A warm welcome to author Charlie Descoteaux joining us here at Love Bytes as part of her Dreamspinner Press release tour on part 4 in her Buchanan House series “Safe House”.
Charlie talks about her release, shares an excerpt and brought with her a giveaway!
Welcome Charlie 🙂
Hello and welcome to the last post on my whirlwind Safe House tour! I’m thrilled to be visiting Love Bytes—thank you Dani and everyone, for having me back. 🙂
All week I’ve been asking for sand sculpture stories in my Rafflecopter so I thought it was about time I told one of my own. It’s been a long time since I did any sand castle building. My kiddo is pushing 30 so that probably has something to do with it. When sand castle competitions popped up in Safe House I had to do some research.
My own sand castles have all been clearly bucket-shaped; more fun than art by far. But I’ve enjoyed visiting Pioneer Square during Sand in the City and every so often have come across someone on the beach practicing for a competition. The talent and perseverance of folks who compete truly amazes me. It takes a special kind of person to work so hard on a piece of art that they know will crumble and disappear or be washed into the ocean in a few short hours. Unfortunately Sand in the City won’t be continuing in 2016, leaving Portland, Oregon a little less weird for its absence.
But, I digress! Since I’ve never crafted a competition level sand sculpture I had to do some research to write a couple of the scenes in Safe House. Especially the one where Kyle and Bran flirt over building tips. Until then, I had no idea so many resources were available online. It was especially fun to read blog posts by people who enjoy competing in local contests.
Most of the information I found stressed the importance of building a strong foundation, saturating the sand before adding it to the basic shape of your structure and tamping it solidly in place a few inches at a time. Once you have a solid block of sand in the basic size and shape you want, anything goes—as long as you don’t let it dry out too much while you’re working. You can slice away everything that’s not your sculpture with a dull knife or a metal spatula, scoop out decorative touches with a melon baller (they’re great for making windows!) or use fancy tools made specifically for working with sand.
The research was a lot of fun and eventually I plan to put it to use on the Oregon coast. Someday. The sand here is perfect for building so even though I’m not much of an artist I have a shot at making something cool.
In Safe House, the sand sculptures that make an appearance on the page are very cool, even the one that’s only for practice. This excerpt features that practice sculpture. Kyle has just found Brandon on the beach and offered a few tips.
He felt Bran’s attention like another layer of clothing as he went around the sand castle. It had started to crumble but wasn’t beyond salvageable. Kyle spritzed the sand, and while he was smoothing it, he added a few lines to give the illusion of a crumbling brick facade. Without thinking, he began sculpting the sand below the cave-in, carving away everything that wasn’t a dragon clinging to the side of the castle.
“Wow. That’s amazing.”
Kyle felt himself blushing, which made no sense but turned Bran’s grin into a smile. “Sorry. Now this turret is slimmer than the others.”
“No. No, don’t apologize. That’s cool.” Bran walked around the turret, gently touching it here and there with the tips of his fingers. “You’ve done this before. Either that or you’re a natural.”
“Or it’s beginner’s luck.” Kyle brushed his hands together to clean the sand off and watched Bran examine the sculpture.
It was very simple—no detail to speak of, only the illusion of a dragon and blocks of stone. Nothing he couldn’t have done in grade school, but he wouldn’t be saying that. Before he could slip too far into the past, Kyle shoved his hands in the pockets of his jacket and started talking to silence the voice in his head. The one that sounded like his mother’s.
“You just need to keep it from drying out too much. Once the sand gets past a certain point, there’s no going back—it’ll lose its cohesion, and when you wet it down again, the sculpture will dissolve.”
“That’s exactly what happens.” Bran stepped up beside Kyle, and they faced the castle. “I know you’re on a long weekend, but could I tempt you to share some of your sand castle knowledge with me? Over drinks? Or dinner?”
