Release Day! | Crazy Joe

Today is the day!

gold and black balloonsWhen I signed the contract for Crazy Joe back in March, June seemed very far away, but now we’re here, and I’m so glad that it’s time for Jonas and Abe to be let out into the world.

I’m super excited about this story because now I can say I have another series. Most often when I write a story, I’m thinking that I should write a sequel, and then I seldom do, but Up North is happening! Yay!

Now, series… Up North is a series of standalone stories. They’re contemporary and they all take place in the same area. The first story is Turning Wood, the second Crazy Joe, the third is called When Skies are Gray and will be published on July 18th, and the fourth is called Banger Challenge and will be out August 8th. But they can be read in any order.

But for now, let’s focus on Crazy Joe! It’s been sixteen years since Abe last saw Crazy Joe, and he has a bad feeling about why he disappeared.

Abe Cooper tried to swallow, but his mouth had gone dry. How many times had he wondered what had happened to Crazy Joe? Jonas. The last day he’d seen Jonas before he disappeared he’d had a horrible feeling and he’d spent many years trying to shake it, but every time Crazy Joe had popped up in his mind it was followed by unease.

Something terrible had happened, and he wasn’t sure, but maybe he was part of it. Joe—Jonas—had been a year after him in school, but everyone knew who he was. Crazy Joe—swishy Joe with glitter stains on his jeans who’d argue his opinion in every matter. He’d been brilliant, though. Abe had always been in awe of the way he expressed himself. In retrospect, Abe had realized how smart he was, and how much he must’ve read to know what he did back then. Sure, he’d argued conspiracy theories left and right and always had a rather grim view of society, but they’d been teens—a certain amount of fuck-the-world and know-it-all attitude was to be expected.

Abe had had it in spades.

Many believed Joe was crazy for real, but Abe was sure it was just a case of being different. High school wasn’t the most forgiving environment. He sighed, wished he’d done things differently, but he hadn’t been very brave back then.

“Well, it was nice seeing you, Abe. Take care.” Joe turned, and before Abe had time to blink, he was several steps away. Panic rose in his chest.

“Wait! Joe…nas.” Abe didn’t stop to see if Jonas would wait. He trotted to catch up with him. “That day—”

“Forget about it.” The smile Jonas gave him was haunted and an invisible fist punched him in the gut.

Not only had Abe played a part in what had happened, but Jonas knew it.

“I… can’t. I-I… what happened? I need to know.” There had been so many rumors. Crazy Joe beaten to death, sold into trafficking, gone into rehab, kidnapped. The kidnapped theory had the biggest following since Jonas never came back to school after the weekend. But Abe had seen him on the Sunday, so he was sure he hadn’t been abducted. He’d heard his mom tell one of the neighborhood women about how perhaps it was for the better to move a boy like that to a different school.

A boy like that.

Jonas’ grin was too bright, the shrug too careless to be believable. “I don’t remember.”

Given a little time, Abe could remember the outline of the bruises on his face. The sun had been shining and at first glance, Abe had thought it was some strange shadow falling over Jonas where he’d stood behind the ice cream stand where he used to work on the weekends, talking to an older man Abe had assumed was the owner. His lip had been split and swollen, he’d had a Band-Aid behind his left ear, and a butterfly strip over a cut on his cheek. Someone had shaved off part of Jonas’ thick, wild hair.

Abe shook his head, not wanting to remember the stark fear in Jonas’ eyes when Abe had walked closer to him. They hadn’t talked. A jolt had shot through Abe when he’d met Jonas’ gaze and he’d… walked away.

Coward, he’d been such a coward.

“Are you… erm…” He rubbed his neck. “You wanted to work with the theater, right?” Abe remembered he’d had a part in some school play, though he couldn’t say which one, he’d been too busy making out with Stephanie Samuelsen to know what it was about. He shuddered at the memory of her sticky-sweet perfume mixed with the bubblegum she always chewed.

Jonas tilted his head and a lock of his brown not-quite-curly-but-not-entirely-straight hair fell into his eyes. “No, I never wanted to perform.”

He hadn’t? He’d always hung around the art kids, and he’d never hesitated to speak up if he wanted to say something, had never feared attention. He’d held presentations in front of the entire school, had debated one thing after the other. Abe recalled him being in the school orchestra for a short time, and he definitely remembered him being part of arranging an art show in favor of some charity.

