I love the idea of these MEET MY CHARACTER/HERE’S MY NOVEL YOU SHOULD LOVE IT blog tours. They’re pretty rad writing exercises and my narcissism really appreciates the chance to discuss the shit I’m working on. Without further adieu, meet my main character—
**I’m going to let the man himself takeover now… good luck with him and be nice. He’s a nice boy!**
1) What is the name of your character?
Yeah, my name’s Cash Alexander Gabriel. (Here’s a little tip: ask me to prove my name is really Cash—I fucking hate it but I’ll do it).
2) Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Of course I’m REAL, what the fuck kind of drugs are you on.
3) When and where is the story set?
Most of my drama in WHERE WORDS FAIL was originally set in the fictional college town, which Cam based heavily on present-day Los Angeles. Now, I guess she’s decided to go balls to the wall and just call it what it is. It’s LA, through and through.
4) What should we know about him/her?
I do the music. Music—singing—is, like, my thing. And, sure. I guess you could say I’m on my way to making it “BIG,” whatever that means. I don’t know if I’m really about that LA life, though, so you can probably imagine how fucked up I am over what it means to be a “successful musician” in a big time metropolis like the city of lost angels.
5) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Without running my flap too much—I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that music is where my heart lies. That’s always been the case. When your doesn’t-have-a-clue mother names you after one of the greats, you really start to get it. Thing is, when I signed my name on that legally binding music contract, I didn’t exactly understand what I was signing up for. Which, sure, okay, fine, I get it—dumb as fuck. But really? The music industry gets to control what jobs I do, what gigs I take, what songs I sing, what alcohol I drink who I fuck and more importantly, who I don’t… Yeah, it’s a real riot, this “MUSIC” bullshit.
6) What is the personal goal of the character?
Did we not just cover this? Music. On my own terms.
…And maybe there’s this girl. Tall, leggy. Eyes like fire. Mouth full of razors that my dick seems to love. Did I mention I’m fucked up?
Too bad my agent and music contract specifically ban me from having a relationship with her.
7) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
Working title? This question is dumb. WHERE WORDS FAIL is what it is. And uh, sure. You can read more HERE.
8) When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?
I just had a quick chat with Candice. She doesn’t like this question and we’re goddamn skipping it.
(Hey—Candice here. I’m just popping in to say that this fucker will be query-able by the end of December so suck on THAT).
And now for a sneak peek at WHERE WORDS FAIL:
I’m walking back to the apartment from a grueling vocal lesson where—swear to Jesus—the kid was tone deaf. I’m cutting through the campus, crossing the apartments just down the street from the off-campus housing where Kip and I live when fate perks up and shakes her existence in my face.
Rhyan, clad in overalls that actually look like a short dress, is seated on the curb, her laptop bag settled beside her. She’s wearing mirrored aviators, so I can’t actually tell if she’s using her eyes to rip me limb from limb, or if she’s just got me conditioned to feel that way whenever I’m in her presence.
“Hey. Rhyan.” I say this knowing she would rather I kept walking; which is to say, I’m pretty amused.
She rolls a toothpick between her teeth and says, “Gabriel.”
I watch her lift one perfectly arched brow.
Jesus, I’m starting to sweat. “I mean, you’re just sitting here?” I continue. No response. “Outside this gate?”
“I live here.”
“Oh. Okay. So you are… waiting for a ride?”
She exhales hard and to me it feels like she’s giving up and conceding a loss. “I’m locked out. I left my keys at work and the office is locked.”
Don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh, Cash.
I clear my throat, but I think she can kinda tell I’m losing this battle with myself. “So you are locked out of your apartment complex and can’t get back in until someone comes through the gate and lets you in. Do I have that right?”
It shouldn’t be this hilarious to me that not a single car has come by yet, and I slip up, letting a little laughter slip through. I choke it off quick.
“I could hop the fence around the side and run back around to let you in. You know, if you want.”
“It’s a hundred and five degrees out today.” I can tell she’s already starting to burn a little, the olive skin at her collar bones a nice red.