Kyle checked his watch and tried not to swallow too loudly. Too late he realized that if his hands or arms had been shaking, that might not have been the smoothest move. With all the pent-up desire he’d been quashing for the past eight months it was a wonder they didn’t shake.
“I’m expected at Guest Chef Night, but afterward is wide open.”
Bran smiled. “I’m planning to check out Derek’s dinner. I hope he’s cooking up something hot and spicy—I could use the warm-up.”
Kyle must have looked as shocked as he felt, because Bran chuckled.
“You didn’t know who the guest chef is?”
“No.” Kyle shook his head and spritzed the top of another turret. Wind caught the fine mist and played it across his face. While grateful for the cooling effect on his hot cheeks, he wasn’t sure if the spray had hit Bran as well and decided he didn’t want to find out. He kept his gaze on the castle, happy he hadn’t lost his touch as the potential for further embellishment leaped out at him. “They probably thought I’d want to stay and help if I knew.”
“Would you? Stay and help?”
Kyle shrugged. “I would’ve offered.”
“But someone wanted you to take a walk on the beach instead.” Bran’s voice sounded fond and amused at once, pulling Kyle’s attention squarely onto his face. His smile brought out a pair of dimples and made his eyes sparkle. “I wonder who that could’ve been.”
They shared a grin.
“I guess Paulie’s got my weekend all planned out. Not a surprise. If not him, it would’ve been Nathan.”
“Is that why you haven’t been out here before? Not that it’s any of my business.”
Kyle resisted shrugging again, but only with an effort. “This isn’t my first time, but I haven’t spent a lot of time out here. Just busy, I guess.”
Bran’s raised eyebrow said he didn’t buy the excuse but wouldn’t pry. Still, Kyle didn’t want to talk about being set up any more than they just had. “Are you allowed to use tools? In the competition?”
Bran grinned, and while he backed up, he halfheartedly pretended he wasn’t checking out Kyle’s ass. Kyle didn’t have a bubble butt, but he knew he didn’t look too bad from that angle. Maybe he wasn’t as firm as he had been a decade or two ago, and he had never been as muscular as Bran, but hopefully he was still hot enough to be desirable. Desirable to Bran. All the references Paulie and Nathan had been making to “someone nice” had sunk in far enough that Kyle was inclined to believe it of Bran, regardless of how scary he might be during his work hours.
Thanks for reading!
If you’re reading this on Sept. 23rd or 24th, I’m in Seattle for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up. If you’re in the neighborhood stop by my table at the Meet & Greet and say hello!
Before you go, don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter!
Safe House by Charley Descoteaux
Tagline: It’s never too late for a new beginning
Series: Buchanan House (Must be read in order.)
Book Number: 4
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 19, 2016
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Kyle Shimoda is an asshole magnet, has been for as long as he can remember. At forty-seven, he doesn’t see much chance for improving his luck in love. His friends who run Buchanan House, a gay retreat on the central Oregon coast, know he wants to find “someone nice” to settle down with, and they set him up with Officer Brandon Smith. Kyle has a turbulent history with law enforcement, but he can’t deny his attraction to the buff cop.
Brandon has been a police officer in Lincoln City almost since the day he graduated from high school over thirty years ago. He’s cultivated the facade of a serious, disciplined law enforcement officer, but beneath his overdeveloped chest beats the soft heart of a drama queen. A cancer scare shifts Bran’s focus from finding a serious relationship to having as much sex as he can—putting his goals squarely at odds with Kyle’s. If he can’t find the courage to be honest about his feelings for Kyle, the happiness they’ve both been searching for could slip through their fingers.
Buy Safe House:
Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a drought, and found her true home in the soggy Pacific Northwest. She has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through one day without stories.
Rattle Charley’s cages:
Dreamspinner Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=879
Three winners! Prizes: One signed paperback of Safe House (US Only); one ebook copy of book one of the series, Buchanan House; one backlist book (any ebook except Safe House
a Rafflecopter giveaway