Once Upon a Rainbow with Sidney Blackburn!

Good morning! I’m very excited to have the lovely Sidney Blackburn on my blog today talking about her stories. Take it away, Sidney!

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OnceUponARainbowVolOne-f500Once Upon a Rainbow was just released on Monday, and I’ve already spoken a little about the inspiration for my story in the NineStar Press anthology during the release party on Facebook. Apart from very obviously being inspired by Aladdin, “Morning Star” also incorporated my addiction to history and all things Morocco. Some of the names and incidents referred to in my story are real, but I used my artistic license to weave in so many fictional elements, the story is pure fantasy. (Visiting Marrakesh is on my travel bucket list, though!).
The anthology contains so many good stories, it’s grand company to be in!
My fascination with m/m takes on fairy tales didn’t start with writing “Morning Star,” though it remains truest to it’s inspiration. It all began…(wavy lines as we FLASH BACK to A COUPLE YEARS EARLIER:)
prince_revI was reading a story about a king who arranged a marriage for the crown prince–his heir–to another prince in a neighbouring kingdom. Which on the surface is cool, but the whole thing with kings and kingdoms and crown princes and heirs is that heirs generally don’t come from same sex unions. The story never addressed this, never mentioned if the king himself had a same sex marriage and if so where his son the crown prince came from, etc, and that detail… well, it bothered me. Stuff like that gets in my head and worries at me, like the pea under all those mattresses.
I wrote Prince of the Stable as an exploration of a prince marrying a man with no expectation of heirs. It has fairies and a curse, but isn’t based on any particular fairy tale.
Then I wrote City of Dreams for Less Than Three Press. Funny story, I wrote it for acityofdreams400 specific, fairy tale themed anthology and…was rejected. I revised it and resubmitted it for another of fairytale anthology and… was also rejected. However it was accepted for publication as a stand alone short story in a collection of other urban fantasies. The setting of City of Dreamsis more modern than most fairy tales, more 17th century than 10th century. It’s an attempt to progress a society from the tenth century in an alternate world where magic is a fact of life. Also a love story. Because that’s what I do.
(wavy lines as we RETURN TO PRESENT: )
I love the idea of taking fairy tale subjects and turning them around. I did a Cinder-fella (who hasn’t though, really) and I’m currently working on a m/m version of Snow White and a steampunk m/m take on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Nightingale. (Hold me accountable! My muse is fickle…)
I want to thank Dianne for letting me on her blog to blabber on and on, she’s an amazing person!


Sydney Blackburn

“I was hoping for more drama and speeches. I do love villainous speeches.”
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Little Match Girl is out!

My story Little Match Girl is out in the Once Upon a Rainbow anthology!

OnceUponARainbowVolOne-f500Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume One 

Author: Sydney Blackburn, K.S. Trenten, Riza Curtis, A. Fae, Dianne Hartsock, J.P. Jackson, Donna Jay, A.D. Song, Mickie B. Ashling

Release Date: November 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947904-29-3

Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Category: Romance

Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Word Count: 147100

Sex Content: Ranges from N/A to Explicit

Pairing: FF, MM

Orientation: Ace/Aro, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian

Identity: Cisgender, Genderqueer, Intersex, Trans

Warning: Depictions of non-con and attempted assault.

Purchase Links: 

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/once-upon-a-rainbow-volume-one/

Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/30w43j

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1127395428

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/757123

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/once-upon-a-rainbow


Christian can’t help himself. He’s fallen in love with the sweet, sometimes effeminate guy who’s been coming into the sandwich shop for the past several months. But Dani is also the Little Match Girl, the ragged queer selling candles on the street corner Christian’s been avoiding all year, going so far as to cross the street to avoid walking by him. Ashamed, he wonders if Dani can ever forgive him.

Losing his mother to cancer, Dani has spent the last year in a haze of grief and loneliness, selling Mother’s candles like they always had, giving himself to any man who can pay, saving him from having to go home to his father’s brutality. Desperate for a place to belong, he sets out with Christian to find his mother’s family. Christian helps, wanting Dani to be happy, though the cost might be losing his sweet lover forever.



