Working It Out Release Party—The Evil Day Job: Not so Evil?

July 19, 2014

Another hour must have passed by, because here I am again to talk about my new story Working It Out.

Like many other writers I don’t write for a living. It’s a hobby—a paying hobby, but a hobby nevertheless. I’ll never write enough, or sell enough of what I do write, to be able to give up the day job. While I wouldn’t mind having to myself the time the job takes out of my week, at the same time I enjoy my work.

A lot of creative artists refer to the bill-paying, food-buying job as the “evil day job” or EDJ. I’m not so sure they’re all that evil, specially if you write fiction.

Why not? Because they bring you into contact with people and situations that can be used in your stories. People say things you could never make up, they do things you wouldn’t have thought of. Things happen that you just didn’t expect. I see the day job, and my commute there, as providing inspiration for my writing.

Just like sitting in a cafe, a bus station, or a park, your job presents you with opportunities to observe people. You also get to see how a workplace functions, how a team interacts, what happens in the course of a working day. It’s no coincidence that quite a lot of my characters work in offices. That’s where I’ve spent my working life, I know how they work. In one story, still to be finished, I have a character arrive at the office in the morning. This sentence was inspired by what actually happens if you work for a big organisation, where the computers are connected to a centralised network and run a mandatory virus check at every point, including logging in.

“He busied himself with the usual routine of turning on the computer and making a drink while it crawled through the login process.”

That right there is an example of writing something I know inside out. How many times have I done exactly the same thing? No idea, but it’s a lot over the years.

In Working It Out, Joe has a bullying boss. I’ve had a few of those in my time, and she’s based, in part, on some of the things they did. Thankfully I’ve had a lot more good bosses than bad, but the bad ones were very bad indeed. The silver lining is that they provided me with an example of something a bully does, which is to decline holiday requests as a method of showing you they’re the one in charge. So even the worst jobs can give you something to use in a story.

A new hour means a new question, of course. What was the worst (or best) job you ever had? Comment for a chance to win a copy of Working It Out. (You don’t have to answer my question, you can make up your own if you’d like.)

Cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater


Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.

You can buy it now in the Dreamspinner store.

And don’t forget to see what else I have to say on my blog and twitter.

Working It Out Release Party—People Are Amazing

July 19, 2014

0 caterpillars
Kristen Slater, back again to bother you. This hour, I wanted to mention some amazing people I met while putting my story together. The editors. They took a caterpillar of a story and helped me make it into a beautiful butterfly. Not that there’s anything wrong with caterpillars, some of them are spectacular. But butterflies…. Whole new level of beauty.

0 butterflies

I’d no idea what to expect and when the first editor’s comments arrived I was equal parts excitement and apprehension. My goodness, they’re thorough.

All those punctuation changes—I write in British, but the Dreamspinner standard is US. That’s a big difference, right there. I found we don’t include anything like as much punctuation, and what we do is less formal. Then there were the differences in spelling and preposition use. In US English there are lots of words and forms we no longer use in the UK and which make the text sound very stilted and formal, almost like a legal document. A couple of times we had a disagreement where I felt the changes they wanted to make were simply wrong. They were not what my characters would say or think and, in fact, were US-specific usage—thus giving a US accent to my very British guys.

And that’s the thing about editing. It’s a dialogue. They make suggestions, you respond. Some things you agree, some things you reject and a whole lot of other things you have a discussion about before coming to a mutually acceptable position.

One word I got to keep was “afterwards”. In the US they say “forward”, “toward”, “afterward”. Here there is an “s” on the end of those words. This was the result of a discussion back and forward in which the editors accepted my preference. I conceded one where my word just didn’t translate. I described Joe as being “teasy”. Now, if you’re in the UK you know exactly what this word means. Not in the US. The first editor asked whether I meant “testy”, which led to this exchange.

Kristen: No, I meant “teasy”. “Testy” means irritable, in the early stages of what will become anger later. “Teasy” is like an over-tired toddler, possibly one who’s had too much candy and the sugar rush has suddenly worn off. Slightly tearful, a bit oversensitive, touchy, tired, whiny. There isn’t really another word for it, unfortunately. Well… unless… can you think of one?

