The Cheez-It Book

If you follow me on social media you probably already know a little bit about the Cheez-It book. Standing in the kitchen one day, stuffing my face with Cheez-Its, I was struck by the idea that having a mouthful of Cheez-Its (and I mean full, with crumbs spilling everywhere) would be a fun and awkward way to meet the love of your life. Or maybe just really awkward. 😀

Inspired, I ran upstairs and wrote 10,000 words in a furious rush. That was two summers ago, and now, finally, Building Forever is finished, covered beautifully, and available for preorder. It even has its first review (5 stars, yay!).

But what is it about? Well, it’s about a talkative science fiction writer named Charlie and a quiet architect named Simon. Charlie is a widower who put aside any curiosity he had regarding his attraction to men about eighteen years ago when his girlfriend told him she was pregnant. He loved her and he married her. Then he lost her. Now, five years later, he finally feels as if he’s getting good at the single dad thing. His science fiction series is doing well, though the last book is proving difficult to plot, and his daughter seems happy–her fondness for post-apocalyptic art aside.

Simon is nursing a broken heart and a bruised ego. He lost his lover and his business last year and moved to Bethlehem to start again. Approaching his fiftieth birthday, he’s not sure if he’s up for rebuilding his career or risking his heart, but to his surprise, finds pleasure in both. Bethlehem and Charlie are exactly what he needed: a fresh perspective and a new challenge.

But Charlie isn’t as far past the loss of his wife as he thinks he is, and Simon isn’t as resilient as he thought he was, and Charlie’s daughter isn’t as happy as she seems.

All of my books feel like a journey, for me and for my characters, but this one was especially so because of some of the themes I tackled: grief, middle-age, parenthood, bisexuality, and being willing to risk your heart again. I loved writing older characters and I loved writing a father. Simon’s gentle stoicism called to me in ways a character hasn’t before and I desperately needed for him to find a happy ever after. Charlie–Charlie sprang from the ether fully formed. All I did was write it down just as he told me to. I didn’t always get it right first try, though, and I relied heavily on beta readers and editors for help with this one. I learned a lot, and I know this is my strongest book yet.

The best part, though? This is only the beginning. In this series, I have reached a little farther and push a little harder with every book. Renewing Forever and Chasing Forever will continue the themes put in place with Building Forever—small towns, close families, and strong friendships—while staying true to my vision of writing super sweet love stories for older men who have already loved and lost, and aren’t sure if they’re ready to try again.

Building Forever is now available for preorder at Riptide Publishing.
You can also add it on Goodreads!

Fall

Building Forever (This Time Forever #1)

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A new town, a new neighbor, and a new chance to build a forever.

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Want to read the first couple of chapters? They’re right here!

Look What’s Up for Preorder!

To See the Sun is perhaps the most romantic story I’ve ever written, which is probably why I had to set in on a planet with little to no atmosphere between the surface and the burning sun, and deep crevasses full of poisonous mists. I put the people in the crevasses too, in a limited green zone. It’s paradise—not. But for Abraham Bauer, it’s a chance to live his dream. He’s one of a handful of colonists dedicated to the effort of terraforming the harsh environment of Alkirak, and though he is content to fill his days with farming, tinkering, and writing bad poetry, he’d really like someone to share it all with.

Enter Gael Sonnen. He’s never seen the sun shining over the oceanic planet of Zhemosen because he lives in the undercity, a level below decency, and several levels below a normal and placid life. His ticket out is a companion contract that will take him to the far edge of the galaxy as a mail-order husband to a lonely colonist.

That’s just where the story begins. ❤

With this book I’ve taken one of my favourite tropes—mail-order spouse—and wrapped it in a story of love, redemption, and bravery. I wanted to explore the idea of two strangers getting to know each other and how a relationship could arise from there. And then, because I’m evil, I tossed in complications, not all of which have to do with the harsh environment of Alkirak.

I loved writing this book and it’s one of the few I didn’t hate by the end of the edit phase. Waiting until August to share it with you is going to be hard!

To See the Sun is now available for preorder at Riptide Publishing. You can also add it on Goodreads!

Click through to read the full blurb. A Novel Approach is hosting a cover reveal on Wednesday, April 25th!

My Three Favourite Things

My three favourite things in fiction are: apocalypses, aliens and love stories. It’s an odd combination and you don’t often find all three in one book. Aliens and apocalypses can skip hand in hand down a desolate road together, but the end of the world isn’t necessarily a great time to fall in love. But a heart wants what a heart wants, and there is something about flinging people together in circumstance and seeing how they fall together (or apart).

To read more, please visit Urban Fantasy Investigations who were kind enough to host my rambling self today as part of the virtual book tour for Less Than Perfect.

(Image credit: Environment: POST-APOCALYPSE by inetgrafx)

Spotlight: Kelly Jensen – Author, Gamer, and . . . Fan Baker?

Jenn Burke is a good friend of mine. We’ve been writing and gaming together since 2009. That’s a lot of words and (and a lot of bloody, violent deaths). In the following interview, Jenn wrings a few more words from me (like it’s hard) by asking me about my favourite moments in gaming. I had a great time reminiscing with her and thinking about the future of games.

Spotlight: Kelly Jensen – Author, Gamer, and . . . Fan Baker?.