Huehuetlot Ruins the Winter Solstice: A Guest Blog by S.A. Garcia

In 2012, the Winter Solstice receives a bad reputation thanks to the Mayan calendar.

Imagine, the Mayan calendar claims the world will end on December 21, 2012, which is, eeeks, today! Here’s my take on the situation. I bet the problem is due to a pessimistic Mayan calendar designer. Let’s imagine the scenario, shall we? Come with me. Step through the quivering Scooby Doo time portal. Make sure to duck down; it’s a cheap time portal.

Shhh. Let’s watch.

Huehuetlot the disgruntled Mayan calendar maker

Huehuetlot the disgruntled Mayan calendar maker

Huehuetlot the calendar designer is painstakingly inking the calendar in a hot stone room surrounded by his fellow workers. His fellow artists draw greeting cards celebrating the mighty rain god Chac or the Hero Twins, Mayan crowd favorites because they always kick evil’s ass. The frustrated Huehuetlot wants to illustrate the greeting cards, but noooo, his supervisor Inkan, who smells like a rancid billy goat, always wants Huehuetlot to ink the bloody boring calendar.

Precise strokes decorate parchment day in and day out. As he works, Huehuetlot seethes in frustration. His annoyance reaches volcano-hot fury. He decides, “Screw this crap! I’m better than this tedious, boring job.”

Since he is a dedicated craftsman, Huehuetlot finishes painting in the glyph for twenty-one, which looks like a striped football with two dots. He stands up and announces, “Take this job and shove it up your pyramid,” before he marches from the sweltering room. Only Inkan notices his defection. Of course Huehuetlot’s wife kicks him out for quitting his good-paying inking position. Huehuetlot becomes a hairy hermit obsessed with twenty-one.

Since the Mayans vanished not long after, the calendar is never completed. Huehuetlot is right; no one wants his damned boring job.

What the hell, the story sounds as good as anything else I’ve read. I’m not exactly an eschatologist. In fact, I didn’t know what that word meant until I looked up the meaning today. There, I’m confident I am not an eschatologist.

Come on, why pick on the Winter Solstice? Poor Huehuetlot didn’t hold a grudge against the Winter Solstice. The day might be short, but in Mesoamerica, no one feared winter’s threat. Huehuetlot really held a grudge against his crappy calendar painting job.

If Huehuetlot has screwed up time’s eternal flow only on a mental level, he will have pissed off a specific group; holiday retailers looking to rake in the cash this season.

If retail sales are slow this season, blame the problem on Huehuetlot. Why not? I envision people claiming they didn’t bother shopping for Christmas gifts because of Huehuetlot’s calendar snafu. Why shop if the world might end? By the time the embarrassed end-of-the-world believers race to the store on December 22, all the cool gifts will be rain-checked.

Poor Aunt Bessie hasn't purchased her Xmas gifts

Poor Aunt Bessie hasn’t purchased her Xmas gifts

If you don’t receive the perfect gift from your Aunt Bessie, who is also an enthusiastic tabloid reader, blame the problem on Huehuetlot and his calendar. If nothing else, Huehuetlot’s story will be a conversation starter around the holiday table. Thanks to the Scooby-Doo time portal, you have the inside scoop on his story.

Guess what? My latest novel “Cupid Knows Best” has a Christmas themed-chapter.

Here is the excerpt. Enjoy!


When it comes to his professional life, photographer Carl Conrad is at the top of his game. He molds impressionable minds at university by day and jets off to Paris for gallery showings on long weekends. Unfortunately, he pays for it with his disastrous personal life: Carl kicked his boyfriend to the curb after one too many punches, so now it’s just him and his hamsters, one of which he suspects may be a space alien.

Then Cupid takes pity on Carl and hits him where it hurts. It takes Carl all of three seconds to fall head over heels in lust with set design student Marcelino Moya, despite the man’s questionable—okay, deplorable—fashion sense. Convincing Marcelino to give him a chance is the hard part, but Carl is up for the challenge, pun definitely intended.

Marcelino plays hard to get, but he isn’t immune to Carl’s charms. Carl talks him around to dinner, dating, and eventually moving in. There’s just one tiny word standing between Carl and perfect happiness. Why won’t Marcelino say the “L” word?

That's not an SOS those are Mayan numbers


I massaged Marcel’s thigh and kissed his forehead. “You created a wonderful party, lover.”

