Friday, June 23, 2017

FIRST LINES FRIDAYS: Obsessed

First lines Friday: On the long drive from Seattle to Palm Springs, I heard Duran Duran's song "Hungry Like the Wolf" on the radio. It reminded me of a lot of things, but most of all, it made me think of my first novel, OBSESSED, published in 1991 by Dell and reissued by Untreed Reads in its current ebook format. These first lines explain why Duran Duran and OBSESSED, a book about a serial killer terrorizing Chicago, mash up:

Joe MacAree had just murdered a woman, and all the things he felt when he killed the other four he was feeling right now. How would he describe it? In his journal, he might call his feelings an “elevation of the senses” or “an ethereal quality bringing the world into sharp focus.”

After each killing the reaction was the same. There was a moment of sharp pain right behind his left eye, an instant where the pain was so intense as to block out the act he had just committed, the blood and the ripped flesh…then a moment where brilliant flecks of silver light swam before him, and he could not keep his eyes from rolling, trying to follow the patterns the stars made.

And then the clarity.

As he guided his light blue Honda Accord along Harlem Avenue just south of Chicago, everything seemed more alive, as if to contrast the death he had just brought about. He noticed things he never noticed: the shifting red, amber, and turquoise of the reflections the stoplights made on the rain-slicked pavement. He noticed how the color spread, muted, over the slick black roadway. Even his radio, usually sounding tinny tuned to WLS, seemed more vibrant. He heard the different instruments in “Hungry Like the Wolf” as if Duran Duran were in the car with him, playing.

BLURB
I kill, therefore I am…

Voices slam through the corridor of his wounded mind. The words of his dead sister cry out. His parents' taunts fill the silent room where he sits and waits--waits for the murderous rage, filling him with strength, driving him to kill, to touch the cold flesh, taste the warm blood--to feel alive again… A witness has seen him, but his killing only turns her on and now she wants to protect him. His wife suspects him, but the private detective she hired cannot stop him. Joe MacAree fears nothing--except that he may no longer be human. The thirst that drives him is relentless, moving deeper and deeper into his own shattering, private realm, where each murder is a delicious new gift of life, where revulsion is beauty, and the obsession will never let him go.

"A harrowing ride through cutting-edge psychological horror, this one's got a vicious bite. Rick R. Reed's Obsessed is a twisted nightmare." - Douglas Clegg, bestselling author

Buy OBSESSED (for only $2.51!) here.

Listen to Duran Duran singing "Hungry Like the Wolf" here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My Seat-of-the-Pants Writing Process



Writer friends, does the following resonate? This seemed like such an apt description of my own creative process (from Dennis Lehane's SINCE WE FELL): 

There seemed to be little rhyme or reason as to why one day snatching the correct words from the ether was like opening a faucet and other days it was like opening a vein, but she began to suspect both the good and the bad parts of the process were connected to the fact that she was writing without a map. No plan at all, really. She fell quite naturally, it seemed, into a more free-flowing approach than she ever would have allowed herself as a journalist and gave herself over to something she didn’t quite understand, something that, at the moment, spoke in cadence more than structure.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Writing About Love...and Food


Writing About Love...and Food

Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on…” I agree with him, except I would paraphrase him “If food be the music of love, cook on…”

People ask why I marry food with love in so many of my stories. One, I believe that food and love, next to air and water, are two very essential things for a happy life. 

Dinner at Jack’s shows how food bridges the gap between love and memory and how providing the care and comfort of good food can solidify a relationship. That’s not just something I believe as a writer, but as a human being.

In the excerpt below, you get a ‘taste’ of the kind of comfort food you’ll find in Dinner at Jack’s and get an insider view into the tenuous relationship between our two lovers, Beau and Jack and how a simple pasta dish begin to forge a spark of recognition and tenderness….


EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT (and a recipe!)
Beau neared the bed. He set the tray down not on Jack’s lap, but next to him.

“I have a feeling you’re going to love this,” Beau said softly, staring into Jack’s eyes.

Jack allowed himself, for only a second or two, to stare back, noticing the rich green of Beau’s eyes, which were the color of moss. He tore his gaze away. Something told him it wasn’t right to stare into another man’s eyes that way. There was something shameful in it.

Instead he looked down at the tray. On it was a white bowl filled with little pillows of pasta he remembered were called gnocchi. They glistened with olive oil, dotted here and there with flakes of red pepper. The tang of the cheese, although barely visible on the pasta, rose up to Jack’s nostrils to remind him it was there. Next to the pasta was a plate upon which was piled a mound of greens, it too glistening with a light dressing. Jack could smell the lemon in it, acidic, tangy, making his mouth water.

He gripped his fists together so tightly he could see his knuckles whiten in his mind’s eye. A sudden urge, powerful, rose up, to push the tray very gently, and while smiling all the while—off the edge of the bed.

No! Why did he want to do such a thing?

He couldn’t bring himself to say anything, especially not anything like “This smells amazing” or “Oh my God, this looks so good.” But he could fight the impulse to fling the food, a gift really, to the floor. Or at least he thought he could….