They’d had an away game that night so Abe hadn’t gone—probably wouldn’t have if he’d been home either. He wasn’t ‘a boy like that’… except, in a way, he was. Not artsy, not openly passionate about stuff, not fighting to right some injustice. But, no matter how hard he’d tried to hide it, he’d been a boy like that… even back then. “O-okay.”

“It was nice seeing you, Abe.” Jonas didn’t look like it was nice seeing him. Abe curled his fingers into fists so he wouldn’t reach for him. He tried to speak, tried to halt Jonas’ escape, but he was already halfway to the checkout.

It was just as well. He’d moved here to start over, and Jonas couldn’t be part of his life if he wanted a fresh start. His heart ached, the words he wanted to speak turned into ashes on his tongue, but it was for the best.

Now that he’d seen Jonas and knew he was well, he could put the memory to rest.

Crazy Joe is 20% off in the JMS shop

books2read.com/CrazyJoe


Crazy Joe

Abe Cooper is starting over. For fifteen years he’s lived the life that was expected of him, but not anymore. He’s packed up his things, bought himself a cabin in Northfield, and managed to secure a job at the local high school teaching gym and coaching the football team. But his new beginning didn’t include running into Crazy Joe on his first trip to the grocery store.

Jonas Raghnall has everything he needs—good friends and a job he loves. He’s worked hard to get over what happened sixteen years ago, but one run-in with his past and all the memories come flooding back. Seeing Abe Cooper, The Abe Cooper, sets everything out of balance.

Abe had pictured a fresh start with no ties to his past, but now that Jonas is there, he wants nothing more than to be close to the man who had butterflies filling his belly when he was in high school. Jonas doesn’t want to come face to face with his past, but if he sees Abe every day, it’s not really meeting up with your past, is it? It’s more like a date with your future.

Up North | Crazy Joe

Spring Forest Up North

Next week, Crazy Joe will be released, so I thought we’d have us a little peek at Jonas and Abe.

I wrote this, quite quickly and carelessly. I’d been working on Black Bird for what felt like forever, and I just wanted to finish something – fast and painlessly. Write what you know, they say, so I made the characters teachers, and I wrote. I wrote, manically, and when I was done, I sent it to my beta readers.

They liked it, a lot, but... maybe it could be a little longer, maybe there could be a little more depth. At first, I wasn’t keen on doing the job needed to be done, but I didn’t want to publish it either if it didn’t feel complete. So I took a few days off, and then I dove back in.

I’m so glad I listened to my girls, and actually did the work, instead of just hurrying to get something completed.

Crazy Joe is a story about how a run-in with your past can upset your present, how maybe old crushes never die, and how to move past some of your regrets. It’s a 17k, contemporary, M/M romance and the main characters are Abe Cooper and Jonas Raghnall.

Abe Cooper Jonas Raghnall

You can pre-order Crazy Joe at JMS-Books and get 20% off.

books2read.com/CrazyJoe


Crazy Joe

Abe Cooper is starting over. For fifteen years he’s lived the life that was expected of him, but not anymore. He’s packed up his things, bought himself a cabin in Northfield, and managed to secure a job at the local high school teaching gym and coaching the football team. But his new beginning didn’t include running into Crazy Joe on his first trip to the grocery store.

Jonas Raghnall has everything he needs—good friends and a job he loves. He’s worked hard to get over what happened sixteen years ago, but one run-in with his past and all the memories come flooding back. Seeing Abe Cooper, The Abe Cooper, sets everything out of balance.

Abe had pictured a fresh start with no ties to his past, but now that Jonas is there, he wants nothing more than to be close to the man who had butterflies filling his belly when he was in high school. Jonas doesn’t want to come face to face with his past, but if he sees Abe every day, it’s not really meeting up with your past, is it? It’s more like a date with your future.

Release Day! | Elevator Pitch

It’s release day! Elevator Pitch is a short story (11k, 40 pages), and it’s very dear to me.

gold and black balloonsWe have Bjorn, an unhappy bear shifter who’s trying to live his life despite his mother refusing to accept that he’s gay and tries to get him to settle down with a respectable bear female.