“You really did, Marcelino. Here’s to the return of playful gatherings. You inspire me to drag my sad ass out of my doldrums and throw a private party at the gallery.” Hindy turned and kissed Tim’s cheek. “What am I saying? My fair Tim drags me out in quite an efficient manner.”

Tim fluttered and blushed. “See, I’m stronger than I look.” They kissed in hotter commitment.

How cute. Tim recovered from his near swoon and relaxed back. His fingers curled in Hindy’s hair. I adored how Tim had succumbed to Hindy’s elegant worship.

After he recovered, Tim pointed at our tree. “Marcelino, the tree is delightful. I’ve been meaning to say something all evening.”

“Thanks. When Carl told me he never bothered with a tree anymore, I straightened him, well, you know what I mean, out on the problem. This holiday fiend needs a tree to celebrate the festive season.”

“Of course clever Marcel created our flamboyant rainbow tree.” My witty planner had purchased simple glass ornaments in rainbow colors and artfully arranged them in zigzag waves across the blue spruce. The compact tree’s rounded bulk dominated the room’s right window corner. “I love the sight. I never realized how I missed having a tree.” I stood and bowed toward my guests. “Anyone want more wine?”

Agreements filled the air. I brought an open bottle of pinot grigio and a bottle of Malbec to the coffee table. “Have fun.”

Hindy huffed in annoyance. “Marcelino, when will you properly train this rude beast?”

“Carl isn’t too bad. He’s just a little undomesticated.”

I returned to my cuddle against Marcel. “Why should I bother? You look after me so well I feel content to drift along.”

“That’s not true. I noticed someone has learned how to empty the dishwasher, and no lie, Carl even uses the vacuum cleaner.”

“What a miracle! Dearest, I salute you for transforming Carl.”

“Yeah, right.” I grinned and winked at Cupid, who sat alongside the bewinged Cher doll that passed for our tree’s angel. Yeah, I had started making the domestic effort for my man.

Hindy patted Tim’s knee. His eyebrows performed their usual hairline tango. “Tim, trust me, you are lucky to have found a tidy man. I’ve seen this place when—”

“Stop spreading tales.” I rolled my eyes. “Here’s the deal. Four months ago, Hindy dropped by one evening after Martin and I had conducted a stellar battle over him slapping me. The kitchen table’s contents were sprawled across the floor. During the argument, we tossed our food-filled plates like crazy people. Then we started on the glassware.”

“Too bad you didn’t crack a plate over his evil head.” Marcel scowled and sipped his wine. “Or better yet a grease-filled frying pan.”

“The temptation flirted with me.”

“I wish temptation had flirted you into real action. Enough, enough, I don’t want to talk about the odious man. Tonight I want to celebrate the season with true friends.” Marcel slithered from his sprawl and flicked on the TV. He clicked around until he laughed in merriment. “There it is. Bridget told me about this festive channel.”

Hindy sputtered in disbelief. “How remarkable. They actually broadcast a film of a burning Yule log? Hilarious.”

“A Yule log and traditional Christmas carols. How fun.” Tim raised his glass in glee before he poured Malbec. Damn, his shaky aim almost baptized my floor in dark-red goodness.

Marcel switched on the tree lights. The sparkly glow filled the room.

To my relief, Tim’s wineglass landed on the table before he applauded the festive light show. He seemed toasted enough to forget he held a glass in his hands. “Why did you turn off the lights during the party?”

“I don’t want to burn the living tree’s branches.” Marcel pointed to the large copper bucket holding the tree upright. “See, the spruce has a root ball. We’re donating the merry little tree to whatever city park needs trees. We can visit the spruce like proud parents.”

Hindy’s knowing stare met mine. “We are blessed old farts.”

“I agree.” I raised my glass for a communal toast. Our glasses clinked together without breaking anything although Tim almost fell off the couch. When it came to drinking, the slim blond was a lightweight.

Marcel switched off the room lights and returned to my side. He ruffled my hair. I wrapped my arm around his waist and pulled him close for a satisfied kiss.

We basked in the rainbow tree’s glow while watching the televised Yule log and listening to classic holiday tunes. The cozy scenario made sense. Tim and Hindy looked as settled as any old couple resting on a park bench, well, that is if the old couple wore black leather, black seersucker, or red-and-green plaid wool trousers. They sat holding hands and smiling for no good reason.