Chapter Two

Dani approached the run-down house, relieved to find the cellar windows dark, even though it was still relatively early. He retrieved the burlap sack he’d hidden in the bushes and eased open the door to their apartment, listening carefully in the stillness. Maybe Carl—he would never again call him Father—had already passed out. Hell, he was afraid to hope that.

The door creaked as he closed it, and the anxiety that accompanied his days spiked. “Hello?” he called. Carl expected a greeting before Dani could escape to his bed in the back. No answer. He tiptoed across the stark room, the few pieces of furniture black silhouettes. The cold air smelled of onions from Carl’s dinner, and candlewax. Maybe Carl had gotten some work done.

Dani snorted. Fat chance. The candles he peddled had been made by him and his mother. Carl spent his days at the local pub. His nights—a shiver ran through Dani. Mother had died of cancer the year before, God rest her soul, and Dani wished with all his heart he could have gone with her. Carl, his goddamn father, hadn’t been right in his mind since. He’d always been a brute to them, but now…

He set the bag of candles on the scarred kitchen table and drew a few crumpled bills from an inside pocket of his coat. He made sure Carl got the money he expected from the sale of the candles, Dani only keeping what he needed for dinner. If one could call coffee and a half sandwich dinner. Just think of the meat pies the rest of the money could buy! But the sandwich shop was a place out of the cold. And Christian worked there, the beautiful man who always had a kind word for him. He thought he’d met an angel that first night he’d gathered his courage and entered the shop, drawn by the warm glow of the fire.

Hot blood rose in his neck, burned his cheeks. If he had sold even one more candle today, he could have gotten his own food and not suffered Christian’s charity. That had been humiliating. Christian had spoken of payment, but how stupid of Dani to think the man wanted him, too thin and bony, his clothing so threadbare he washed them by hand rather than risk having them fall apart in the washing machine they shared with the rest of the tenants.

He couldn’t go back there. Not after this. Heart sore, shaking in the cold room, he hurried to the far end of the cellar apartment. He took a second to glance into his father’s room as he passed. The bed was rumpled but empty, minus the quilt, and a sick dread knotted his stomach. He didn’t have a room of his own, just an old mattress and a blanket behind a stack of crates at the back wall.

His limbs were heavy as he approached his bed. Sure enough, a dark form lay tangled in the covers. Carl claimed to sleep with him for warmth, but lately there had been straying fingers and a hot breath on his neck. A hard shudder left Dani weak. He needed to get out of that house.

Defeated, his shoulders slumped. Where would he go? Who’d hire the boy who had sold candles on the street corner with his mother for years, and now stood out there alone, pale and hungry, shivering in his thin jacket?

A loud snort broke the silence, making him jump. Balling a hand into a fist, Dani went back to Carl’s room. Stepping inside, he listened intently, reassured by the muffled snores floating to him. He nudged the door closed and crossed to the large dresser beside the bed, the one piece of nice furniture in the apartment. It had been his mother’s, the only thing she had brought to the marriage from her old life, with roses carved into the oak around the mirror and on each drawer.

She never talked about that time, though the bits of lace and a pair of fine gloves spoke of wealth and happier days, before she had married the local candlemaker. Dani didn’t know why she’d done it, but she had been young and pretty and romantic, probably swept off her feet. Carl had been handsome, once. Their single wedding picture proved that. Before he began to drink.

After lighting the candle on the dresser top, Dani pulled open the heavy first drawer, careful not to let it squeak. Carl used the other drawers, but this one had been his mother’s, her clothing in neat piles, smelling of the lavender sachets she favored. Dani smiled despite his tears at the scent. He’d loved his sweet mother so much.

A small box in the corner held some trinkets and cheap jewelry. Dani picked out the hair comb she always wore, covered in bright plastic beads and ribbons. Pushing his hair back on the left, he slipped the comb in place, letting the ribbon curl against his cheek. He did resemble her a little, the glittering bauble softening his features. The candlelight made his eyes seem wider, softer. He bit his lips to redden them.

