Hello everyone! Thank you, Nell, for allowing me to steal a spot on your blog again. Yesterday, The Drunken Dog was released, and it’s a short paranormal gay romance story that I wrote for JMS Books’ Sugar or Spice call.
It’s a call for short stories that had either something to do with sugar or something to do with spice. I picked spice. Otis, one of my main characters, finds Zev’s, my other main character, scent spicy and gets a bit obsessed with it.
As I am here guesting the queen of short stories, I thought I’d let you in on a little secret. Writing short stories is super hard! You want a plot, you want character depth and development, and you need to show all that on a few precious pages. I used to love writing short stories. Flash fiction was my go-to format. I loved the challenge of telling a story in 1000 words or less.
Now? I still love short stories, but all my ideas seem to be too big. I don’t know when I broke myself LOL
The Sugar or Spice stories were supposed to be 5,000 to 11,999 words, and I really tried to stick to that. I did! But The Drunken Dog is 12,121 words. It was 11,988 words when I submitted it, but once we’d gone through the editing process, we had added to it.
That’s fine… sort of. There is another short story call for Rain or Shine stories that will be out in April. I’ve submitted a story for it… A story that is 12,864 words now. We haven’t done the editing yet. My lovely publisher said it’s okay. It’s not to go into an anthology, so some extra words won’t mess up anything, but if you know me, you know I have this thing about following instructions.
If a story call states 12k as the maximum limit, 12,001 is not okay in my world, and now I’ve messed up twice.
So, kudos, Nell. Keep up the good work, and keep the stories within the call limits! (LOL, thank you, I’ll try my best!!)
The Drunken Dog, as I mentioned above, is about Otis and Zev. Otis is a vampire who had to kill his rockstar persona since people were starting to take notice of him not ageing. Zev is a crossbreed, he’s part werewolf, part cú sídhe which is a fae hound. And there is this spicy scent…
If you’ve read Cup o’ Sugar, you’ve run into Zev before. You don’t have to have read it to read The Drunken Dog, though. Zev is a member of the same pack as Roarak in Cup o’ Sugar, but I tried to make the stories stand alone. The Cake Shop, which is the 12,864-word story that will come in April is also about a member of the pack but can be read as a standalone.
Zev Nightfall has a secret. For two years, he’s been the beta in a loosely knitted werewolf pack, but he’s not a werewolf. He’s a crossbreed, part wolf, part fae, which is a death sentence in most packs. That’s not his only problem. One night he meets Otis, a vampire. Shifters and vampires aren’t friends, yet fighting is the last thing on Zev’s mind.
Otis Miller is in the middle of rebuilding his rockstar persona. Again. A hundred years ago, all he had to do was to move when people started noticing him not ageing. With cameras and social media, it doesn’t work anymore, and he isn’t sure he has the energy to start over. Then there is the shifter coming to the bar where he’s singing. He makes Otis want to jump off the stage and never look back.
Zev knows he shouldn’t get involved with a vampire; he has enough problems as it is. But Otis is alone and vulnerable, and it tugs at Zev’s heartstrings. Normally, Otis stays away from other supernatural beings, but something about Zev makes him want to curl up on his lap and forget about the world around them. But how would two people from enemy species make things work, and will Zev’s pack ever accept not only a crossbreed but a vampire as well?
Gay Paranormal Romance: 12,121 words
When they’d packed up, he went to the bar where Gerald was cleaning up. All the customers had left, the door was locked, and the emptiness of the deserted bar seeped into his soul. “Was it a good night, Gerald?”
Gerald shrugged. “It was okay.”
“What did Zev say before he left?”
Otis rolled his eyes.
Gerald didn’t spare him a look. “He wanted to know which nights you’re here.”
Butterflies spread in Otis’s chest. “And you told him?”
“No.” Gerald put down the glass he’d been wiping.
“Why?” Otis hadn’t meant to whine, but why? What if he never saw him again?
“You wanted him to know?”
Otis opened his mouth to say of course he wanted Zev to know, then he stopped himself. “Did he ask so he could avoid me or because he wanted to come when I’m here?”
Gerald widened his eyes. “How would I know?”
“You didn’t ask?”
“I told him I didn’t want any trouble, and he said he didn’t intend to cause any. Then he left.”
“But… will he be back?”
Gerald frowned. “How should I know?”
Otis pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Does it matter?”
Gerald pursed his lips before grabbing a dishrag and wiping the bar. “I’m sure he’ll be back. He usually comes in the afternoon on weekdays, an after-work drink, I suspect.”
“He’s an alcoholic?” Could shifters be alcoholics?
“I find that hard to believe. He usually has a beer or a whiskey, then he leaves.”
“If I come in as soon as I wake, I might catch him.”
Gerald was quiet for several seconds. “You’re sure he’s a shifter?”
“Aren’t you mortal enemies?”
Otis shrugged. “It’s more our races are sworn enemies than on an individual level.”
“And you want to… be his friend?”
Otis had no idea. He wanted Zev to touch him, he wanted to taste his blood, he wanted to curl up on his lap.
“Maybe I’ve been surrounded by humans for too long. It was such a relief to talk to someone who knew what I am without having to hide. I didn’t have to pretend.”
“I know what you are.”
Otis sighed. “Yeah, but you don’t understand.”
“No. I’ve looked like this for almost four hundred years now. I change my name, and now and then I change my occupation, but every night is pretty much the same. I always have to pretend to be something I’m not.”
“And for fifteen minutes you didn’t, and now you’re fretting about him walking out the door without promising to see you again. Is he gay?”
Otis stared. “I don’t know. My glamour didn’t work on him, and he didn’t smell of arousal.”
“Your glamour… and it should have? Maybe he isn’t a shifter.”
“It should have worked, he is a wolf shifter, but he smells… spicy.”
Gerald shook his head. “He’ll be back.”
“You think?” If he had a heartbeat, it would’ve been drumming fast.
“If you’re this interested in him, then I’m sure he’s at least a little curious about you too.”
Otis wasn’t so sure. “He has a pack. He doesn’t have to hide what he is all the time. I don’t think our fifteen minutes together had the same impact on him that it had on me.” And didn’t that suck.
Gerald laughed. “You mean you failed to charm him?”
Otis rested his head in his hands. “Yeah, my charm didn’t work on him.”
“No, I meant, not you messing with his mind, just you, the real you.”
A knot formed in Otis’s gut. The real him? He was nothing interesting. Without his glamour, there was nothing that would lure Zev to him.
Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.
Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.
When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.
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