A gasp brushed my cheek. Marcel scrambled to his feet and pointed in fine dramatic style. I managed not to drop my wine. “Look, how cool, it’s snowing!” The pale light seeping through the right window framed his broad shoulders.

I admired his proud silhouette. Tim and Hindy stood to occupy the tall front left window. I stood and joined Marcel. There, a couple graced each window. Fitting. Outside the large flakes filtered down in indolent sloth. The streetlights illuminated their stately descent through the naked tree branches. This too made magical sense. I hugged Marcel close and kissed his temple.

Hindy shook his head in dismay. “I fear it’s time to find a cab.”

As he laughed, Marcel leaned over and prodded Hindy’s shoulder. “Why? You can use the spare bedroom.”

“Stay the night?”

“Look, we have plenty of treats and wine. I say let’s sit, eat, drink, and continue the celebration.” Marcel raised his glass into the air.

Tim clapped in glee. “I’m off tomorrow. I say yes.”

Hindy also lifted his glass into the air. “How wise. Why suffer winter’s bite? Jezebel loves her food dispenser, so no worries.”

Familiar thumping made me laugh. “Spazz wants to join the party.”

“Can I meet him in person?”

“Come on, Tim, I’ll let you hold his travel ball.”

Tim cooed in delight. Spazz entered his travel ball and danced in glee. My nutty hamster hated being left out of the action. Einstein stirred and started roaming through the colorful tube tangle. “Wow, Einstein is awake. These guys agree. They want to party. Go ahead, set Spazz on the floor.”

The merry Spazz rolled into the living room. He managed to bounce against Hindy’s and Marcel’s feet before he rolled back into the spare bedroom. I swear that hamster owned superior taste. No wonder, he was an alien.

We settled back into our comfortable cuddles. Marcel winked and kissed my cheek.

This time Hindy raised his wineglass into the air. The Yule log’s flames reflected off the glass. “My dear Tim, love for a pet is a sign of a good man. If you move in with me, will you bring along any pets? As you know, my ancient Jezebel is a sweetie, but she isn’t much on furry intruders. She does approval of you, which is enough for me.” Hindy set down his wineglass and stroked Tim’s long fine hair.

Marcel gasped. He gripped my shoulder until my muscles whimpered for release.

Tim almost hyperventilated. “Hindy, is this an offer?”

My friend flicked his pale left hand flicked through the air in imperial dismissal. “I planned to wait, but since our dear friends have created such a lovely romantic environment for us, I need to ask you tonight. After all, their love brought us together. Wise of them.” Hindy turned and winked at us before he grasped Tim’s hands. He kissed Tim’s knuckles and sighed in adoration. “Care to move in with me, sweetie darling? Care to be my much-needed breath of fresh air and keep dragging me from my shell?”

“Yes, yes, yes!” Their hug created a devoted tangle of black and blond hair.

Marcel’s triumphant smile tried to blind me. I squeezed him close. “Congratulations, matchmaker.”

A brief wing flutter vanished into the sparkling snow. Cupid, you are da man.

The four riders

The four riders

S.A. Garcia’s info:

Dreamspinner Releases including Cupid Knows Best:

Silver Releases:

S.A. Garcia’s World of Words:

Facebook: Sandra Ann Garcia

Twitter: @SAGarcia_Writer


Guest Blog with Kim Fielding

Brute by Kim Fielding

Today’s message is brought to you by Kim Fielding.

Like many other writers, I often mention brand names in my stories. I’ve recently seen a couple of reviews that have criticized this (for one of my books and for another author’s), so I thought I’d talk about the value of using brands.

The use of brand names is not me living vicariously through my characters, wishing I had their accoutrements. It’s also not motivated by my attempts to impress readers with my impeccable taste or expensive possessions. Right at this moment I’m wearing a sweatshirt from Target, fuzzy skull-print pajama pants from Sears, and fuzzy socks from Old Navy, and I’m drinking Diet Coke. Believe me, I am not going to convince anyone that I’m sophisticated. And if any author out there is getting product placement money for featuring certain brands, well, I’m not in on that deal.

When I use brand names, it’s because they can tell us so much about a character in an interesting way. For example, I could tell you that some secondary characters in my novel Good Bones are hippies. Or I could tell you that they wear Birkenstocks, drive a Vanagon, and brush their teeth with Tom’s of Maine. Brands can give us even further nuances. If I tell you that when these characters get home they’ll whip up something to eat using their Cuisinart and then plop down to watch Ellen, well, then we have my millionaire lesbian hippie futon queens, Cassidy and Pomegranate.

