Author Name: A.E. Wasp
Book Name: Incoming
Series: Veterans Affairs, Book #1
Page/Word Count: 261 pages, 66K words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Cover: Jay Aheer
What Dmitri Wellington wants is out – out of debt, out of his rundown farmhouse, and out of Red Deer, Colorado. Salvation beckons in the form of a job opportunity in California.
What newly-discharged army veteran Troy Johnson wants is simply to lay down – lay down his weapon, lay down some roots, and lay down the memories that haunt him. Red Deer sounds like the perfect place to do it.
Sparks fly when their paths cross one hot Fourth of July weekend, and suddenly they find that what they need is each other.
But the memories Troy is running from are hot on his heels and, whether Troy wants it or not, Dmitri is determined to save him from the demons he hadn’t even realized he was fighting
Dmitri laughed. Troy thought he was even better looking when he smiled. “This is, I think, the weirdest pre-date conversation I’ve ever had. I’ll tell you what. You go to coffee with me, and I’ll tell you why I’m single, okay? Then you can tell me you why you’re single. Then we’ll get that all behind us, and we can look forward to the next step.”
“I guess so. But I have to warn you. I haven’t had a date since high school.”
Troy shrugged. “Yeah. And it was all girls then.”
“So this would be your first date with a man?” Dmitri’s voice dropped.
Something inside Troy shivered, and he put a hand on the table and leaned down. “Actual date? Technically, yes.”
Dmitri’s eyes dropped down Troy’s body, blatantly checking him out.
Troy straightened up, hoping Dmitri liked what he saw.
“So, it’s a date then?” Dmitri raised one eyebrow.
“Sure. Where and when?”
“Tomorrow’s Friday, so I have to work tomorrow night. How about Starry Night at three? I’ll load up on caffeine to help me through my shift.”
Dmitri’s eyes were locked on Troy’s mouth, so Troy bit his lip gently, rolling it between his teeth, and then releasing it. Dmitri mirrored the action and then looked up as he sunk deeper into his chair, legs spreading. “I’ve got Friday off for the Fourth, so that works for me. Starry Night at three it is.”
Troy was starting to remember how this all went.
Angel called for Troy over the murmur of the crowd. “Troy! Little help here!”
“I’m going to get fired,” Troy laughed. “See you tomorrow.”
“I look forward to it.”
Troy forced himself to saunter slowly back into the bar despite the butterflies in his stomach. He resisted the urge to look back though he could feel Dmitri’s eyes on him.
Troy pushed the door open with a flourish, almost smacking Angel in the face with it as he did. “Sorry.”
“Oh, Dmitri,” she said, batting her eyelashes. “You’re so pretty.” She flipped her hair back so that the undercut showed. “I don’t know why you asked little ole me out.”
“That is the funniest shit I have heard all day. I don’t think he’s going to be surprised that you’re still single if that’s all the game that you got.”
They walked further into the bar, Angel yanking the drink tray away from Troy. “Give me that.”
“I’ve got game,” Troy said. “I got so much game; I’m practically Milton Bradley.”
“Oh, yeah. You’re smooth. Like milk chocolate.”
Troy sighed, deflated. “I know.” He whined. “I got nothing. I’ve never dated. I don’t know how to do this.”
Angel took pity on him, wrapping her thin, strong arm around his shoulders. “Come on. I’ll give you Angel’s quick and dirty tricks for dating. Never failed me yet.”
“Yeah? How many second dates have you had?”
Troy shook his head. “You’re ruining all the lesbian stereotypes, you know.”
“Yeah, I know. But maybe one night the doors might open, and Ms. Right will walk through those doors and sweep me off my feet. Then I won’t have to worry about it anymore.”
3.5✨s – Having read the original version of this story I was pleased with many of the edits in this new version. There are still some issues, but so much better.
Troy has my heart, I am pretty sure he is my favorite character in the entire series. Dmitri is a bit harder to get a feel for, but seeing him through Troy’s eyes- wow! The fun times are just that, silly, without being ridiculous.
Passion-check! Incredible friends and secondary characters-check! Drama without the insane unbelieveable-check,check,check!
As their connection strengthens all of the other threads that are unraveling behind the scenes push to the forefront. PTSD, money issues… but mostly fear. Fear of being left, fear of being loved as well as giving love and ultimately the fear of being honest. That asking for what you want, having that hope and dealing with the outcome is what makes the world go round. Together Dmitri and Troy navigate their lives and find that together they are pretty incredible.
3✨s – Troy is new in town, fresh out of the Marines. He’s going through some things and figuring out where he wants to be and what he wants to do. Until he can figure it out, he gets a job as a bartender at a pretty close knit bar. His boss is great and understanding of his situation and I was glad that he had someone like him to care about him. Angel, a chick he works with, plays matchmaker with her best friend Dimitri, that was cute how she played them both to get them to meet and I thought that they had awesome chemistry together.
Dimitri is a veterninarian, not a Veteran, but still… he and Troy agree to a date that turned into a relationship. Like I said, they had awesome chemistry and Dimitri helped Troy get out of his head a lot. As a sufferer of PTSD and not having it treated, of course things got ugly.
PTSD is serious and I thought it was handled in a very real way. I see people come back with so many psychological problems and for one reason or another, they think they don’t deserve the help or that others deserve it more. Because they may not be physically hurt that they don’t require medical attention… I hated it for Troy and his struggle with it was a very real thing. I liked that, I like reading situations that real people can relate to… It’s what pulled me into this story.
