Thanks for joining us again this week as we continue our celebrations for
As we did last week, we'll let Ben do all the talking...
So here I am, back with Sandra and crew at My Fiction Nook, and let me say again what an honor it is. I love this blog, and it means a lot to me to be a Featured Author. It really is hard to believe it’s happening!
This time Sandra wants me to talk about Desert Crossing and Trust Me.
Okay! So Desert Crossing! Right off the bat, anyone who goes to the Dreamspinner Press website will see that the story is categorized as Bittersweet.
So without even giving any spoilers, because Bittersweet already does that—potential readers know that means the heroes don’t get together at the end. And that of course is a bust for sales in this genre. But I wanted to tell a real story, and if the guys tried to have a relationship, it would have been doomed to failure.
They need each other desperately for exactly what happens in this story…but they aren’t ready for more.
HOWEVER! If I ever get the novel written, and it is going to be HUGE with at least a dozen main characters, you will find that my heroes to get together. Because they will be ready then!
Meanwhile know that this is perhaps one of my favorite stories that I have done. It’s very personal and was written as therapy for a breakup of a ten year relationship where I had to do the breaking up. I stayed and stayed and stayed, thinking he would change, and he wouldn’t…or couldn’t. Writing this story helped me work through a lot of issues and was very soul cleansing.
When Callum’s mother asks him to visit for her birthday, she unwittingly comes to his rescue. Callum is a broken and unhappy man, emotionally abused by his lover to the point of feeling worthless, alone, and without hope. But during his trip, while passing through the Salt Lake Desert, Callum picks up a hitchhiker named Danny, who shows him that life is full of wonder and blessings. He’s on the verge of believing in himself again, but can he really make a new life for himself by jumping from the arms of one man into another’s?
A voice cried out of the desert.
Callum turned and tensed as he saw a man running toward him, hair bouncing in his face. For some reason, Callum’s first impulse was to climb back into his little blue Camry and hit the gas. He shook himself. For goodness’ sake, why was he so jumpy?
Callum had been quite comfortable in his air-conditioned car, his mind in other places. The car windows had limited his view of the world around him, allowing him to see only a small patch of sky in every direction and the endless black ribbon of the road before and behind. But then nature called, and when he spotted the small gas station, he figured he’d better stop. Who knew when the next opportunity would arrive? He needed gas anyway.
He’d gasped at the heat when he’d gotten out of the car. He hadn’t realized just how hot it was. But it was only after slipping the gas pump nozzle into the tank that he looked up to see the impossible.
Strange and beautiful, the desert stretched out around him in every direction, as if he had stepped out into the very center of the everlasting. There had been nothing for his eyes or mind to lock on to. The colors were surreal—gold, pink, white, indigo, brass, orange, algae green—and the horizon looked flat, not three-dimensional at all. It almost gave him vertigo. He’d staggered a second, almost feeling like he might fall up. The few scattered clouds and the mountains in the distance looked like a part of the most gigantic painting in the world, like he could almost reach out and touch it.
It was the voice breaking the unearthly silence that allowed him to tear his eyes away from the sky and that flat, flat, flat horizon and focus instead on the rapidly approaching man.
“You’re heading east, right?” the man asked, stopping just behind the car. He was wearing jeans and a tank top, damp with sweat, and had a backpack slung over one shoulder. He pushed the dark brown hair, which had stuck to his forehead, out of his face.
The man smiled broadly, cheeks dimpling. “Look. I’m stuck here in the middle of fucking nowhere, and I’d do almost anything to get to civilization. I’d be glad to fill your tank if you’d give me a ride to at least the next town….”
Callum looked the guy up and down. And while he looked a little dirty, he didn’t look dangerous. Callum found himself relaxing just a little bit.
The guy put a hand on his hip. “Look, I know you don’t know me from Buddha, but please, I’m not going to rip you off or anything. Pat me down if you want to!” He shrugged the pack off his shoulder and held it out. “You can even look through my bag. No gun, no knife. I promise. And, man, I gotta get the hell out of here!”
Callum tried to shake off the last vestiges of suspicion, but couldn’t quite help himself. Chalk it up to self-preservation and city life. “How did you get here in the first place?” he asked.
