Friday, December 2, 2022

Edge by Susan Mac Nicol- Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza



So – what’s your idea Christmas gift? I confess I was looking through a list of the most wanted gift ideas and I was a little taken aback. It’s everything from motivational water bottles (what the heck?), a lot of techno geek gifts like Airpods, drones and fit-bits (of course) and even a Roomba robot which looks pretty neat. Did you know Roomba is an anagram for ‘A Broom’?I must confess I’m a tech-geek myself so anything like this would do for me.

I loved browsing through this site to see what the ‘Must-haves’ were for 2022.

40 Top Tech Gifts 2022 – Best Gadgets For Men & Women (brostrick.com)

Of course, all I really want for Christmas are some Amazon Gift vouchers. I ask my family every year for these because I buy a lot of books there, and other bits and bobs as well. Yet every year, I get something else. The family don’t think the provision of gift vouchers is a ‘proper’ gift even it’s what I want. Perhaps this year they’ll listen 😊

Hope you get what you want for Christmas and enjoy a fun filled seasonal time with the ones you love. 

Edge
Susan Mac Nicol

Genre:  M/M Rockstar Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group Ltd
Date of Publication:  Feb 7th 2022
ISBN:978-1-957295-05-3
ASIN:  B09RZM617P
Number of pages:  221
Word Count: 65000

Cover Artist: Boroughs Group Publishing

Tagline:    Words cost nothing to write but sometimes, they lead to heartbreak and tragedy.

Book Description: 

Since he was young, Jory Longstone has been keeping a diary to catalogue his exploits, which helps inspire his music. He finds solace in managing his complicated life through the written word, which he never intended for anyone else to read.

Until one man did, and he now controls Jory's life.

While his band's star is rising, Jory remains trapped and ashamed - closed off from emotional attachments for fear of discovery.

And then he meets Damian Foyle, manager of his family-owned cinema, a place where Jory loves to hide and relax. The antithesis of a rockstar, Damian loves his martial arts classes, tinkering with motor parts, and the simple life.

Damian's first meeting with Jory is just shy of a disaster, and yeah, the second one isn't all that great either.

Jory is annoying, sexy as hell, temperamental, and one helluva rock god in tight trousers. It's all Damian can do not to burn up in the heat of the man's fiery personality.

But getting close to his heart is another thing altogether, and Damian won't settle for anything less.



Explicit Excerpt:

Now that he wasn’t coughing up his lungs and had fresh air in his face, he had time to ponder the incredible being who was his nemesis. Jory.

“I can’t believe he’s the lead singer for Stone Edge,” he muttered to himself as he walked home.

“I mean, even I’ve heard of them. And they’re some of the only rock music I enjoy too. God, I must have sounded like a right plonker when I first met him.” He sidestepped an old dear who glared at him as she pushed by with a tiny Yorkie on a leash.

It was only a twenty-minute walk home to his flat, andhaving avoided his uncle, he was soon insidedrinking a large glass of cold, sparkling water. He plonked himself into his armchair, got comfy, and switched on the telly.

Time to watch YouTube videos of Stone Edge and its hot lead singer.

***

A half hour later, Damian’s cock was rock hard inside his loose sweatpants as he soaked up the images of the writhing, magnetic sex bomb known as Edge. The stage name suited Jory. Or what Damian knew of him, anyway. Edge was defiant, and yes, edgy, and sinfully wicked in the way he thrust his hips out to his adoring audience of one. When the muscles in the singer’s arms swelled and tensed when he played his guitar, Damian thought swooning might have been the right word to use.

Edge was pure animal sex on long, muscled legs, clad in black biker boots. His voice was gruff and husky and he belted out the lyrics with a passion Damian wondered would be reproduced in bed.

He regretted not having the man back to his apartment when he’d offered. The things Damian would do to him. He took a sip of bourbon and closed his eyes, picturing those muscled legs wrapped around his waist as Damian gripped Edge’s chestnut hair and forced himself deeper inside the man’s arse.

