I’m pleased to welcome Jason Huffman-Black to the blog to promote the release of his novel, Snakes Among Sweet Flowers, with a interview, excerpt and giveaway.
Title: Snakes Among Sweet Flowers
Author: Jason Huffman-Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG
Release Date: June 20
Genre/Tags: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Suspense, Thriller
Two-time ex-con Camden Sanders has decided that Hog Mountain—an isolated community on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia—is the perfect place to continue running small scams without the threat of more prison time. But there are a few problems with this plan. One is the neighborly citizens of Hog Mountain thwarting his dirty dealings at every turn with their kindness. Another is Jackson Rhodes, a closeted Hog Mountain police officer who can see right through Cam’s good ol’ boy act and plans to catch him red-handed despite the attraction they both can feel. But the biggest problem of all is that Cam’s past is threatening to catch up with him, and it could mean trouble for more than just himself.
When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?
I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember. I was a solitary child for the most part who entertained myself inside my head. As I got older the stories were put on paper, but when I was young, they were only in my mind. I remember as a kid, that when I lay down to go to sleep at night, I would close my eyes and go to whatever story I was in the middle of. I also did that in the car or even instead of playing or watching TV. One of the long-running stories was the XMen. I made up my own character and I would go on missions. Throughout the course of that internal storyline, there was much romance. I got together with Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and many others. My favorite conquest was Cable and may be the origin story for my love of older bears. J My character was Tygra and I was a slinky tiger type kinda like Black Panther or Sabertooth. I also had a similar storyline where I was a superhero beside Batman and he was my love interest.
Later, I wrote funny stories for my friends, passing them during class. I think I may still have some of those somewhere. Then joined role playing groups online and building stories along with others like me. Mark and I were the creators of a storyline and group about apocalyptic vampires who ruled Las Vegas. My character was a centuries old vamp named Lucian who I portrayed as Dave Navarro, back in the day when he was gothic looking.
Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?
I have broken with my schedule lately, but while writing Snakes, I wrote on the weekends and endeavored to get a chapter done on Saturday and another on Sunday, then spend the weekdays planning the next ones and working.
Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?
Where did the desire to write M/M romance come from?
As a child and young adult, I needed to see myself or characters like me in the stories I read. Instead of despairing that there were no gays in my favorite comics, I added them in my mind. I commend today’s comic industry for being so open to diversity so that all children can find themselves in one or more characters. It means so much to a kid still trying to find themselves and learn pride.
Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.
I plan a sequel to Snakes but it’s not my current work in progress. Right now I am writing the story of a young boy who has been homeless for a few years and finally connects with the help he needs to get off the street. The story has some autobiographical points to it, but I think that may be one of the reasons I have stalled out on it. For me, it is hard to be sympathetic to myself or to dig deep into my own pain. It’s also hard to create a happy-ever-after for a character so close to me. I do hope to get back to it soon, though
Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?
WRITE! Just do it. The more you write, the better you get.
When Cam parked his pickup in front of the pumps at his station, he was surprised to find a local police cruiser waiting by the closed garage door. A tall blond cop leaned leisurely against the front bumper, staring directly at him as he took his time getting out. The frown on the policeman’s face was at odds with his stance, and although Cam didn’t think he had much to worry about, he couldn’t help the hammering in his heart, the constricting of his chest.
He’d dealt with cops and guards enough to know there wasn’t a one of them that wasn’t a sadistic asshole. They thrived on making people like Cam suffer. Cam had yet to deal with the local law and had hoped his lucky streak would continue. He had to admit the officer knew how to wear a uniform, though, with broad shoulders and slim waist accentuated nicely. Too bad he couldn’t sit in the truck all day and ogle the man instead of having to deal with whatever he wanted. With a sigh, Cam gathered his wits and opened the truck’s door, stepping out, then turning back to grab his breakfast. Well, shit. Wasn’t this morning starting off with a bang.
Instead of walking toward the officer, he aimed for the front door of the gas station. He’d turned the area attached to the garage into a waiting area with mismatched office chairs and an old coffee table from the Goodwill. Cam had to jiggle the key in the lock a few times before the cylinder turned, and as he opened the door, he heard footsteps approaching.
“What can I do you for this morning, Officer?” Cam asked as casually as possible. “Your cruiser giving you trouble?”
