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I’m KC Burn, I write gay romance and I’m so pleased to be here at Dawn’s blog today. Thank you, Dawn! I thought I’d talk a little bit about inspiration, because not everything we write is made up entirely out of the creative soup in our brains!
My first apartment was… awful. It was part of a large house that had been cut up into units. My unit was a tiny kitchen (my stove only had three burners), a tiny bedroom and a bathroom in the basement. Every meter for every apartment as well as all the fuse boxes were through door in my bathroom, so I got regular visits from meter readers.
Thanks to this charming place, I now know what a severe cockroach infestation smells like. It was… appalling. I had loud, obnoxious neighbours, including the one who not only kept a line of empty Jack Daniels bottles along the ledge to his door, but ALL of his windows were boarded up, and he had a security camera over his door.
That camera either had an alarm, or he spent his whole time watching the display, because once when the landlord came over to change a fuse, he accidentally took out the wrong one. If it was even a minute before this guy pounded on my door because his security camera was out… I’d be amazed.
Needless to say, this apartment was quite memorable, and less terrifying now that I’m not still living there. I’ve also drawn inspiration from it for a few apartments that my characters have lived in.
Stratford Dale’s apartment, from my new release Pen Name – Doctor Chicken, was inspired from a different source. A dear friend of mine lived for a couple of years in an apartment that was over a vet’s clinic. The second floor was partly a storage area and dog grooming facility, and partly my friend’s apartment.
Her kitchen was a sink, a counter and a plugin hot plate (that I gave her) in a tiny wedge of a room.
The landlord/veterinarian kept his keys to her apartment in his office, and he and his employees didn’t seem to have much issue with privacy - hers. Not only did the landlord let himself into my friend’s apartment without notice a couple of times, my friend would come home from work to find people had used her shower, used her towels, left USED feminine products in her bathroom, and left panties behind. She also had suspicions that someone had sex in her apartment (the vet and one of his employees?) while she wasn’t there, and after all this other stuff, I don’t believe it was an unfounded suspicion.
Stratford’s apartment isn’t quite that bad, but it sure isn’t great. If you read the book, you should be able to see where I drew heavily on my friend’s apartment for inspiration.
Of course, it’s possible that even the muted version of Stratford’s apartment might have people saying to the themselves “that wouldn’t happen”, but I can assure you that yes… yes it can. And hopefully, it can be a little funny, since it’s in the past.
Got any housing horror stories? Please share!
Pen Name – Doctor Chicken
Sometimes Stratford Dale feels like Doctor Chicken consumes his life. It’s his pen name for a series of wildly popular children’s books. They were his brainchild; he meant for them to be a way to pay his many bills while he pursued his dream of publishing graphic novels. But the Doctor Chicken contract was a raw deal; instead, he churns out book after book for a pittance, leaving him broke and no closer to his dreams.
Stratford’s dreams of love have fared no better, but he’s still trying. After yet another disastrous date, he’s intrigued by a man going into a cooking class—so he takes the class too. Vinnie Giani is a successful, self-made man who is charmed by Stratford’s bow ties, sharp humor, and clumsiness—which leads to an opportunity to take Stratford in for stitches. Vinnie is, above all, responsible, having taken on the care of his mother and sisters from a young age. Perhaps it’s natural when he begins to treat Stratford more as a child who needs a parent than as an equal partner. But when Vinnie tries to “fix” Stratford’s career woes—including the Doctor Chicken problem—and ends up making the situation worse, their fledgling relationship may not withstand the strain created by blame and lies
“ABBY, I swear, I’m never going to find my own Thad.”
Stratford should have waited until he’d gotten home to call Abby, because the wind was going to freeze his fingers into a permanent curl around his phone. Gloves, scarfs, and wind-resistant fabrics hadn’t suited his super-sexy Barry-bait outfit. Unfortunately, the Barry bait had been too enticing. Or the wrong kind of enticing. Sluts might wear shirts and pants as tight as his, but they didn’t wear bow ties, did they? At least he was able to grab a latte on the way home. Aside from being one of his few expensive indulgences, it was keeping his left hand warmish.
“Of course you will. Are you sure you’re not judging him too harshly? You sometimes have unrealistic expectations.”
He snorted. No one had to know he’d had a sneaking little thought that he’d so dazzle Barry with his erudition and joie de vivre that the man would immediately become smitten and fall in love. Besides, Abby already knew he was a hopeless romantic.
“There was a certain romantic touch to the butt plug discussion over shrimp devolving into a dessert discussion on whether silicone, rubber, or glass was preferable for dildos. A dead giveaway, if I’d been paying attention. I mean, anyone who has enough information to write a dissertation on dildo production materials is either way too oversexed for me or hasn’t had enough sex with other people… and probably for an excellent reason, as I discovered.”
An older man in a fedora, walking in the opposite direction, gave Stratford a raised-brow look, and Stratford simply rolled his eyes and shrugged.
“Ford, you slut. You didn’t! On a first date?” Abby’s light, teasing tone hadn’t the slightest hint of censure, but it could have. After all, Stratford had had his slutty moments, to be sure, but slutty wasn’t the best way to snag a boyfriend. He didn’t think. Or at least, not too slutty. What man didn’t like a hint of slut? Monogamous slut. If there was such a thing.
“Uh, hello, you still there?”
“What, oh, yes. Sorry.” Stratford had to stop drifting to his fantasies of a fairytale ending.
“You dog. You did it, didn’t you? And how was it?”
“No. Really, I didn’t. I mean, he blew me a little bit.”
This time it was Abby who snorted. “Blew you a little bit? Kind of like being a little bit preggers, you know.”
“It’s never a good sign when you have to say ‘watch the teeth,’ followed closely by ‘don’t bite that.’ Puts a damper on things.”
“You think?” Loud gales of laughter buffeted him across the wireless waves, and Stratford pursed his lips. Why was his dating life such a fucking joke?
Available at Dreamspinner Press (http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4395)
KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds). After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own – getting published. After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does.