Here’s another example. In my Christmas story Joys R Us, which releases today, Reece drives a gray Accord and Angel owns a purple Scion iQ. Guess which one is the practical financial analyst, and which is the more fun-loving toy store manager.

We might not always like to admit it, but what we choose to buy says something about us—and it can say something about characters too. Dylan the hipster architect werewolf in my novel Good Bones? Diesel jeans. But Brett Hollister in my short story Tyler Wang Has a Ball is a rancher, and he wears Wranglers. Tight ones. When I give these kinds of specifics, I hope to make a story more colorful and more real, and I also want to help readers picture exactly who the characters are.

Brand names can even tell us something about character development and change. In Good Bones, Dylan starts out owning a Prius, of course. But after he buys a farmhouse—giving him room to run when the moon is full—he trades in that car for a Silverado. Meanwhile, his new neighbor is the rustic Chris Nock, who, as his relationship with Dylan grows, gradually shifts from Folger’s instant coffee to something locally brewed and probably sustainably harvested.

Brand names aren’t always useful, of course. I don’t think anyone cares what brand of toilet paper Dylan buys, or Reece’s favorite kind of dishwasher soap. And my newest novel, Brute, takes place in an alternate universe where magic exists. No brand names there. Besides, at least at the beginning of the novel, the hero doesn’t have any money to buy anything anyway. He has to save an entire year’s wages—hard earned as a manual laborer—just to buy a quick visit to one of the male whores in the capital city. Which he does, because that’s about the only company poor Brute ever gets. I never once mention in that novel what he uses to clean his teeth.

Brute by Kim Fielding




by Kim Fielding


Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.

Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.

As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.


Buy links at Dreamspinner Press:



And at Amazon


Kim Fielding’s blog

Kim Fielding on Facebook


As part of the Brute Blog Tour, Kim Fielding is running a contest. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this entry, stating what kind of vehicle you’d love to own. Please leave your email address in your comment. You can comment at multiple blog tour entries for multiple chances to win! Click here for the full list of tour stops. Winners will be chosen on December 25. One person will receive a paperback copy of Brute and another person will receive an e-book copy of Brute.


Excerpt from Brute:

Time passed achingly slowly. Sometimes someone would pop out from one of the little doors and take one or more of the waiting people back in with them, but nobody ever came for Brute. New people came through the large entry doors, did a double take when they saw him, and sat far away. They were eventually escorted through doorways too. His ass grew sore from sitting on the hard bench, his stomach gurgled and growled, and worst of all, his bladder began to complain quite insistently. He knew it was impossible for the giant with the ugly face to have been forgotten, and yet none of the people who worked there even glanced his way. Maybe they thought he was a new and especially unbecoming statue.

Just as he was about to give in to desperation and ask where he might find a place to relieve himself, a round woman with a feathered hat and the widest skirts he’d ever seen appeared from the far left door and sailed in his direction. “This way,” she commanded.

His hips and legs had cramped a little as he sat, and he limped very badly as he followed her.

The far left door led to an office smelling of tea and crammed with books and papers. The woman went away and shut the door behind her, leaving Brute alone with a man who was a few years older than him. The man was dressed in rather plain clothes and was tiny—barely five feet tall and probably one-third Brute’s weight—but he managed to project an aura of such powerful authority that he was almost terrifying. He stood several feet away and looked Brute up and down slowly. “You have a letter?” he finally said.

“Um, yes sir.” Brute produced the paper from the folds of his cloak and held it out, but the man didn’t take it.

“You will address me as Lord Maudit. You may call me milord or Your Excellency as well, for variety’s sake.”

“Yes, Lord Maudit.”

Lord Maudit rolled his eyes and snatched the paper out of Brute’s hand. He tore open the seal without ceremony and scanned the contents. When he was finished, he considered Brute again, this time appraisingly. It reminded Brute of the way Darius would look over a mule he was considering buying. “So you’re a hero?” he said at last.

“I—no. I mean, the prince, he—”

“Needed to be rescued from his own foolishness. Again. And rather dramatically, I understand.”

Brute didn’t know how to answer that. He licked his lips nervously and fought the urge to shift his feet. His bladder was full to bursting, and the glimpses of the sea he could catch through Lord Maudit’s window weren’t helping.

