Take Me Home
By Lorelie Brown
There’s a saying that’s turned up as a Lifehack and as a Reddit Shower Thought lately: Find one hobby to make you money, one to be creative and one to keep you in shape. I’d heard it before though, way back when. I was in the Army, almost done with my four year tour, and a crotchety Sergeant First Class gave me that piece of advice as what to do with my life when once I was out of the Army.
Ah-hah, I thought. I’m totally on top of this one. Writing romance novels will both make me money and be creative!
Ehh…not so much, it turns out.
I do make money off writing romance novels. (For a little while, I was making enough to quit my day job. I hope to get back there once again.) It turns out that making money off a hobby changes it – or it did for me, at least. I started thinking about writing as a business. I started thinking about the market. It broke me for a while – I suffered from a pretty wicked case of writer’s block. Getting my day job is part of what was able to get me through that block, taking the pressure off so that it wasn’t my only way of making money. I felt free enough to write absolutely anything I wanted, and I spent that freedom writing a couple lesbian romances.
I’ve always loved swimming, though that’s sometimes a little hard to make happen logistically. Over the past couple years, I’ve learned to love running. (Turns out it’s way easier when you’re not also a smoker!) So I’m covered in terms of keeping in shape, if only I could stop eating such yummy, yummy food. Halo Top ice cream may help me out with that though –it’s only 240 calories for the entire pint. I lurve it.
The intermingling of writing and money left me needing a new hobby for creativity though. Somewhere along the way, I picked up planners and washi tape and stationery. It’s a thing. Honestly, I’m not really sure when I picked it up. It all started so innocently, with a planner to keep track of my fitness efforts. Then I bought a couple rolls of colored tape to decorate a page or two. Then I needed a new, cuter planner. Then I needed some stickers.
I now have a hat box full of washi tape and stickers.
Have I mentioned that I also knit? I have a cabinet full of yarn.
So maybe my “creative” habit is more about buying pretty colored things?
Anyway, you should buy Take Me Home so that I can buy more wine and washi tape, and so I can keep writing romance novels. It’s about a woman who takes a pink-haired tattoo artist home to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner so she can annoy one of her aunts. And then there’s mashed potatoes and a little pot and they steal a dog. So obviously it’s meant to be True Love, right? Right. You wanna read it.
About Take Me Home:
Thanksgiving arrives in one week and one day. Feeling hemmed in by parental expectations? Are they disappointed by your sapphic proclivities? I can help! The only pay I want is the holiday meal!
I didn’t know what I was looking for until I saw her Craigslist ad.
I love my family. I’m lucky to have them—well, most of them. But my aunt? I’m so tired of her giving my mom crap because I happen to be a lesbian. So one pink-haired tattoo artist pretending to be my girlfriend will annoy my Christian fundamentalist aunt right back and make my Thanksgiving perfect.
Only . . . Brooke turns out to be cuter and more complicated than I expected. And before you can say “yorkiepoo,” we kiss . . . and abduct a dog together. I want to keep them both—but Brooke isn’t the kind to be kept. Lucky for me, I’m the kind to chase what I want.
I know what my mom is going to say before I even hear the sigh. “If Daphne isn’t there, Connie won’t come.”
“As if you want her there either.”
“If Connie doesn’t come, my dad will go with her to her family in Connecticut.”
“And we wouldn’t want that.” Thankfully my mom can’t see my eyes roll, or I’d catch hell. As it is, my tone is probably a touch too wry, and she responds with her own exasperation.
“I know you don’t always agree with his politics, but he’s my father and your grandfather, and it’s the holidays.”
“I just don’t want Daphne to ask if I’m ever settling down or if I’m content in spinsterhood. Seriously, who even says ‘spinsterhood’ anymore? Can a word count as a word anymore if no one uses it?”
“By that logic, it’s still in since Daphne used it.”
“Yeah but that was almost two years ago.”
“Then what are you complaining about?”
“Trisha’s had a baby.” And since everything Trisha does is magical to her mother, Daphne is just fine with Trisha’s works-as-a-server husband. Not that I’m a snob or anything, but how does a twenty-year-old expect to be a stay-at-home mother when her husband works at Applebee’s? Unless he’s giving head under the table, his tips can’t be that great. “I don’t want to hear about how brilliant that chubby-cheeked thing is and why Daphne thinks he’ll be the first man on the moon.”
“We’ve already had a man on the moon,” Mom replies bluntly.
“Does Daphne realize that?”
I get a special treatment of the sigh twice in a row. “If you don’t like it, stay at the kids’ table.”
“But I was finally going to move up,” I say instantly, but it’s not such a terrible idea. Sierra, my seventeen-year-old sister, is pretty fun. “What would really shut her up is if I brought a date.”
“You’re welcome to if you want, but please do keep in mind that it’s only a week till Thanksgiving. Let me know as soon as you figure out who you’re going to bring.”
“Sure, sure,” I say, and I’m not paying attention as we give our good-byes, because my mind is fully wrapped up in the holiday.
Daphne knows I’m gay, inasmuch as she knows physics. She’s heard of it, but she absolutely has no interest in mucking about with it. Her head will spin if she actually has to look at me holding hands with a woman.
So naturally I click through all my usual online dating sites. OkCupid is a bust of course, since my inbox is currently filled with men asking if I’m really sure I’m a lesbian—and if I am, is there any way they can watch? Just once? Ugh. My queer girl dating app nets one possible, a girl I’ve been messaging with for a couple of weeks, who I know is living away from her family. And she’s a student, so maybe she can’t afford to go home.
Out of impulse, while I wait for her to message back, I click over to Craigslist and the WSW section. I don’t expect much, and I’m not sure why I check, except maybe I’m more of a glutton for punishment than I want to admit.
Unexpectedly, I hit pay dirt.
Seeking an inappropriate Thanksgiving date?
Goddamn, that title is made for me.
About Lorelie Brown:
After a seminomadic childhood throughout California, Lorelie Brown spent high school in Orange County before joining the US Army. After traveling the world from South Korea to Italy, she now lives north of Chicago. She writes her Pacific Blue series of hot surfers in order to channel some warmth.
Lorelie has three active sons, two yappy dogs, and a cat who cusses her out on a regular basis for not petting him enough.
In her immense free time (hah!) Lorelie cowrites award-winning contemporary erotic romance under the name Katie Porter. You can find out more about the Vegas Top Guns and Command Force Alpha series at www.KatiePorterBooks.com or at @MsKatiePorter. You can also contact Lorelie on Twitter @LorelieBrown.
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To celebrate the release of Take Me Home, one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to an ebook retailer of your choice! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 12, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!