Unquietly Me welcomes author Kris Ripper for The Butch and the Beautiful blog tour!
Top 5 Places I Like to Write
By Kris Ripper
1. The library. With geese. True story, most of Queers of La Vista was written in a community college library overlooking a pond. Rain, sleet, snow, wind, burning triple digit days. And geese. All the geese families. My little geeselings are adolescents now. Their parents no longer hiss at every single human who walks past (and if you’ve never been around geese you might laugh, but man, do not mess with geese parents, they will CUT YOU).
I’ve also done the thing in the library where I “own” a chair. It’s the one next to the outlet under the windows, but in the area where the window is one pane, not a bunch of little panes. And like sometimes I show up and it’s in a slightly wrong position and my hackles go up, like “Who’s been sitting in my chair?”
2. At kid events. All the kid events. Nothing pleases me more than to write dirty kinky porn while sitting in a sea of parents talking about, like, birthday parties, or dishing over some teacher who may or may not have been fired. Soccer practice? Good writing time. Gymnastics? The playground? The park? Yeah, that person smirking, hunching over their Bluetooth keyboard with their phone balanced on their knee? That might be me. And I might be writing very naughty things.
3. Outside. Particularly on a covered deck in the rain. Man, there’s nothing like writing in a storm, extra points if it’s a thunder storm. I once wrote an, um, historical mystery story set in the California wine country during Prohibition, starring a lovely young man with a crush on a lovely young woman (who, er, happened to be gay; sorry, pal).
I wrote the majority of this book one summer when I was living in Visalia, California, which is basically the dead center of the state. It’s in between Bakersfield and Fresno, and it’s hot as hell in summer. But that summer we scored a string of these massive thunder storms, and I got a lot of words written sitting outside at night, when it was still a hundred degrees out, lightning flashing across the sky, thunder rolling across the valley.
4. In the car. I always liked writing in notebooks in cars, but since having a kid I started writing serious, like, books in cars. Because carpe naptime, yo! (I’m not sure what the Latin for “naptime” is; sorry, linguists.) Necessary tools: Bluetooth keyboard, Bluetooth enabled phone, fully charged batteries. And shade. I’ve actually got a couple of grocery store adjacent parking lots where shade is more plentiful for those “roasted child and parent in car” days.
5. Last, but not least, I had this room once. In the attic of a semi-detached in Tralee, County Kerry. I had this attic all to myself, and it was a bed, a rack for my clothes, and a window in the sloped roof, you know the kind, has a sort of pivot point in the middle of it, you push the bottom up and the top swings down, meaning you can leave it open in the rain and only get a little wet.
I wrote one of my favorite books in that room, a story that now would be called NA, but back before NA was just a book with an uncertain market. I wrote mostly at night, but the last day of work on that project (which was a massive tome, and which I wrote at speed, as if the hounds of hell were on my heels), I passed a day of writing in my attic that was only interrupted for meals mandated by family members and our nightly walk through The Green. I wrote 25k words that day and when I finished I stood at my window, looking out over broken clouds and a waxing moon.
There are public milestones for writing like there are for most things—we don’t have promotions or record breaking marathon times; we do have book deals and best seller lists—but sometimes it’s the quieter moments when you come into your own. That night I finished the first ambitious book I’d ever attempted to write. I stood there bathed by the moon, entire body tingling, and knew I was meant for this thing, that I’d chase this high for the rest of my life.
So far so good.
By: Kris Ripper
Release Date: August 22, 2016
Jaq Cummings is a high school teacher who really wants a committed relationship—as long as it doesn’t keep her out late on school nights or interrupt Sunday mass with her dad. She is absolutely not about to fall for the hot-mess divorcée she hooks up with even if said hot mess pushes all her buttons. Jaq’s white knight days are over.
But one hookup with Hannah becomes two, then coffee, then more incredibly hot sex. And unlike most of Jaq’s exes, Hannah’s not looking for someone to come on strong. In fact, Hannah comes on plenty strong enough for both of them. But she’s just out of a disastrous marriage, she’s in the process of moving across the state, and Jaq can’t take a chance on yet another relationship where she defaults to being a caregiver instead of a partner.
Just when Jaq decides her relationship with Hannah is far too precarious, a crisis with a student reminds her of her priorities and makes it clear that sometimes, you have to take big risks to get what you really want.