“Not very chatty, are you?” the lord said. “Good.” He folded the paper and slapped it against his thigh before tossing it onto his desk. “Wait here.”


Lord Maudit was nearly to the door when Brute blurted out his plea. The little man turned, eyebrow raised. “Yes?”

“I need to—is there an outhouse? Milord,” Brute added hastily.

“Garderobe’s through there,” the lord said, waving at a narrow door in the corner. Brute made what he hoped was a dignified dash for it while the other man left through the main door.

To reach the garderobe he had to climb a set of very narrow, winding stairs. The stairs dead-ended in a rounded little chamber with tiny slits for windows. The room contained a wooden seat with a hole in it and a small table bearing an earthen pitcher of water. Fumbling his laces open one-handed seemed to take forever, but eventually he managed to get his trousers undone. He emptied himself with a long groan of relief. At least he hadn’t lost his good hand, he reminded himself for the thousandth time. The gods only knew how he would have managed to get himself undressed then.

Lacing back up again was even more troublesome, but at least his need was no longer quite so urgent. He just wished he could have managed to find a way to pour the water in the pitcher over his hand to cleanse it.

Lord Maudit’s office was empty when Brute descended the stairs. Brute resisted the temptation to poke around—he had an eerie feeling that the man would somehow know—and instead admired the view from the windows and then a large painting of a hunting party chasing a stag.

“Hideous painting, isn’t it?”

Brute jumped at the voice and whirled around. Lord Maudit had returned, but it was his companion who had spoken: Prince Aldfrid, attired in riding clothes and smiling broadly. The prince showed no sign of limping as he crossed the room. “I’m glad you’ve recovered enough to make the journey,” he said to Brute. “How are you managing?” He seemed genuinely concerned.

Brute pulled his stump out of his cloak pocket, which made Lord Maudit’s eyes widen. Apparently the prince’s letter hadn’t mentioned that Brute was maimed. “Your Highness, are you certain—” the lord began.

“Yes,” the prince interrupted sharply. “Completely. He’s the man for the job.”

“The job, Your Highness?” Brute asked.

“That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? I could just give you a sack of gold and send you on your way—you’ve earned it—but I’m guessing you’re not that kind of man. You want to be… useful.” His laugh sounded a little sad. “More useful than a king’s fourth son.”

Brute took a moment to consider the prince’s words. A sack of gold. He’d never have to worry about his livelihood again. He could buy a little cottage somewhere, have some clothing made that actually fit. He could eat decent food every day. And then… what? Sit by himself and wait to grow old and die? “I would like to be useful,” he confirmed. “But I don’t know what I can do for you, sir, not like this. I’m sorry.”

“Have you any skills at all?” Lord Maudit asked. “I suppose it’s too much to ask that you know how to write.”

Brute hung his head, ashamed. “I wanted to. Had no money to pay the schoolmaster.” After his parents were dead, when his great-uncle would send him scurrying around the village to fetch this and carry that, Brute used to pass the little schoolhouse now and then, and he’d pause long enough to gaze at it enviously. Once he’d even dared to ask his great-uncle to send him—Brute had promised to work twice as much to pay for it—but his great-uncle had cuffed him hard enough to send him sprawling, then growled that Brute was too stupid to learn.

“Doesn’t matter,” said Prince Aldfrid, pulling Brute out of the bad memory. “I have something perfect for you.”

“Aldfrid, you’re taking an enormous risk.” Lord Maudit sounded irritated with the prince, but in a resigned sort of way, as if he were used to conversations like this.

“He’s the one, Maud.”

“But the king—”

“My father, if he notices at all, will see that a very large and not especially bright man—sorry, Brute; I know you’re no idiot—has been put in place. That’s all.”

Brute stood there mutely, slightly surprised at the obvious familiarity between the men and not having the vaguest clue what they were talking about. But then the prince clapped him on the arm and grinned. “It’ll all work out. You won’t be seeing much of me, Brute, but if you need anything, just get word to Maud here and he’ll take care of it.” He smirked at Lord Maudit and sped out of the room.

Maudit briefly closed his eyes, as if he were in pain. “Scrambled your brains a bit more on those rocks, didn’t you, Friddy?” he muttered. Then he glared at Brute. “Follow me.”

It seemed that everyone was saying that to him today. But Brute shrugged and did as he was told.