Swallowing a gasp, Damian reached into his trousers, grasping his cock urgently, and giving it long, slow strokes, driving himself crazy. His hand moved faster and faster, his grip tightening until he was at the edge of orgasm. This was the part he loved when he jacked himself off—the knowledge all he had to do was make one long, hard sweep to his dick to come and send his spunk spurting all over his hands and stomach. But that would be too easy and Damian liked a challenge.

Instead, he hissed as his pulls grew slower, and lighter, leaving his body floating in a sense of frustrated ecstasy. He waited for the urge to orgasm to grow, denying himself the release, then grabbed his dick tight again and frenziedly pumped himself to completion.

His balls tightened, the delicious sensation of tingling pins and needles made themselves known across his already sensitive skin, and he let out one loud, satisfied groan as he came.

Holy crap. I’ll never be able to look him in the eyes again.



About the Author:

Bringing lovers together, one book at a time…

Susan writes steamy, sexy and fun contemporary romance stories, some suspenseful, some gritty and dark and hopefully always entertaining. 

She’s also Editor in Chief at Divine Magazine, an online LGBTQ e-zine, and a member of The Society of Authors, the Writers Guild of Great Britain, and the Authors Guild in the US. Susan is an award-winning script writer, with scripts based on two of her own published works. Sight Unseen has garnered no less than ten awards to date and her TV pilot, Reel Life, based on her debut novel, Cassandra by Starlight, was also a winner at the Oaxaca Film Fest. 

She loves going to the theatre, live music concerts (especially if it’s her man crush Adam Lambert or the divine Cumberbatch) walks in the countryside, a good G and T, lazing away afternoons reading a good book, and watching re-runs of Grimm.









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Thursday, December 1, 2022

A Wolf Christmas Wedding with M Guida - Deck the Halls with Books Holiday Extravaganza



A Wolf Christmas Wedding

I looked at my reflection in the large ornate mirror that the First King carved—a gift to his bride. He was the first one to command the demon wolves. The lore was only his descendent with his matching green eyes could bond with the wolves.

And that was me.

Not my evil uncle who had murdered my parents.

My aunt Remi stood behind me. Her red hair matched my own and her beaming smile warmed my heart. She clasped my arms and rested her head on my shoulder. Tears brimmed in her green eyes. “You look beautiful, Salem. Your parents would be so proud.”

I patted her hand. “Thank you.”

My hair was in a French braid with white roses woven in between the strands. My white dress reminded me of something what Cinderella would wear at the ball with the white roses around my neckline and at the bottom of my gown. It was so unlike me, but I wanted to forget my stormy past and start a new world of shining hope.

Today was the day. The day I would be queen.

And today I would marry the man of my dreams.

My aunt kissed my cheek. “You don’t know how long I’ve waited for this day.”

I smiled through my tears. “Stop, or I’ll smear my mascara.”

My demon wolves, Luna, Bella, Nico, and Remus, stood behind her like sentinels. They were actually from the Elder Dimension where the Unseelie lived. Strange to know that I had an ancestor who was an Unseelie, and that’s why they responded to me. My beautiful wolves followed me everywhere and if I needed them again, we’d become one again.

Remi clasped my shaking hand. “Are you nervous?”

“Yes.” I lowered my head. “I thought more people would be excited that King Calvin was overthrown.”

She sighed and lifted my chin. “Change is hard for people, even when it’s positive. In time, they’ll grow to love you like I have.”

I looked lovingly down at my wolves. “I think they’re afraid of them.”

“Unfortunately, your uncle distilled a fear of the demon wolves. It was a way for him to bend the people to his will.”

Anger flashed in my eyes. “He deserved to die.”

Remi rubbed my back. “Today is a joyous day, Salem. Let’s forget the past and concentrate on the future.” She winked. “Besides, a gorgeous man is waiting for you.”

My heart leapt, sending anticipation running through my veins. Mateo was my mate and now he would be king regent. I could reign as long as he was at my side.

