It's release day for "Puzzle Me This!" About "Puzzle Me This"
"Puzzle Me This" was written in December 2012 and it was the first original m/m story I ever wrote. I wrote it for submission to the Dreamspinner Daily Dose for 2013 which had a sports theme. I thought writing about a couple of game/puzzle designers would be unique. But it turned out crossword puzzles were not "sporty" enough for the anthology theme. (That's what I get for thinking too far outside the box!) Fortunately, Dreamspinner liked the story and offered to publish it as a stand-alone novella. "Puzzle Me This" is 20K words.
Luke Schumaker designs computer games, working from his home. Every day he walks his dog in the woods nearby, never suspecting that someone who is completely smitten is watching.
The watcher is Alex Shaw, and he too works from home, designing logic and crossword puzzles. Alex’s options are limited: he’s too shy to approach Luke and his wheelchair won’t let him follow into the woods. His solution? Secret messages for Luke in the crosswords he writes for the local paper.
When Luke decodes them, romance begins, but then they face greater puzzles, like Alex’s interfering sister and what commitment to a man in a wheelchair really takes. And, most puzzling of all, how do you know if love is real?
Here are some of my inspirational desktop images. I googled these and don't own any of them. If anyone has an issue with their being posted here, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Luke Schumaker is a computer game designer who used to live in San Francisco but now lives in State College, Pennsylvania where he works from home. I pictured Luke as a bit geeky but very cute. Luke's pride and joy is his stick-straight, long blond hair. This was the closest image I could find for Luke on my web search:
Alex Shaw is a crossword puzzle designer. Born with a birth defect (spina bifida) that paralyzed his legs from mid thigh down, Alex lives an independent life thanks to his handicap-accessible apartment and his wheelchair. He's shy and smart, and he falls for Luke when he sees Luke walking his dog every morning in their shared apartment complex. This is a perfect picture of the Alex that's in my head.
Trevor, Luke's dog on the hiking trail up Henneman Hill
The rails trail where Luke and Alex go for their first date
Chumley's, the gay bar in State College PA where Luke goes looking for his secret admirer
Alex's sportier wheelchair that he uses on the rails trails hike
And here's the cover by Reese Dante, which is absolutely perfect!
I hope you all enjoy this rather sweet/romantic/nerdy love story!