It’s Official! How to Save a Life to be Published by Loose Id

(c), Creativeye99 2012

I’m thrilled to announce that Loose Id will be publishing my next novel, HOW TO SAVE A LIFE. I don’t have a release date yet, but it’ll be sometime in 2013. I’ll post the details when I know more.

To give you a preview, here’s a brief unedited excerpt. It starts with Walter’s point of view, then we get to see a bit of Kevin’s.

Walter brushed the back of his index finger over Kevin’s lips. He’d always loved kissing. Even in his youth, when most of the guys wanted nothing more than the fucking or the sucking, he’d loved the kissing and touching and exploring. Kevin liked it too. He was sure of that. He’d felt it in the first kiss. And the second.

“I know what you want. And so do you.” Walter gave up on the touching and offered Kevin a little distance. “You’ve never been with a man, have you?”

“Yes. No. Yes.” Kevin blew the hair out of his eyes. “Yes, I have.”

“What? You get stroked off by another boy in junior high school?”


“You did more than a teenage experiment?”

“Yes. Sort of.”

Walter moved in close once more. “I’m guessing it’s been a very long time, and you’ve been denying yourself what you really wanted most of your life—what you still want.”

It took a moment, as if he had to force his body to comply, and then Kevin nodded.

“You’re not out?” Walter asked. Without giving it much thought, the tone of his voice had shifted to something softer.


“Do you have a wife?”

“No. I wouldn’t…” Kevin gestured with his hand between them.

“A girlfriend?”

“Yes. I mean, no.”

“Which is it? If you can’t remember if you have a girlfriend, then trust me, you don’t have one anymore.”

“I don’t. Have one anymore, I mean.” Kevin sucked in a deep breath. “Talking to you is exhausting.”

“Talking to you is entertaining.”

Kevin rolled his eyes. He sobered. Staring at Walter’s shoes, he said, “I left her. My girlfriend, Sondra. A couple of months ago.”

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”

“We’re still friends.” Kevin lifted his head. “We’ve been friends for a long time.”

“Which is why you stayed with her for so long.” Walter took another step closer. “And now?”

Kevin evaded his gaze again.

The silence stretched on between them. Walter wasn’t about to back down. He had years of experience pushing people for the truth.

Something told him with Kevin, there was a fine line between not pushing enough and pushing too hard.

KEVIN DID NOT want to talk about this. Yet a part of him longed to do just that.

Here, in this room, with a gay man listening to him, he couldn’t pretend any longer. He wanted to kiss Walter again, let his tongue wander over those lips, down along the skin of his neck to the warm flesh under his clothes, his chest, and lower to his abs, and even lower. He wanted to taste it all. He couldn’t hide from that fact. Not any longer.

He’d known for months now that he’d been heading to this moment. Whether he’d wanted to admit it or not.”

It had been easy to keep the promise he’d made in his youth. At least while he’d been with Sondra. He wasn’t a cheater. Now that she was gone, now that he was here, now that he’d felt this man’s touch…he was done holding back.

Walter cupped his chin and forced him to look up.

“I guess I can’t hide from it forever.”

“That’s good. You don’t have to hide. Not here. Not in this room. Not with me.”


After I wrap up working on the edits with my editor, I’ll share more snippets and there may even be a contest or two leading up to the release so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I’ve got several other projects underway that are keeping me busy–so busy I’ve been hit or miss with blogging lately (in fact, I haven’t been online much at all), but I’m really digging the short piece I’m writing so that feels great. Here’s what I’m working on:

  2. A Christmas short story (no title yet)
  3. Print versions of BREATHE and TAKE ME HOME (with new covers since the print versions will be self-published)
  4. MORE book 2 (with Luke, Richard, and Matthew)

More news to come on all those.

Thanks for checking out the excerpt. I’m off to celebrate with my honey for signing my fourth book contract. Have a good one!


Preview Excerpt from How to Save a Life

Edited to Add: The opening of this book has since been revised and added on to, but this scene will give you a good idea of Kevin’s character.

Here’s a first look at a short excerpt from How to Save a Life. This is unedited so please forgive any typos or mistakes I may have missed.

Chapter One

Stupid leather pants.

Kevin Price stood in the aisle of the crowded downtown bus and tried not to draw attention to himself.

Hard to do while flailing his body around, trying to get his right hand unstuck from the front pocket of the most ridiculous, tightest pants known to man.

Why the hell had he listened to Myles?

“It’s a sex club. You gotta look sexy.”


Jerk who’d offered to pick out his outfit for the night and ended up buying a pair of pants two sizes too small. On purpose. Kevin was sure of that.

He couldn’t walk into a swanky, underground sex club with one hand stuck inside his pants. He’d probably look like he was trying to grope himself as soon as he stepped inside. He might as well paint a sign on his forehead. Gay virgin here. First night in a gay bar.

Well, not his first, but pretty damn close.

The bus rounded the next corner, and the buildings went from the precise lines of concrete and glass to the graffiti-covered faded bricks and shattered windows of abandoned factories.

Almost there.