I brushed my wet cheeks. “You’re right.”

Someone knocked on the door softly. “Salem, are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“We’re all waiting for you.” Ebony peeked into the room wearing a strapless red velvet gown. She was my matron of honor, and she looked beautiful with her white hair piled onto her head, topped off with a red rose crown.

I braced my shoulders. “I’m ready.” But my voice shook.

Ebony walked over to me and took my trembling hands. “I know hard this is, Ebony. I’m still trying to win over the hearts of the dark demons. Being queen isn’t easy, but you have a strong man at your side.”

The demon wolves let out a menacing growl.

She laughed. “And of course, you have your demon wolves.”

Hades marched into the waiting room of the little chapel. He was a Catalan dragon with a head of a lion and the body of a dragon and he nudged Ebony.

She scratched behind his ear. “Yes, I know. You’ll be protect her just like you do me.”

My demon wolves came over to Hades and nuzzled him. He was about the same size as them and fierce. They hadn’t always gotten along, but at least today, they seemed to have buried the hatchet.

Ebony scratched behind Hades’ ear. “You’re being a good boy, buddy, getting along with all the wolves.”

Hades narrowed his eyes and curled his lower lip, but he didn’t take a chunk out of any of my wolves. Thank God for small favors.

The piano player played A Time for Us, and the song drifted into the little room. The witch Hayley was singing, and she had such a beautiful voice.

Ebony bowed slightly and winked. “Time to go, your Majesty.”

My wolves and Hades would follow her. I didn’t have any other bridesmaids and wanted it simple. I wanted Gloria to be a bridesmaid, but she refused to leave Ashton’s side. He was still in a coma and hadn’t awakened ever since the demon Velkan shot him with a demon dart. Not even Hayley could break the evil spell.

It broke my heart that Ashton was still in the death sleep. He’d been with me throughout this journey, and I missed him dearly. The Archangels were coming to the coronation, maybe just maybe they could heal him.

Remi linked her arm through mine, disrupting my thoughts. “Are you all right?”

I blinked away my tears again. “I’m just thinking of Ashton.”

“We’ll find a way to break the spell.”

I nodded wordlessly as she escorted me to the back of the church. I wanted to her to give me away.

She looked at me and whispered, “I never asked you why you picked that song.”

“I know it’s Romeo and Juliet’s theme song and a tragedy, but it’s not for me. To me, it means my chains are broken, along with my uncle’s tyranny.”

She laid her head on my shoulder. “I never thought that, but you’re right. It’s a new for all of us.”

I bit my lip. “I just wished more of my people would believe that.”

“They will, sweetheart. I promise you, they will.”

I gave her a big smile, even though I only half believed her words. The organist played Here Come’s the Bride, and I inhaled a deep quivering breath. This was it. I forced my quaking legs to move.

Mateo waited for me down at the aisle dressed in a tuxedo that fitted his magnificent muscles, making him look dashing. Loved and pride glistened in his dark eyes, turning my body flush. I could hardly wait to feel his hands and kisses all over me again.

His curly hair was pulled back into a man bun, highlighting his strong cheekbones and that debonair smile. Gunnar, the king of the Dark Demons, stood at his side. He was handsome with his long white hair and crystal blue eyes. He and Hades had a special bond. Hades was actually a magical tattoo on his chest and would come to life when he called him.

But I wasn’t focused on him. I was focused on the tall, dark wolf shifter next to him. Love and pride reflected in his dark eyes, and soon he would be mine.

My female wolves, Bella and Luna, stood next to Ebony, and Hades, Remus and Nico stood next to Gunnar.

In the middle of the altar was the Archangel Michael. He had insisted on marrying us, and Mateo and I readily agreed. His white wings were spread out wide, and his long black hair spread out over his shoulders. He looked like a menacing godfather in his black and white tuxedo. His sword, Excalibur, was tucked at his side.

Definitely not someone you would want to cross.