The man sighed and rolled his eyes desert-skyward. “Damned trucker. He wanted to fuck me, and I said no, so he left me here….”
Straight, Callum thought, and gave him another quick once-over and forgot about his misgivings. The guy seemed harmless, and he was pretty hot, straight or not. Nice broad hairy chest, gorgeous blue eyes (and Callum was always a sucker for blue eyes), with tiny little lines around them and the corners of his mouth. Made him look like a man and not some twink. A quick glance showed that he had quite an ample basket, besides. No wonder the trucker had wanted to have sex with him. Callum realized he wouldn’t mind a little roll with the guy himself.
“Please, man, help a guy out?” the stranger asked and smiled that dimpled smile.
Callum looked around them, saw the hopeless situation the man was in. Damn. What could he do? Callum found himself smiling back. “Well, if you let me pat you down first….”
Why had he said that?
The man smirked and raised a brow, then laid the backpack on the trunk, spread his hands, and leaned against the car in the classic stance. “Pat away,” he said.
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So next Sandra wanted me to talk about the follow up to Desert Crossing and give an excerpt. I am only going to grant half that request.
The follow up is called Desert Crossing: A Different Perspective. When you get Desert Crossing from Dreamspinner Press, you get a free story that goes with it. And that free story is a re-telling of the last chapter of Desert Crossing.
The first story is all told from Callum’s point of view. We’re in his head the whole time. In the follow up, we get the end of the story from Danny’s perspective instead. Same dialogue and everything. But I have always been fascinated about how we all see things differently. We can all be in the same place and have seen the same thing and been a part of it. But when we tell our story…it can be quite different.
I have been thrilled at reader reaction to the second tale. It really opens the eyes to what happened, and any anger readers may have had with Danny flies right out the window.
And that’s all I am going to say!
Finally, Sandra wants to hear about Trust Me.
I really love that story.
Back when I first started writing MM Romance, I was spreading myself around, sending stories to various publishers. One of those was Amber Quill. They wanted cowboy stories, and I wanted to write one! I think cowboys are very sexy, and I love horses! And so I wrote about a dude ranch.
Widower Neil Baxter is surprised when his best friend Amy Radcliffe, a recent widow herself, asks him to join her family at a dude ranch. It’s the last thing Neil wants to do with his vacation. He is not an outdoors kind of guy, and he’s been afraid of horses since one threw him when he was a boy forced to attend summer church camp. But Amy is the one person who successfully helped him deal with his wife’s death, so he agrees to go for her sake.
When Neil arrives at Black Bear Guest Ranch he meets Cole, one of the ranch’s wranglers, a twenty-five-year-old, out-and-proud gay man. The chemistry between them is instant, and it’s upsetting and frustrating for Neil. He has avoided acting on his homosexuality for twenty years.
Soon, things between the men begin to sizzle. Will Neil continue to hide his true self, or will he finally learn to trust his feelings, as well as Cole, and step out and claim the life he has always wanted?
...I took a swig from the flask and felt the burn. “Whiskey.” I handed it back.
“Good Kentucky whiskey,” he said, then took a drink. He held it out.
I took the flask and, once again, our fingers touched. He didn’t let go for a second, letting the contact linger. I didn’t pull away and my heart began to speed up.
He was flirting again.
He let go, and I took a long swallow this time. Shit. “I think I finished it,” I said. “I’m sorry.”
“I got plenty back at my cabin,” he said. “Don’t worry about it.”
Was that an invitation?
Damn, he was so damned good-looking!
Again, we just stood there and I felt the heat in my face as it went all flushed.
Go to bed! Get out of here! my mind screamed at me. Why couldn’t I move?
“My flask?” he asked.
“Sorry,” I said, feeling like an idiot. I handed it to him. “I need to be getting to bed. I’m worn out. It was a long drive, and all that food and the horse…” I paused. “Thank you for that.”
“For what?” Cole said.
“The horse ride. It was magical.”
He smiled and my stomach leapt again.
Get out of here!
“No problem. There’ll be plenty more tomorrow. You rest up. I’ll see you in the morning,” he said.
“Morning,” was all I could say back.
Then he turned and walked off. I watched him go.
