Please welcome Amelia Gormley back this week with part two of Musical Influences, expounding on the music that shaped her writing.
Musical Influences — Dan Fogelberg and Bluegrass
I’ve written elsewhere about Jim Croce and in particular, the song “I Got A Name” and why I chose to use it in Acceleration. But one question that is probably outstanding is why, of all instruments, did I choose to have Derrick know how to play the banjo.
The short answer is: the banjo is a brilliant instrument.
And a deeply under-appreciated one. I grew up exposed to bluegrass, being from a southern family originally from the Ozarks. We lived in Flint, Michigan in a community comprised of many other southern transplants who had come north to find jobs in the auto factories. I attended a Southern Baptist Church as a child where bluegrass gospel was the standard musical offering.
Of course, as I got older, I rebelled against that and rejected it as being hokey and outdated. Which is not an uncommon opinion. Bluegrass music doesn’t get much appreciation. But occasionally there are artists who try to give it its due recognition.
Dan Fogelberg, who passed away in 2007, wasn’t the only celebrity to attempt to elevate this under-recognized art form into the mainstream. The incredibly brilliant actor/comedian/writer Steve Martin plays banjo and has tried give public acknowledgment to a new generation of talented bluegrass and banjo players, offering an Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass award.
Before that, back in 1985, however, Dan Fogelberg made an album called High Country Snows in which he brought together some of the world’s best bluegrass musicians to try to give bluegrass music a modern touch that would catapult it into popularity. I don’t remember how successful it was, or if it got much Top 40 play. What I do remember, however, is being in the car as a teenager with my aunt, who was a huge Dan Fogelberg fan, and having her exhort me to listen to the lyrics of “John Sutter’s Mill.”
(I’m leery about quoting lyrics because I believe, like in books themselves, one must purchase the rights to quote lyrics in blog posts. So I’ll just let you listen.)
I was hooked.
Admittedly, a lot of this is because I’m drawn to music that tells a story. This is why I gravitate toward musical theatre and pieces like “Driving the Last Spike” by Genesis. But as I got older, I began to listen to what was happening musically behind the lyrics and the banjo just blew me away. The skill it took, skill I didn’t recognize in church as a child or listening to the haunting story of John Sutter’s Mill as a teenager. It was absolutely amazing.
So, when I decided that Derrick would hail from the mountains of eastern Tennessee, I knew I had an opportunity to give him a trait that would be both a little quirky to the casual observer, and also one that said a great deal about him as a character. Bluegrass might not be terribly popular, but it’s an art form with depth and history, and an old soul like Derrick who feels so deeply tied to his roots would be drawn to it.
The piece I chose to highlight in Acceleration is “Mountain Pass” because of the marvelous banjo and fiddle featured in it. I appreciate that Mr. Fogelberg made a point of giving the instrumentals on his album moments to really shine, and as the opening piece, “Mountain Pass” exemplifies that.
Acceleration, Impulse Book Two
(Print Edition) 978-1-4802216-6-6
Gavin Hayes is everything Derrick could ask for in a lover. Gorgeous. Passionate. Great in bed. Derrick finds it very easy to just let himself go, to let Gavin guide him and teach him all the things he missed during a decade of celibacy. In the course of a single weekend, Derrick’s routine is transformed, his mornings and evenings filled with sex. Sweet, seductive, wild, or raunchy, Gavin offers Derrick all the pleasure he’s denied himself for so long.
But learning how to be a lover in bed is one thing. Learning to be one out of bed is another. For Derrick, being alone has become habit. Sharing his confidences doesn’t come nearly as readily as sharing his bed. And after so many losses, the last thing Derrick wants is to become dependent upon another person who might not always be there.
And Gavin always being there is far from certain. With an ex-lover lurking in the background, and the question of Gavin’s future health still outstanding, neither Gavin nor Derrick feel capable of asking for anything more than right now. But Gavin won’t be kept on the fringes of Derrick’s life. Can Derrick let someone in before the opportunity passes him by?
More TBA. Links will be added to http://ameliacgormley.com/books-for-sale/ as they become available on release day.
It was nothing more than a simple peck of greeting. It had been easy. Effortless. Natural. But as he sat at the table, Derrick could still feel Gavin’s kiss on his lips.
He wasn’t sure what to make of it. On only their third night together, he and Gavin were already developing the sort of comfortable and casual intimacies that came with relationships deeper than this undefined whatever it was.
Friday night had been an impulse. Derrick had been filled with wild need when he’d shown up on Gavin’s doorstep. Sunday had been more deliberate, planning to stay over at Gavin’s.
