Lyfers: Chapter One

My new novel, Lyfers, will be released Tuesday, February 9. Until then, here’s a preview!


Luc took a deep breath, inhaling the salty sea air through his nose and exhaling through an O-shaped mouth. He wasn’t sure if he was ready for all this again. Each of the South American crew members nodded or shook his hand, and one hurried forward to take his rolling suitcase and duffel bag from his shoulder. Their tour manager Sandy was bringing any special matching boy band gear they were supposed to wear this weekend.

The fans would be starting to show up in less than an hour.

Luc tipped his head to Markus as they each emerged from their respective limos. Rusty waved from the top of the gangway. Rusty, Vaughn, and Sandy were waiting with more crew members and a heaping stack of suitcases. The last limo slowed to a stop with a quiet squeak of the tires. Braden stepped out and concealed his eyes with dark, skinny sunglasses.

“What up, Bray?” called Markus.

“Hey, man,” said Luc, following Markus over to greet Braden. They engaged in handshakes and half-hugs, and Braden led the way up the gangway, which rattled with every step, while Markus hung back by Luc.

“We’re going to make a pact.” Markus shoved his shoulder into Luc’s to get his attention. Except with Markus’s comparatively scrawny frame, it was more like slamming into Luc’s elbow than his shoulder. Markus was average height at 5’9”, but he had been the shortest in the band by 1 inch ever since Rusty had a growth spurt at age 15, two years after they had formed 4 Lyfe. Because of this, Markus had a bit of a complex about his size and used physicality and physical appearance to make up for it. Oh, and alcohol.

Luc laughed. “A pact? What is this, girl scouts?”

Markus looked with all seriousness at Luc from above his sunglasses. “I won’t drink if you won’t gamble or sleep with anybody.”

“I can’t sleep with anybody? Or just not with girls?”

Markus ran his hand over his goatee. “Are you going to make Rusty’s night or something?” The two glanced at Rusty to see if he had heard. He was talking to Braden and didn’t seem to be listening. Markus shook his head and said, “No, we already made that pact after the last cruise. No inner-band relations. That gets too weird.”

Luc didn’t say anything else, so Markus backhanded him in the arm. “Is it a deal?”

“Maybe the girls part, but not the gambling part. There’s a casino right downstairs.” His voice raised an octave on the last sentence, pleading with Markus to be reasonable.

Markus threw up his arms. “There’s a bar on every floor! In some cases, multiple bars. I’m fucked if I don’t have some kind of incentive.”

“Staying sober isn’t enough of an incentive?”

“No. Now having a pact.” He held up a finger like he had just gotten a brilliant idea. “That gives me something to prove.”

“A pact, huh? How about we make it a bet instead?”

“Uh, because you’re not supposed to be gambling.” Markus poked him in the side of the head as if he was pushing the reset button on Luc’s brain.

Luc brushed his hand away and smoothed down the sides of his hair so that his dark curls congregated at the back of his neck. He closed his eyes for a second and envisioned the blinking lights of the slot machines and the feel of the soft felt of the blackjack tables just a few floors down. “Fine, but can the pact be to indulge in moderation?”

“That’s not how this works, dude. Think about it.”

“I will. And I know just where to go to think.”

Museum Write-in Excerpt

Back in March, my local writing buddies and I visited the Milwaukee Public Museum to be inspired. Laptops and notebooks in hand, we wandered through the rain forest, the Streets of Old Milwaukee, and each of the continents, stopping when we found a good bench and writing away.

11018119_10155285940275298_1050732787_oAt the buffalo hunt

One of our stops was the igloo in the Arctic area. This area inspired me to write a cave scene for Flowerantha and also a scene for a hopefully forthcoming (meaning, years away) Oregon Trail story. I have a writer friend for whom history is her thing, so it’s a little intimidating going down that path. But I know she’ll have so much knowledge to share if and when I do!

Anyway, I was looking for the cave scene to incorporate into Flowerantha when I stumbled upon the historical fiction one. Pardon the historical inaccuracies.
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Camp NaNoWriMo Excerpt

I’m in the midst of Camp NaNoWriMo, working on the first draft of another music fan-related novel to follow up Front Row. For some reason, writing in April is a lot harder than writing in November, like I’m used to. To hopefully keep myself accountable, I wanted to share an excerpt from what I have so far:

Braden appeared after Markus, and the volume intensified. Despite the heat, Braden wore full-length jeans and a tight black T-shirt. Aviator sunglasses hid his bedroom eyes. He put his microphone to his lips. “Damn, Markus. Is it hot out here, or is it just me? Ay yi yi.”

Appreciative screams answered Braden’s question for him.

“I think I’m wearing too much clothing.” Braden latched the hem of his shirt with his thumb and pulled the fabric up, revealing the perfect ridges of his eight-pack abs. Girls lost their minds all around the lido deck.

Markus tried to direct the attention back on himself. “Braden just doesn’t know how to dress for this lovely weather we’re having. How do you like my shorts?” Markus’s board shorts were bright pink with musical notes, stars, and skulls scattered across them. On his head was one of his signature bandanas—this one was black with a typical western print, and a straw cowboy hat sat atop that. A tank top with large, gaping holes for the neck and arms showed off his much scrawnier physique.

“Were you guys going to start the show without us?” The precocious (even at the tender age of 39) voice of Skylar blared out of the speakers, and the blond hunk sauntered out and draped his arm over Markus’s shoulder. “I see Braden’s already gotten the strip show going.” He waved at a few overly excited fans jumping up and down a few rows back.

Luc and Vaughn, arguably the lesser popular members of the band, trailed Skylar and rode the wave of the screams from his fans.
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