And finally I went back to my cabin.
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Wow! I love this book! Loved writing it!
Five Little Known Things About Me
1) When I was a kid, we lived near Disneyland, and Mom would take us once a year. I grew obsessed with The Tiki Room and It’s A Small World. So I created my own versions! Our house at that time had a long hallway and I would line it with stuffed animals and dolls and then play the 45 record of It’s a Small World and take my parents by the hand and lead them down that hall recreating the Disney ride. In my imagination it was. Then, not done, our house in Long Beach had this lovely room in the back with all these fake parrots hanging on little perches. So I would create The Tiki Room “ride” as well, complete with me being the host and shining flashlights on the birds while the records played. Gosh! How could they not have known I was gay even back then?
2) When I was in fourth grade, we lived in Albany, Georgia. Dad was in the Marines, and we moved around a lot. I picked up a southern accent so thick that you could cut it with a knife. It’s a cliché but it’s true. It was funny. To this day, if I get terribly excited or upset the accent has been known to creep back into my voice!
3) Did I mention in my list of favorite things that I love musicals? Oh, I do! I wish life were a musical! One of my favorite episodes of television ever is from Buffy the Vampire Slayer—an episode called Once More With Feeling. Life literally becomes a musical with out characters and everyone in the town they live in periodically breaking into song and dance. WOW! That would be so awesome. In the meantime I do my best to make life a musical. I can burst into song in a heartbeat, and all because someone says something that brings a song to mind. It’s is awesome!
4) I used to live in a haunted house. No really. The house belonged to the parents of a friend of mine, and I needed a place to stay—cheap. For mowing the lawn, I got a substantial reduction in rent. Right off, weird things started happening. Books getting rearranged on shelves. Things getting knocked over. Weird noises in the attic. I went up there once and found a tricycle and when I moved it, it made that same noise. One morning when I came back to my bedroom after taking a shower I found the dresser about two feet from the wall with the drawers stacked up on top of each other in front of it. Soon after that I got really mad and shouted out, “This is my house! Not yours!” I never had another trouble again. When I moved out a friend said, “Maybe you should invite it back? Since you’re leaving?” So I did. And immediately we both felt a…breeze rush past our faces. We go out fast!
5) I used to be a very negative person. I’m not sure why. I had a good upbringing and a pretty happy childhood. I don’t know how I got so pessimistic. I would get so depressed on Friday that I had to work on Monday, I would cry. Then finally something happened inside of me, and I changed. It was change or die, I guess, and I have never looked back—except to remind myself to never go back to that way of living. I learned to have faith that the Universe is unfolding just as it should. I now look for something good in every single day. I even have a blog about it! Find it right here.
So there you go! And thanks for reading. And thanks, Sandra and crew, for having me. I’ll see you all next week!
More about B.G. Thomas:
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of over nine years and their fabulous little dog, Sarah Jane. He sees his wonderful daughter just often enough to miss her when she isn't there! He has a romantic soul and is extraordinarily lucky to have many friends.
He loves science fiction & fantasy, horror, romance and more, has gone to SF&F conventions his entire adult life, and been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He is a “Star Trek” and Joss Whedon fan from way back!
He has written all his life; it is where he finds his joy. In the 90’s, he wrote for gay magazines, but stopped because they wanted him to cut out story and romance, and write only sex.
Then through a few friends, he discovered the growing market of M/M Romance and was thrilled beyond words. FINALLY, a way to write the stories he always wanted to write. Adventure, romantic comedy, science fiction, and more, but with gay characters. And he wouldn't have to fade to black! People wanted to read the erotic as well. Plot and sex! HURRAY!
B.G. Thomas very much believes in The Law of Attraction and that "thoughts become things." A lot of things all started happening at once. He heard the words, "Leap, and the net will appear," and something re-kindled inside. He sent out a story and was thrilled when it was almost immediately accepted.
He believes that we are divine expressions of the Universe, each and everyone. "It is never too late!,” he states. “Pursue your dreams! They will come true!"
Thanks for joining us again this week. More to come next week when we return with Hound Dog & Bean, Red, and Derek, plus a personal story Ben has chosen to share.
Until then, happy reading!!