ABOUT KRIS RIPPER
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.
Connect with Kris:
To celebrate the release of The Butch and the Beautiful, one lucky winner will receive their choice in ebook from Kris’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 27, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
I wasn’t hiding behind the topiary. People in suits this expensive don’t hide.
I was trying to dodge Liz’s brother for the third time. He hadn’t caught me yet, but he eventually would, and I wanted to put that moment off as long as possible on this, the happiest day of Liz’s life. Or whatever.
It probably would be the happiest day of her life. Liz had a sentimental streak the size of the Pacific. And she and Marla were deeply in love. Since Marla was only a little bit crazy, I was genuinely pleased for them, but that didn’t mean I wanted to be buddy-buddy with my co–best man all afternoon. He was going to ask me to fix everything he’d screwed up, while eyeing my breasts—just wait for it.
If your ex ever shows up on your doorstep one brisk autumn evening, plies you with wine, and says, “We’re getting married, you’re the best man, and we’re doing everything ourselves,” run like hell. Obviously. Do not, whatever else you do, slosh more wine into your glasses and say something totally absurd like, “That is going to be amazing. How can I help?”
My co–best man was actually supposed to be helping, at the moment. Oh god. What if he had screwed something up? I had visions of Bobby surrounded by torn tissue paper and massacred crafts. Fucking lesbian weddings. I had no idea why people were so into DIY. I’d hated arts and crafts in school, and adulthood made everything worse.
“Jaq?” he called, edging into view. “I know you’re hiding!”
Liz and I had dated off and on for five years. I should probably feel at least a little bit guilty about leaving wee Bobby in the lurch.
I was on the verge of coming out of my, uh, lingering place, when a woman I’d never seen before walked up to him. In a stunning, intense, ocean-depths-blue dress that draped off her curves and flowed around her.
“You’re Bobby, right? Liz said I should find you. I’m Hannah.”
That was the other ex? I’d heard a lot about Marla’s ex, who was serving as maid of honor, but apparently everyone forgot to mention she was gorgeous. I ducked more completely out of sight and caught my breath. Then, utilizing skills learned over the course of watching many James Bond movies, I edged around the sculpted bush to see better. Did Hannah have a sculpted bush? I told my brain to take a break. By all accounts, Hannah was batshit, histrionic, and in the middle of a nasty divorce. She probably did have a sculpted bush, though. She was from LA. I think it was go sculpted or wax off down there, no exceptions.
Bobby, clearly unsettled in the face of a hot woman, stumbled over his words. “Um, I’m not actually in charge—the person you should talk to is Jaq—”
“Any idea where I can find her? Unless—if you don’t need help, I can just head back to my room.”
I couldn’t let that happen, now, could I? All hands on deck.
I strolled out into the open, you know, like you do when you have in no way been hiding from your former almost-brother-in-law.
“Oh, hi, Bobby.” My voice, so very casual. I turned to the perfect stranger, whose name I didn’t know since I hadn’t been eavesdropping, and held out my hand. “Hi. I’m Jaq.”
“Hannah.” Handshake: firm. Palms: dry. Nails: short, squared-off, French manicure.
Batshit, histrionic, nasty divorce. Do not assess.
“Good to finally meet you,” I said.
“Jaq!” Bobby shifted restlessly from foot to foot. “I’ve been looking for you—”
“Sorry, Bobby. Took a walk. What’s up?” I gave Hannah a pointed last look before turning to Bobby.
“It’s the paper-bag things! There aren’t enough of them to reach all the way to the altar thing.”
“There’re two hundred of them. I mean, it’s not that far.”
Even at twenty-five he still looked like a sixteen-year-old wearing a suit too big for him. “We tried!”
Who was “we”? Cousins? Nieces and nephews?
“I’ll be over in a few minutes,” I told him, hoping he’d take the hint and skedaddle.
“Fine, but it’s almost four—”
Screw hints. I lightly shoved him. “Go on, baby brother. I’ll take care of it.”
He sighed. “Why didn’t they hire someone to do all this?”
“Hey, you’re preaching to the choir.” Another shove.
“Yeah, okay. Fine.” He turned away, then looked back. “That suit looks really good on you, Jaq.”
The eye-flick downward was only a second long. I shoved him a third time. Harder.
“Get to work.”
He grunted and took off.