Editor: edgy, easily irritated, touchy? I’m afraid in this case “teasy” is not going to be at all familiar to American readers. I would never have gotten that meaning from a word so similar to “tease”, so I don’t think context works well in this case. Usually it does, but not here.

Kristen: Well, that was fun! Half an hour with a thesaurus and a couple of dictionaries (plus the suggestions above) and I ended up with the slightly old-fashioned, but understandable (and rather wonderful) “querulous”. I was tempted to use the equally lovely “fretful”, but it’s not got the complaining element that the other does.

They didn’t confine themselves to these very straightforward, simple things, though. They also commented on the structure, identified key information that was either missing or in the wrong place, helped me see where the story slowed almost to a halt in one place and gave me hints that enabled me to fix that. There was great advice on style, too.

So, thank you to the amazing editors. If you want to see the results of their work, you can buy the story in the Dreamspinner store.
Part of cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater
Remember, for a chance to win a copy and try a new writer for free, comment on any of my posts here today. I have a new question, or you can answer one of the previous ones, or even come up with a question of your own. Have you ever come across someone amazing? What made them amazing?

Here’s what the equally amazing blurb writers came up with
Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.

You can find me blogging on WordPress and tweeting as @Slater_Kristen.

Working It Out Release Party—Write What You Know

July 19, 2014

Cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater

Hi there, it’s Kristen Slater again, with the next instalment of the release party for my novella, Working It Out. Following on from my previous post, I thought I’d give my take on advice that’s given to novice writers everywhere. “Write what you know”.

Yeah, about that. I’m a woman writing about gay men. I’m writing love stories despite never having been in love. I’m middle aged and most of my characters are under 30.

For me, “write what you know” isn’t actually saying you can only write people identical to yourself, in your own situation. It’s really saying that you should bring your experiences to your writing. That when you write about something you don’t know that much about, you should do some research, find out about it. This might involve reading up on the subject, or talking to people, or going somewhere and doing whatever it is.

After all, if “write what you know” really was so narrow, there’d be no science fiction, no fantasy, very few mysteries or thrillers. It’s the basic premise in writing; a writer’s job is to put themselves in someone else’s head, to try to walk in their shoes. It’s a uniquely human gift, that ability to imagine what somebody else is thinking, how they might react to something. We start with how we might respond in a particular situation. We then try to project that onto other people. Even quite young children are encouraged to imagine how someone else feels by asking them “how would you feel if…?”. Usually when they’ve just thumped someone.

Image taken from:

(Image taken from:

Reading fiction is a way of exploring the world. It can give us clues about how we should behave, show us worlds other than the one we live in, a wider range of people than the ones we meet every day. It has always been my favourite thing to do. The escape into another life, another place, another time is irresistible. And all that fiction has been written by people who take what they know and apply it to other situations.

So when I write about men, I focus on the things that are the same. They grew up in the same country as me, with a lot of the same cultural influences and values. That whole men and women are from different planets thing? Codswallop. Absolute piffle. We’re from the same planet. We want the same things out of life, on the whole. Sure, there are some differences in how men and women process experience and emotions. So I have to look at what men say about how they relate to each other, how they deal with feelings. That’s the research I mentioned above.

I know about being uncertain how to react to people; I know about being scared to say what I’m feeling (assuming I’m able to articulate it at all). Those things translate to being in love and not knowing if you should tell the other person. They translate to not wanting to make an idiot of yourself in front of someone you like. They translate into not wanting to give them ammunition to hurt you if they turn out to be a heel. Because that’s the same as general social anxiety, just with more at stake.

And hey, to have reached middle age I have to have passed through my twenties, right? So I can remember what it was like, even if some of it’s a bit hazy now. The pressure to conform to a perceived norm, the slightly scary feeling of being out there on your own now, responsible for your own life, the gradual change to knowing who you are and what you want.

All of those things, and more, feed into what I write. It’s what writers do.

What do you think? Should writers stick rigidly to what they already know, or is it about taking their thoughts and experiences and translating them to new situations? Comment for a chance to win your very own copy of Working It Out.


Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.

Follow these links to catch me blogging and tweeting.

Working It Out Release Party—On Inspiration

July 19, 2014

I’m back!

So, those first lines. Where did they come from?

