When I was a little one, about a million years ago, I dreamed about living in some big city, as far away from the ranch, from the country, from chickens and goats and cattle and horses. I wanted to live in San Francisco, in London, Rome, New York, Boston.
Anywhere but Podunk Texas.
Now, the way the story is supposed to go is that I went to all those amazing cities and then returned home and was, a la Dorothy, so grateful to be home.
In the alternate story, the princess ran away to the city, fell in love there, and stayed forever.
It didn’t happen like either of those stories.
I traveled to all these places, I lived in some, and I didn’t find the exact right place.
I headed home, and no. No, I was still the big tattooed lesbian in a tiny Texan town.
I have to tell y’all. I got more than a little bogged down in what my dreams were, what I was even supposed to be dreaming about.
Then I fell in love.
First I fell in love with a certain writer’s words.
Then I fell in love with her spirit.
Next I fell in love with her.
Once that happened, my wife brought me to her home and the mountains, and I fell in love with New Mexico.
Seriously. I showed up here in the Sandia Mountains and went. Oh. Okay, I can live here. Now we have the house of our dreams, a yard that is a blank canvas, and a lovely community of friends.
It’s been strong enough that I wrote Refired as both a goodbye to Austin, Texas and a hello to my new home here in New Mexico. Josh and Kris are gallery owners in Austin and they decide to go on a buying trip to Santa Fe – obstensibly to save their gallery, but honestly to save what’s left of their relationship. This is a love affair – between two men, between New Mexico and Texas, between the devil you know and the one you don’t.
The neat thing? Apparently when I was small, we drove through the Sandias and I told my mother, “I want to live here when I grow up.”
Now I do.
So, apparently I got my childhood dream without even knowing what it was.
Here’s the opening of the book, before you get to meet Josh and Kris. Why share this? Because this is how the story started, y’all.
“What are you doing, Cypress?” Naki leaned against the doorframe of the studio, watching him with her button black eyes. “You don’t seem the wedding vase, traditional type.”
“I need to do it. You know how that is?” He felt the urge like a fever in the base of his spine. Two spouts, one handle—Naki was right. Traditional Pueblo design wasn’t his thing, but it was what the clay needed.
“Need, as in you got a commission, or need, as in the muse is going to peck your eyes out with a skewer if you don’t?”
“God, you are a sick, sad broad. I adore you. Skewer. This is totally a skewer moment.” He smoothed out another set of coils, then stretched and listened to his back pop. “Someone will love it. I’m going to paint it with rainbows.”
“You’re so queer.” She came farther into the studio. “I’m going to go take photos in the trees. I need a model that’s willing to get naked.”
He grinned over at her. Cypress had zero issues with naked. None. “Go grab that wet cloth for me and wring it out?”
“You’ll do it? You totally rock.” She went to get the cloth for him. “I want to do this thing that evokes Pan. You’ll wear horns?”
“I can’t think of anything I’d rather do with a nearly snowing afternoon.” He wrapped the vase up, protecting it. “If I freeze to death, you’ll have me cremated?”
“I won’t let you freeze. I adore you, and you’ll do anything for art.”
“Truth.” He grabbed his coat and yanked on his boots. “Let’s go play Narnia, shall we?”
Someone would want the wedding vase.
Someone would come for it.
Josh isn't willing to sell. Not yet. He's discovered a new artist in Santa Fe he knows will put Two Spirits in the black, and if he can just make a success of the gallery, maybe he can earn Kris's respect, if not recapture his love. He needs Kris to give him time for one more buying trip, one more gallery show. Josh wants nothing more than a final chance to make things right. Kris agrees to let Josh have this last ditch effort on one condition-- he wants to go along for the ride. On the way Josh hopes they'll find the next big thing in the art world as well as peace, forgiveness, and a love he thought was lost forever.
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Much love, y’all.