Now it was Monday.
Maybe we should make a habit of this, Derrick had suggested earlier, before they’d each left for work. Gavin had taken him up on the offer.
Habit. Habit was a good word for it.
Could three nights be deemed a habit?
Gavin sniffed as he entered the dining room and closing his eyes as he sat down. “Ah, smells like Friday.”
Derrick just gave him a quizzical look.
“Shabbat. The Sabbath. My mother used to always make roast beef for dinner before we went to services.”
Derrick laughed softly. “Oh, right. Sorry. You’d think I’d have put that together given the number of times my friends have had me over to dinner on a Friday before Devon and I go to play pool… while his wife goes to service.”
Gavin shrugged, taking a sip of his beer. “I was a little vague.”
“I’ll keep that in mind for Fridays from here on out, though.” Derrick bit his tongue when he realized what he’d said.
Habit. Right. Like an addiction.
Derrick lowered his head and cut his roast, keeping his hands busy and his face from giving away his embarrassment. Luckily Gavin let the remark slide.
“I hope so. You know, it’s a good deed, practically a commandment, to have sex on Shabbat?”
Or maybe not.
Derrick felt his face flush. “Does that, um…apply to gay guys too?”
“It should.” He gave Derrick a smug smile, which made him fumble his knife. Gavin tilted his head, regarding Derrick with a slight wrinkle between his brows. “Are you nervous about something?”
Derrick frowned, puzzled at the extent of his raw-edged nerves. He’d been feeling short of breath and antsy even before Gavin arrived, and he couldn’t explain it any more than he could explain why the kiss hello had shaken him.
“Yeah, I guess I am,” he admitted.
“I have no idea.” He said, glancing across the table at Gavin. “I’ve been looking forward to this all day.”
Gavin smiled. “Good. So have I.”
“I—I mean, I guess it’s different, somehow. Here. In this house.”
“Oh? How so?” The wrinkled of concern turned to one of flat-out confusion.
Derrick shook his head, shrugging helplessly. “I’m not sure. Maybe because I’ve never done it before? Had anyone over here, I mean. Well, I’ve had company, of course — people have come to visit. Guests. Friends. That sort of thing.” He begun babbling, which was a minor miracle in itself, but he didn’t seem to be capable of shutting up and, dear God, why couldn’t he shut up? “But not like this.”
“You mean you’ve never slept with someone here.”
And now Derrick was blushing again. Great. Just great.
Gavin grinned, clearly delighted by the blush. He seemed to actually think it was cute.
“Yeah. Exactly.” He and LeeAnn had made out up in his room all the time in high school, naturally, but by the time they’d begun having sex during her vacations from college, he’d been too immersed in taking care of his grandparents to ever consider having her over to the house for any length of time. Sex had been something they’d managed in the short, hurried interludes when Miss Ingrid had shooed him out the door and taken over the care of his grandparents for a couple hours here and there.
“Why does it feel different than at my place?”
“I don’t know.” Derrick shook his head again. He suspected he did know, but it wasn’t something he could say. Having Gavin stay overnight, in his home, made everything all the more real. This thing with Gavin wasn’t something that just happened elsewhere, outside of his normal existence. He wasn’t just bringing Gavin into his bed. He was bringing Gavin into his life.
And over-thinking it in the process.
Gavin cleared his throat quietly. “Are you still okay with this?”
Derrick nodded, meeting Gavin’s gaze as he reached for his beer. “Yeah, I am. It’s just all very new. But I meant what I said: I’ve looked forward to this all day. Just…now I feel like I can’t catch my breath. All I can think about is last night and this morning.”
“In a good way?” Gavin asked, an edge of caution in his tone as he tipped back his own beer.
Derrick nodded, cutting his food nervously again. “It was incredible.”
“Which part?” Gavin shot an assessing look across the table. He ate calmly, as though whatever had such a profound effect on Derrick barely registered with him.
“I don’t know. The way you…the way you talked to me, for one.”
Gavin, kneeling over him on the kitchen floor. Gavin’s hand jerking him off. Gavin’s cock rocking against the cleft of his ass.
Gavin’s voice, commanding him.
Look at me! No. Don’t hide your face. Let me hear that voice of yours. You sound so sexy when you beg.
“You liked that?” A small smile crept to Gavin’s lips.
Derrick nodded, trying to eat slowly, to downplay just how hot the memory made him.
“Good,” Gavin said, satisfied. He leaned back in his chair once he finished interrogating Derrick. “I won’t lie — I do enjoy doing that.”