Working It Out is a novella about finding out how you know you’re in love. After six months living with his boyfriend, Joe, and around a year before that of more-or-less casually hooking up with him, Cas just isn’t sure. Joe’s sure, and that’s part of Cas’s problem.

This story began with the question Cas raises. What is love, and how do you know you’re in love? It’s something I’ve always wondered and struggled with. You see, I’ve never been in love. Or, at least, I don’t think I have. In my younger years I did have a couple of relationships. I even lived with someone for five years. But….
You see, I don’t really get love, friendship and all that jazz. It’s a complete mystery to me. I don’t think about people if they’re not in the immediate vicinity. Out of sight truly is out of mind. I don’t miss people; I don’t worry about them. Maybe that’s why I’m writing romance, the ultimate relationship story. I’m trying to understand the same thing Cas is. How you link to people, how that feels.

It’s a problem when you’re largely—well, I’m not sure if the word is antisocial or asocial. I can interact with people, on the surface at least. I work in offices and everyone says I’m nice, I’m a central part of the team. In one instance I worked in a team that was so dysfunctional they called in an independent arbitration service to try to get to the bottom of the problem and fix it. Apparently I was the one person everyone liked and the one who held the team together. While that’s nice to know, I guess, when I left that place a couple of years later I never thought about them again.

I’m not a keeping in touch sort of person, it doesn’t occur to me to share my thoughts and reactions with people. So love is an exotic and incomprehensible thing that I just don’t understand. Over the years I’ve asked myself that opening question many times and never got an answer. This time, I wrote it down and it became a story. I don’t think I’m any closer to the answer, although I’m getting pretty good at the theory. I suspect the people who say “you just know” are right. I’m not going to stop asking, though. And I’m not going to stop writing love stories.

Don’t forget, if you would like a chance to try my story out for free, comment on any of my posts here today. My question for this hour is have you ever been in love? And how did you know? (Of course, you can always ask your own questions if you’d prefer.)


Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.

You can buy the book by going to my page in the Dreamspinner store. And you can see what else I have to say on my blog and in tweets.

Cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater

Working It Out Release Party—A Taster and a Giveaway

July 19, 2014

Hello, Kristen Slater here again. I thought I’d give you a flavour of my novella, Working It Out, this time. But first, a chance to win something. At the end of the party I’m going to give away a copy of my story to one of the people who comment on my posts here today. It’ll be totally random—I’ll put names in a hat and draw one out—so talk to me and you never know, it could be you.

To start us off, tell me about your first kiss. Was it romantic? Yucky? Perfect? Awkward? Or you can just comment randomly, if that’s what you’d prefer.

So, I promised a taster, and I’ve chosen the opening of the story.

If this whets your appetite, you can buy the whole story from the Dreamspinner store.

You can see what I’m thinking about on my blog and on twitter.
Part of cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater


What is love, anyway? I mean, you tell me how you know you’re in love.

Joe’s been saying I love you for months. I get the feeling he’s expecting me to say it back. But. I dunno. It just doesn’t feel right, you know? Aren’t you supposed to just know? And I don’t. Maybe I love him. I know I like having him around. Those days when he’s late home and there’s no one in the house when I get back, it feels kind of… empty. But that’s habit, isn’t it? Because most times he’s already there when I walk through the door. So it’s bound to feel odd when he isn’t. Isn’t it?

I remember the day he asked me to move in with him. We’d been seeing each other casually for over a year, meeting up and going to his place or mine for some mutual fun. I’m still not sure how it developed into spending most of our spare time together, but we became really good friends at some point. Then there was the day we went back to his flat in the middle of the afternoon, unable to wait to get our hands on each other’s bare flesh. Afterwards, the late afternoon sun bathing us with warmth, he propped himself up on one elbow and looked down at me with an uncharacteristically serious expression.

“Cas? I like being with you. I like it a lot.” Joe’s hand idly stroked my belly in circles and swirls. “I don’t just mean the sex, although that’s incredible. I like the way we never seem to run out of things to say to each other, the way we like doing the same things, going to the same places.” The hand stopped and rested over my diaphragm, warm and relaxed. “What I’m trying to say is I’d like to spend more time together. All our time. I want to wake up next to you every morning and know I’ll see you again that evening. I’d like to try living together.”

