Excerpt: Bewitched and Bewildered

Bewitched and Bewildered: The tale of Sebastian, a witch in a mid-life crisis, who’s trying to keep his sanity while dealing with his mischievous siamese cat, an ex-boyfriend and his neighbor Scott, an enigmatic professor who’s hunky enough to rival stonehenge.

Sebastian grinned and sidled up close enough to Scott so that he caught a whiff of woodsmoke again, the scent that he found so enticing earlier in the evening when he tripped and fell head first onto Scott’s chest. “You’re welcome to come in here and visit anytime you want. Business is slow sometimes; it would be nice to have some company,” he told Scott in a low smooth voice.

He was more than a little disappointed when instead of saying something flirty in return, Scott went slack-jawed. His eyes wide with wonder, he said excitedly: “That charm you’re wearing, where on earth did you get it? I’ve only seen one other one like it! It was a find from a dig in England, in Chanctonbury.”

As if a secret had been revealed, Sebastian’s hand flew reflexivley to the hollow of his throat. A stone, delicately veined with deep purple, nestled there as it dangled from a black velvet cord worn around his neck. The amulet was at one time an animal figure but now, to the untrained eye, it was no more than a lumpy bit of time worn stone.

“Oh, this? It’s been in the family for ages.”

Scott continued to look astonished, “That’s quite a piece, the Celts used it for some very powerful magic. They say it’s certain death to those who don’t know how to wield it. You need to be careful about what you do with it.” Then with a half shrug he added, “That is if you believe in that sort of thing.”

Sebastian cocked an eyebrow. “Do you believe in that sort of thing?”

Excerpt: Requiem For A Broken Dream

Now at Dreamspinner Press and Amazon in ebook and in paperback.

When Nick pulled back, Dean was breathing fast and shallow, but he did not move a muscle. Swallowing hard, Nick leaned forward again and sealed his lips onto Dean’s mouth, capturing him in a warm, soft kiss. As warm and willing were the lips that returned Nick’s efforts. It lasted for far too short a time before Dean started to push away.

“It’s all right, isn’t it?” Nick asked softly while searching Dean’s face, looking for the answer he craved.

“Well, it’s not not all right,” Dean whispered. “I mean, it was wonderful. It’s just that things are kind of complicated right now.”

Nick brushed lightly at the bandage on Dean’s cheek. “Right. Your boyfriend. You deserve better. Why do you stay with him?”

“There’s a lot that goes on in this town, and I don’t want you to get hurt,” Dean said and moved to sit where he was out of Nick’s personal space.

“Right, the homophobia thing. I get it,” Nick said in a disappointed voice.

His heart broke for Dean when he saw the profound sadness on his face. “No, that’s not what I’m talking about.”

“If you’re afraid that boyfriend of yours is going to give me a beating, I can take care of myself. You can’t deny what we felt when we touched each other,” Nick said with quiet determination.

“There’s more than that. I can’t go into it now.” Dean had an expression that pleaded with Nick not to ask any more questions. Taking his seat next to Nick again, Dean took both of Nick’s hands in his. “Look, I like you a lot. Your friendship is the best thing I have going right now, and I really care about you. Let’s not mess up what we have, okay?” he told Nick.

Nick felt as if someone had kicked him in the chest. “Sure, Dean, if it’s what you want.”

“Thank you. I really need you to do this for me right now,” Dean said in a relieved voice. He gave Nick a tender kiss on the cheek and whispered, “Please wait for me. I just need some time to sort some things out.”

Now Available My New Mystery/Suspense Novel

Requiem For A Broken Dream: Available  in paperback and ebook from Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

Screenwriter Nick Conte left sleepy Sweetwater Springs for the glitz and glamor of Hollywood only to be crushed by the reality of tourist traps, fast-food joints, and disappointed dreamers. Serving coffee by day and toiling away on scripts at night, Nick is busy but comfortable until his neighbor, wannabe actor Dean Winship, stumbles into his apartment and his life.

