Don't compare me to Oscar Wilde. Both our reputations will suffer

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

Hi there, and welcome to the Next Big Thing blog hop. First a big thank you to Belinda McBride for inviting me to participate. This is different approach to blog hops, kind of a chain letter, if you will. Belinda tagged me, Amy Lane, ZA Maxfield, and E.M. Lynley. Go check them out. They are the cool.

Meanwhile I, in turn, have tagged Ellis Carrington, Edmond Manning, Michael Murphy, and Anne Tenino, for December 12. They’re a fun group and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got cooking.

My Next Big Thing is actually the release of the latest Cal Pac Crew novel, the third in the series.

Cover art, Burning It Down

What is the title of your book?

Burning It Down.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

For those of you who’ve read Tipping the Balance, you’ll recognize this scene. The Bayard House has been hit by arson, and Brad Sundstrom has been called out in the middle of the night to deal with it, since he was the project foreman.

The firefighter in charge of the effort there is Owen Douglas, and he made his interest in Brad very clear. Since Brad and his then-boyfriend were on the outs, Brad went for it, but Owen could tell Brad’s mind was on someone else. Owen pushed Brad to reconcile with the man who would eventually become his partner in business and in life, and all’s well that end’s well…for Brad.

But not for Owen, and that’s the odd thing about all this. I’m a freak about outlining and nowhere in any of my prewriting or outlining does that scene between Owen and Brad appear. One evening, however, an impulse seized me and I wrote twenty pages in an hour and there it was.

But even after I’d finished Tipping the Balance, Owen was clearly not done with me. I could’ve started work on either Owen’s story or on Stuart Cochrane’s story. Either one. Owen, always the hook-up and never the boyfriend, won out.

What genre does your book fall under?

m/m contemporary.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I was a bit stumped by this, to be honest. In part, it’s the fact that I don’t go to movies or subscribe to any kind of television service, much to my son’s distress. I think part of it might be the photos I’ve used to visual my guys, because a good friend of mine who marinates in all things pop culture couldn’t really come up with anything either.

But I think Aaron Eckhart might make a nice Owen, once some red dye’s been applied to his hair.

Aaron Eckhart…could he play Owen Douglas?

As for Adam, his love interest, this may be a tougher challenge, if only because Adam’s so tall (6’5”). But I suppose these things are negotiable in casting. I’m thinking of Bradley James, who played King Arthur on the BBC series Merlin.

Bradley James…he’s got the hair for it, but is he really Adam Lennox?

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence? Really?  I could barely come up with a short synopsis when I submitted the manuscript, and now I’m to come up with one sentence?

Owen and Adam can handle the stresses of new jobs, but can they survive the threat posed by Adam’s abusive ex?


Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

Neither. Dreamspinner Press releases the book on December 7, 2012.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Burning It Down, like most of my novels, takes roughly six months from rough outlining to a manuscript that’s ready to submit. Based on the way I outline, my completed first draft is almost ready to submit.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre.

As a matter of policy, I don’t compare my books to those of other authors because that leads to jealousy. “Why’s that book selling better, when mine is so clearly superior in every way?” or “Well hell, if that’s what I’m competing against, why am I bothering to write?” Neither one’s healthy, and firefighter stories are a dime a dozen in m/m romance.

In terms of other books that feature a veterinarian, a firefighter, and a cat, I’ll say that Shae Conor’s novella En Fuego will be released by Dreamspinner on December 12, 2012.

I plan to read it as soon as possible because I want to see what Shae did with the same elements. She and I are both amused that two manuscripts with very similar plot elements were put on the publication calendar so close together. We may even promote our book together, so watch this space.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

This is the third book in a projected series of four; there are a certain number of stories I wanted to tell about the rowers in the CalPac world, or at least about this group of rowers. So Burning It Down is another step along the road toward completion.

What else about your book might interest the reader?

I must admit that the cat tends to steal the show.

And now, just because I’m feeling generous, here’s another teaser from Burning It Down:

“Like I texted you, he was assaulted this evening—”


“He was at home. Someone broke in and beat the crap out of him. Owen’s assailant knew what he was doing, too.”

“What do you mean?” Adam demanded, steering Mike over to chairs and forcing him down.

“Why’re hospital chairs always hard plastic? Just once, I want something comfortable,” Mike muttered.

“They’re hard plastic so they can be wiped with disinfectant after people bleed on them or cough tuberculosis all over them,” Adam said. “Keep talking.”

“Whoever he was, he re-broke Owen’s left leg. Went after it with a baseball bat, as a matter of fact,” Mike said. “That’s all I know, right now. Do you have his sister’s number? She should be notified.”

“Goddamn, he was finally making headway on rehabbing it after the last setback,” Adam muttered. “Yeah, I’ll call Avril, and thanks for letting me know about Owen. How much longer will he be in surgery?”

Mike shrugged. “Another hour or more, I guess, given what they’re dealing with.”

“Then I’d better call Avril.”

After Adam called her, he tried to get some sleep, but as Detective Cabot had pointed out, the chairs and comfort were not well acquainted. He thought about stretching out in his SUV, and he thought about offering the other front seat to the detective, but he wanted to be there when Owen got out of surgery, so plastic seats it was. He pulled his parka’s hood over his face to block out the harsh florescent lights, or try.

“Adam? Wake up, honey, it’s me.”

“Go away, Mom. I’m wearing my retainers.”

“Okay, that might’ve been funny when John Hughes wrote it, but you’ve got about five seconds to wake up before I pour my coffee down the neck of your sweater.”

Adam blinked a few times to clear his eyes. “Avril?”

“Yes. What the hell’s going on?”

“You’re here.” Adam struggled to sit up. He rubbed his eyes with his hands and then nudged Mike Cabot. “Detective? Wake up. Owen’s sister’s here.”

“Of course I’m here! You told me someone took a baseball bat to my brother!” Avril said shrilly.

“I didn’t tell you he was in critical condition or anything. It’s his leg, Avril. He’ll be fine.” Just what he needed, but that didn’t stop Adam from getting up to give her a hug.

“Eventually maybe,” she said, her voice muffled by his chest, “but again with the leg?”

“I know,” Adam sighed. “Believe me, I know.”

“So who’s watching the kids?” Adam asked.

“My oldest is old enough, and I let my best friend know what was up, so she’s on call. Hopefully I’ll be back in time for breakfast. Other than my kids, Owen’s all I’ve got in the world,” Avril said.

Adam made the appropriate introductions and they settled back into the waiting.

Fortunately for Avril, she didn’t have to wait very long, because while the estimate given to Detective Cabot was wildly off, the surgeons finally finished putting Owen’s leg back together—again—not long after her arrival.

A tired looking woman came out of the OR. “I’m Dr. Singh. Is one of you family?”

“I am,” Avril said.

Dr. Singh frowned. “Then who are the rest of you?”

“I’m the detective handling Mr. Douglas’s case,” Mike said.

“And I’m his boyfriend,” Adam said.

“Was this a bias crime?” Dr. Singh said.

Mike sighed. “No, at least not in the way you’re thinking. He wasn’t bashed because he’s gay.”

“Well, thank goodness for that,” Dr. Singh said, “but that doesn’t explain why he had a testicle clenched in one fist.”


 And don’t forget to check out  Ellis CarringtonEdmond ManningMichael Murphy, and Anne Tenino on December 12. They’re some of my favorite people, not just as colleagues and writers but as friends.

3 Responses

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