The longer I stayed quiet, the more tense his hand became. His beautiful gray eyes were fixed on my face, as if he was trying to read my thoughts. He’d have had a problem. I didn’t really have any coherent thoughts initially. Then, when I did, I wondered why he was asking. What we had was good. Why change that? Living together was like some sort of heavy-duty commitment. I’d seen enough people who had a good thing going break up after moving in together. And we’re only in our midtwenties, what’s the rush?

I suppose I should have seen it coming. The “I love you” thing. I’d said yes to living together because I couldn’t see a way of continuing to see Joe if I didn’t. And I wanted to keep seeing him. Like he said, the sex was—and still is—incredible. Also, I’ve never been one of those people who have hundreds of friends. I always say it’s because I’m picky and have a different definition of what the word friend means. And Joe was—is—a friend. He isn’t the only one who likes us spending time together. The way I define friend, I’ve only ever had about four or five, and Joe’s the best one I ever had. It’s not that I’m antisocial or anything, but most people are acquaintances. Some closer than others, but still—acquaintances.

Tonight, I’m on my own on the sofa, some program or other on the muted TV providing a bit of light and movement in the corner. And getting all introspective. Tonight’s one of those late nights for Joe. His job at the Council is on flextime, which looks like an excuse to mess people around, if you ask me. Unlike him, I don’t have unexpected delays at work, because the library at the University has set closing times. It’s a specialized library and I help people find the information and references they need, and assess the quality of their sources, as well as the usual library things. You know, making sure everything’s back where it belongs at the end of each day, keeping our journal subscriptions up to date, chasing down students and staff who don’t bring stuff back when it’s due. But mostly I help people with their research.

I came home to a text on the mobile I accidentally left on the kitchen worktop when leaving for work this morning. I could tell he was pissed off about working late. He doesn’t normally swear in texts. Or any other time really. When he gets in, he’ll need to let off steam about his boss, Penny. I keep telling him he needs to get another job. The trouble is, he likes what he does. It’s just her.

I was disappointed. I’d been looking forward to telling him about my day, finding out about his. There’s always some small thing that’s happened in the day and I need to share it with someone—with Joe specifically. He understands what I’m saying, he gets why it was funny, or sad, or annoying. I like to hear what he’s been up to as well. We sit there after dinner swapping anecdotes, snuggled up on the sofa or one on the sofa and the other in a chair, depending on our mood. I feel like I’ve known him all my life, and even when we’re quiet, it’s comfortable sitting together. I don’t have to make this huge effort to be constantly entertaining, and if a thought crosses my mind I know I can say it out loud and he’ll understand.

So. Where was I? Oh yeah. What is love, and how do you know if what you feel is love? Why should I be worrying about this tonight of all nights, you ask? Well, we’re going away this weekend. Joe’s planned this incredibly romantic weekend in Brussels. I know why. Sunday’s six months to the day when we moved his things in to join mine. If we’re going to start celebrating anniversaries and stuff like that, I need to think about what sort of relationship this is. Is this just good fun, or are we in it for the long haul?

Working It Out Release Party—Well, hello there!

July 19, 2014

Hello everybody. My name’s Kristen Slater and it’s my birthday today. No. Really, it is. As an extra-special birthday gift, Dreamspinner is letting me take over the blog for a while and hold a release party for my first ever published story, Working It Out which came out on Wednesday.
Birthday Balloons

It’s not the first thing I’ve written—that particular piece of dross will remain forever hidden in the depths of my hard drive—but it’s the first I felt brave enough to share. And someone liked it and agreed to publish it. The email came just a couple of weeks before Christmas last year, together with a contract, so that was my Christmas present. That’s a pretty fabulous pair of presents, don’t you think?

Since then the mysteries of editing have been opened up to me, I have seen the magic that is the blurb writer’s art and been amazed by the ability of the cover artist to bring my vision to life. It’s been a wonderful few months and I’m just hoping it will continue.

I’ll be back very soon with more info and a giveaway, but for now, here’s a taster of what the story’s about, and a look at the pretty cover. You can buy it in the Dreamspinner Press store.

