Sunday, June 30, 2013

House Rules

It takes a wealth of collected experiences, emotions, successes and failures to craft the personality of a true Alpha Male Jack Gordon, real estate broker, licensed builder, Juris Doctorate, has had his fair share of strife. His ability to cope, to fall down and pick himself back up has lead him to a place where he believes he has it all. Friends, money, cars, more women than he can count, and a club in Detroit where he can exorcise his inner demons, fill his days and his nights. When he walks up to a penthouse door on a hot Ann Arbor summer afternoon, frustrated, exasperated and ready to call it quits after hours of condo shopping with a wealthy couple, the last thing on his mind is meeting his destiny.
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Excerpt Rated R for content/language:
“Jack!” He heard his name, rolled over, tried to hug her close. But his hand found air. “Jack! God damn it.” Something hit his head, and then again.
“Cut it out.” He grabbed at it, still half asleep, aching deep in his muscles, his cock raw and sore under the sheet. “Go the hell away.” Once he realized he was in his own bed without Mindy to curl around and mess with, his mood darkened immediately.
The whole of the last few weeks had been a blur, but a pleasant one. Until recently, when Jack had been getting a distinct sensation of rejection, of having to work too hard for Mindy’s attention. It was pissing him the fuck off. And setting off all sorts of alarm bells.
“Get up, you ass.” Brandis’ voice was clear now. “Your room is a pigsty. Are you on drugs or something? Drugs you aren’t sharing? Because I’ve never seen you like this. Get up!” The pillow hit him again, making him grunt, sit, and glare at his oldest friend.
For some reason, the serious look on the boy’s dark-skinned face made Jack want to burst into laughter at the utter absurdity of what he’d been doing —fucking himself into sweet oblivion. In every possible way, shape, and position with the woman who, at the same time, wanted to marry his father.
He groaned and lay back, tugging the blanket up over his eyes, wishing the whole stinking mess away.
“Come on, dickhead. Let’s go…. I need some hoops time, and I’m sick of your excuses.” Brandis stood to his full six-foot-three inches, glaring down at Jack.
Jack blinked then put his feet on the floor, rubbing the back of his neck, trying to sort out why he was so god damned pissed off. He was the same guy in the same body, albeit one that had come a long way since he’d walked into the office that day eager to go to a party and grope a girl.
“All right.” He got up and stretched, relishing the way his sore muscles sang out and his body tingled all over. “Hold your water.” He made his way to the bathroom, took a piss after his morning hard-on receded, then wandered out naked. He grinned at Brandis who’d reached for Jack’s not-so-secret stash of Penthouse mags.
Jack got dressed, then flopped back onto his bed and put an arm over his eyes. His head still pounded from lack of sleep and a strange sort of elusive stress he couldn’t pin down. Oh, right. Mindy. She of the teaching skills who had let him more or less live with her for nearly three months then told him last night he needed to “move on.” To “find some girls his own age and use his new skills on them.” This after he’d fucked her standing up, in the hallway, unable to even wait the short few steps to the bedroom.
Jack ran a slightly shaking hand down his face. Truth was, he didn’t want any “girls his own age.” He wanted nothing more than to hole up with Mindy, eat the crappy Chinese takeout she loved, watch whatever she wanted on TV. Just be with her, content, totally at ease in his skin.
Well, and fucking her a lot, like four or five times a day. He sighed as his cock stirred to life, then sat, needing to redirect his energy. Maybe Brandis was right. He needed to get out and use his body for something other than getting laid.
“Let’s go before you have to spank your monkey all over my magazine.” Jack smacked the titty mag out of his friend’s hand and walked out of his room.
“Are you calling me a monkey, you racist pig?” Brandis ran past him into the hall, hitting the door and tumbling out into the light of the early summer day, making Jack smile.
“No. Just a poor, sex-starved loser. I couldn’t give a fuck less what color you are.”
“Ha, you don’t know me very well, do you?” Brandis snapped, tossing Jack a basketball then climbing behind the wheel of his Shelby Charger. “Don’t get your loser germs on my leather seats.”
Jack grinned, flipped his friend off, then licked his palm and wiped it, ostentatiously, across the steering wheel. “There. Some of my ‘hitting it with regularity’ mojo for ya.”
Brandis snorted. “You’re such a liar.”
“Oh no, I’m not,” Jack said mildly, staring out the window and trying to come to terms with how lonely he felt at that moment.
They screeched out onto the quiet street, stereo blaring, and parked at the high school where a couple of outdoor courts were already busy. Brandis kept his hands on the wheel a minute, staring out the windshield. Jack barely noticed, so sunk in his own stew of self-pity.
“Where have you been?” he said quietly.
Jack blinked then looked at his friend. “What do you…?”
Brandis held up a hand. “Gordon, it’s not like I need you around me or anything but shit, dude, you are like…gone somewhere. You’ve missed the team workouts more than once. You never go out on the weekends. I mean…what is it?”
“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.” Jack said, suddenly needing to spill it, to tell somebody. Why not his best friend since elementary school? He rolled the basketball around in his hands, its familiar leather contours comforting.
“Try me.”
“I’ve been, uh, sort of hanging out, I mean, staying over…um…well,” he sighed and rubbed his neck. “I’ve been banging my father’s secretary nearly constantly for about three months. She’s um...been teaching me stuff and...ah….” He stopped, glanced at his friend who was staring at him, open-mouthed. “What?” Jack frowned, suddenly angry. “This is too much for you?”
“Je-sus H. Christ. You lucky bastard!” Brandis smacked his shoulder. “Damn. I thought you were in a cult or got some bad acid or…I don’t know. Fuck!” He pounded the steering wheel. “Finally, no longer the Big V!”
“Shut up,” Jack muttered, the day darkening around him again. He wanted Mindy, needed her. Did not want to be here, doing this. That made him furious with himself. He jumped out of the car and headed for the court. Movement, that would help and mindless hours of playing his favorite game.

