Hey M.A.! Thanks for letting me visit! I’m really excited to guest on your site today. I’m thrilled about the release of Crossfire as part of the Men in Uniform anthology from Torquere Press.
Rick Anthis, a forty-five year old veteran of the Colorado State Police, and his husband, Gabriel Thorkelson, a deputy sheriff in a nearby county, enjoy the peace of their suburban Boulder home. Until three gunshots rip through the tranquil neighborhood and Rick witnesses the kidnapping of his buddy, eight year old Jacob.
The clues are sparse until Gabe reminds Rick of something Jacob had said. Rick has a starting point. He and his CSI team locate the remote hideout, only to find the the kidnappers are gone, and Gabe is missing too.
Excerpt from Crossfire.
Rick dried the last dish and handed it to Gabriel to put away. Gabriel settled the last plate into the white cabinets. He loved their house and the quiet, older neighborhood it was in. He hoped Mark and Rachel could work out their issues, keeping Jacob in the forefront.
Rick put his hand around Gabriel's slender waist. He's as sexy as he was in college. Damn just being next to him makes me randy. Releasing Gabriel, Rick folded the dishtowel carefully and laid it beside the sink. "Supper was great. You're a damn fine cook."
Gabriel snickered and spun to pop Rick with a wet towel. "It should taste good. Your mother gave me herbs from her garden the last time we visited."
"Mom's just trying to fatten me up. I'm kind of skinny for a forty-three year old Greek man."
The towel snapped against Rick's butt again and he grabbed at it. Gabriel danced away, his face lit with delight. "Where does that leave me?"
Rick swept Gabriel up and kissed him. "It leaves you in my arms, just where you should be."
Rick paused as he remembered the note in his pocket. Leaving his hand on the small of Gabriel's back he reached in his shirt pocket and fished out a small piece of yellow paper. He gripped it between two fingers and dangled the sheet in front of Gabriel.
"Speaking of, I found another note in my lunch."
Gabriel studied the symbols on the page as if he'd never seen them. "Huh, what do you think that means?"
Rick smiled. "I know what it's meant the last dozen times I found one in my lunch."
"Really? And what was that?"
"It meant I was going to be exhausted the whole next day."
"You don't say. Let me see that." Gabriel took the paper from Rick's hand and appeared to study the content. "Looks like Native American symbols. Hmm, maybe 'bear' and 'hunt'." He smiled at Rick with a glimmer in his eyes. "Are we going on a bear hunt this fall?" Gabriel reached up and tugged on the short hair coming from the top of Rick's T-shirt. The slight touch shifted his libido into high gear.
He nuzzled his face against Gabriel's throat and sighed at the spicy fragrance that curled through his nostrils. Rick slid his hand under Gabriel's shirt; the rub of his chest hair on Rick's palm ignited his desire. "What's the sign for otter? Because I think I need to hunt one of those little furry things." I still can't believe Mom gave Gabe my Eagle Scout pictogram project.
Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, and comic books.
A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.
You can find me at:
Now for the interview with Jon!
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
Lists, lots of word association lists. I don’t think I’ve ever had a title at the beginning of planning a manuscript, and only a few times have I had a title before I started writing. But here’s my method. I put down any word that might be descriptive of the story. Anything. No editing at this point. Then start putting them together. At that point it doesn’t matter how ridiculous they sound together, I put them down. Once I have the a few listed, I’ll delete some before I add more. Some are just dumb, and that’s okay. I think you have to get the bad ideas out before you can get to the good stuff. Sometimes it takes a few weeks with adding new ones and deleting old ones that I don’t like any more until I get to a title I like. “Crossfire” is a good example. It took me a couple of weeks to come up with the title.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
Editing. Hands down that’s the hardest part. I’m sure the poor people who beta read for me think I’m lazy, but I just don’t see the little details. My brain fills them in nicely for me. Head hopping? What’s head hopping? But I’m slowly getting better. I do specific passes for each thing. A POV pass, a plot pass, a character voice pass, an animated body part pass. Really, it's a little sad. But I love, love, love telling the story.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?
Oh, far too many projects probably! I have another short story coming out in July, “Showstring”, about two very different guys who meet and fall for each other at the state fair. Then in September my first novella should be released. “Home Grown” is a foodie romance with a perfect storm of things going wrong for the poor guys. In February my first novel is coming out. “Drawing the Devil” is about a budding romance between a champion bull rider and one of the rodeo clowns.
Things still in the works include my NaNoWriMo project for last year. It’s my first fantasy story, and is a rescue drama set in the Iron Age. I’m hoping to start it looking for a home by the end of summer. I also have another couple of short stories that I’m developing. Apparently I need tons of things happening!
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Read and watch TV, I guess those are givens. I also love to garden, so I have a large vegetable garden and love to plant perennials around the house. I do some biking and kayaking during the warm months and usually cross-country ski during the winter.
How do you do research for your books?
Google and Wikipedia are my buddy’s when I start. A lot of my stories are based on subjects I know quite a bit about. Law enforcement isn’t one of those. For Crossfire I questioned people who knew a lot more about it than I did. It took some creative juggling and perhaps a little suspension of belief, but hopefully everyone will enjoy it.
What are your favorite TV shows?
Big Bang Theory! No question about it. I’ve known all those people in real life and I’ve known more than one Sheldon. One of the funniest ones for me is actually Sheldon’s mother. Oh my gosh! Most of my friend’s mothers were exactly like her.
A close second is Faceoff on the SciFi channel. I’m addicted. I love to see what designs they come up with, and if I agree with the judges or not.
What group did you hang out with in high school?
I went to a tiny high school, we had to do double duty. LOL I was part of the Vo-Ag group (ie. farm kids) and I guess one of the smart kids (don’t be too impressed, like I said…small school.) If there’s been something like an AV group, I would probably have been part of that too, but they didn’t. Oh, I was also one of the art students. Never one of the cool kids or the jocks though. Cool I’ve never mastered, and the sports I would have done, our school didn’t offer.
~ Jon ~