The chapel was filled with what I considered royalty. Anton Lange, the Headmaster of Legacy Academy and Costin Tarus, the Headmaster of Red Rose Academy, were both vampires and sat in the front row. My friend Quint Dimir, another vampire, sat with Anton and Costin. He had risked his life to help me regain my crown. Something I would never forget.

Queen Gwendoline of the Starlight Kingdom. She was a Fae and had been one of my closest allies. The Archangel Raphael and the Reaper Stefan Gabor sat on either side of the Queen. The reapers, Rusty and his mate Julie, sat next to Stefan. They had helped us in the battle against my uncle and now my friends.

Besides my friends, the royal guard, and the nobility crowded the last pews. I wanted it to be more representative of all wolves, the nobility and the lower classes, not just the elite, but Remi thought it would be a mistake. She said if I won over the elite, the masses would follow. I wasn’t so sure, since the rich and haughty had never impressed me when I was in foster care and living in the trailer park. But in the end, I conceded to her. What did I know about being a queen?

As we drew closer, Remi’s eyes were drawn to Stefan Gabor.

I leaned closer to her. “Stefan looks quite handsome tonight.”

“Shhh.” Her face turned bright red, but as usual, she couldn’t take her eyes off him.

Remi and I stood in front of the Archangel Michael and my knees wouldn’t stop knocking.

“Who gives the woman away?” Despite his power, his voice was soft.

Remi puffed up her chest. “I do.”

Michael gestured with hand. “Stand over here, my child.”

Remi kissed me on the cheek and took a seat next to Quint. I’m sure she would have rather been sitting next to Stefan, but there was no room.

Michael smiled, washing away the usual tension in his handsome face. “We’re here to join Mateo Ruiz and Salem Willis in matrimony.” His smile faded and scanned the congregation. “If anyone objects to this marriage, speak now.” But the tone and glint in his eyes for anyone who dared would be foolish.

He squared his shoulders and lifted up a gold book he held in his hands. “Good.” The pages flipped magically and then stopped.

“Mateo Ruiz, do you take Salem Willis to be your lawful wife and mate, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or for poor, in sickness and in health as long as you both shall live?”

Mateo clasped my hand and kissed my knuckle. “Always. I pledged my heart to her forever.”

I trembled at his words and I was mesmerized by his words, by his voice, and by the look of possession in his eyes.

“Salem Willis,” Michael said. “Do you take Mateo Ruiz, to be your lawful husband and mate, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health for as long as we both shall live?”

I took Mateo’s hand and placed it over my chest. I wanted him to feel the love swelling inside me. “With all of my heart. I pledged to take him as husband, mate, and my king.” My voice shook with emotion.

Michael smiled. “Then, by the power bestowed on me from above, let this bond never be broken. I pronounce them as husband and wife.”

Mateo and I turned around to clapping of the front rows. My demon wolves howled and Hades let out a mighty roar.

There were halfhearted claps in the back and I pretended not to notice. Ebony was right. Being queen wouldn’t be easy, but with Mateo at my side, I would rule the best as I could.

Michael walked over to a jeweled crown that rested on a velvet podium. It wasn’t as gaudy as my uncle’s. His crown had been at least five inches tall and loaded with jewels. Mine was more of a simple diadem with a red ruby in the center, the same color of the eyes as my demon wolves.

He lifted up the crown and carried it in between his palms. “I’ve waited for this day from a far. Salem will unite the Moon Kingdom and bring divisions together. This is the hour of a new era.” He looked down at me. “Salem, please step forward.”

Mateo squeezed my hand as I pulled away from him.

Michael held the crow high. “Please, kneel.”

I bowed my head. My heart was beating so hard I thought it would burst from my chest.

“Salem, by the authority given on me by the First King…”

The congregation gasped, and a soft murmurer broke out.

Ignoring them, Michael continued, “Salem Ruiz…”

I smiled at now being Mrs. Salem Ruiz.

“Do you swear to protect your people, to lead them justly, and to bring peace to your kingdom?”

I took a deep breath. “Yes.”