As their friendship and their careers take off, Nick decides he wants more, but Dean puts him off, saying only that his life is too complicated already. When faded actor Stone Carter makes an offer for Nick’s screenplay, “complicated” doesn’t begin to cover it. Carter’s offer comes with some bizarre conditions, but if Nick wants to achieve his dreams, he can’t turn it down—a fact he may not live to regret.

My Latest Christmas Story Now Available from Dreamspinner Press

Available for download from Dreamspinner Press

Benson Yee is Chinese, gay, not out to his parents, and sick to death of the Christmas hype. When Benson is asked to plan a dinner for the Jewish Community Center, he meets Josh Singer, who, just like Benson, has no interest in Christmas or in finding a nice girl. Between the two of them, they might find the courage to celebrate the gift of being themselves with the people who love them—no Christmas required.

Solstice Bushes and Hanukkah Wishes

By December first, even though Benson didn’t celebrate Christmas, he couldn’t ignore the fact that Christmas had officially arrived in San Francisco. The tall buildings along the waterfront were draped with glowing lights, every lobby of every office building downtown had some kind of Christmas display and the City’s two specially set up skating rinks were doing a brisk business. Chinatown welcomed it’s version of Christmas too, as pictures of Santa Claus and Rudolph were hung alongside images of the latest anime characters. Christmas music drifted out of shops that at the same time had small alters at their front doors to honor the Taoist God of Wealth. Amid the crazy salad of East and West, the traditional Christmas displays at Old St. Mary’s Cathedral in at the corner of Grant Ave. and California St. looked quite ordinary by comparison.

Ah Benson ah, where is the party menu for Mrs. Singer?” Lily Yee asked her son. She spoke to him in a mix of Cantonese and English that had become a habit whenever the family was speaking among themselves.

“Mrs. Singer hasn’t gotten back to me yet, Ma. I was going see if she comes in today before I called her.” Benson answered.

Lily was furiously writing away in Chinese on a large pad of paper as she talked. “Don’t’ forget. They don’t like last minute orders,” she said in a business like manner and walked away without even looking up from the list that she was making for the restaurant’s suppliers. Benson was about to reassure his mother that Mrs. Singer was always very good about getting her food order in on time when a man with dark curly hair walked through the door. He was about Benson’s aged, dressed in jeans and an old sweatshirt, he wasn’t what anyone might call gorgeous. He had a pleasant thoughtful face and his slight frame carried just enough extra weight to give the impression that he was at peace with his body. Except for his eyes, the young man was as ordinary looking as anyone on the street. Benson tried not to stare, but he was drawn to the sensitive deep-set brown eyes, which at the moment had the same look of doubt that many customers had on their first visit to the restaurant.

“Hi, welcome to the Lotus Garden. Table for one?”

“Well, no actually. I’m here about a group reservation. I’m supposed to speak to a Benson Yee.”

“That would be me,” Benson said cheerfully.

“Oh, yeah, well hi. I’m here about the menu for the community center dinner,” the man said with shy smile. The young man had a quiet air about him that immediately endeared him to Benson.

“Would that be the Jewish Community Center? We were just waiting for Mrs. Singer to give us her menu choices.”

“Mom is in the hospital. She sent me here to do the menu for her.”

“Oh no, what happened! Which hospital? Is she going to be all right?”

“Mom’s at…Mt. Zion? Yeah, Mt. Zion. She fell and broke her hip a few days and had to have hip replacement surgery. The orthopedist says she’ll be out of the hospital day after tomorrow.”

“Oh, UCSF Mt. Zion; they’ll take good care of her there. Good, good. Glad to hear that she’ll be all right. You must be Josh then,” Benson said offering his hand.

“Yeah, that’s right. I guess my mother’s been talking about me,” Josh said in return and clasped Benson’s hand in a firm handshake.

A little flush of giddiness popped from out of nowhere and washed over Benson as they made skin-to-skin contact.

So this is the man Mrs. Singer is always complaining about. Well, hello brown eyes.” Benson thought, but he quickly averted his gaze and let go when he realized that he was holding onto the hand for just a second longer than he should have.