Now, in saying all that, Demitri kind of flip-flopped out of nowhere for me. I didn’t see it coming. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t and I thought it was kind of ridiculous. I was glad that Angel called him out for being a little b*tch because that’s what he was being. He was self-centered and a little selfish. I didn’t like that side of him. He had seemed so perfect up until then and then BAM 180. I didn’t like him. Between Angel and being forced with a very real situation, he pulls his head out and things work out, but it was really frustrating getting there lol
I was kind of hoping that we’d see more with Troy and his family, namely his sister whom he seemed to be close with but after one phone call, we didn’t hear anything else about it. I feel like Troy wouldn’t feel so weighed down by so much crap if he’d come out to his family. Afterall, he talked Ravi into coming out to his family but he still hadn’t came out to his?
That’s frustrating too.
Overall, though, I enjoyed this story and I’ll more than likely read the next one.
After time spent raising children, earning several college degrees, and traveling the world with the U.S. State Department, she is returning to her first love – writing. A dreamer and an idealist, Amy writes about people finding connection in a world that can seem lonely and magic in a world than can seem all too mundane. She invites readers into her characters’ lives and worlds when they are their most vulnerable, their most human, living with the same hopes and fears we all have. An avid traveler who has lived in big cities and small towns in four different continents, Amy has found that time and distance are no barriers to love. She invites her readers to reach out and share how her characters have touched their lives or how the found families they have gathered around them have shaped their worlds. Born on Long Island, NY, Amy has lived in Los Angeles, London, and Bangkok. She currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado for who knows how long.
5 Questions with A.E. Wasp:
- As an author myself, I know inspiration is everywhere and can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind Incoming? It sounds a little depressing, but happy endings are guaranteed! I promise. There are even cute dogs!Incoming was inspired by many, many late nights (possibly intoxicated) conversations I had with military and former military and other security personnel during the year I was stationed in Kabul with the State Department. Many of the stories had me crying in my CHU later, and I started to wonder how you go back into ‘normal’ life after those kinds of experiences.After talking with some of contractors and service member, I realized that sometimes they couldn’t. Sometimes people never manage, so they re-enlist or find another way to get back into the war.For the ones who do manage it, reintegration can be a long process. The people you loved you are vital to the journey. Then there is PTSD and physical trauma. Returning are often depicted as suicidal, or violent, or haunted by trauma. But that is only a tiny part of the story. They love, they joke, and they go camping, and hang out with friends and love the partners. I don’t gloss over the effects on the guys and their partners, but it isn’t anywhere near the whole story.
I wanted to tell these guys’ stories. The ones who come home, each affected in a different way by what they have lived through, and struggle to make a life full of meaning and love.
- What is your writing process? (i.e. plotter or panster, explain) I started out writing screenplays a million years ago, so I’m a big outliner. It’s a flexible outline, based on a combo of Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” beat sheet and Gwen Hayes’s “Romancing the Beat.” I highly recommend both of those books.But because my books are about people and relationships, the inspiration for an individual story is always a character. I imagine them, daydream about them. Sometimes the character comes from a snippet of conversation or from a random name. But I swear they mostly come out of nowhere, popping out of my head fully formed. I write down what I know about them, give them a background, a context, strengths and flaws, desires, and needs. Then I set them down into a world and see what happens.This newest couple, in Bronze Star, came as a complete surprise to me. They were background characters in Paper Hearts, a friend, and an employer, of one of the main characters in the story. I had vague ideas of pairing them, separately, with a couple of other characters I had been contemplating.Then as I was writing a critical scene, it became obvious from a three line interaction that they had been having a secret relationship behind the scenes the entire time. My beta readers even asked when we would get their story. So, I had to write it.
- What is the hardest part of that process for you? Writing the words for the first draft. The actual sentences that don’t suck. Sometimes I sneak up on it. I WRITE IN ALL CAPS because then I can tell myself I’m not writing, I’m just writing notes. No pressure. Sometimes I dictate, just rambling into my microphone, and hope that something salvageable comes out it.And then stuff comes out that you didn’t expect and you have back and make sure it’s set up properly in their earlier scenes. Oh, Guy X never takes off the necklace given to him by an old love? Have to go back and mention it.Scenes you have lovingly outlined don’t fit anymore and get relegated to the dreaded CUT SCENES folder.
I love outlining, and I love writing the second draft. That first draft, though. Oy.
- There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? It started a long time ago, writing articles for the high school newspaper and yearbook. I published some poems. Wrote comic books, and short stories and screenplays that didn’t sell. Started many things I didn’t finish. Then life changed, and I ended up taking a break from fiction-writing. I did a lot of academic and professional writing, and you’re always getting graded and critiqued on that.My writings had been critiqued and torn apart for years. I have a pretty thick skin and a possibly unearned belief in my writing ability. Bad reviews still suck, though.I quit the State Department and didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I had started writing fiction again, fan fiction mostly, a couple of years earlier, and that was a great way to re-enter writing for fun again. Then I started some original writing but didn’t know what to do with stories. I knew what the traditional publishing world was like and it sounded even worse than it had been back in the 90s. When I found out self-publishing was an option, I thought, well, I could try. I suck at having a real job.I researched obsessively, bugged my author friends, spent way too much on some gorgeous covers, and failed spectacularly to make any kind of ripple. But I learned a lot. Then I realized that all the fan fic I had been writing was gay romance and that gay romance was actually a legitimate genre that people bought. Then it got a little easier.
- What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writing considering that leap for themselves? Just one? That’s hard! I would say pick a genre that you love to read, and then write three novels that hit all the tropes head on but with the special something that only you can give. Don’t be afraid to let your personality show through.
Where to find A.E. Wasp: