Homespun Release Party: wrap-up!

September 19, 2013

Thank you so much to everyone who joined me for the Homespun release party! It’s the end of the evening — time for handing out door prizes before the guests stagger off home and nothing’s left but the cleanup. :)

I was going to hold the door prize drawings at different times for ~maximum drama~, but got pulled away from the computer for awhile this evening so I decided to do them both at once — which also gave people a little extra time to get their entries in. :D The drawings are now closed and the lucky winners (Juliana and Annette) have been emailed! Winners were chosen by assigning numbers to the participants in each drawing and then using my old RPG dice for random number generation.

Thank you again to everyone who joined me today. I really enjoyed sharing Owen and Kerry’s world with you for a little while, and I hope you had fun and found the posts entertaining and informative!

I realized this evening, while I was choosing winners, that I didn’t think to give you any excerpts from the book! You can read a selection from the beginning on DSP’s order page, but I think that an excerpt would be a nice way to close off the release party. So here you go – enjoy!

Kerry was in the kitchen, setting the table. A tight black T-shirt framed the narrow planes of his body, and Owen couldn’t help carefully cataloguing all of the changes, every place that time had touched the beloved body he hadn’t seen in so long. Kerry’s hair was a couple inches longer, touched with gray. Owen’s own short hair had been gray for a decade, which only meant that Kerry was catching up with him. Kerry’s elaborate tattoos twined down both arms, wrapping his thin wrists and climbing to the shaved nape of his neck.

“No new ink?” Owen asked, wishing he could examine Kerry more closely from head to foot. Laura’s presence inhibited him from doing more than brushing their fingers together when Kerry handed him a plate of sliced bread; still, that small contact sent an electric quiver through him.

Kerry’s shy smile crept out. “Ink. Listen to you talking that big-city jive.”

Laura dragged another chair to the table for him—usually it was just the two of them. Kerry slid a hand under the table, twining his fingers through Owen’s. It meant that Kerry had to eat with his left hand. He didn’t seem to mind.

“So how is your art coming along, Uncle Kerry?” Laura asked politely, passing the plate of roast beef.

Kerry’s slight hesitation was normal; he always balked when they asked him about his life away from the farm. The difference was that now he would talk about it, sometimes, when he was relaxed and comfortable and in the mood. “Got commissioned for a mural at a pretty trendy restaurant in Harlem.”

“Well, that’s good, right?” Owen said, squeezing his hand under the table. “Lots of exposure.”

“I guess so.” The melancholy in his voice couldn’t quite mask the rising note of pleasure that always crept in when he talked about art. Owen wondered, sometimes, who’d stomped on Kerry so hard that he felt his own ability to create beauty was something he had to hide. Owen Fortescue was not a violent man, but there were times when he wished he could stomp that person right back.

They’d talked about Kerry’s career sometimes, just the two of them, in the dark. Where it was going. Where it wasn’t going. Kerry had dreamed big once upon a time—dreamed of his guerilla art taking society by storm, of shows at exclusive galleries, of opening people’s eyes with paintings that changed the world. His dreams were smaller now. Selling enough art to pay the rent, mostly. Fitting enough beauty to sustain him into the gaps in a life made up of temporary, menial jobs.

There had been only one time that Owen had offered him money, scraping together a little that he and Laura couldn’t spare, but didn’t begrudge. Kerry had looked at it, at him, and Owen would never forget the rage and betrayal in his eyes.

“I’m not your goddamn rentboy,” he spat, and walked out, leaving Owen sputtering and struggling to explain to Laura, who had been about fourteen at the time. Kerry hadn’t come back to the farm for a year. Owen had never offered him money again, and Kerry had become even more close-mouthed, for a while, about the city and any struggles he might face there.

Laura cleared her throat, and Owen looked up quickly, jolted back to the here and now. The conversation had moved on without him, and now Laura’s plate was clean, and Kerry had somehow managed to clear away half his food with only his left hand. Owen’s had barely been touched.

Kerry’s smile, fixed only on him, was fond and soft. Something made Laura’s eyes skate away from it, and she rose, taking her plate.

“I’ve got the dishes tonight,” she said. “Go on.” And whatever had been sharp in her a moment ago was soft-edged now. “Have fun, Daddy.”

“I’m glad I have permission,” Owen said, drawing Kerry up by the hand.

Kerry’s eyes darted back and forth between Owen and Laura, looking as if he wasn’t sure if he was supposed to laugh along or not. Owen knew that Kerry still sometimes got lost in the depths between father and daughter, the infinitely shaded subtleties of their in-jokes, their unspoken little arguments and apologies. He slid an arm around Kerry’s slim waist, wanting to say it was all right, not quite sure how.

Instead he turned them both away from the warmth and light of the kitchen, toward the stairs, toward the bedroom with its bower of wildflowers. His free hand dropped into his pocket, worrying at the ring box like a good-luck charm. Please don’t let me screw this up tonight.

Homespun – available now from Dreamspinner, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other ebookstores.

Thank you, and good night!

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