“Would you like me like this?” he asked his reflection, thinking of Christian, imagining his delighted gaze on him. Pain stabbed his heart. Mother had understood his moods, knowing somehow when he needed gentleness, chatting merrily while she brushed out his hair. Let him play with her jewelry.

Wistfulness touched the expression in the mirror. “But who could love a beast?” He paraphrased a line from the fairy tale Mother used to read to him. He’d loved that story, imagining the man who would one day see his beauty. But he was too thin. Too queer. Even if Christian liked men, Dani wasn’t one half the time. Besides, Christian had already rejected him. He didn’t think he would risk that again.

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Once Upon a Rainbow with A. Fae

Good morning! Today I’m very happy to say I have the fabulous A. Fae on my blog talking about her story Sleeping Beauty in the Once Upon a Rainbow anthology. Take it away, Ashley!

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OnceUponARainbowVolOne-f500Once Upon a Rainbow is an anthology of twisted fairy tales. It’s full of amazing short stories that allow people like me to see themselves in the stories we’ve been reading since childhood. What an amazing adventure!  

Sleeping Beauty was interesting to write. Initially, I was writing blind because I only vaguely knew about being intersex or transgender. It took a lot to make the characters accurate. But I thought it was important to give them an opportunity to live a fairy-tale life just like the originals did.  

I was a bit concerned since I was unfamiliar personally with the biology of being intersexed like my character, Princess Talia. And I wanted it to be correct, so I did quite a bit of research. The thing I ran into is that so many people don’t learn they’re intersexed until much later in life: Princess Talia knew at birth. So, I tried to build a semi-futuristic world. In this world, babies undergo a complete body scan at birth. This allowed the parents to know immediately after birth that their child was intersexed.  

Princess Savannah, born Prince Sebastian, was my butterfly. She knew from a very young age who she was. Again, I had to investigate what it was like to transition like she did when she was eighteen. The entire process made me aware of the struggles young people go through when they’re born in the wrong body. Being able to help Princess Savannah make that correction was a huge pleasure for me. 

I think I learned a ton from these characters about others in my community. I truly enjoyed bringing them and their stories to life. I hope I did them justice. And I truly hope you enjoy reading about them.  

Sleeping Beauty by A. Fae 

Two royal births: one born into the body of a prince and the other a princess, bodies betraying their true identity. They grow to be inseparable, both deciding to become their true selves as soon as they are able. But an ugly curse by a wicked godmother brings them to the brink of disaster. And only through true love’s kiss can they be united. 

Purchase Links: 

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/once-upon-a-rainbow-volume-one/  

Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/30w43j 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1127395428 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/757123 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/once-upon-a-rainbow 

a faeA. Fae
NineStar Press Author
A. Fae lives in Texas with her two chihuahua children. Daily she bugs her daughter who just went off to college, thankful for FaceTime. When not writing, she is spending time with her best friend—her mother—watching TV/films or reading whatever she can get her hands on.
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The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson

-In case some of you don’t know the story

LittleMatchGirlThe Little Match Girl

Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening– the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that? They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast.


One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold. She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no one had given her a single farthing.


She crept along trembling with cold and hunger–a very picture of sorrow, the poor little thing!


The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful curls around her neck; but of that, of course, she never once now thought. From all the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt so deliciously of roast goose, for you know it was New Year’s Eve; yes, of that she thought.


In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to go home she did not venture, for she had not sold any matches and could not bring a farthing of money: from her father she would certainly get blows, and at home it was cold too, for above her she had only the roof, through which the wind whistled, even though the largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags.


Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might afford her a world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out of the bundle, draw it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. She drew one out. “Rischt!” how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle, as she held her hands over it: it was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the little maiden as though she were sitting before a large iron stove, with burnished brass feet and a brass ornament at top. The fire burned with such blessed influence; it warmed so delightfully. The little girl had already stretched out her feet to warm them too; but–the small flame went out, the stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt-out match in her hand.


She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil, so that she could see into the room. On the table was spread a snow-white tablecloth; upon it was a splendid porcelain service, and the roast goose was steaming famously with its stuffing of apple and dried plums. And what was still more capital to behold was, the goose hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor with knife and fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl; when–the match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger, and more decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant’s house.


Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when–the match went out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.


“Someone is just dead!” said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.


She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love.


“Grandmother!” cried the little one. “Oh, take me with you! You go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!” And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety–they were with God.


But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall–frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the child there with her matches, of which one bundle had been burnt. “She wanted to warm herself,” people said. No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things she had seen; no one even dreamed of the splendor in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year.

-Hans Christian Andersen

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Monday’s #flashfiction! -the dance

ff1“Oh my God, Roger!”

“I know, right? And did you see that hair? Looks like rats have been mating in it.”

Keith fell back in his chair, hiding a giggle behind his hand. Adorable. Roger had worked hard for that laugh, keeping the champagne coming while Keith’s twin danced with her new husband, the man Keith had secretly adored for years.

Roger took a sip of champagne. He shouldn’t feel so happy when Keith’s heart was broken, but he couldn’t help the flicker of hope inside. Maybe he’d finally have a chance with his best friend. Keith gave a tipsy hiccup and Roger’s heart melted. He couldn’t look at him, afraid he’d give into the impulse to run his hands over his blond hair, the fresh haircut making him so damned handsome Roger ached.

The music changed to a slow song, the happy couple taking the tiny dance floor with other twosomes. Keith’s small breath of pain undid him.

“Dance with me,” he demanded, grabbing Keith’s hand. Maybe it was the champagne, but Keith followed him through the tables. He put his hands tentatively on Roger’s shoulders, but Roger pulled him close. This might be his only chance to hold Keith’s sweet body in his arms. Keith resisted, but suddenly relaxed, dropping his head to Roger’s shoulder.

They swayed to the music, everything fading but the length of Keith’s warm body against his, arms twined around his neck. The pounding of Roger’s heart. He wanted it to last forever, longing bringing him close to tears.

The song flowed into another one but Keith didn’t move away. Breath hitched, he raised his head, startled, eyes wide as they searched Roger’s face.

“Why didn’t I know?” he whispered, pulling Roger closer, his smile turning beautiful. Roger’s tears fell then and he leaned down for their first kiss.

Find other flashes HERE!

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SweetWilliam-2Sweet William

Nine Star Press


Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Category: Romance

Genre: Historical

Word Count: 15800

Pages: 51

Sex Content: Explicit

Pairing: MM

William Wilkerson leads the life of the privileged rich. Head of his father’s shipping business, he indulges to his heart’s content in the pleasures of the flesh with Boston’s finest young men.

That is, until he reunites with Fredrick: his former tutor and the one man who captured his heart. But William’s father has declared Fredrick off limits. And Fredrick, himself, believes he’s beneath the attention of the Wilkerson heir.

After having lost his current pupil to graduation, and with no prospects of a replacement, Frederick is homeless, hungry, and easy pickings for the men on the docks. When Frederick is shanghaied into service on William’s own merchant ship, will William discover his plight in time to rescue him?


Fredrick held up his glass and stared at the candle’s flame through the amber liquid. He took a sip and savored the rich, biting taste on his tongue, welcoming the burn down his throat. This was the very last drink he could afford, and he had to enjoy it.

A giggle erupted from someone out of sight on the back staircase, and a smile tugged his lips, despite the dire state of his wallet. The laugh had been carefree, joyous, naughty. Fredrick shifted on the cushioned bench. The lunch hour had passed, and he was the only customer in the dining room. He wondered if the innkeeper up front would notice if he adjusted his cramped cock as it throbbed in sympathy with the bright laughter that reminded him of his own ardent affair.

Rather than risk it, he watched the fruit vender outside the window beguile a customer. Another giggle and stifled moan floated down to him and he grinned, even though the laughter emphasized his own loneliness. It had been far too long since he’d had someone in his bed.

Fredrick looked up at the clatter of footsteps, distracted from his memory of lush lips, white skin, and wide hazel eyes. He caught a glimpse of red hair and an embarrassed cheek before the gentleman crammed a hat on his head.

“Damned Wilkerson,” the man muttered as he passed him, face averted.