“You wanna hop the fence, Cash. Hop the fucking fence.” She holds her hand out in a ‘be my guest’ gesture, so I pull everything out of my pocket—keys, wallet, Chapstick—and set them down beside her.
“I’ll be right back.”
Jogging quick, but light, around to the side of the complex takes all of two minutes. The apartments she lives in are a lot nicer than the off-campus housing I’m living in with Kip. These have thick metal bars around them, interspersed with sections of bushes and tall brick walls. I find a nice spot to climb up the gate bars where no one will see me if they happen to drive by. I don’t want to be caught, having someone think I’m breaking and entering.
Hopping the fence is easy enough. I’m tall and Kip and I hopped plenty of fences back home, whether we were actually breaking and entering or leaving someone’s house when we weren’t supposed to be there in the first place.
I’m pretty much over the thing and lifting my other leg up and around when my jeans snag on the sharp tip of one of the gate’s bars at the top. It throws me entirely out of whack and I end of scraping my right arm from palm to the inside of my elbow, trying to catch myself on the brick wall before I land hard and break my fucking neck.
The good news is I don’t fall or break my fucking neck. The bad news is I’ll have to amputate my right arm at the elbow, because the thing is mangled and dripping blood everywhere.
Stings like a bitch, but it’s nothing compared to the time Kip thought it would be funny to pelt me in the head with a rock-filled snowball two Christmases ago.
I shake it off and jog back to the front where Rhyan is standing at the walk-through gate.
As I push it open she says, “Jesus. What took you so long.”
“Sorry I couldn’t do you this incredible favor in fifteen seconds’ time instead of fifteen minutes,” I deadpan.
“Yeah, well, you—eww, Jesus God, what happened to your arm?” She laughs but there’s also this sort of incredulous panic to her voice. “Did you fall?”
“No. I’ll see you later. You’re welcome for the help.” I walk toward my stuff, still outside the gate, and place everything back into my pockets.
I turn to see Rhyan just inside the gate, holding it open. “Come inside. The least I can do is clean you up.”
“It’s fine. I don’t live far.”
“Come inside, Gabriel.” And it’s that voice she turns on, the subtle demand, that makes me turn and follow her up the path to her apartment.
Rhyan’s apartment is full of personality. The furniture doesn’t match, the art on the walls has no theme or focus, no rhyme or reason. Most of it is hideous. It is clean though and incredibly… neutral. There’s no pink or purple. No wood carvings with Pinterest quotes on them. No “home is where the heart is” magnets on the fridge. It’s very her. Kind of makes me feel like I’m lost somewhere along the Venice Beach boardwalk.
“Bathroom’s this way,” she says, so I follow her down the rabbit hole.
The bathroom is small with barely enough room for one of us to be breathing at a time, let alone two. Still, Rhyan maneuvers about the small space like it’s the most natural thing in the world, moving me this way and that way in order to grab things from what seems like a pretty well-put-together first aid kit.
And then she’s pulling herself up on the ledge of the bathroom sink and pulling me by the arm to stand just between her open thighs. My dick gets hard for about point-zero-zero-two-five seconds until she touches an alcohol soaked cotton ball to my shredded arm.
“Holy fucking hooker—”
“Calm down, you crybaby,” she says.
“You’re enjoying this.”
“Ow! Rhyan, Jesus!”
She puckers her pink lips together and blows on my arm a little, smiling to herself. “There.” After another moment, she moves to the worst of the scrapes and says, “Ready?”
“Yeah, do it.”
And call me a crybaby if you want to, but the second she touches the alcohol rub to my arm, I use my undamaged hand to grab and hang onto an anchor. That anchor just so happens to be Rhyan’s hip, and I lean my forehead onto her shoulder and grunt my way through it.
I grit “Unnecessary roughness,” through my teeth as she uses tweezers to pick a few small pieces of rock out of my cuts. As she applies the Neosporin, I clutch her a little closer. Girls smell so good, it’s unreal. And Rhyan’s is pretty much the scent against which I’ll be comparing all others from now on.
I run my nose from her shoulder to part-way up her neck and she shivers.
I clear my throat and force a guttural-as-hell “Yeah?” from my lips.