Cecil might be a shifter, but he wants nothing to do with the shifter communities – no one is going to tell him how to live his life. He made the mistake of flirting with a werewolf, though. The werewolf didn’t appreciate a male admirer and Cecil has to run for his life. He takes refuge in a tiny elevator, not realising his co-passenger is a bear shifter until it’s too late.

To make matters worse, there’s a blackout, and the ride that should’ve taken about three minutes lasts far longer.

Bjorn sighed as the elevator came to a stop in the foyer. He’d hoped he could go directly from the underground parking to the top floor where Mother had her office, without being seen.

He prepared to smile at the guest wanting to get to his or her room, but when the door slid open, there was no one waiting. With a sigh of relief, he leaned against the wall. The elevator was the size of a broom closet and it only had a narrow door that slid open to the left—no double doors here. The hotel was built in 1909, but he doubted the elevator had been there from the beginning, or maybe it had. When did they invent elevators? Late 1800s, perhaps.

The door began sliding shut when there was a commotion by the entrance of the hotel. Bjorn peered out, hoping the receptionist Osborn Wilson, Nita’s son, and Bjorn’s third cousin, would be too focused on whatever was going on to notice him.

A panting young man was standing in the middle of the lobby. His dark hair was pointing in every possible direction, and not in an artfully styled way. His jeans were paint-stained and tattered, his black shirt had a T-Rex tangled up in Christmas lights and the text Tree Rex in large block letters despite it being April. His black-rimmed glasses sat askew on his nose. He was on the thin side, shorter than Bjorn, but most people were.

Bjorn grinned, but then a pack of wolves pushed through the door and the grin died a quick death. What were they doing in a bear hotel? It didn’t matter if they were low ranking and only in their twenties, they should know not to set foot in a bear establishment uninvited.

The man made a shrieking sound before diving for the shrinking opening into the elevator. Bjorn braced himself for the impact. The wolf in the lead reached for the man and would’ve caught him if he hadn’t looked up at Bjorn. The moment Bjorn allowed his bear to peek through his eyes, the wolf dropped his arm.

By some miracle, the human—he had to be human, Bjorn had never met a shifter with glasses—managed to squeeze himself through and only brush up against Bjorn’s arm for the briefest second.

The wolf took a step closer, his eyes locked on the man, and the naked hatred on his face shocked Bjorn.

“Fucking fag.”

Bjorn rolled his eyes. So he liked dick, why did every fucking shifter in this city have a problem with that? The door finally slid all the way closed, hiding him and the panting human from the world.

“Friends of yours?” Bjorn sought eye contact without success. Instead of his breathing evening out, it became more and more frantic. The scent of paint, panic, and coffee overtook the small elevator.

“Easy, man.”

Wide, frantic eyes snapped to Bjorn’s. Yeah, definitely panic there.

“Hey, slow your breathing. You got away from them, you’re safe.”

The eyes, if possible, got wider. “Bear.” He could hardly make out the word between the breaths, but when he did, he frowned. How could he know?

The light flickered and the elevator came to an abrupt stop. Bjorn groaned. They stood still between floors.

Everything went black.

The man made a keening sound and a wave of magic washed over Bjorn. What the fuck? The sound of clothes hitting the floor made him roar. He’d assumed the man was human.

Fur exploded out of his body as his bones and muscles changed form. What could he be? Spider? Fear clouded Bjorn’s mind. Snake? His clothes tore, the seams fighting to hold everything together as the fabric shredded.

Bjorn hit the wall, tried to sidestep, and hit the other wall. Something shattered under his paw—glasses. He winced and his behind hit the door. As a bear, he had excellent night vision, but the elevator was pitch black. He couldn’t see the man anywhere.

Right now, Elevator Pitch is 20% off at the JMS shop

books2read.com/ElevatorPitch


elevator pitchBjorn Ritter only wants one thing — to live his life away from nosey, demanding bears. That’s easier said than done when you’re the son of the female running the Bayside Bear Community.

Cecil Baxter might be a bat, but he grew up away from shifter communities and he’s doing his best to continue to keep his distance. Shifters aren’t an accepting bunch and Cecil has never fit the norm.

Already facing a dreaded meeting with his mother, the last thing Bjorn needs is a stranger using his elevator to escape a pack of werewolves. And Cecil, whose day just seems to be getting worse and worse, could really do without the added stress of finding himself trapped in an elevator with a huge bear shifter.

Still, what could go wrong in three minutes?