Hello everybody. First, I want to say thanks to Lex for letting me invade her blog like this. I’m here to let you know about my novella, Working It Out, which came out on Wednesday last week, give you a taster of the story and introduce a giveaway.
My name’s Kristen Slater and I’m one of the newest additions to the Dreamspinner Press stable. I thought I’d pretty much done with first times, at my age, but there have been a lot of them in the past four years. First time writing fiction (apart from a story I apparently wrote when I was six). First time submitting to a publisher. First time anyone other than me has seen my writing. First time dealing with edits and revisions. First published story. So many firsts.
And now another first, doing a guest spot on someone else’s blog. It’s the beginning of a blog tour that’s going to run from now until 11 September, and you can see where else I’m going by checking out the list on my blog.
I’m not the most social of people, so one of the harder things for me has been getting used to social media. That means yet another first has been learning how to communicate with people and, importantly, remembering to do so. I know I’ll get the hang of it, but right now I don’t tweet as often as I should, I keep forgetting to blog on the day I’m meant to, and I’m nervous about commenting on blog posts and tweets—although I’m beginning to dip my toes in that particular ocean.
It can be kind of scary, doing things for the first time. I think that’s just as true as you get older; it feels like there’s more at stake if you mess up. It’s worth overcoming the fear of doing something new, though. I wouldn’t have missed this ride for anything.
Cas, one of my lovebirds, is in his twenties and he’s going through a first as well. He reckons he’s never been in love, although he’s been living with his boyfriend, Joe, for six months because it was the only way to keep seeing him. When Joe nearly dies in an accident, he gets a rude awakening and realises what we knew all along. He’s brought to a painful awareness that he’s head over heels in love and determines to make sure Joe isn’t left in doubt about that, ever again. Joe’s slow recovery from his injuries gives him a chance to show how he feels.
You can sign up for my giveaway, at any time during my blog tour, for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate for Dreamspinner Press. You can enter by commenting on any of the posts in the tour, and then visiting Rafflecopter to tell me about it. While there you can click to follow me on twitter and follow my blog for more opportunities to win. If you can’t think of anything to say, I have a question for you—because I’m nosy like that. Cas and Joe meet by the frozen foods at the grocery story; how did you and your current/most recent partner meet?
Finally, as promised, here’s a little something to whet your appetite. This excerpt takes place after the accident (Carol is a happily married, middle-aged woman, whose advice Cas regularly seeks about his relationship with Joe).
If you like the look of it, you can buy it at the Dreamspinner Press website.
Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.
Working It Out Excerpt:
Just over a month ago I was philosophizing about love. Now I’m sitting next to a hospital bed discovering religion so I’ve got someone to pray to. If I catch up with the person behind the wheel of that car, I’m going to be sitting in a different kind of institution, but it’ll be worth it.
I found out how you know if you’re in love. Carol was right. Imagine a life without him in it. Work really hard at imagining it. Because the reality’s worse than any amount of imagining could ever be. They say they don’t know if Joe will wake up. I can tell they think he won’t. They’re letting me be here constantly, right at his bedside. They’re not being strict about visiting hours because they think he’s going to die.
And it hurts.
It hurts so badly. I can’t breathe properly, my eyes are sore from all the crying, and every so often the silent tears become loud sobs that shake my whole body and sound harsh and intrusive in this quiet room. I’m holding his hand and looking at the tubes and monitors and the machines that are keeping his heart pumping and making his lungs expand and contract.
Someone came in a while back. They made me stand up and leave Joe here, all by himself. They wanted me to eat, but what’s the point? If there’s not going to be any Joe, I don’t need to eat. I swallowed what they gave me just to make them leave me be, so I could get back to him. I don’t want him to die while I’m away from his side. I’ll never forgive myself if I leave him to die alone.
I keep thinking he’s waking up, but it’s just his eyes flickering as he dreams in the darkness behind his eyelids. I always thought a coma was a really deep unconsciousness, but apparently people can hear and dream. I’m talking to him, telling him about things. Especially how much I love him. If anything brings him back, surely that will?
I wasted so much time not seeing what was in front of my eyes. I should have told him when he was awake to hear it.
I know. Should have. How pathetic is that? How many people, once it’s too late, say I wish I’d told them this, or I wish I’d done that? Now I’m one of them. I’m also doing the equally stupid “if only” thing. If only we’d left one minute later or earlier. If only I hadn’t decided to go to the toilet before leaving the restaurant and waited until we got home. If only I hadn’t said his name so that he stopped momentarily to answer before getting into the car. If only. If only.
“I love you, Joe. I don’t want to have to live without you. I can’t. Please don’t die.” I hope he can hear me.
It’s terrifying how much difference twelve hours makes. Twelve hours ago I was happy. Joe and I were walking into a restaurant to celebrate the suspension of his horrible boss. Now I’m frightened to take my eyes off him in case he stops breathing while I’m not looking.