He was led through another dizzying arrangement of corridors and stairways. Once he caught a glimpse of an enormous room—by far the largest he had ever seen—with a polished marble floor, gilded pillars, and a ceiling fresco considerably more elaborate than the one he’d been admiring while he waited. But he didn’t get a chance to enjoy it, because Maudit dragged him along at a pace surprising for a man with such short legs. Guards saluted when Lord Maudit passed, and various well-dressed functionaries and servants all tried to look more industrious. Maudit ignored them.

They eventually left the building—through a different door than the one by which Brute and the guard had entered—crossed an oblong grassy area where several women in colorful gowns sat and embroidered, and entered a narrow passageway between two buildings. The passageway dead-ended at a grim little building of dirty stone. The windows in the building were simply narrow vertical slits, and even those were covered by iron bars. The door was iron as well—arched and sporting a heavy bolt—with a bored-looking guard stationed outside. The guard snapped to attention when he saw them coming.

“Has everything been readied?” Lord Maudit snapped.

The guard nodded sharply. “Yes, milord. The maids just left.”

“Good. This is… well, Brute. Obviously. You’ve been told of his duties?”

“Yes, milord.”

“If he needs anything, make sure he gets it. I’ll be checking on him.”

The guard looked slightly horrified at the prospect but nodded again. Then he unlocked the door and waited for Maudit and Brute to enter.

This time, Brute found himself in a small hallway with a ceiling so low he almost had to stoop his head. The walls were rough plaster, dirty and cracked, interrupted now and then by doors made of thick dark timbers. The building smelled of damp and age, with a faint sickly sweet undertone, as if something had rotted long ago.

“What—” Brute began.

“In here.” Lord Maudit pressed the latch on one of the doors; the hinges squealed in protest. Brute stepped inside and saw, to his astonishment, a somewhat dim but comfortable-looking apartment. The ceiling was higher than that of the hallway, although he could still have brushed it with his fingertips. The room contained an oversized bed piled with quilts, a chest of drawers with an actual mirror on top, a solid table with two equally solid chairs, and a matching wardrobe and bookshelf. The window was tiny, of course, but the walls were hung with colorful tapestries that depicted scenes of beasts in the forest and creatures under the sea. A small stove with dark green tiles was tucked in one corner, but not lit today because the weather was far too warm.

And in one wall, over near another corner, was a door constructed of heavy iron bars, with only darkness visible behind it.

“Welcome to your new home,” said Lord Maudit from the doorway.

“But… what?”

“His Highness has decided that you will be a very specialized sort of guard, with only a single prisoner to watch over.”

“Prisoner?” Brute’s eyes strayed back to the barred door.

Maudit twitched one shoulder. “See for yourself.”

With some degree of trepidation, Brute crossed the room.

The bars separated the apartment from a small cell. He had to squint to see inside—there was no window slit in the prisoner’s space—but there wasn’t much to see. Bare walls, bare floor, and in the corner, a dirty pile of rags. But as Brute stared, the rags shifted slightly and chains clanked, and a matted mass of hair appeared from under the edge of the fabric. A man, Brute realized. He was looking at a man huddled under a blanket. Chains sounded again, and Brute noted the metal collar around the man’s neck, manacles on his wrists, and shackled ankles fastened by chains to bolts in the floor. It was impossible to make out any details of the man past his rat’s nest of hair and tangled beard until the prisoner lifted his head slightly. Brute gasped at the man’s obvious blindness: eyelids closed over sunken, empty sockets.

Lord Maudit sighed. He still hadn’t actually entered the room. “Brute, meet Gray Leynham.”




An Interview and Review at Top2Bottom Reviews

I stopped by Top2Bottom today, where I was interviewed by the lovely Michele! Click here for the interview. They also gave me a wonderful 5 kiss review, which you can read below or by  clicking here.


Title: 3
Author: Jacob Z. Flores
Publisher: Dreamspinner Pres
Pages: 340
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 5

Jacob Z. Flores is a new aspiring author, his story 3 is one hell of a way to break into the writing world, as it is his first one and I damn sure hope it’s not his last. Page one starts and grabs you and when you reach page 340 you’re looking for a tad bit more, don’t you always when a book is that good? I do. This tidy story begins off with anything but tidy, as Jacob tells a story of three men, all connected together due to one man and circumstances. As the cover shows you, this is a ménage, so if you like ménage stories, you’ll love this one, if you don’t care for them, I encourage you to read it anyway simply because the story is so very complex. We’re literally working with three very different men, one with a secret, another with something else, and one more with that and then some. We are put in all their heads throughout each chapter, and each chapter is marked by years.

