Welcome lovelies and happy Tuesday! Do you like men in uniform? Policemen, firemen, doctors...*wiggles eyebrows* Yes? Then I think you're going to love today's guest! Please welcome author Jon Keys and his story Crossfire from the Men in Uniform anthology.
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.
Elyzabeth, it’s great to be at your blog today! The release of Crossfire as part of the Men in Uniform anthology from Torquere Press has been exciting. I’m thrilled that two of my short stories are appearing in Torquere Press’s anthologies this year with another short, Showstring, coming in July. Before we get to the good stuff, I thought I’d share some details of my writing. Today I’m talking about developing the settings.
I have a variety of ways I come up with the settings in my books. The first pieces I wrote had scenes I was very familiar with, at least. For anyone who’s been to public college they know about graduate students packed in tiny offices and the hallways of nondescript rooms that fill buildings. The ranch scenes were pretty easy for me, too. They were a compilation of several different places I’d been to when I was a kid. So the first ones were the old adage, write what you know.
More recently my stories have been in worlds that are not our own. Those are easier in some ways. If I say there is a mountain range 100 miles to the west, then there is. The challenge comes in naming everything. Is it rabbit, tiger and sheep—or do I go a step further and have springfoot, daggertooth and kuri. Actually kuri does mean sheep, just not in English. So how much of the new information adds an interesting detail, and when does it become a distraction. That’s the struggle I’m having with my novel.
Crossfire is a little of both. It wasn’t a whole new world, so the terms are familiar. The downside is that while I’ve been to Colorado and Boulder, I don’t know it as intimately as some of the locations in previous works. So there is a lot more scene research in Crossfire. Google earth is great. If it has the ground view you can drop to street level and suddenly you can spot details that add validity to the story. Pinterest is another resource I’ve started using, especially for interior rooms. If I want to see a kitchen with concrete counter tops then one appears. The rest is Google search, finding tourism departments, crime statistics, whatever I think would add to the richness of the experience. Sometimes I find details that the reader never sees, but they still color the writing because they are in my mind during the process.
So, that’s how I create the world my characters inhabit. Now we can move on to Crossfire. I hope everyone enjoys the tale as much as I did.
~ Jon ~
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.
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