The Balancing Act By Liz Crowe
 “When do you sleep?” is a question I get asked a lot. “At night,” is my typical answer but I understand why it gets asked. I have written and had nearly 20 books published in the last 3 years, including 7 over the course of the current year. I also am part owner and marketing/retail manager of a successful new craft microbrewery in Ann Arbor. I have kids, yes but they are at the self-sufficient stage for the most part, a 21–year-old in college, an 18-year old about to graduate high school and almost 15-year-old. The youngest is a soccer player on an elite travel team, which does lend itself to a lot of driving around. But they are all way past the needing my undivided 24-hour attention. But I do manage a household, with a couple of dogs, along with all of that. And as anyone who has written a single book knows, the promotion piece of that puzzle is a near ‘round the clock effort on multiple platforms so the “writing of a book” part is one of the only internet downtimes I allow myself. What I find is that a triage method, along with a “this is a brewery day” or “this is a writing day” or “this is a family day” works best, along with firm boundaries to go with each. In other words, I have weaned myself off the need to be constantly connected with my facebook pages and twitter feeds (I have multiple ones as you might imagine). When it’s a writing day, I don’t even glance at them, lest I get pulled into a promo opportunity that seems crucial (when it isn’t) or get discouraged by all the success everyone else seems to be having while I’m just toiling away, scribbling and pretending I’m successful. The whole “Facebook status one-up-manship” thing can be a downer and when writing, you need zero downers as it is a tough enough thing already. So within the established theme of the day I tackle various stages of it, like the way I go about a housework day (these are rare but they do occur). One room at a time—no drifting between rooms and getting distracted by chaos in one while controlling it another. One task within the room at a time—no starting laundry then stopping halfway to pick up the vacuum cleaner. Use a distinct and logical process—no mopping until you hoover (vacuum), no hoovering until you wipe off counters, no wiping off of counters until you organize them or (preferably) clear them off (even if it is straight into a garbage bag, another one of my favorite things). I am not an organizational whiz by any stretch. I am what they call “the creative,” so many ground level tasks skip right past me in ways that would be embarrassing should I admit to them (let’s just say, “auto pay” is my best friend). But because my mind seems to thrive best when the chaos is at its highest, I will allow myself stretches of time to just revel it in. And since I am a marathon writer –the sort that once the head writing is done and it’s time to just “write the dang book” I will dive in and be more or less gone for weeks at a stretch, sort of floating through the house on auto pilot, always plotting the next twist or turn in my head. So I don’t always take my own advice. But the bigger picture, the balancing of the many and varied balls I have in my personal air, is a matter of taking it a week at a time, sometimes a day at a time, and never, ever ending a day without looking back and finding one thing that was accomplished, be it a killer 5 or 10,000 word count on your WIP, a new reader fan, a new beer drinker or bottle placement, or a pile of folded laundry – even if it’s still sitting in the middle of the family room floor.


  1. thank you for hosting me today

  2. I've always wondered how you did it! Thanks for sharing!

  3. To quote Gilda Radner (Really Old SNL sketch): "I use speed."

  4. Reading your post made me dizzy! Lots of gems in there though, and I thank you for them. Thanks for sharing. You are a very gifted multi-tasker!

  5. And I thought I was busy! Bravo for theme days. That gives me an idea...

    Best luck!