Sunday, April 29, 2012

I’m back--

I'm pretty down today. My guide dog of almost thirteen years is gone. So that's been a hard thing for me. It's just a one-day-at-a-time thing right now. 

I've been sleeping on the loveseat in the front room of our apartment to be with him at night. I needed the time with him and he seemed to like it. The downside was, of course, that it's a loveseat. 

Our apartment isn't that big, and if you live in New Jersey, you know that space is at a premium. So, up until a few days ago, our two bedroom apartment housed two dogs--my sister's dog is a mastiff-Labrador-Shepherd mix-- four cats, and two conures. 

My daughter's conure, who has been living with us in between moves, is called Banana and he's a Nanday Conure. Mine is a Green-Cheeked Conure, less than a year old. Hey, the pet store was going to ship him off to a bird rescue place or something--whatever it was, it sounded pretty dire.
I named him Baker after Baker Street of Sherlock Holmes fame. 

While I was cuddling and holding him, they said they don't usually keep them when they're over a year (he's about 10mos or so) and that he'd been shipped from another store with nest mates--all of whom were sold, but nobody wanted him. They proceeded to knock his price down by half. As a starving author, that was still a lot of money for me, but still…

Anyway, since I'm a bit sluggish, I hope you'll forgive me.

This excerpt that I'm about to post is one of two for this blog post. You might have read something I've posted about the impetus for Hauling Ashes and the character Garret. He was patterned after a friend of mine that sometimes wishes he could step out of his "straight-man" world, and take a walk on the other side of the fence. I'm quite sure he likes his life as it is, most of the time. But don't we all have "what ifs" that we keep hidden? Langley is somebody else entirely. That young man thought he was all grown up and knew what he wanted--until someone gave it to him.

The second excerpt I'm posting is from Rocks and Hard Places. It came about from a collection of inspirations. Someone I was chatting with at the time was complaining about finding the area they'd traveled to being covered in rocks and dirt, as opposed to the pastoral haven they'd hoped for. 

Immediately, I thought of a spaceship landing on the nearest planet. The travelers would have to take what they got, as shown in countless episodes of Star Trek that I watched growing up. The characters were inspired by various people and characters over the years. 

The one person who is based on someone specific is Granite. I knew a man--okay, I met a man--in the grocery store where I worked years ago. He was tall, well built, very attractive, and had white hair and eyebrows, though he was in his early thirties. He told me that his hair had always been white--it was a family trait.

So, here are your excerpts:

Hauling Ashes

Starting at: $2.49

by J.J. Massa

It's been too long since Langley has had his ashes hauled - -so long that even his snarky old supervisor looks good to him.

Garret keeps a tight rein on his passions… his burning desires. For two years, the fire for his assistant has smoldered. After two years of Langley Johnson stumbling into work looking debauched and delectable, that fire is blazing out of control.

What will it take to bank the fire? Or is it too late for anything but ashes?


Garret had seldom been so grateful to see the hands of the clock reach five.

What a day. What a long and tedious day.

His assistant had been late again. The little bastard. Did he have to be so damned sexy in the mornings?

Langley Johnson had a natural, just-rolled-out-of-bed look that ate at Garret. It wasn't fair. Did any other manager in the company have this to deal with? How did the young man find suits that clung to his tight little ass like that? Did he have them measured? Most men aimed for something a little less… revealing, perhaps.

That messy dark hair, those drowsy blue eyes, sleep-soft face… it was worse if he came skidding in with his tie half-off like this morning. He had a freshly-fucked look that fairly screamed to the ravenous, dangerous part of himself that Garret kept locked away most of the time. 

It wasn't hard to keep his… proclivities contained, usually. He was from an old-fashioned family and worked for an old-fashioned firm. It had taken him many years to get where he was today. He wasn't at the top, exactly, though he was the manager of his section. He was settled, comfortable. That is, until his assistant stumbled in appearing debauched. Every time the man wandered in, late for work and looking used, Garret had to fight to keep from making sure the job had been thoroughly done.

Rocksand Hard Places

J.J. Massa

Micah and her enigmatic brother, Granite, are both manufactured people, grown in a lab, and a lot of people think that means they're not real, that they can't think or feel. Micah knows better, and she knows that her brother had feelings that run deep, which is why she's willing to help her fellow Science Officer and shipmate, Willy, who thinks her brother is the hottest thing around.

Granite has no problem sharing his physical love with Willy, but he isn't sure about emotions. Micah has the opposite problem with the man she's learning the art of love from; Commander West has all of the old prejudices against manufactured people, and Micah isn't sure how to fight them. Can she and brother Granite both learn how to express their love the right way, before the dangers of intergalactic war overwhelms them?

Commander West James moved back through the single file line until he was behind the eight people he was responsible for. As missions went, this one had been smooth sailing. Except for the curious behavior of Lieutenants Schmidt and Bayonne, it had been a completely predictable two days.

