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Author Name: Haley Walsh
Book Name: Desert Foxe
Series: The Skyler Foxe Mysteries
Number: Five, plus two novellas (one due soon!)
Release Date: November 2014
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: Winterheart Designs
Pages or Words: E-book: 232 pages, Audio: About 7.5 hours
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Categories: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery
Buy the book:
Skyler and his friends go to Palm Springs for the annual White Party and find murder!
Out and proud high school English teacher Skyler Foxe and his posse of friends go to the annual Palm Springs White Party for a weekend of fun, frivolity, and luscious men. But there are boy troubles of all kinds ahead. Skyler’s boyfriend and high school coach Keith Fletcher has to endure an embarrassing number of Skyler’s former hook-ups, one of the SFC might be going solo, Skyler encounters unexpected and unwelcome participants at the party, and there’s a murder on the dance floor, literally at Skyler’s feet! Both Skyler and Keith are drawn into investigating more than murder when the FBI asks Skyler to do the unthinkable.
Taquito Grill was crowded for a Sunday night. Jamie and Dave had arrived not long after Skyler and Keith. Jamie, hair spiked and a fire engine red in honor of his firefighter boyfriend, clung to Dave’s arm and bounced in his seat. “We’re so excited about Palm Springs,” he squealed. Dave grinned at him fondly. “It’s going to be so much fun with Dave there.” He patted the large bicep. “And we both agreed that we can dance with other people. Isn’t that cool?” Dave nodded. “Just as long as we keep our hands above the waist.” Jamie demonstrated with jazz hands in the air.
Skyler glanced hopefully at Keith, but the man was scowling into his bottle of Dos Equis. With a defeated sigh, Skyler sat back against the bench seat. Part of the fun of the White Party was dancing with a bunch of different partners. But, he had to admit, the other part of the fun was hooking up with them, too. Under the table, he rubbed conciliatory circles on the man’s hard thigh.
Keith’s tensed muscles seemed to relax under Skyler’s ministrations and he flicked a glance at Skyler with a sheepish smile before putting the beer bottle to his lips.
“Oh, and Dave,” Jamie rambled on, “we are staying at a huge hotel. It’s fantastic. Humongous pool. And some of the activities will be there.”
“Activities?” said Keith for the first time since ordering his drink.
Jamie leaned across the bench seat toward him. “Well! One of the activities is the Splash Pool Party, with live music. It’s all day. Nothing but beautiful shirtless men in tiny white swim trunks.”
Skyler wondered if Keith’s brows could furrow any deeper.
“White? So you have to wear white?”
“It’s a ‘white party,’ Keith,” said Skyler. “Hence the name. We wear white. And you’d look fabulous in white, with your dark skin tones.” He squeezed Keith’s thigh under the table.
Keith seemed to be thinking his own thoughts about that as he studied Skyler. “You’d be in white, too. I love you in white.”
Skyler blinked. “You do?” He melted against Keith. He couldn’t help it when the man looked at him with those sultry eyes.
“Save it for the White Party,” said Jamie.
Dave turned his head toward the door. “Philip and Rodolfo. Finally! …Uh oh.”
They were in mid argument and hadn’t taken their narrowed eyes off each other as they made their way to the table. Rodolfo sat hard and crossed his arms over his magenta shirt. Philip settled on his chair and pointedly looked away from his Ecuadorian boyfriend.
Skyler instantly went on alert. “What’s the matter with you two?”
“Nothing this pene doesn’t know about,” said Rodolfo, waving his hand. His wrist clanked from his bracelets.
“Don’t start with the name-calling,” said Philip, rounding on him and pushing up his black-rimmed glasses. “Can we just stow it for now?”
“Stow it? Stow it? Fine. I can ‘stow it.’”
“Then please do,” muttered Philip, menu in front of his clenched mouth.
Rodolfo slapped his menu to the table and jerked toward Philip. “Do you know what is wrong with you, Philip?”
Clutching his menu, Philip closed his eyes and sighed. “No, but I’m sure you’re going to tell me in florid detail.”
“You have no sense of fun or adventure. Now take amante here,” and he gestured toward Skyler.
Skyler grabbed for his margarita. “Leave me out of it.”
“Skyler has a keen sense of adventure. And look. There is Keith. He is more than willing to go to the White Party with his lover.”
“I don’t know about more than willing,” muttered Keith.
“But not you. You with your timetables and schedules and graphs and bullet points.”
“I’m just mapping out our weekend. Is that so horrible? There’s a lot to do! Things to see! Men…to avoid.”
“AHA! That’s it, isn’t it? It all comes down to this.”
Jamie stuck his long arm between the two. “Hey! You guys! You’re not supposed to argue anymore. Not since you started fucking.”
“Jamie,” said Skyler out of the corner of his mouth, eyes searching the busy restaurant. “Keep your voice down. Family place.”
He scrunched up his face at Skyler—as close to a sneer as he got—and leaned into the arguing couple again. “The fact is that you guys are supposed to get along now.”
