Welcome to my first ever guest, Charley Descoteaux. Charley was kind enough to host me on her blog when my first book came out. It’s exciting to get to return the favor. She tells us today about why she chose the beach as the backdrop to her novella Directing Traffic.
“Why the beach?
First I’d like to thank Brynn for letting me get sand all over her place. I’ll vacuum before I leave but you know how sand has a way of getting everywhere!
My novella Directing Traffic is set on the Oregon coast in my fictional town of Long Sands Beach, which isn’t your typical backdrop for a sexy gay Romance. So, why did I do it? Why set my story at the Oregon coast when Portland is less than two hours away—or, for that matter, why not LA or San Francisco?
The short answer is because I wanted to.
But short answers are no fun! So, here’s the longer answer. I’ve loved Cannon Beach, Oregon since my first trip there in December of 1989. The sand is the most amazing texture—soft to bare feet and still strong enough to build fantasy castles with—and you can literally walk for miles surrounded by incredible beauty.
In Oregon every one of the 363 miles of beach is ours, it belongs to the people of Oregon. Coming from California—where except for a few parks here and there the rich folks own the beaches—that was a revelation. As a kid I’d go to Ocean Beach in San Francisco and feel energized and renewed, wishing I could stay forever. The power and beauty of the ocean amazed me; it felt a lot like my first time on my grandparents’ ranch when i saw a sky filled to bursting with stars.
Fast forward. After my divorce life was stressful, to say the least. One weekend while my daughter enjoyed one of her infrequent visits with her father, I decided to head to the coast. I only had a few hours (and I won’t say how many were spent driving because I don’t know the statute of limitations on speeding) but wanted to spend it doing something other than cleaning house or trying to write. So I left my beater car in the Cannon Beach public lot and headed for the sand. Before the calluses on my feet had even started to wear down I felt better. The pounding of the waves caressed my tired brain as the sand polished my feet, and I felt a little stronger.
I did the same thing after being laid off from my job of a dozen years—the best-paying job either I or anyone I’d lived with had ever had. The blow knocked me to my knees and the uncertainty was (was?!), at times, almost unbearable. So I took another day trip (observing all traffic laws in both directions) and found a few hours of peace in the waves and in the head of a man who was as uncertain of his future as I was about my own. Neil started talking to me over breakfast and bitter coffee at the Cannon Beach Pig N’ Pancake. His emotional journey—his battle to trust himself to make a decent go at life—felt similar to what I’d gone through a decade and a half earlier, and what had just hit me weeks before. So I sent him to the beach. The last thing on his mind was a new love, so I think he did pretty well for himself.“
Directing Traffic, by Charley Descoteaux
Neil Sedwick expects to spend his vacation in a sleepy tourist trap mourning his late partner’s death. Instead, he puts his recently acquired CPR certificate to use and saves an elderly resident’s life. But it’s the survivor’s nephew, sexy middle-school teacher Ty Bigelow, who causes Neil to reevaluate his routine and consider reopening his heart.
Though the electricity between them is undeniable, Ty is struggling with his own feelings of inadequacy, and Neil is moored to the past. Even the healing peace of an old man’s garden and the ever-changing waters of the Oregon coast may not be enough to prepare Neil to overcome a crisis of the heart.
Short Excerpt (Rated G):
When he finally emerged from the room, Neil wasn’t very hungry and didn’t feel like walking on the beach, so he thought he’d go to the local information center and find a hiking trail. The little beach community sat between the ocean and the Coast Range, so he shouldn’t have to go far. He’d almost made it to the end of the block when someone called to him.
“Neil? Um, it’s Neil, right?”
The young man with the auburn curls walked up to him, looking as though he wanted to run but was holding himself back through a great force of will. Or maybe Neil still felt melancholy from his run-in with The Happy Couple and was projecting.
Neil nodded. “You were there the other day, when…. How is he?”
“He’s good. He’ll be fine, really, thanks to you. That’s why I’m here. I’m not a stalker—I got your information from the police. I wanted to say thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” Neil smiled. “I’m glad I could help.”
“And, I mean, since you saved his life and all, I’d like to know, can I take you to dinner tonight?”
Neil’s heart started hammering in his chest. This young, sexy man wanted to take him to dinner.
“You don’t have to do anything. I’m just glad he’ll be okay.”
“Ty. I’m Tyler, but everyone calls me Ty. I know I don’t have to, but it means a lot, what you did. Uncle Ray’d be dead if you hadn’t….”
Neil thought Ty might hyperventilate, so he took his arm and steered him to a bench in front of the bakery on the corner. Ty shook, but after a few slow breaths was able to compose himself.
“How about lunch?” Neil asked, surprising himself.
Ty smiled, and Neil wondered if anyone nearby would be able to do CPR on him if his erratically beating heart decided to stop. Ty didn’t look as young when he smiled; in fact, he looked a lot older and more worldly. And he had an adorable dimple in his left cheek.
“Meet me at that cafe at the end of the main drag at noon? It has a woman’s name, Sharon’s or Shirley’s….”
Neil nodded and they both stood. After a slightly awkward moment, Ty offered Neil his hand.
“Thanks. I mean it.”
Maybe Neil saw more than gratitude in Ty’s hazel-green eyes, but he talked himself out of it fairly quickly. Surely he hadn’t slept well after what had happened to his uncle.
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 let her sleep once in a while. Charley’s a firm believer that everyone deserves a beautiful love story even, or maybe especially, the folks who would usually be in the supporting cast. Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear. As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.
Dreamspinner Press: http://tinyurl.com/pm5euze
Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/o7bvadg
All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-directingtraffic-1225478-149.html
Rainbow eBooks: http://tinyurl.com/kywwqna
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Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/CharleyDescoteauxAuthor
Thanks again to Charley for visiting today. Please let her know at above links (or here) how much you enjoyed her input.