He’d been listening to the police scanner app on his phone for the past fifteen minutes. Not that he would’ve cancelled his plans that night if he’d heard anything interesting come across the scanner, but old habits and all that. Mostly, he’d been trying to get his mind off where he was headed. Then he’d gone to slip the phone and headphones into his pocket, and that’s when he’d found himself standing there with only one free arm, gyrating his hips, and mentally cursing out Myles.

He gave a tug, chaffing his wrist on the edge of the leather pocket.

Why would anyone wear pants like this?

To get laid.

If he could remember when he’d last had sex, he might’ve contemplated that longer.

He tugged again.


If this was a sign for how the rest of the night would go, he should pack it up and head home. Forget why he’d come.

Only, he couldn’t forget.

A Title and Blurb for Walter and Kevin’s Story

It’s a tentative title, and I can’t guarantee it’ll stick once the manuscript reaches my publisher, but for now it’s definitely sticking with me.

Walter and Kevin’s story is tentatively titled How to Save a Life.

Here’s a first-look at the working description…



Reporter Kevin Price has a knack for tripping over his own feet. And everyone else’s. He’s in over his head undercover at the Haven, a swanky gay sex club. Five minutes inside and he can no longer deny the truth about his sexuality. Determined to find out why members of the club keep disappearing, he turns to the one man he can’t get out of his head, the sexy ex-cop helping with security. Too bad he doesn’t trust cops. Not since the only night he let himself be with another man.

Walter Simon doesn’t do the club scene anymore. Not since he found love and lost it. That doesn’t mean he won’t do whatever it takes to protect the Haven. He’s not about to let anyone hurt more innocent gay men. Even if that means going head-to-head with the klutzy, closeted, much-younger reporter. Kevin has information about the disappearances. Better to keep him close. And safe.

The two must work together to find out what’s going on before more men end up missing. Neither one is there to hook up or fall in love.

Or so they think.

A sneak peek at Walter and Kevin via Music

Hello everyone! I only have time for a quick post today, but I definitely wanted to share a link to a guest blog I wrote about music and my current manuscript (Walter and Kevin’s story).

My friend and lovely critique partner, Constance Phillips, who has her first release coming out with Crescent Moon Press later this year (Congrats, Constance!! So proud of you!!), was kind enough to give me a spot on her Character Playlist feature.

Stop by my post, Music of a Manuscript, to get a mini preview of Walter and Kevin’s story via some of the songs on the book’s playlist.

Also, keep an eye on my website for more about this story. I’ll be adding these and other videos for the rest of the playlist to my Behind the Story page, as well as more news and other behind-the-scenes details.

Have a good one!

Lessons Learned Revising Walter and Kevin’s Story

(c), marekuliasz 2012

I learn something new with each story I write. Both about me and the craft of writing fiction. As I’ve shared before, my current novel has been through a rocky schedule in terms of the actual writing, but it has had some of the biggest lessons for me when it comes to the “how” of writing.

Here’s what I’ve learned or had reinforced into my writer’s brain this past week:

  • It’s amazing how many bits of dialogue or even entire scenes I thought were important that never make it in the final manuscript. They are the moments that seemed to be at the core of the story and its meaning when I was writing the outline, yet once I’m into the story on a deeper level, those “darlings” just seem to lose their punch. But they were important for the journey. They helped me get to where I wanted the story to go. Writing is a process.
  • I can’t be afraid of moving a scene to a completely new setting. Sometimes I’m telling the right interactions and dialogue in the wrong place. The scene can take on a new intensity in the “right” location. Setting can influence the entire tone of a story. If two characters fall in love while moving from public place to public place, that story will have a very different feel than a story about two characters falling in love while staying at one of their homes, just the two of them for days on end.
  • When I’m stuck on a character’s emotional reactions, I should always go back to the basics. What are the character’s goals, wants, needs? And how are those driving his actions and his responses? I can’t be afraid to make the story primal. Humans are complex creatures, but we are also driven by simple, personal motivations.
  • I have to be “feeling” a scene to revise it. Sure, the writing hasn’t been polished yet, some of the sensory details are missing, and I have yet to write parts of the emotional responses and dialogue, but if I’m not interested in the core of what is going on in the scene, who the hell else will be? I give the scene two chances to pull me in. Maybe I was in a bad mood the first read through or maybe my mind was on something else. If I’m still not feeling it on the second read through, it’s back to the drawing board. Every scene, every interaction doesn’t just need a purpose, it doesn’t just need to move the story forward, it needs to grab the reader and hold on. The least it needs to do is get me excited to revise it.

And yet again, I think I’ve proven how crazy my writing process is, but I’m more than okay with that. It works for me.

Another thing I’ve learned in the past couple of years is to appreciate every moment I’m writing and to embrace the story I’m working on. Each of my novels has been quite different from the others. Over thinking the process and the act of writing, or doing any sort of comparison between works, is counterproductive. Enjoying the journey of storytelling and the characters I’m creating is a big part of what makes writing such a joy.

I try to start every writing session with that in mind.

It’s all about the story.