So, due to that, I encourage you to pay attention when you’re reading this, a flip of the page just to flip the page will get you lost and you’ll be going backwards trying to be found again. We are taken on a journey with three very different men, all of them I fell in love with for different reasons, all of them telling their story from the time they met to the present through the years and sharing with us the ups and downs as time passes. This goes on until the final connection is made, until they catch us up with the now and how they battle the ups and downs as not only three men in love, but with life in general and how it’s obstacles can and will change your future.

And one more thing…The sex in this book is hot, but it’s not the driving force of the story, the plot that is so well done is. Highly recommend.

Reviewed By: Michele

Top 12 Worst Gifts in Celebration of the 12 Days to Poppy’s Birthday

Today is such an exciting day for me here at “From Gay to Z.” I’m lucky enough to be one of the stops on the twelve day event celebrating the birthday of Poppy Dennison (cue the fanfare and confetti), who is perhaps one of the sweetest women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. I met Poppy, who is also so beautiful and fabulous that she can only be described as beautimous, in October at GRL, and I have to tell you I was hooked.

Poppy Dennison

That’s why when I was asked to participate in this event, I jumped at the chance.

What can I do? I asked.

Create a top 12 list designed to make people laugh? WHOOHOO!

Conduct a short interview with Poppy? YAY!

Announce that Poppy will be giving away one of her books to a lucky commenter on my blog? Icing on the cake!

So, without further ado, let’s get this party started with my top 12 list.


#12: Money

Now, I know what many of you are thinking: WHAT? Who doesn’t love cold, hard cash? I know I do, especially when I find it in someone else’s wallet while they’re not looking, but to have someone I love give me cash as a present? I mean, really? Why not just tell me that you didn’t want to invest any time or effort on buying me something heartfelt?

Still, with that money, which is hopefully substantial enough to go a long way, I can buy myself something nice, which is why it’s at the #12 spot. Money is just too impersonal, and for me, it’s the thought that counts.

#11: A tie or a scarf

Unless someone specifically asks for one of these items, they should not be given as gifts. These gifts are more of an after thought than anything else. They tell the person receiving the gift, I couldn’t think of anything to get you, but when I saw this ugly ass tie/scarf, I thought instantly of you. Gee, thanks!

The only caveat to this is if the tie or scarf is intended for some trussing up in the bedroom later. Then, the gift zooms completely off this list and onto the BEST GIFT EVER list. But since I’m not writing that list, we shall hear no more of it!

#10: Luggage

Once again, unless asked for, giving luggage to your partner is a bad idea. All this gift really tells someone is that you are tired of his/her lazy ass and want her/him to move out. If that’s the message you want to send, then great. If not, move on to something else, or you might be the one using the luggage by the time the day’s over.

The only time this would be acceptable is if said luggage is Louis Vutton. Then, bring it on!

Fiber Optic Holiday Sweater

A light up Frost is a no-no! It’s neither trimming nor becoming

#9: A Fiber Optic Holiday Sweater

While holiday sweaters may be festive and fun, nothing tells your spouse how much you despise him/her, then by purchasing a holiday sweater that lights up like a prop from a National Lampoon’s movie.

#8: Made Up Coupons for Free Kisses, Hugs, and Other Assorted Shit

While this gift may at first glance seem sweet and thoughtful, it’s actually the opposite. What? Do I need a coupon now for some loving or for you to take out the damn trash?! These are things we should be doing in loving relationships anyway. To have to exchange these acts for a coupon is just your partner being L-A-Z-Y!

Here’s a coupon for you: One Empty Side of the Bed with purchase.

#7: Hair Removal Kit

While body grooming is en vogue, this gift is just a bad idea. What you are telling your loved one is that you’re tired of traveling through the dense bush of their pubic jungle to get to the treasure hidden miles underneath. If you buy this gift, make sure it’s a machete because you’ll need it for protection afterward.

Pubic Hair Dye

A rainbow crotch doesn’t even look good on Rainbow Brite!

#6: Pubic Hair Dye

Keeping with the “hair down there” theme, this gift is just plain awful. You’re basically telling your husband or wife that not only are they getting older, but their grey hair on their head has traveled below their equator. That will definitely get you banned from traveling down under for quite some time.