Cover of Working It Out by Kristen Slater
Celebrating six months with his boyfriend has Cas in a bit of a panic. Joe’s been saying “I love you” for a while, but Cas just can’t get the words past his lips. A week before Christmas, he finally says them when a nearly fatal accident almost takes Joe, and Cas faces the possibility of losing the best man he’s ever known. But whispered declarations are one thing. Through a long, tough recovery both men must work out that love is more than words.

You can also find me burbling away online on my blog at or on twitter as @Slater_Kristen.

I’ve always spent more time living in the world inside my head than in the one outside it. Since I discovered writing, that world’s escaped from its confines and got mixed up with my real life. I’m not entirely unhappy about that. Particularly since I get to admit that I hear voices and listen to them without having to worry about the men in white coats coming to take me away.

Whilst never having any inclination to romantic relationships for myself, I nevertheless get all misty whenever I see a wedding or someone announces an intention to commit their lives to each other. It was kind of inevitable that everything I write turns into romance, no matter what it started out as.

A proud member of the Cloud Appreciation Society I think there’s nothing wrong with living with your head in the clouds.

Dumb Jock Trivia Quiz

July 18, 2014

How well do you know the Dumb Jock series?

dumbjock adj Appearances Matter_comp2 DumbJocktheMusical300

Complete the trivia quiz for a chance to win a copy of book five, Two Dumb Jocks. When complete, share your score (honor system) in the comments. Winner will be drawn from all who take the quiz.



Two Dumb Jocks Releases Today!

July 18, 2014

I’m Jeff Erno, author of the Dumb Jock Series, and I’m excited to announce the release of book five, Two Dumb Jocks.

Two Dumb Jocks


Here’s the blurb:

Rejected by his family for coming out, Bryan Helverson boards a plane for Tampa, Florida, where he plans to attend college. Brett and Jeff’s family embrace him when he arrives, and his new “brothers,” Adam and Trevor, help him.


While playing tennis with Trevor at the country club, Bryan meets aspiring pro tennis player Greg Lewis. But after a few minutes it’s easy to see the arrogant jock is not on Bryan’s menu, and he quickly dismisses the man. Forgetting he ever met Greg is not an option, though, when Bryan is hired as a waiter at the country club’s restaurant, and Greg is assigned to train him. Unexpected romance blossoms just as Bryan discovers one of Greg’s ex-boyfriends also works at the restaurant.


Greg is not the person Bryan first took him for, though. His true ambition is to become a doctor. And as their romance grows serious, Bryan discovers Greg’s mom suffers from the same debilitating depression that plagues Bryan. Unfortunately, just as Bryan is making giant strides with managing his depression, Greg’s ex—as manipulative as he is abusive—takes a battered Bryan back to point A and threatens to destroy his relationship with Greg.


A few facts about the Dumb Jock Series:

-Dumb Jock was my very first work of fiction, and my original goal was simply to write a novel-length story that I might share with a few friends and family.  Upon completion, one of my friends urged me to share the story online, on a free amateur website. It was well received, and a few years later, I decided to publish it as my first novel.

-The reason I use my own name for the main character in book one is because the original story idea came from a slice of my life. As a high school student, I was a literary nerd who sometimes tutored other students. One of my pupils was a football jock named Bret. I harbored a wild, unrequited crush on him, but I never came out to him or confessed my true feelings. Years later, when I decided to start writing, I used that experience as the backdrop for my story, only I wrote my fiction with a happy ending.

-I still maintain contact with the real Bret (whose last name is different than the Brett in the story). He’s a very successful businessman who owns his own company, and he’s happily married with children. He has read the Dumb Jock story, and he gave it his thumbs up. He was deeply concerned that he might have bullied me back in high school, but I assured him it was quite the opposite. And he said he hopes the story can in some way help other gay youth during their coming out process.

-Book one ends with an epilogue in which Jeff and Brett are presented as a happily married couple with two children, a boy and a girl. Book two leaps forward in time to the present day and focuses on their son Adam, who also happens to be gay. Book three is about one of Adam’s friends named Todd. Book four returns to Boyne City (my hometown where the series started) and features a modern day teen athlete who comes out to the whole school when he accepts a led role in the school play, Dumb Jock, which is Jeff and Brett’s story. And book five is about another teen named Bryan, who recently graduated from high school and came out to his religious parents only to face rejection. Jeff and Brett invite him into their family.

