It’s so good to be at Guys Like Romance, Too. It looks like I’m leading off the fright month festivities!
I have to admit, I’m not one of those people who likes having the crap scared out of them. My last haunted house was at least thirty years ago. I’m sure I was squealing in a very masculine way. Scared, blood splattered and gore, they all give me nightmares. I’m not the adrenaline pumping kind, I guess.
I’m more the “oh Lord I’m gonna die!” type.
Now I guess I have to clarify, while I’m not a blood and terror kind of guy, I love a good witch/warlock story. I thoroughly enjoy the magic, and the twists and turns of those kind of stories. And then there is Halloween itself. I love the costumes and parties to celebrate the fall season. I have some great memories of fun trick or treating trips when I was younger. It was also my one, and only, time in drag. I was only twelve at the time, but I had a great time fooling the adults into thinking I was a girl. It was a blast. Of course there’s the fall food too.
One of my favorite things about October is the harvest season events. Piles of pumpkins, corn mazes, and apple cider donuts! That’s probably a favorite time of the year for the characters in my latest novella Home Grown. It was released by Dreamspinner Press on Sept 3rd. Ethan and Peter are from wildly different worlds but both of them have issues in their past that have kept them from relationships. But they have a common tie of loving good food. Ethan is one of the vendors at the farmers market, and Peter is in a high pressure corporate job that leaves him at the end of each day feeling like he’s ran the gauntlet. Mix in a perfect storm of misunderstanding and dense guy stunts and the two struggle to reconcile their differences.
If you love a good story that revolves around food and rural settings, you’ll enjoy Home Grown.
~ Jon ~
Peter Stevens believes nothing tastes better than a vine-ripened tomato tended by a farmer’s hands. The craving for heirloom tomatoes leads him to his local farmers’ market and his favorite vendor, Ethan Hart. As Peter becomes a regular customer, the two find they have more in common than a love of good food. Just as Ethan begins to relax, Peter's ex, Jay, appears and is all the things Ethan is not. A perfect storm of mistakes and poor choices, as well as Ethan’s haunted past, has him ready to admit defeat. With the guidance of friends and a goat far too smart for her own good, Ethan realizes he needs to have a tender hand and patience to grow a home for Peter.
Ethan’s stomach fluttered, his anticipation building as he scanned the early morning farmer’s market crowd. Stop it. Peter will show up when he shows up. Ethan snapped his attention back to the present when the small gray-haired woman who ran the booth beside him tucked herself under his arm and hugged him tight.
“Morning, Maggie. How are things going?” Ethan kissed the top of her head and returned her embrace.
“Not bad, not bad. I’ve put out all the soaps. I hope everyone feels dirty today and stocks up.”
Ethan chuckled at the image of mud people gathering around Maggie’s stall. “Well, my customers can be clean. But I think business today will be good. The late season tomatoes are finally ripe, and I’ve had lots of people asking about them.”
Heat crept up Ethan’s cheeks. “Peter? I don’t know. Probably. You know he has a thing for my tomatoes.”
“Uh-huh, yeah. I might have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. Admit it to Auntie Maggie, you have the hots for the boy, and I think he has a thing for more than your tomatoes.”
Ethan brushed off her speculation with a wave of his hand. “Maggie, you’re crazy. That man’s some kinda high-powered muckety-muck downtown. He’d never know I lived in Wisconsin if I didn’t have the best tomatoes in the market.”
Ethan studied the forming crowd, their sounds echoing through the building. “It looks like it’s getting busy, I’d better check to make sure I got everything from the truck.”
He embraced her again and trotted out the side door to his pickup. I’m not ready to talk to anyone about my feelings about Peter.
Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, and comic books.
A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.