“I’m getting along just fine!” said Rodolfo too loudly. “It’s him that isn’t getting along with me!”
Philip slumped back in his seat. “Oh, for the love of God, give it a rest already.”
“Give it a rest? Yes, that’s exactly what I should be doing.” Rodolfo threw down the menu and lurched to his feet. “I’m suddenly not hungry.”
Philip clenched his menu so tightly it bent at the edges. “Well I am.”
“Fine! Stay here. Eat. I’m leaving.”
“Bye! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out… Much.”
Rodolfo threw his glare at each in turn before pivoting and stalking toward the entrance. He pushed open one heavy wooden door and let it swish shut. There was a pause as the restaurant patrons fell silent and stared at the double doors a split second before they were thrown open again and Rodolfo stomped toward the table. He stood over Philip with his foot tapping.
“I don’t have the keys to the car.”
Q&A with author Haley Walsh
Why don’t you start off with telling us a little about yourself?
I’m an L.A. gal, born and bred. In fact I’ve lived all my life in southern California, inhaling smog and enduring earthquakes. I moved to the Inland Empire—an inland portion of socal that lacks a coastline and therefore seems to encourage the more religious and redneckky individuals. It’s part of the reason I write the Skyler Foxe series, to comment on the less tolerant in an otherwise fairly liberal state. And because it’s kind of relaxing to write the humor, the romance. It’s different from the dark and heavy medieval mysteries I write under another name. Those are so dense with research and prose that I just needed a relief from it. Skyler offers me that.
What advice would you offer aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. But hone your craft. Learn what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. Get a critique group of folks who write what you do so you can get constructive criticism. And learn to LISTEN to their advice. Remember, though you are writing from the heart, this is still a business and you must always be professional in all your dealings. I read too many LGBT books out there missing the fundamentals of plotting a book. Work on it. Your name is on that thing. Get it the best it can be.
If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
That’s a good question. Perhaps my protagonist Skyler would ask me why I make him do such stupid things, and I would counter that I used to be a twenty-five-year old and I well remember the stupid things I did. But I think he’d thank me for his love life. J
Tell us about your writing process? Do you revise as you go along or wait until you’re finished?
I revise as I go along. There is no point in waiting until you’re done to fix some big things. And if you revise as you write, other paths suggest themselves to you and you end up going places you never thought of.
Is writing a hobby or a career?
A very poorly paid career. Even though I also write a series for one of the Big 5 New York publishers, it isn’t enough to live on. I’ve self-published a few standalone historicals and I am working on two paranormal series that my agent is trying to flog. It’s a very tough way to make a living. Most authors have day jobs. My husband supports me. I couldn’t write full time without him and I wouldn’t have the energy anymore for even a part time job and writing and promotion and all the other things you have to do to keep in front of the public eye.
What is your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite?
My favorite is rewriting, because it’s all down. This wasn’t always true for me. When I was younger with more energy I loved putting down those first words, but when you have to write two to three series a year, you have to get it done. My least favorite is writing a synopsis and, of course, the hours spent on promotion.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I will usually write the first three chapters by the seat of my pants and then have to sit down and write an outline so I know where I’m going. For one, being a woman of a certain age *cough* I know if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it. And two, I can’t afford to have writer’s block, so if each chapter is laid out, briefly, as to where we are going, I know what it is every day I have to write. But Skyler is very organic so I find I outline very little of the Skyler books.
How long does it normally take you to write a book?
Three months. My husband reads everything I write, by the way. EVERYTHING. J
Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
Well, I based a lot of Skyler’s personality traits on myself, though I’m not a man and I’m not gay. But the first three books are based on real events—no matter how outlandish they may seem—that happened at my son’s high school. Really!
Haley Walsh writes the Skyler Foxe Mysteries, a thrilling, humorous, and romantic GLBT romp with men, music, and murder. The books are in print, digital, and now audio! Skyler is in his first year as a high school English teacher in his hometown of Redlands California. It’s tough enough in high school, but try being a young, gay high school teacher in a redneck county in southern California. Of course, Skyler Foxe thought teaching English Lit was murder. Wait till he falls into the real thing.
Meet Haley Walsh:
Haley Walsh tried acting, but decided the actor’s life was not for her. Instead, she became a successful graphic designer and art director in Los Angeles, her hometown. After fifteen years of burning money in the ’80s and early ’90s, she retired from the graphics industry and turned her interests toward writing. She became a freelance newspaper reporter, wrote articles for quirky magazines, published award-winning short stories, and now writes a critically acclaimed GLBT mystery series, the Skyler Foxe Mysteries. She’s lived all her life in southern California, sampling wines and chomping chocolate. Oh, and she also writes a multi-award nominated medieval mystery series under another name. Yeah, it’s a living. http://.SkylerFoxeMysteries.com
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/skylerfoxe.mysteries
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4390441.Haley_Walsh
Rafflecopter Prize: An E-book or Audiobook copy of ‘Desert Foxe’
Tour Dates & Stops:
21-Sep Bayou Book Junkie, Divine Magazine