With conscious effort, Fredrick loosened his hold on his glass, but he had no way to stop the wild hammering of his heart. Wilkerson? Could it really be…? Perhaps not, but the Wilkerson family he knew had strong ties to Boston. At least, the father often traveled there. But did William come now? He had to know. Before he lost his courage, he stood and swallowed the last of the brandy and then crossed the room to the staircase.

He shook his head at his eagerness. It had been three years, after all, and they’d parted in anger. Would William acknowledge him? A man stepped onto the landing and Fredrick allowed his gaze to travel up the white spats and checkered trousers. Blood heated his face when he found the silk vest and shirt open at the throat to expose soft white skin.

A sigh brought his gaze up to the attractive face that stirred his dreams. Rich brown curls surrounded lovely hazel eyes and full, pouting lips. Panic swept the pretty face, and then a delighted smile revealed the even white teeth that had nipped his collarbone on more than one glorious occasion.

“Freddie, is it you?”

He hasn’t forgotten! Fredrick stored away the joy to visit later. God knew his pleasures were few and far between these days. “How are you, William? I had no idea you came to Boston.”

“On occasion.” William stepped off the landing, only a slight sway in his lean body betraying his inebriation. Fredrick’s heart skipped. The top of William’s head barely reached his shoulders—perfect for Fredrick to rest his chin on if he gathered him close. To his surprise, William didn’t hesitate, clasping Fredrick in his arms and stretching for a light kiss. Fredrick’s hold tightened instinctively, but William didn’t seem to mind, winding his arms around Fredrick’s neck. He licked Fredrick’s lips, his sweet tongue seeking entrance.

Fredrick laughed, breathless with the need that swept him, but moved his head back, denying the kisses sure to topple the defenses he’d built against this man.

He chuckled wryly at William’s delicious pout. “You promised not to tease me.”

“That was years ago. I made no promises today.” William nibbled at Fredrick’s lips, but eased away when he resisted.



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BIRTHDAY PRESENTS is out! #newbook #excerpt


Less Than Three Press

For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he’s held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle’s help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.

Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, abducted from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson’s hideout.

A manhunt begins, but Crimson’s birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.


Gene stared at the golden brown liquid swirling in the shot glass as the bartender filled it yet again. Maybe he’d had enough. God, he was tired. He rubbed his gritty eyes, the techno music blaring through the crowded room throbbing in his head.


He turned on the stool to the small dance floor and watched a young man gyrate to the pounding beat. Strobe lights caressed the man’s pale skin and dark clothing. The sleek body twirled with flowing, sensual movements. With a graceful twist, the guy’s black hair swept like silk across his white cheek. Achingly young and beautiful. Gene noted the men standing back, drinks in their hands, watching the dancers. His suspect could be any one of them. Or none.


He picked up the shot glass and held it up to the flashing lights. How many nightclubs just like this one had he been in these past six months? It felt like hundreds, with him no closer to finding Kyle’s abductor. If he’d even been kidnapped.


Gene put the glass to his lips and tossed back the whiskey, savored the burn in his throat. Most members of the police force believed Kyle had been bored with his life and simply walked away. He was nineteen, after all. Even Craig had backed off the search as more pressing cases took precedence.


But Kyle would never have done that. Gene knew his brother. Sweet and shy, Kyle would never had gone willingly with a stranger, without a word to his family, leaving his parents in this nightmare.


“But he never told you he was clubbing, either,” Craig would remind him.


Gene set the glass on the sticky bar, and after a brief hesitation, motioned the bartender for another. It was Kyle’s birthday and maybe the alcohol, if only for a few hours, might numb the helpless certainty and horror that Kyle was held captive in some sadist’s basement. The fear of every cop in a kidnapping situation. Besides, he wasn’t on duty. Had never officially been on the case in the first place.


Leaving the new shot untouched, he swiveled back to the dance floor, allowing his gaze to wander the sea of young bodies writhing to the thumping music. Kyle had been in a gay bar like this one when he’d been taken, the couple of witnesses that came forward claiming he’d left with an older, hot as hell, dark haired man. But even that was sketchy. They’d all been drinking, after all.