-Each of the Dumb Jock books is an independent read, but characters from previous stories often make cameo appearances.

-Each of the books features a main character who is an athlete, and each story highlights a different sport. Book one features football; book two is about a baseball jock; book three highlights soccer; book four’s main character plays basketball, and book five features a tennis player.

-There will be one or two more stories in the series. The final book will be about Jeff and Brett again, and it will fill in all the gaps from the time they left Boyne City High School to the present day.

-All the stories are fiction, but each one contains pieces of my own life. Some of the characters are inspired by real-life loved ones or friends. Some of the themes embraced within the stories are contemporary issues such as coming out, bullying, domestic violence, depression, alcoholism, and sexual abuse.

-My goal has not been to present Jeff and Brett as a perfect, idyllic couple. Both are flawed, but they each grow and mature during the series.

-Two Dumb Jocks is the first book I’ve written where the main character battles chronic depression. I’ve often contemplated how much a person’s depressive episodes are triggered by tragedy and how much comes from within. In the story, I try to examine this question. Bryan makes tremendous strides in conquering his demons, but all his problems aren’t tidily solved. There is no reconciliation with his religious parents, for example. Sometimes we have to find our own happiness and accept that there are those who simply choose not to support us.

Tell me what you think!

I’d love to hear from readers who are fans of the series. Please share your questions or comments about any of the characters in books one through four, and I’ll provide a giveaway copy of Two Dumb Jocks to one lucky winner.

If you’re new to the series, please also leave a comment. I’d love to hear your opinion of the jock-nerd trope. Do you have any personal experience that relates to this theme? What do you think of nerdy guys? Are they sexy? Could a geek ever really be compatible with a competitive jock? I’ll pick one winner for a free copy of book one, Dumb Jock.


Wrap Up

July 17, 2014

Well, I guess I should wrap this up and let you get back to your everyday activities (me, too).  I did take a break to take the dog out to the back yard, and to deal with some work e-mails, but otherwise I’ve been glued to the screen. I very much appreciate those of you who have asked questions, and given me answers to my questions. You all are wonderful and I am so proud to be part of this community along with you. Thank you for your time and attention today.  I hope you get a chance to read You Can’t Go Home Again or one of my other books:

Little Squirrels Can Climb Tall Trees

Breaking News

Book Fair

Walls That Divide

It Should Have Been You

When Dachshunds Ruled the Serengeti

Swan Song for an Ugly Duckling

Scoiattoli piccoli possono scalare alberi alti (Italian Translation)

As a reminder, Dreamspinner has another of their wonderful sales in progress right now so most of my books (and those of others) which would normally be $14.99 for paperbacks are now $11.99 during this sale (July 16 through 22), and the e-books, which would normally be $6.99 are $5.59 during this sale.

Thank you all for reading.


July 17, 2014

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  During the story, Marie has a baby.  Here’s a slight glimpse into the excitement that accompanies the arrival:


“Marie! What are you doing out of bed?” Devin demanded.

“It’s easier to go to the hospital this way.”


“Hospital, genius. My water just broke. Is one of you clowns planning to drive me, or should I walk? It might take me a while. I could take a cab, I suppose, if you’re too busy. What’s the plan?”

Once they were all in the car, the actual trip to the hospital took only eight minutes. Jack didn’t tell his two guests, but he’d been practicing, looking for the best route, finding alternatives in case one way was blocked. He pulled right up to the emergency room entrance. Devin raced inside and yelled, “I need a baby out here!” He dashed back outside before he realized he’d screwed up the sentence so he raced back inside. “I need a lady with a baby out here. Fuck! I’ve got a baby… a woman having a baby out here. I need help.”


When Marie had settled into the room where the action would happen at some unknown future time, Jack and Devin tried to be of comfort to her when the next contraction hit. Each took one side and held one of her hands.

Devin went from standing to his knees in no time flat.

“Jesus, woman! Where did you get that grip? Leave my fingers, please. I’m a writer—I kind of need my fingers to type.”

“Man up, pretty boy,” Marie bellowed with a look of fierce determination. “I’m in freaking pain here.”