Enjoy doing what, exactly? Derrick wondered. What had Gavin done to make the last twenty-four hours so amazing that Derrick craved more? He hadn’t said much, or even talked all that dirty. But what he had said, those simple commands, had driven Derrick wild.
“I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that.” He wasn’t sure exactly what he’d agreed to, but whatever it was, he wanted more of it.
“I’ll keep that in mind.” They fell silent as they continued eating. When Chelsea finished her own food, she padded toward the archway from the kitchen to the dining room. The overhead light shone on her bristly, fawn-sable coat. Gavin shook his head with an amused smile.
“I can’t get over it. She has enough loose skin to make another dog.”
“She’s a shar pei. Comes with the breed,” Derrick chuckled, glad for a distraction from the pounding of his blood in his ears and the tightness of his jeans. He gave Chelsea a look as she stepped over the line where the linoleum met the carpet.
“Uh-uh,” he said firmly, pointing the the kitchen floor. “You know better.”
Chelsea hung her wrinkled head and lay down on her belly with a heavy sigh, her paws just touching the threshold.
Gavin glanced over at her and smiled. “You’ve got her well-trained.”
Derrick quirked up one corner of his mouth in a half-smile, and murmured, “Keep an eye on her, but don’t make it obvious you’re watching. She likes to test me.”
They continued eating in silence. After a moment, Chelsea inched forward, creeping on her belly, just over the line. She did it again when no one reprimanded her. Soon her paws had crossed the threshold up to the joints, while her muzzle still rested on them, trying to appear as inoffensive as when she’d been laying where she was supposed to be.
Derrick snapped his fingers and her head came up with a start. “Back to your spot.”
Obediently, she slid back, her brown eyes woeful, and Gavin chuckled. “She does this every time?”
Derrick shrugged with an affectionate smile. “Not all the time, but usually, especially when I’m cooking something that smells good to her. Or when I’m distracted by company. She likes to test who’s top dog, see if she can get away with giving herself a promotion in the pack.”
Gavin grinned, and dropped his voice to a lower register. “So, you like being top dog?”
Derrick’s mouth went dry and he took a long pull from his beer. Damn. He’d walked right into that one.
“Do you?” It wasn’t an answer, but it was better than How the hell am I supposed to know?
Gavin’s grin spread, became a bit predatory. “I would’ve thought it was obvious. Though I can be versatile.”
Derrick cleared his throat, pushing aside his empty plate. “Good to know.”
Gavin’s grin persisted, his gaze keen. Did he mean to make Derrick squirm? Because it was working.
As he wrapped up the leftovers and washed the dishes, Derrick wondered how long it would take before he stopped reacting that way. When would every moment he spent in Gavin’s company stop being filled with unnerving expectation, every action just passing time until the next touch? When would every word no longer be an opportunity for verbal foreplay?
It felt good. Fun. Wild. Delirious. But terrifying and out of control, too. He was so used to standing on stable ground.
Gavin brought in the last of the dishes from the table, bowls with spongecake crumbs and remnants of blueberry juice and whipped cream clinging to the sides.
“And what did you plan for us to do after dinner?” he asked with a smile.
Derrick swallowed. Was he the only one who had expected they’d go straight to bed? Had Gavin planned to be entertained? Would Derrick be demanding — or worse, pathetic — to want to get right to it?
“I hadn’t thought very far ahead. I got to dessert, then my brain just sort of shut down.” It was about as close as he could come to admitting the only thing he could think of was sex.
Gavin chuckled. “Well, what do you usually do in the evenings?”
“Nothing very exciting, I promise,” Derrick murmured. “Hang out with Chelsea. Watch some TV. Play a game, if I’m not working on building something for a client.”
“Well, we could start there,” Gavin suggested. “I don’t do much different in the evenings myself.”
Derrick stacked the last of the dishes on the drying rack and drained the sink, wiping it down. Then, with his head bowed over the sink, he closed his eyes and clenched his jaw. He gripped the edge of the counter, his knuckles whitening, the insatiable need to have Gavin growing. Was he the only one feeling it?
“I don’t wanna watch TV with you, Gav.” His murmur was calm and low, but honest.
Gavin stepped close, the fabric of his dress shirt and suit pants brushing against Derrick’s simple t-shirt and jeans. Slowly, Derrick turned to face him.
“I don’t want to watch TV with you, either.”
Gavin thrust his hands roughly into Derrick’s hair and kissed him, hard.