“I’m done bandaging you up.”
I whisper a thank you into her ear and then pull back enough to look at her.
“You’re welcome. Sorry you got hurt. Helping me.”
I nod, very slightly, because it’s just starting to dawn on me that my hand is still on her hip and her hand is on my hip and her leg is hiked up my other side and her overall-dress-thingy actually is a dress and it’s riding up, up, up her thighs and she’s looking at me like she wants me to kiss her, like she needs it, like if I don’t it might actually kill her. So I lick my lips, lean in and—
And then my fucking phone rings.
And it’s Kip. And I waste literally no time pulling the phone out of my back pocket and backing away from Rhyan completely, turning toward the wall, because otherwise she’s getting an eye-full of just how thrilled I was to help her unlock that gate.
Rhyan jumps down off the counter and I hear her mutter “Oh my god, oh my god” under her breath.
“Cashy, you there, man? Listen, I’m with Ollie and Jac. Settle a bet for me…”
And he drones on for like four minutes before my junk’s deflated enough for me to walk out of the bathroom, glance at Rhyan and pantomime “Gotta take this call, see you later, bandage, thanks,” whatever else, and then book it.
And now I’m more than a little unsteady.
Here are the other authors who volunteered to play NEXT Monday, November 10th:
Katherine Locke lives and writes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. Her dayjobs always vary, but in the past she’s worked in nuclear weapons abolition activism, lead poisoning education and prevention, and food safety at a mushroom farm. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, and when she’s not reading, she’s tweeting about reading and writing. She likes her heroes with boyish charm and her heroines with dirty mouths. Her first book SERENADE comes out spring 2015 from Carina Press. You can always find her on Twitter at @bibliogato or at www.KatherineLockeBooks.com. She is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency.
S.E. Lehenbauer lives in the Midwest U.S. When she’s not writing or blogging at selehenbauer.com, she’s raising a horde of minion clones and talking about herself in the third person. You can find her on twitter way too often @SELehenbauer.
Adrianne Russell writes stories about boys and girls and the boys and girls that love them. When she’s not crafting plans for the zombie apocalypse, she’s daydreaming about being a professional baked goods tester. You can find her blogging at The Writers Republic and oversharing on Twitter at @writersrepublic.
Eve Jacob is an artist some days, a scientist others, and a writer always. It’s a wonder that she ever gets anything done, but based on the updates to her website, she can at least write blog posts on a fairly consistent basis.
By day, she’s a not-so-mild-mannered owner of a social media marketing company, and by night, she works on her novels, because sleep is for the weak. She is a fan of tea, a hopeless geek, and an Oxford comma enthusiast.
Julie’s debut novel, Running Home, giving you vampires with a Japanese mythology pants kicking is available through Books of the Dead Press. Julie revels in all things Buffy, has a sick need for exotic reptiles, and drinks more coffee than Juan Valdez and his donkey combined, if that donkey is allowed to drink coffee. Julie’s a black belt with an almost inappropriate love for martial arts. And pizza. And Rob Zombie. Julie lives in Plymouth, MA, constantly awaiting thunderstorms with her wildly supportive husband and two magnificent boys.
Julie on Twitter
Julie on Goodreads
Marie Hogebrandt is a writer aspiring to publishing. She writes in several genres, though mostly inspired by myths and legends of her native Sweden. When not writing, she generally wrangles code (for living and for fun) or cuddles her cat, or her partner.
Emily Toynton is a writer who is still trying to find her niche but thinks that she’s getting there. She currently writes poetry and mystical realism, as well as the occasional suspense-filled short story. She’s a self-acclaimed hoarder, with a growing collection of sewing machines, books, and typewriters. Reading is also one of her biggest passions, one that she’s been pursuing since before she could talk. She currently resides in Florida where she spends her days longing to be back in the mountains of Wyoming.
Andie Castillo is a native Texan who indulges in wine, vinyl and Kylie Minogue. Writing seriously since the age of 12, Andie published his first book based on his lack of a love life through Noisetrade and is continuing it into a series. When not writing for Lucky, Andie works with Sensible Reason, a millennial magazine.