He listened as the two bantered, his eyes trained on Lieutenant Bayonne’s flawless hindquarters. The exact curvature as her waist met her hips which then flowed into those perfectly rounded cheeks… 

Genetic tampering be damned, what a tush! Perfection achieved!

He felt himself grow hard and heavy as he watched those lush globes move while she walked, hips swaying in unconscious grace. He groaned mentally--the way these uniforms molded themselves to the wearer, it would not only be obvious that he was aroused, it would be clear to any observer that he’d been circumcised.

In an attempt to control his body’s reaction to the sexy form in front of him, he tried to listen to what she and Lieutenant Schmidt were saying.

“Your column resin is NOT compacting,” she told Schmidt, “it is being spatially frugal.”

West didn’t get it but the other man laughed. “Okay, how about, your PCR products are NOT all mutant, they are just indulging in unscheduled evolution.”

The delectable woman in front of West chortled. “Hang on, hang on!” she laughed.
Just then Lieutenant Schmidt, who’d been immediately in front of her, moved up to answer a question from another crew member. 

Probably the question was, “What the hell are you talking about?”

She slowed and turned to look up at the darkening evening sky when she missed a step and stumbled on a rock. Before she could fall to the ground, West snatched her against him. Her little stumble had caused a chain reaction and rocks began to cascade from the ledge above them.

Thankfully, the gap between himself and Micah and the six people in front of her should have prevented other crew members being caught when the rocks began to tumble down.

Without thought, he turned her so that she was pressed against the rock face while her shoulders, back, and thighs, and delicious derriere were crushed against him. When the rock slide stopped, he stood, still holding her.

One arm was looped around her waist and the other secured her torso with his open palm flat on her chest. His splayed fingers grazed the peak of her right breast.

“Commander, six accounted for here, you two all right?” the security officer asked.

Sliding his hand two inches to the right, West cupped the full hill of flesh. Slowly, he trailed his fingertips over the nipple and with his thumb, he lightly pressed the sensor on her communications device.

He lowered his mouth to her throat and nuzzled her hair out of the way, gently blowing on a stubborn strand. He felt her nipple pucker even more tightly against his fingers. “We’re fine, we’re going to regroup and assess. We’ll be there in a few.”

His lips caressed her soft throat as he directed his comment over her shoulder where her communications badge was pinned. He felt her shiver against him and knew she didn’t realize she had. He swept his left hand down across her abdomen and up between her legs, lightly teasing her feminine mound. She probably didn’t know she’d moaned aloud, too.

“You are fine, aren’t you, Lieutenant Bayonne? Hmmm?” he murmured against the hollow spot behind her ear. He touched that soft warm spot with his tongue very lightly.

Tastes like white chocolate. MMM mmm.

“I’m--I’m fine, sir, yes.” Her voice was a raspy husk.

He knew she could feel him smile against her ear. “I agree. You are fine.”


“Willy, you went where you did, and you’re just lucky to be alive. He’s killed guys for less!” she

“I know, I know, he told me himself,” the blond man moaned. Their heads were together over their food as they lectured each other quietly but intensely. “Yes, of course, dead is definitely bad. But that other man, Mickey, you don’t know! He might do anything! He could hurt you or lock you up and be justified.”

She opened her mouth to speak when a heavy hand landed on her shoulder. “Everything all right?” a purring voice questioned, sounding slightly concerned. Micah wasn’t fooled. She took a deep breath and looked up at her brother.

“Um, yes, Granite, of course. I’m sorry, was I supposed to meet you this morning?”

“No, tonight,” he clarified. She remembered now; supper. They would have supper together. He turned to look at Willy. “You both look a little pale.” He extended a large hand toward Willy. “Lieutenant Schmidt.”

Willy had no choice--he had to shake Granite's hand. She watched nervously as her friend stood and lifted a trembling hand. It was immediately engulfed in her brother’s larger one. She saw Granite slowly sweep his thumb across the back of Willy’s wrist.

“I expect you to tell me if something’s wrong.” His molten gaze bored into Willy’s and then turned on her.

“Um, of course, Granite.” He appeared to accept her promise and then turned back to a shaking Willy’s hand.

Ja selbstverständlich,” he said nervously. At Granite’s arched brow, he amended, “I mean, yes, of course.”

Finally releasing Willy’s hand, Granite nodded. Both exhaled a relieved sigh as the big man finally moved away.

“Willy?” she whispered still staring after Granite. When he didn’t answer, she turned and looked at him. “Willy? Was he flirting with you?”

Genau, Mickey, I think he was…” Willy’s voice trailed off. He seemed stunned, frozen in place as he watched the security officer stop and speak to someone before taking his leave through the exit doors.

And that's it for now. See you again in just a bit. :)

J.J. Massa


Lisa said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. :( I know how hard that is. We went through something similar several years ago with our German Shepherd.

Take care.

J.J. Massa said...

Thank you , Lisa *hug*