He sat up as the young man who’d been dancing earlier caught his attention. The guy stood on the edge of the dance floor, his gaze fixed on a man leaning against one of the pillars staring back at him. Gene caught a glimpse of the man’s face, cold and beautiful, before the dancer stepped between them, swaying seductively toward him, clearly bent on arousing the man’s interest.


On instinct, Gene collected his credit card and moved to a spot along the wall where he could watch them. The older man kept his eyes on the dancer and, holding his gaze, reached down and stroked the bulge in his pants. Oh, he’s good, Gene thought. And he fit the description of Gene’s suspect. The young man’s eyes widened, startled, interested.


A new song erupted from the speakers and Gene pushed off the wall. The older man’s gaze flickered to him, returned. Gene knew he looked good, the tight jeans and cropped shirt clearly showing his intent for a hookup that evening. The dancer scowled as he came up to them, but flounced away to join the crowd as the older man’s eyes slid appreciatively over Gene. He smiled a secret smile and motioned him closer, placing his hand on the small of Gene’s back. He leaned close to his ear to be heard over the pounding music. “I’m Crimson. Would you like a drink?”

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Monday #flashfiction! FATE

mff1Matthew gazed at the boy asleep in the tall grass. A vision, really, all white skin, dark nipples, jeans low on his hips…

The ache in his chest surprised him. He wasn’t lonely, dammit. He’d picked the cabin for its isolation, a refuge from the merciless city life that bruised his artistic soul. He wanted to paint surrounded by beauty. But this young man was the stuff of his dreams on the longest nights.

Matthew crouched to look at the pretty face, messy hair, the dark lashes brushing a few freckles. Those parted lips begged for a kiss.

The lashes fluttered then flew open on rich brown eyes. They looked at each other, then fear flashed across his face and the boy lurched up, a blur of movement Matthew couldn’t track. What?

A small wolf, thin, half starved, stood where the boy had been seconds before. Matthew climbed to his feet.

“Well,” he said, at a loss. “If you’re hungry, I was about to make breakfast.”

He started for the cabin, shaking his head, incredulous. The cabin stood in a small clearing and he sat on the porch, clasped his hands between his knees. His heart lurched when the wolf slipped from the trees and cautiously approached him.

“I won’t hurt you,” Matthew promised. The wolf nuzzled the hand he held out. Matthew leaned forward and ran a soothing hand over his head, scratched behind his ears. The wolf gazed up at him, then in a blink of swift action, shifted into the gorgeous young man kneeling at his feet.

Matthew swallowed hard and stood, the guy climbing the steps to stand in front of him, a few inches shorter than himself.

“You’re not afraid,” the man noted in a husky voice that sent a pleasant shiver through him.

Matthew searched his feelings. He felt awe, disbelief, and yet a…rightness. “Do you have a name?”

“Caleb.” His smile ignited a spark in Matthew’s chest.

Matthew held out his hand. “Caleb, I don’t know how this is possible, but I feel I’ve been waiting for you my whole life.”

Caleb placed a warm hand in his. “I feel the same,” he said joyfully, and allowed Matthew to open the screen door and escort him inside the cabin.

Find other flashes HERE!

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Happy October!


fall2fall“October Country . . . that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and mid-nights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . .”

Ray Bradbury, The October Country

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A Deepening of Knowing You: Bare & Embellish

#art #life

“You look at people the way you look at art: the body is a canvas for the artist, and while you begin to imagine meaning, the artist is known only by invitation.”
-Jennifer Hartsock

Jennifer M. Hartsock

cover2“You look at people the way you look at art: the body is a canvas for the artist, and while you begin to imagine meaning, the artist is known only by invitation.”

You first notice physical details about a stranger. What does their tattoo mean? What is the rubber bracelet on their wrist? Why a mustache and full beard? The embellished-self is how you express yourself visually. The bare-self is the inward you, the artist.

As a stranger looking upon their canvas, you feel compelled to interpret answers, but you cannot know the spirit of the artist unless you ask and the artist decides to tell you.

This is only the surface.

The bare-self is not inherently sincere and the embellished-self a disguise. When you look at an art piece, the image is meaningful without knowing the underlying intentions. When you project meaning, the artist becomes your canvas while you become an artist…

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