Flashed! Excerpt ~ “The Prisoner”

Later this month, my newest release Flashed! will be available in print, but you can currently buy it in e-book format.

If you click on the link above, you’ll get two short excerpts from the collection, one poem and one story that will give you a taste of the type of stories in the collection.

There’s something for everyone in this collection ~ passion and sex, tenderness and love. Some of the stories are sweet, some hot, some melancholy. While most are contemporary, there are a smattering of fantasy stories, a historical or two, even a sexy romp featuring Robin Hood and Will Scarlett. A handful of love poems fill out the book.

Here’s one of the stories that hasn’t appeared online before. It’s called “The Prisoner.”

The Prisoner

Copyright 2011 by J.M. Snyder

He comes into the room, a bottle of champagne in his hand and a gleam in those wicked eyes. “What’s the occasion?” I ask, nodding at the bottle. I hate it when he drinks. Then his teasing takes on a meanness I don’t like. I can’t defend myself against it. I hope the bottle stays corked tonight.

He grins, and I know he’s already drunk. “It’s our night, baby,” he says, popping off the cork. The champagne bubbles out of the bottle, running down his hands to splash on the carpet. “Oops.”

“The carpet,” I whine. I hate it when I sound like this, childish and petty, but he does this to me. Him and his goddamn, bittersweet love. “There goes our security deposit.”

He grins again and rubs the spot into the carpet with his foot. “There you go,” he says, as if that’s supposed to make it better somehow. “No one will ever know. Have a drink.”

“I don’t feel like it.” I know I’m pouting and he hates when I do that, but I can’t help it. I don’t like him like this. “Please, can’t we just—”

“Just what?” he asks, his deep voice low. He narrows his eyes and purses his lips, studying me. I try not to squirm beneath his intense gaze. “Can’t we just what?”

I shrug. “Just watch TV or something.”

But he’s mad. I know he’s mad. I can feel his anger like a storm brewing between us, and I close my eyes. I don’t want to argue, not tonight of all nights. “Watch TV,” he says, his voice even. “Is that your idea of a good time?”

“No,” I whisper. It isn’t. A good time is him and me together, the rest of the world a million miles away. No cares, no worries, nothing to turn him from the man I love into this workaholic who feels he has to drink to loosen up, whose tongue is biting and quick when he’s drunk. I sigh. “I just want to be with you.”

“And I’m here.” He plops down on the bed. More champagne splashes out of the bottle, soaking the sheets, and I bite my tongue. I don’t want to start in on him. He takes a swig from the bottle. “You are with me. Sit down.”

I consider saying no, but what’s the point? Last time I did, he didn’t talk to me for a week. Seven days of hell without his voice in my ear, without his hands on my body, without his gaze turned my way. I will never say no again. I can’t live like that, without him.

I sit on the edge of the bed and he pulls me close. Resting my head against his chest, I breathe deep the coppery scent of alcohol surrounding him like a miasma, and I sigh.

“What’s wrong, baby boy?” he asks gently.

Sometimes these mood swings of his surprise me. I like him like this, holding me, calling me his baby boy. I want to stay this way forever. “Nothing.”

He drinks from the bottle again, his arms tightening around me. I feel like a prisoner locked in the cell of his heart and he’s the officer who holds the key to my freedom. The door is open, the cell unlocked. He’s told me many times. You can leave, you know. I’m not forcing you to be with me.

And then I…what? I cry. I plead. I beg. Like it was my fault, whatever it was this time that made him so angry.

Because I can’t live without him. I won’t. I just won’t.

Buy your copy of the e-book today!

Outage Re-released

This week I’ve re-released a story that was originally published by Amber Quill Press. Outage is the story where Matt outs himself to coworker Roxie when she drags him to a boring, day-long workshop on office administration. Of course, the winter storm the weatherman’s been predicting for the past few weeks decides to hit the same day.

Matt’s only consolation? The workshop is held in one of the high-rises downtown, and whenever his lover Vic Braunson’s bus route brings him near the building, they can communicate telepathically for a few moments.

The wintry storm hits harder than anyone anticipates, downing power lines and taking out electricity to most of the surrounding localities. When Roxie learns that the gym where they work has closed due to inclement weather, she convinces Matt to ditch the workshop. They duck into the elevator moments before the building’s power goes out, trapping them inside.

The next time Vic’s bus brings him near the building, Matt calls out to his lover for help. Vic’s current superhuman ability is an electromagnetic power that should allow him to recall the elevator to the lobby. But the street is blocked off by fallen power lines and the building’s concierge won’t let Vic near the mechanical room to work his magic.

Then there’s Roxie, who doesn’t yet know of Vic’s powers or how he gets them …

Read an excerpt or to buy your copy of the e-book today!

On my heart just like a tattoo

I’ve written 3 stories now that include a scene in a tattoo parlor. But here’s a secret … when I wrote the first story, Matching Tats, I had never been in a tattoo parlor nor had I ever gotten a tattoo.

That’s changed, of course ~ I now have 6 different tattoos, three on each arm. On the left, there’s a cat on my wrist, a pink triangle under the bend of my elbow, and a rainbow flag above the bend. On the right, there are 6 pawprints on the underside of my wrist (one for each cat I’ve loved), the number “23” on my forearm (my lucky number), and the logo to JMS Books under the bend of my elbow.

But when I wrote Matching Tats, all I knew about getting a tattoo was what I read online. I guess that’s why the process is explained a bit more than it is in my other two tattoo-themed tales ~ I wanted it to feel authentic and, because it wasn’t an experience I’d had myself, I went to great lengths to fake it. I made sure the method was right so that readers who’d had tattoos would nod and say, “Yes, that’s how it’s done.”

By the time I wrote my second story set in a tattoo parlor, The Tattooed Heart, I had gotten my first two tattoos (the pink triangle and the rainbow flag). Both were done by the same artist at Lucky 13 here in Richmond, and the story grew from a random question I’d asked while he was inking the flag onto my arm. I noticed he had a few drawings around his station, and I wondered out loud if he ever got tired of tattooing what people asked him to instead of what he wanted to draw.

He replied that doing what people wanted him to do paid the bills, but whenever he had a new design he wanted to try out on someone, he’d invite his friends over to get a free tattoo in exchange for letting him put whatever he wanted onto their skin. That got me thinking about how much you’d have to like someone to give him carte blanche when it came to tattooing you, and the romance between Chris and Lee was born.

If you’ve ever visited a tattoo parlor, then you can only imagine where I got the idea for my last tattoo-themed story, Inked in Blood. The walls of Lucky 13 are covered with gruesome images ~ zombies and vampires and wicked women of the night. I don’t know if it’s the hardcore nature of tattoo artists and their clients that draws them to the paranormal, but an inordinate amount of tattoo flash seems to be dedicated to the eerie, spooky, or just downright creepy. (For those not in the know, “tattoo flash” refers to predesigned images, usually available in books for you to pick something from if you know you want to get inked but don’t know what you want).

As I was getting my fourth tattoo (the logo of JMS Books), I noticed it bled a lot ~ maybe it was because the ink was blue that I noticed the red more, I don’t know. But that small detail, combined with the supernatural images surrounding me, made me think of vampires and other creatures of the night. So I did what I had said I’d never do ~ I wrote a vampire story. Granted, the tattoo artist in Inked in Blood isn’t explicitly called out as a vampire, but there’s enough of a “is he or isn’t he?” question throughout the story that you’re left wondering long after you’re finished reading.