Fearless began as my entry for National Novel Writing Month 2011. Inspired by a single line of dialogue and one reactive look, it grew from being a simple story about one calloused young man finding love with a fresh and bold young woman, to an examination of the tethers people have to their own physical-ness, and how they use their bodies to identify themselves. As the words flowed, I realized I’d created a full-blown world full of people with fears, anxieties, passions, sorrows, and guilt. Their journey – of how they learn to live with those feelings, overcoming some and just accepting others – became my journey, too.

The story is about honesty. It’s about trust. It’s about redemption and finding strength within oneself, both physical and emotional. It’s about how people sometimes get sucked down into life’s wild and random undertow…and how some of them can still get up again even when they do. But most of all, the story is about love: the love that exists between friends who support each other and are willing to call one another on their shit; the love between family who are willing to protect each other even to the point of blindness; and – especially – the love that exists between lovers who are searching for someone to hold onto, both in the cold, clutching night and the warm, bright day.

I’ve written many stories over my life. Some of them were just for the fun, others were for the challenge, still others were because I wanted to make an impression. None of them have I enjoyed imagining and writing so much as this one, though. It might not end up being my most powerful, my most popular, or even my best work. But it’s been the most true, in its people and their feelings, their failures and their successes.

And that’s made it worth it.

Measuring up

I can't believe I'm still obsessing over hit statistics. Yes, even after the craziness that hit statistics caused for my life during my writing of 1 More Chance!, I'm still caught up in the stupid things. It doesn't even really measure anything, except that someone...

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Excerpt: Fearless, Chapter 2 (draft)

2 (Wave Walkers)

After leaving the Harvest Fete dance amid hushed comments and uneasy stares (about which he didn’t give a toss; that was a lower class of mammal who had wondered curiously about how he could possibly be so grinning and gleeful after having Samantha Hoggett’s considerable wrath directed toward him, lesser humans who lived on the hard ground alone, with hearts and wills like clotted cream, who couldn’t conceive of any greater synchronicity between opportunity and payback than what their tiny minds had been shown by the cinema or telly), and downing three heady draughts of St. Austell’s at the Crest and Claw (after which Neville had muttered to him that it might be better to take a break, amid concerned looks and pressing questions that had gone mostly unanswered in favour of inward snickers and planning), Ross had gone home and had himself one of the hottest showers, one of the most fulfilling wanks, and one of the best night’s sleep he’d had in a long, long time.

On the following morning, after a pulse-pounding run on the beach with Scott (who was often the only one of the crew up before sunrise, these days, since he could only surf in the mornings now that Venus had an hour long commute from Truro in the evenings, and four-year-old Emma needed someone to be at home for her), and an early cut into the dawn-breaking waves, Ross was still flush with anticipation, over both Sam and Amber.

Rather than cooling his ire, being given the time to think it over had made him even more eager to get back at Sam for all of those useless nights spent lying on his board or in his bed, alone, staring up at the sky or the ceiling and wondering where he’d made the wrong turn. The answer – he knew now, shown to him in the pretty and just-seductive-enough smile of a younger girl – was that Sam was full of shit and that he hadn’t made any wrong turn. He’d just had to wait to get his sweet, sweet revenge on the woman who’d dangled him by his heartstrings (not to mention the blood vessels in his cock) and then made a fool of him after getting him hard over her. Sam hadn’t been the first woman to do that, of course, to use him and then toss him away like yesterday’s rubbish; she wasn’t even the most memorable. But he saw her with such annoying regularity – at the pub, at the lifeboat station, on the street – and that almost daily reminder of her presence (not to mention her very existence) grated on his nerves.

More than anything at that moment, he wanted Sam to feel the same ache of rejection and self-doubt that she’d made him feel for the last two years.

And he really, really wanted to fuck Amber.

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That Christmas Kiss

Winter was not supposed to be a time for love, but what was it that they said in "Winter Wonderland?" "Love knows no season, Love knows no clime." Same old story, the man thought casually as he stepped briskly through the crisp December snow. Richard Tasker was not in...

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