He looked at Beau, then away quickly, to level a glance at his mother, who was all expectancy and hope. Her hands were clasped together, almost as though she were praying. And maybe she was.
Staring down at the tray at last, he lifted it up and onto his lap. He grabbed the paper towel on its surface and tucked it into his collar. Finally he lifted the bowl up and took in a gnocchi.

The flavors danced, truly danced, on his tongue, an explosion of savory heat. He closed his eyes and reveled in how this simple bite of food transported him, made him one with his body in delight… and again, weirdly, nostalgia. He forced the latter away and continued eating, without realizing right away he was also keeping his eyes closed.

When it dawned on him that he was sitting there, gobbling his food down with his eyes shut, his eyelids snapped up. His mother hovered over him, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. Beau stood in the background, wearing a subtle but visible smile of triumph.

Those two ignited a tiny flame of rage within Jack. He glared at them. “Do you think a guy could eat in privacy?” he asked.

“Of course,” Beau said. He grabbed Maisie’s hand and led her from the room. They closed the door softly behind themselves.

And Jack found himself eating every bite. And wanting more….

Damn Beau!

Jackson’s Spicy Gnocchi
(Serves 4)

You Need:
8 oz. potato gnocchi
¼ cup good olive oil, more or less
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 anchovy filets
1 t red pepper flakes, more or less
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ cup pasta cooking water
Salt and pepper to taste (seriously—to taste! With the salty anchovies and the red pepper, you may not need either)

To Make:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add plenty of salt when you first see bubbles appear.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in olive oil and allow it to get warmed up, a couple of minutes. Throw in your minced garlic and lower the heat. Allow the garlic to simmer and become aromatic, but be careful that it doesn’t begin to brown—you don’t want that bitterness. Add in the anchovy filets and cook for a couple more minutes. You should be able to break up the filets with a wooden spoon, and they should magically vanish into the garlic-flavored oil. Trust me, this will not taste fishy. Throw in your red pepper flakes.
Add gnocchi to boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface of the water. Do not overcook! This will only take a couple of minutes. Remove from water with a strainer and set aside. Reserve ¼ cup of the water you cooked the gnocchi in.
At this point, you can dump the gnocchi in the pan with the seasoned olive oil. Toss pasta to coat with the oil and add your Parmesan. Toss some more, so every gnocchi is coated.
Add in your reserved pasta water a little at a time. You want to loosen up the sauce a bit with this, make it creamier. Your eye will guide you when to stop adding water. You won’t need the whole ¼ cup.
Serve hot.

BLURB
Personal chef Beau St. Clair, recently divorced from his cheating husband, has returned to the small Ohio River town where he grew up to lick his wounds. Jack Rogers lives with his mother Maisie in that same small town, angry at and frightened of the world. Jack has a gap in his memory that hides something he dares not face, and he’s probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Maisie, seeking relief from her housebound and often surly son, hires Beau to cook for Jack, hoping the change might help bring Jack, once a handsome and vibrant attorney, back to his former self. But can a new face and comfort food compensate for the terror lurking in Jack’s past?

Slowly, the two men begin a dance of revelation and healing. Food and compassion build a bridge between Beau and Jack, a bridge that might lead to love.

But will Jack’s demons allow it? Jack’s history harbors secrets that could just as easily rip them apart as bring them together.

BUY
eBook
Paperback
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

LOVE: Defined



"Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident." 

(Louis de Bernières in Corelli’s Mandolin)


Friday, June 2, 2017

NEW RELEASE! FEEL-GOOD TRUE ROMANCE, A Bundle of Four of My Best Gay Romance Titles


Happy to announce my new release!

BLURB
Delve into some of Rick R. Reed’s classic feel-good romances with this bundle. In Chaser, self-proclaimed chubby chaser Caden DeSarro finds in the perfect man in stocky, bearded Kevin Dodge, and a one-night stand leads into the relationship they’ve both dreamed off. But when Caden returns from a business trip to find Kevin with a new body makeover, is this really the same man he fell in love with? In Hungry for Love, Nate Tippie’s curious sister Hannah and kooky best friend Marilyn set up an online profile on a gay dating site, with Nate as the model. When Brandon Wilde falls in love with the man he’s been chatting with, Nate and Brandon just might have a chance at the love they’ve been searching for—if they can find their way out of the mess Hannah and Marilyn have made!

When the state of Washington finally makes gay marriage legal, Duncan Taylor proposes to his boyfriend, and doesn’t get the answer he’d been hoping for, in Legally Wed. Giving up on love, Duncan determines to marry gay-man-loving Marilyn instead, but wedding planner Peter Dalrymple may be just the solution Duncan has been yearning for. And in Dinner at Fiorello’s, Henry Appleby’s family has his life all planned out for him, but he takes a chance at living a bit of his dream with a summer job at Fiorello’s. Vito Carelli, a chef at Fiorello’s, has a tragic past, but when these two cooks collide in the kitchen, they might just find what they need to break free.

BUY:
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon Kindle