Today I am so pleased to welcome Pat Henshaw to Joyfully Jay. Pat has come to talk to us about the audiobook release for Redesigning Max. She has also brought along a fun giveaway! Please join me in giving Pat a big welcome!
Five New Year’s Resolutions
I’m not usually hung up on deep introspection at the end of the year, especially doing it with an eye to change. But this year, for some reason that escapes me, I’ve come up with a short list of new year’s resolutions:
1) Keep healthy. For the past few years, I’ve been a magnet for every bad cold and yucky germ hanging onto people around me. I’ve had to sit up in a recliner so I could sleep at night, travel with a box of tissues at hand, and generally feel miserable for weeks on end. But in 2017, I refused to take it anymore! If I have to walk around carrying hand sanitizer, spritzing everyone within eyesight, I will. All I can tell people around me: Watch out. I’m armed and dangerous.
2) Write and write some more. Because I’ve been so ill, I haven’t done the writing I would have liked to do. Consequently, I’ve been behind on all the deadlines I promised my publisher I’d meet. The plot bunnies bouncing around in my brain have done what all bunnies do: They’ve been multiplying at an alarming rate. It’s time to set down the tissues and let the bunnies guide my fingers on the keyboard. Let the knee-high stampede begin!
3) Tell the stories I want to tell and stop worrying about sales and reviews and the external trappings of success. One of the things I didn’t realize about being sick for long periods of a time was that instead of writing, I’ve been agonizing over the external measures of success and not dwelling on the internal measures. In retrospect, it’s less important that I’m a poster child for “bestselling author” and more important that I tell the stories. There are a lot of authors in the world. The magic is being the best one I can be.
4) Be more grateful for the support I get. My husband is my primary editor and critic. As I lose myself coming up with imaginary people and places, he catches hold and hangs onto me so that I don’t fly completely off the path of contemporary gay romance. He grounds me. I haven’t given him the appreciation he deserves. My younger daughter is my chief cheerleader and fan. She’s waded through the swirling waters of an RT Convention and GRL, making sure I show up whenever and wherever I’m supposed to be. Again, she deserves much more gratitude than I’ve been giving her. This is the year to remind myself over and over that happily I’m not doing this alone. This resolution goes for my publisher and editors as well as the reviewers, bloggers, and supporters, most especially my readers.
5) Dare I say it? Exercise more. This one’s totally unoriginal, but probably totally needed. We were once standing in a long-suffering line on a scorching summer’s day when the little boy in front of us yelled to his daddy, “I HATE SWEAT!” Maybe 2017 is the year to tolerate sweat just a little more than I have in the past. Sure, it’s not the only reason I hate exercising, but it’s way up the list. Still, having never come across an exercise that doesn’t produce sweat, I guess I’ll have to buck up and accept the trickles that move slowly down my back and across my forehead.
So there’s my list. All of the resolutions are within my power to uphold—even number one which has to do with washing my hands more and going out into crowds less.
Now that I’ve shown you mine, what have you resolved in the new year? Respond in order to win one of two coffee cards. Maybe a little extra caffeine will help you think!
Whether you win a card or not, have a wonderful new year.
(At the Rock Bottom Cafe, designer Fredi Zimmer has just shown outdoorsman Max Greene the sketches for Max’s remodeled cabin in the Sierra Nevada forest.)
Max tentatively touched my hand. “I trust you.” He rubbed his fingers over mine.
I was surprised by the touch of his fingers, which had immediately made my body tingle. I’d read about people being attracted and feeling a zap of electricity, but I’d never experienced it before. As far as my past liaisons with men went, we’d both showed up, which was enough for gratifying sex.
“Just a few minutes of listening.” I could hear a shaky quality in my voice.
“Okay,” Max agreed, sitting back and putting his hands together on the table.
I took a deep breath to steady myself. I looked around the cafe, hypersensitive to the quiet scrutiny of the other diners. Were they leaning out of their chairs to listen to our conversation? Why did they make me feel uncomfortable?
I looked back at Max, who seemed oblivious to their attention. His eyes went from the sketchbook to me. He seemed to lean toward me, and his eager look seemed to be trying to hurry me along. His impatience made me smile.
I took a deep breath and started my spiel. “There are some carvings in the pictures you should think about. Atop and along the sides of the windows in the living room, master bedroom, and the kitchen, and on the headboard and bedposts in the master bedroom. You said you wanted to bring the outdoors in, so I thought these carvings would be perfect.”
I turned to the pictures. I’d drawn animals like squirrels, foxes, and badgers carved into the wood.
In the master bedroom, the four bedposts looked like geese landing at the head of the bed and taking off toward the windows from the foot of it. Across the headboard and footboard, I’d drawn pussy willows swaying with frogs, butterflies, and small birds among the reeds, all carved from one piece of hardwood.
Having worked with a wonderful carver so many times in the past, I knew he would take my ideas and flesh them out, probably change them as he saw fit, and leave Max with stunning pieces of art—if Max could afford them and, more importantly, if Max liked this idea as much as I did.
“Beautiful.” Max traced the birds taking off in flight.
“Yes, it is. You’ll notice the wood on the floor, around the windows, and making up the furniture is the only brown. The rest of the room is blue.” Actually the blues ran the scale of hues from Alice blue to ultramarine, but I made it a policy to use only the most basic names for colors since many of my less artistic clients got lost in the fancy color names.
“I like other colors, not just brown,” Max protested.
I nodded, not about to remind him that he’d only wanted brown and green. Except for the touch of Max’s fingers on my hand, my spiel had been pretty standard. As far as I was concerned, no surprises were good surprises.
“In the living room and kitchen”—I found those pages—“you’ll notice that the predominant colors are yellow.” Well, from canary yellow to goldenrod, but who was counting? “Also, I added more rustic carvings to the decks. Animals between the posts of the back deck and birds on the bedroom deck,” I said, flipping to the relevant sketches and pointing them out.
On each page, Max ran his finger over the details I mentioned. It was distracting, so much so I had trouble keeping to the script. Max might not be an artist, but he definitely had an artist’s soul. His fingers were gently stroking my soul as well as the pages.
Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene’s Outdoors, hires Fredi to revamp his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Fredi is an out-and-proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes he remodels, and Max is just too hunky for words.
When Max comes on to Fredi, the designer can’t imagine why. But he’s game to put a little spice into Max’s life, even if it’s just in the colors and fixtures he’ll use to turn Max’s dilapidated cabin into a showplace. Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max’s life visually?
Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally. Coming out is the most exciting and wonderful time in his life, despite the conservative former friends who think they’re saving him from sliding into hell.
Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, was born and raised in Nebraska and promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California. Pat has enjoyed visiting Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and relishes trips to Rome, Italy, and Eugene, Oregon, to see family. Now retired and living in Sacramento, CA, Pat spent her life surrounded by words: Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.
Pat has brought two $10 coffee cards to give away to two lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, January 12th at 11:59 pm EST.
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