- I just released my sixth book, Coming Around Again, through Sapphire Books Publishing.
- I have an old man dog named Brutus. He has diabetes and I give him a shot twice a day to keep him healthy and happy.
- Gordo is the cat. He rules the house. In the mornings, he reminds me to open the blinds by yanking the slats apart with his paw. I have broken blinds, but I don’t sit in darkness all day.
- I have depression. Sometimes, it doesn’t seem to affect my life at all. Sometimes, it means I spend the whole day on the verge of tears, trying not to cry, even though there is nothing sad happening at that moment. Sometimes it means my chest hurts and I have anxiety that seems to fill my entire body and I can’t get rid of it no matter what I do.
- I married my soulmate. It’s the kind of relationship we’ve both always dreamed of but didn’t think it was possible to have. She never thought she was worth it and I didn’t think it existed. She is and it does.
- I’m naturally lazy and completely unmotivated. I am also a grad student getting my second Master’s, an adjunct instructor with three classes, an online instructor of craft of writing for a non-profit writing academy, the Director of Education for Golden Crown Literary Society, an author, and one of three admins of a 15,000 member women’s networking group in Lansing, MI. I could happily sit on my ass all day and do nothing. Instead, I make detailed to-do lists in half-hour blocks and weekly and monthly to-do lists with deadlines, assignments, student grading blocks, answering emails, etc. I even schedule time to clean the kitchen and make meals. I think I’m happier when I’m doing things. (FYI – my lists are ambitious and I rarely finish all of them.)
- I have a Patreon page. So far, I have 14 patrons. Some are fans of my work – others are just fans of me. It isn’t a charity thing, though. It’s exchange for exchange. Some of my supporters pay a mere 2 dollars a month and get access to short stories no one else will see, sneak previews of works in progress, rejected book cover ideas, videos of readings, and general writing process stuff. You can look at it here.
- I don’t know how or when, but I really want to get my PhD.
- I just started doing P90X3, the workout program and my butt hurts right now.
- I believe in community and connection and I think we thrive when we have it. I value the groups to which I belong, especially the Golden Crown Literary Society for helping me to foster those relationships.
Malik watched the woman today, as he watched her almost every day.
She moved about the diner, coffee pot in hand, stopping to laugh with just about everyone in the place. Not him, but everyone else. He supposed he was still a newcomer. She swept away from what Malik assumed were a group of farmers and headed toward him with the pot. Five months of breakfast here five times a week, and she knew he would drink at least four cups of coffee before he headed out on the interminable job search.
“Hi, kid,” she said, pouring his coffee and dropping another handful of creamers on his table. She pursed her lips and threw a few extra napkins down as well.
Malik looked down. He had spilled egg yolk on his white shirt. “Guess I’m not job-hunting until I change.”
“You’re having a hard time finding a job,” she said. “There’ll be work once school lets out, but you got time before that happens.”
Malik shrugged. “It’s not urgent. It’s just that I hate looking for work. I feel like I’m going on endless first dates and I’m always coming up short.”
She smiled for the first time. It changed her face. Malik noticed the fine lines around her eyes. He couldn’t guess her age.
“If I had my way, you could have this job.” She walked away to serve another customer.
Malik finished his coffee and left his money on the table.
He went home, stripped off his clothes, and turned on the computer. He’d put in a few more online applications and start fresh tomorrow. He was sick of going door to door.
Later, when dinner was simmering on the stove, Malik was on hangouts, chatting with Johnna and Anthony. He leaned into the screen, wanting to jump through and touch their faces. “I miss you so much,” Johnna said. “It isn’t the same without you.”
Edward came through the front door and put his hands on Malik’s shoulders. He leaned toward the screen. “We’ll try to come for a visit when classes let out this summer.”
They disconnected, and Malik stood, turning to hold Edward. Edward’s hair brushed Malik’s nose for a moment, but he didn’t turn his face to kiss Malik’s mouth.
“How was the job hunt?”
“We’re not going for a visit when classes let out,” Malik said. “Not when you’re teaching summer classes.”
Edward was carefully taking off his suit jacket, and hanging it up on the garment rack in the corner. Malik watched him hang up his button-front shirt, his tie. He carefully aligned the seams of his pants, brushing out the wrinkles before draping it over the hanger. Edward thought he had to look pristine when he taught. Malik had tried to tell him the students would relate to him if he acted a little more natural. He hated that Edward looked so dapper. He wanted him to try to be more rugged, to fit in. He knew it was hard to be a first-year professor, fresh out of grad school. And Malik didn’t want Edward to stand out in this farming community.
He couldn’t fault his husband, though. Edward had tried so hard to get a job at a school in California, leaning on Malik’s salary at the insurance company as the months passed with no calls.
Now Malik was the one without a job. He got up to take dinner off the stove. He had promised to follow Edward anywhere.
In the morning, Malik watched Edward getting dressed. It was the same process as the night before, in reverse. It was Tuesday. Edward would be wearing his gray slacks and the light blue sweater vest. Malik saw the way the other professors dressed on campus, especially now, when it was cold and wet, and everyone was prepping for a long, ugly winter. Malik stared out the window at the gray sky. “I can’t remember what the California sky looks like,” he said.
(To be continued on Patreon)
The members of my Patreon club get access to short stories no one else sees, cover reveals, character bios, bits and pieces from works in progress, and so much more.
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I’ve recently started using the crowd-powered content site Patreon. It’s a great way to offer content to readers and fans who want things that no one else will ever get!
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Why would you do something like this?
- That content. Super awesome content. The best content of all-time. I mean, maybe.
- You’ll be a patron to an artist. (Writer.) Just like some old king.
- If I get enough patrons, I’ll just write and create content all the time and you’ll get even more awesome stuff.
- Not having to wear pants. (Okay, this one is really only for my benefit, but I know you want me to be happy and I’m happiest when I’m not wearing pants.) **For my UK friends, pants here = trousers. Don’t want to make this post PG13.
You can find my patreon page here
And you can watch my welcome video right here. (Cheesy jokes come standard. Togas not included.)