“This crown holds you to your promise and comes with great responsibility. Do you accept these responsibilities of being a queen?”

“I do.”

He gently placed the diadem on my head. “Then I declare you Queen of the Moon Kingdom.”

People clapped and cheered. The wolves howled again and Hades led out a loud roar that practically shook the chapel. I slowly stood and Mateo drew me into his arms and kissed me hard.

Michael raised his arms. “I now proclaim them as your queen and king regent.”

More cheers and claps warmed my heart.

Mateo slowly released me. “Are you ready for this?”

I cupped his rugged cheek. “As long as you are at my side.”

Mateo took my hand and led me down to the aisle. Remi was the first to congratulate us.

She hugged me. “You’re like a fairytale. I can’t imagine what I could give you as a wedding gift.”

I thought a minute. “There is something you can do?”

She blinked. “There is?”

“It’s my understanding that my uncle desecrated Moon Academy. I want to restore it to its former glory. I give this honor to you.”

She gasped and put her hand on her chest. “Me? Why me?”

I looked into her deep green eyes. “Because you were here when my parents ruled. You know what the academy was like before it was corrupted. This is my greatest desire.”

The reception was a whirlwind, and I couldn’t remember how long I danced and greeted everyone.

Mateo held my hand as we retreated to our bedroom. “May I ask you something?”

I twirled my fingers in his long hair. “Anything.”

He brushed his lips over mine. “Why did you ask your aunt to restore Moon Academy?”

“Because I know I’ll never be able to go to an academy now that I’m queen. I have always wanted to go to one. I always thought it would be Legacy, but I’m queen. We can rebuild Moon Academy and make it something we can be proud of.”

He slowly unzipped my dress and brought it down off my shoulders. “You make me proud and all I want to do is worship your body, my queen.”

I stepped out of my dress and stood half naked in front of him, blushing as he flicked his gaze over me. My nipples budded, eagerly waiting for his touch and his lips on me. He pulled me to him and crushed me against his chest. “You’re mine.”

“And you belong to me, my king.” I stripped off his jacket.

He scooped me into his arms and carried me over to the bed. He ripped my lace panties off. His hands and lips were all over me, his beard scraping my sensitive flesh in the most delicious, hot way.

“Take the rest of your clothes off, my king.”

“How can I deny you?”

He stripped out of his tuxedo, and I heard the material ripping. His magnificent cock was free, and he joined me on the bed. Together, we explored each other’s body once again. Mateo’s tongue traced delicate patterns over every inch of me, caressing my breasts, my navel, and I shivered helplessly beneath its seductive power.

I ran the tips of over his broad shoulders, marveling at his rippling muscles beneath my palms.

“I can’t wait much longer,” he whispered.

I smiled wickedly up at him. “Then don’t.”

He spread my thighs and plunged his cock deep inside me. Waves of pleasures exploded inside me with each thrust. I rocked my hips, digging my nails into his buttocks, wanting to take him deeper and deeper.

Raging torments surged through me as my orgasm crested into a river of pleasure. I screamed out his name.

He continued plunging until he finally arched his back and spilled his seed. He collapsed on top of me, panting, still pulsing his hips. “I love hearing you call out my name.”

I stroked the back of his hair. “Then make me do it again and again.”

He kissed my neck. “I will, my queen.”

Mateo kept his promise, making me cry out his name until I was hoarse. We both fell into an exhausted sleep, tangled in each other’s arms.

Wolf Defender
M Guida

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Buffalo Mountain Press
Date of Publication:  11/10/21
ASIN:  B09DFDMQCY
Number of pages:  132
Word Count: 33000
Cover Artist: Jacqueline Sweet Design

Book Description: 

I've been carrying a torch for a wolf defender, but he’s never looked my way. Why would he? I am a dragon and the daughter of an accused traitor.

When we get news of mystery and intrigue in the corrupt Timber Kingdom of the wolves, he wants to go there to avenge the death of his fated mate. I'm sure this is the key to proving my dad's innocence.