#5: A Gym Membership

While working out together is fun and a good way of keeping you both motivated, gifting a gym membership is basically your way of saying, “You’re fat, and we need to do something about that.” Buy one of these for your loved one, and your fat ass may be sitting at a table for one.

#4: Clothes that are Too Big or Too Small

Purchasing clothes for your significant other can be tricky. You must know the exact size and dimension of each other’s waists, chest, butts, and thighs or you are going to be in big trouble. Get something too big, and your accusing your partner of being fat. Get something too small, and you’re telling your partner either one or two things: I don’t know you well enough to know your size or I wish you were that small. Either way, you’re in trouble and you should probably start running.

#3: Adopt a Camel in the Serengeti or some other far away place

Look, I’m all about wildlife conservation, and if this is something your partner is into, then by all means go in to rescue a camel or dolphin together. Just don’t give that as a Christmas gift. I mean, if you’re gonna get me a camel, well then I darn well expect to ride that sucker a few times before calling a circus or zoo to take it off my hands.

#2: Fruitcake

Really? Enough said. See you at divorce court.

#1: Venereal Disease

This may be one gift that keeps on giving, but no one expects this as a present. You won’t be divorced after this one like if you gifted a fruitcake. That would simply be too kind. You’ll likely be dead. Just saying. So beware!

I hope you enjoyed my Top 12 Worst Gifts. They were designed to be funny but to also serve as a friendly warning to those people who might not be savvy gift givers. I’m sure our lovely Poppy will be receiving no gifts off this list. She’s just too great and will likely be appreciated as she should be.

Speaking of Poppy, it’s time to get to our interview. So, here we go:

JZF: What drew you to write m/m fiction? Was it just the hot man on man action or…. I’m sorry, my mind blanked there thinking about hot man on man action. So, um, yeah, what brought you to write gay romance? I hope it was the hot man on man action.

POPPY: Um, excuse me. I’m now imagining some hot man-on-man action. Did you really think I’d be able to answer this question without copious amounts of drool? Now just give me a minute to mop up and…

Okay, so I started writing m/m through fanfiction. I stumbled across one for my favorite soap of days gone by (Hello, General Hospital!) and became addicted. After a while, thoughts started forming in my head of my own characters. I’d wanted to write for years, but had never found the motivation. A friend and I were having a rather heated discussion about the women in paranormal romance, and he said that he wished someone would write a gay paranormal romance where one of the main characters had a child. The plot bunny was born and a year later, Mind Magic was published. J

JZF: You write paranormal stories featuring “burly bears” and “silver foxes.” If you had to choose between the two, which would you choose and why? And, no you can’t answer with a burly polar bear. You have to choose one because I’m trying to get you a birthday present here, so I kinda need to know which one you get and which one I can keep.

POPPY: Dang it, I have to pick ONE? That’s no fair, Jacob! I thought you liked me!! Can’t I have one of each??? Pretty please with sugar on top and a picture of…um…a burly bear and a silver fox together? *eyebrow wiggle*

If I have to chose, I’d probably pick…*bites nails*…a burly bear. Oh wait…hmm…argh! This is too difficult. I can’t pick, Jacob. I just can’t! Don’t make me!

JZF: Let’s say you’re actually given a burly bear or silver fox for your birthday, what are your plans for the evening? Don’t worry, it’ll be just between you and me. I won’t tell anyone who doesn’t happen to read my blog. 🙂

POPPY: Jacob, sweetheart…do you really need to know what my plans for the evening are? Because I’ve read your book and I know you have an awfully great imagination. I mean, if you imagine me riding some burly bear like a pony, you wouldn’t be far from reality. And if you think I’d kick a silver fox out of bed unless he wanted to do it on the floor, well…yeah. Let’s just leave it at that.

Thanks for coming to my birthday blog party! I loved you from the first moment we “met” doing Boxer Falls and meeting you in person was definitely icing on the cake. Or is that cake vodka?

And just in case anyone reading is wondering, feel free to get me a scarf for my birthday. I love them. But if you get me down under hair anything, you’re doomed.

I want to thank Poppy for gracing my blog with her fabulousness! And don’t forget, dear reader, leave a comment about this interview or the Top 12 Worst Gifts and you’re entered in a chance to win  FREE COPY of one of Poppy’s books. HOW FUN!!!