Cam sat his breakfast on the counter that ran along the back wall, then stepped over to the window-unit AC and pushed the button to get it going. It wasn’t that hot yet, but it wouldn’t take long to get there. When he still hadn’t gotten an answer from the cop, he turned to find him doing a thorough visual inspection of the area, then stepping over to the glass door leading to the garage and doing the same, canting his head to get as much of a view as possible without entering. Cam frowned.
“Is there a problem, Officer?” Now he had a reason for concern. What was the cop looking for? Cam had a sudden itch to run for it, although he had no idea what he was running from.
The officer turned, and Cam squinted to read the name Jackson Rhodes above the pocket of his uniform. When Officer Rhodes’s hand came to rest on the butt of his gun, it was all Cam could do not to flinch. “Who is the second coffee for, Mr. Sanders?”
Cam glanced over to his breakfast and back to Rhodes, his nervousness kicking up a notch. “I… uh….”
“Is anyone else here, Mr. Sanders?” Officer Rhodes took a step forward.
Shit! Cam was going into a full-out panic. His gaze darted around the room, looking for some way out of the situation, but then just as suddenly, his subconscious gave him a metaphoric kick in the ass. What the hell? Was he going to let this asshole come into his place of business and fuck with him? He had nothing to hide. Well, okay, that wasn’t exactly true, but he wasn’t going to simply crumple over one question.
Cam slipped into his I-give-not-one-fuck persona and looked Officer Rhodes in the eye. “I don’t see where that’s even a little bit of your business, Officer. Want to tell me what this is about?”
Officer Rhodes took a few more steps closer, until he was crowding Cam against the counter in front of his food. “I’ve been hearing tales on your methods of auto repair. From changing the winter air out of tires to replacing dissolved halogen crystals in headlights or the deoxygenized water in a radiator. A quick background check shows you’ve served time in the past.”
Fuck it! Cam thought. He took a step forward too, coming chest to chest and nose to nose with the officer. “Yeah, I done time, and I paid my debt. I’m here making a fresh start and I won’t have you bad talking my business. I have a logbook of work done, signed off by the customers. It shows I did legitimate work, no matter what you hear.”
“I’d like to see this log, if you will,” Officer Rhodes responded. Damn, the man was fine. Light brown eyes sparking with challenge, blond hair cut short in a crew cut. He looks so clean-cut, you’d think he would squeak when he walks.
Instead of pulling out the log, Cam turned toward his breakfast. “Coffee, Officer? I do have two. Might as well share. It was like I knew I was going to have company this morning.” He busied himself by pulling out the creamer and sugar packets from the bag and placing them where Rhodes could get to them, then pulling out the rest of his purchase and divvying up the food as if he’d meant to buy the cop breakfast.
When Cam glanced over, Rhodes was looking around again as if making sure no one else was in the shop. Then he shrugged and started doctoring his coffee to his satisfaction. Cam did the same and took a sip before opening one of the cabinet doors below the countertop. He pulled out a receipt book and pushed it over to the officer, then scooped up his breakfast and coffee and settled into one of the chairs to eat.
While Officer Rhodes leaned over the counter and flipped through the receipt book, Cam took the opportunity to admire the fine backside on display. The cop was built like a brick shithouse and would make a great addition to his spank bank. No doubt Rhodes had a gaggle of cheerleader-esque girls in town who giggled when he walked by. And that was too bad. Cam wouldn’t mind giving the fine officer a strip search.
The sound of a throat clearing brought Cam back from his thoughts. He glanced up to find Officer Rhodes staring at him with a frown on his face. Oops.
Meet the Author
Jason Huffman-Black could be described as the porn star alter ego of the mild-mannered editor for several LGBT publishers. By day, Jason edits and writes in a cozy chair, while Mr. Huffman-Black travels the globe on such adventurous excursions as wrestling the one-eyed spitting serpent of Tangiers, ass-spelunking into the hidden tomb of King CockTut, and most recently, sharing a prison cell in a small third-world nation with a rather sweaty fur-covered hulk of a man named Javier.
6/20 – Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous
6/20 – Molly Lolly
6/21 – Divine Magazine
6/22 – The Dark Arts
6/22 – The Novel Approach
6/23 – Joyfully Jay
6/24 – Love Bytes Reviews
Rafflecopter Prize: One winner will be selected to win an eBook copy Snakes Among Sweet Flowers.