If I can convince him to band together we both might get what we want, including a chance at love. But neither of us know who to trust when demons and wolves have joined forces to bring the dark Unseelie to our realm.



About the Author:

M Guida has always loved fantasy and romance, especially dragons. Growing up, she devoured fantasy books and all kinds of young adult books. And then she found romance and a whole new world opened up to her.

Now as an adult, she fell in love with academy romance and has blended all of her past loves into one compelling series. Dragons, vampires, elves, demons, and shifters all attend Legacy Academy.

When she's not writing, she lives in the colorful Rocky Mountains with her fur baby, Raven, and enjoys taking her for walks.










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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Shrek Writer Joe Stillman Offer 10 Tips to Help You Become a Better Writer #Shrek #JoeStillman #WritingTips


From the writer of "Shrek" comes "The Man Who Came and Went," a magically realistic novel about a grill cook who can mind read orders, and a small town diner that changes lives. 



10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

Hi, here are a few suggestions to help grow a writing craft.

1. Always be writing. Everyday write something, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. Even if it’s 1 minute. Don’t let a day go by without being a writer. 

2. Find a way to keep track of your ideas. Even bad ideas. There’s nothing worse than forgetting an idea and wishing you’d written it down.

3. Whatever it is you dream of writing, write it. A novel. A short story. A TV show. That leads to my next point:

4. Write badly. Especially if you’re just starting out. But even if you’re been writing for a long time, you still need to write badly. If you have it in your mind that nothing should be set down on paper or computer unless it’s good, then you’re your own worst enemy. Stop doing that. Almost nothing good comes out good the first time. Okay, sometimes something good comes out that way, but most times things come out rough. In other words…

5. Writing is rewriting. It’s almost impossible to create something good out of thin air. But it is possible to take something bad, once it’s set down, and make it better.

6. Go back to point 4. When rewriting, allow things to be bad. Because…

7. Perfect is the enemy of good. The ideal of perfection kills many writers. Even while rewriting, tolerate the bad. 

8. When fear says you shouldn’t write, write anyway. If it’s bad, remember that writing bad still beats writing nothing. 

9. Don’t be afraid to put down the pen. Walking away is as important as planting you butt in the chair. But when push comes to shove…

10. Plant your butt in the chair. 


The Man Who Came and Went 
Joe Stillman

Genre: Magical Realism / Mature YA / Literary Fiction
Publisher: City Point Press
Date of Publication: 3/1/22
ISBN: 9781947951389
Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 64,000
Cover Artist:  Barbara Aronica-Buck and Susan Stillman

Tagline:  
A grill cook who mind-reads orders.  
A diner that changes lives.
Tips appreciated. 

Book Description:

Fifteen year old Belutha Mariah, our storyteller, is the oldest of three kids from three different fathers. Her life’s goal is to keep her dysfunctional mom, Maybell, from procreating yet again and then to leave the coffin-sized town of Hadley, Arizona the second she graduates high school. 

Along comes the new grill cook at Maybell’s Diner, Bill Bill, a mysterious drifter with the ability to mind-read orders. As word spreads, the curious and desperate pour into this small desert town to eat at Maybell's. Some believe Bill knows the secrets of the universe. Belutha figures he’s probably nuts. 

But his cooking starts to transform the lives of locals and visitors, and Belutha finds her angry heart opening as Bill begins to show her the porous boundary between this life and what comes after.

Amazon     BN     BaM     Bookshop     Indiebound


Excerpt

            That day, the day Bill arrived, my mom was serving up eggs and complaints.

            “Dammit, that daughter a mine,” she yelled to Dolene, across the diner. Shes like walking birth control. Does she think Im trying to have babies? Scuse me, Darlin’” Maybell gave Clovers bubble walker a little kick, sending it between tables 4 and 6 so she could get by and dump a load of dishes behind the counter.

            Dolene was homegrown, like the tumbleweed, with eyes like a golden retriever that never quite looked at you directly. She was smart enough to add up a check, but you could tell she was never getting out of Hadley. I take it you didnt get laid last night.”

