Back on the air...
After a short hiatus (sponsored by Time Warner Cable) I'm back online. For now.
In the meantime, I'm still unemployed and at this point, the job search is on hold. Since Sparky's mom passed so suddenly last year, we've been half-seriously bouncing around the idea of moving back toward Charlotte, which is where most of our family are, but it was always a vague 'sometime in the not too distant future'. On a lark, Sparky put in for a job at one of the many hospitals there, then forgot about it. Two or three weeks later, they called her for an interview, which went swimmingly; so well in fact, the manager offered her another job that hadn't even posted yet. We're waiting for the HR hoops to be cleared, but the pay rate is expected to be quite a bit more than what she makes here. No brainer. We're going back.
So, with all of this free time on my hands, I've been... no not packing, cleaning or anything else useful, silly... reading! Not even HP (except for the bits of betaing I did). I started the new Percy Jackson series, then regretted it because I hate WIPs and there are five books, the remaining three coming out in Autumn over the next three years, dammit. They were just as enjoyable as the first five, though I enjoyed the second one better because Percy was actually in that one.
Another thing I found (and had to download chapter by chapter to read offline, which involved contortions and holding my laptop nearly out the window to steal borrow the only unlocked WiFi in my area), is something so wonderful I'm nearly without words. It was such serendipity - I stumbled across a link for this story that didn't include a description so it was a leap of faith, leading me to a gay authors' website. Yes, kids, original fiction. The story is called "Second Shot" and it's about a young man named Jason, college student and star soccer player (sorry footballers, it's set in eastern Pennsylvania, but worth the Americanisms, so so worth them *sighs*), who is so far in the closet, he rarely even thinks about it and what happens when he meets Peter, the man of his dreams. So much love for this story. It's the sort of thing that stays with you. In fact, when I finished it, I was so reluctant to leave these people behind, I wanted to immediately begin reading it again. I held off, but even now, days later, I still think about opening that file. It's a romance, of course, but not at all schmoopie, and so truly well done. It's not all hearts and roses, either, with emotional ups and downs, along with people and situations that ring clear and true. Even secondary and tertiary characters are recognizable and real. (I fell just as hard for Jason as I did for Pop, Jason's grandfather, who makes an appearance or two.) I can't believe this story is free for anyone to read, frankly. It's novel length and really should be printed and bound and sold in stores. Thankfully, though, it is free for you to enjoy. And enjoy you will. There are some small issues, missing hyphens, a few instances of wrong word usage (nothing heinous, little things such as then/than, affect/effect) and in one scene Jason notes the arrival of his little "nieces" who are actually his cousins, but it's likely they'll be overlooked by most, not being obsessive beta readers, and chances are great you'll be so involved in the wonderful story you won't even notice. It's not graphically sexual (except in one necessary descriptive instance), but you won't miss it, even if you think you need smut to enjoy a tale. Trust me.
This link will take you directly to the story's page, listing the chapters: Second Shot
And in my desperation to stay in that world, I searched the author's stories and found a short sequel: Sequel to Second Shot (This is not the title of the story - I left that out to avoid a bit of spoilerage.) This one is told from a different POV but Jason and Peter are there and it continues something left unfinished in the original. I was thrilled to find it and enjoyed it very much, though I'm a fan of the genre (this bit's not a romance).
And... I just talked myself into reading it again.