible news on Sunday 12th June, 2016, of the horrific attack in Orlando, and not only did it affect the LGBT community, it also outraged the world.
So many of us felt powerless as we watched the horror unfold upon our screens, but Patricia Strehle had a remarkable idea, one that would galvanize an entire community into action. Patricia brought a group of people together with the idea of creating a book, an anthology, and to donate all the money from the sales of that anthology to the families affected by this terrible tragedy.
Over The Rainbow is the result of that noble idea, stories given by so many wonderful authors from all over the world. These stories are meant to inspire, to warm the heart, and to bring a smile or a gentle laugh to help guide us all through the darkness, and to remind us that we all inhabit this world together, that we need to be kind, and that sometimes, we just need to follow that yellow brick road hand in hand.
This guy… Let's call him Raul… definitely has a story to tell.
John, who happens to see Raul just like this, is captivated by Raul’s blatant display. So much so, that John’s only option is to holler out his apartment number and then buzz in this brazen temptation. I mean, he can’t leave the man standing down there like this.
Someone else might get him.
But once John has Raul in his apartment, things take a turn he did not expect at all. There’s “hope” in the title of the story, so it’s not some one-hander that’ll just leave you sticky at the end of it all. (Not that it doesn’t have it’s moments! *ahem* Anyway…) This is just the beginning for John and Raul. It just happens to be a very physical beginning.
Get your copy of Hope Is Good to see how John and Raul's relationship starts.
Missy Welsh writes gay, bi, and trans erotic m/m romance short stories, novellas, and novels.