            Maybell pointed to her sour puss. Does this say laidto you?”

            There was a harrumphfrom booth 5 by the window. That was Rose. Rose was an old woman by the time she was 30. Now she was in her late 60s, a widow since before I was born—in other words, forever. She liked to spend her afternoons at Maybells Diner, reading her book and keeping an eye on the goings on around her, as if she was the towns homeroom teacher.

            “Look at Saint Rose,” Maybell said, stuffing dirty plates into the plastic tub under the counter. Thinks she smells better than Mentos. I aint running a library here, Rose. Next time bring Readers Digest!

            There was another sound from Rose, something between a welland a pfffft.She never took her eyes off her book.

            The door opened with a DING from the bell that hung on it. No one noticed Bill entering. He was about average in height, but his skinny frame made him look taller. You could tell from his face that he was in his mid-20s, but those were hard years he had lived, and his body looked frail and geriatric. His clothes were old and clung to him like an extra layer of skin, with a smell that would never wash out.

The angles of his face were sharp and careworn. But his eyes, those were different. His face was hard and weathered, but his eyes were soft. They seemed brand new.

No one in the diner even looked. If they did they would have seen those eyes taking in every little detail: the people talking, forks carrying food, the string lights behind the counter, Dolene ringing up a check. But what drew Bill more than anything else was the grill. Harley, the grill cook, must have had four meals going at once, each with its own set of sounds and smells. Most of those meals involved eggs. His spatula made a metal-on-metal scrape as he turned them. Bill was riveted. He went to sit at the counter to watch.

            Down the counter, a porkish-looking man named Earle—probably one of three men in town who had never slept with my mom—raised his empty cup. Can I get a refill, Maybell?”

            Maybell stopped and faced him. Seriously, Earle? Is it so goddam much trouble for you to get up off your ass and get it yourself? Cant you see Im working here?”

            “Well…” he stammered. I just—was I—I was—”

            Maybell pointed to the coffee pot. How far away is that? Two feet?”

            “Sure, I guess…”

            “Am I your personal slave, Earle? Is that why God put me on earth?”

            “No, I dont think youre—”

            Maybell grabbed the pot and sloshed coffee in his Earles cup. There. You happy now?”

He nodded meekly.

            While she had the pot in her hand, Maybell filled the cup sitting in front of Bill. Ill be by to take your order in a minute, hon.”

            Maybell walked on. Bill just sat there and stared at the coffee. For him, there was no diner anymore, no Maybell, no clanking dishes or dumb conversation. He leaned closer to that cup like it was the only thing in the world. And there he was, smelling coffee for the first time. And it smelled like life. Like a whole world. Like this is how a planet smells if youre up in space and could take a deep breath. Bill was motionless for who knows how long. And then, when he was good and ready, he took his first sip.

            Those eyes, the ones that didnt belong on his head, they closed as if he was praying. No, more like he was hearing a prayer. The coffee was praying to be heard, and Bill heard it.

 

About the Author:

Joe Stillman co-wrote “Shrek” for Dreamworks which earned him an Academy Award® nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and the Annie and BAFTA Awards.  Other produced features are “Beavis & Butthead Do America”, “Shrek 2”, “Gulliver’s Travels”, “Planet 51” and “Joseph King Of Dreams”. 

In television, he was co-producer and writer on “King of the Hill,” for which he received two Emmy Award® nominations. He was a writer and story editor for Nickelodeon’s “The Adventures of Pete and Pete” and a writer on MTV’s “Beavis and Butthead”. More recently he worked on Nickelodeon’s “Sanjay And Craig” and “Kirby Buckets” for Disney. Other TV credits include “Albert” for Nickelodeon, “The War Next Door” for the USA Network, “Clueless”, “Doug” and “Danger And Eggs” for Amazon.

Joe is currently working on “Curious George” and “Half-Baked 2” for streaming on Peacock.










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