Yes. Derrick groaned, all the eager expectation that had been thrumming inside him since they’d parted that morning finally breaking into action. His arms slid around Gavin’s chest, caressing the fine cotton of his shirt. Derrick’s body relaxed against Gavin’s with a low, grateful moan.
Each detail became its own knee-weakening point of focus. Gavin’s tongue in his mouth. Gavin’s hands clenching in his hair, then moving down to grip his shirt. Derrick’s fingers dug into Gavin’s back as Gavin reached to his waist and tugged his shirt up out of his jeans. Then those long, lean fingers were on Derrick’s skin, stroking across his stomach.
“God, your hands…,” Derrick moaned between kisses.
He let his head fall back, offering Gavin more liberty to move down to his neck, nipping and sucking. Gavin’s teeth closed gently over the junction of his shoulder and neck, gradually increasing the pressure. Derrick sagged against the counter as Gavin rubbed circles around his nipples with his capable thumbs.
He panted as the bite on his neck edged closer to pain, drooping with relief and disappointment when Gavin eased off.
“We really…ought to get…to the bedroom,” he gasped as Gavin dragged his tongue along the impressions left by his teeth. “Before I can’t walk.”
Gavin laughed softly and stepped back, looking satisfied with himself. “Go, then. I’ll be right behind you.”
Derrick nodded once, a brief, jerky movement, before bending to unlace his work boots and kick them off. He jerked his shirt over his head as he went, trying to walk at a normal pace down the hall. He wanted to give himself time, to draw back from the frenetic need welling up inside him, pushing him toward desperation.
Without warning, Gavin’s hands closed over Derrick’s upper arms. He propelled Derrick chest-first against the wall, pressing his own body along Derrick’s back. His voice rasped behind Derrick’s ear, “I’ve been wanting to do this all day.”
A nudge of his hips against Derrick’s ass clarified just what he meant.
“God, yes,” Derrick whispered, his eyes closing as he rested his hot cheek against the cool wall.
Gavin ground against him harder. “Have you been thinking about it, too?” he murmured. “Thinking about what I did this morning when I came all over your back? Were you distracted while you were working?”
Hard. Everything was hard, physically and mentally. He was caught between the wall and the pressure of Gavin’s erection. His own dick, trapped inside his jeans, found nothing yielding to ease the ache.
His thoughts came only with monumental effort. His pride resisted. His need to control this headlong plummet into… whatever this was… rallied one last desperate defense that was quickly defeated. He struggled with giving Gavin the admission he sought and trying to retain his dignity at the same time.
Truth and need won over reserve. He pushed his ass back against Gavin, seeking more.
“Yes. God. All damn day. Couldn’t stop thinking about you.”
Gavin’s fingers slid down Derrick’s ribs, ghosting along the sensitive line of skin above the waistband of his jeans. “Tell me — what did you think about? Did you imagine more? When you got home after your morning job, did you jerk off to fantasies of us?” Gavin’s voice dropped lower, barely a whisper as his lips brushed the shell of Derrick’s ear. His hot breath blew strands of Derrick’s hair against his cheek. “Did you call out my name when you came?”
The sound Derrick made was humiliatingly close to a whimper as he moved, urgent need driving him.
“I did.” The confession came in a thoughtless torrent, spilling from his mouth without any deliberation. “All day. You were all I could see. Couldn’t wait to get home.”
Gavin rocked against Derrick’s ass again. His fingers quickly unbuckled Derrick’s belt and slipped into the snug gap between his jeans and his waist.
“What else did you think about, then?” he asked, nipping at Derrick’s earlobe. He drew one hand out of Derrick’s waistband to cup the bulge under his fly; the other slid up to pinch his nipple. “Tell me. I want to know just what dirty fantasies you spin up in that gorgeous head of yours.”
“Oh, God, please,” Derrick moaned, feeling mindless, delirious with wanting.
Derrick’s throat locked against the words he wanted to say. He fought against the verbal paralysis and tried to find a way to admit that he’d stopped by the adult bookstore today, where he usually bought porn, to make a different sort of purchase. Not just condoms, but a better brand of lube than the stuff he grabbed at the pharmacy for jerking off. He’d done it knowing this moment, this decision, might come. Possibly tonight.
Trapped between Gavin and the wall, his clothes hanging half-off and Gavin grinding against his ass, he wondered why the prospect of words made him feel exposed and vulnerable.
What if the pantomimes of fucking they’d done were as far as Gavin was willing — or comfortable enough — to go? He didn’t think Gavin would reject him, not after the way he’d rimmed Derrick to within an inch of his sanity the other morning. But was it even a good idea? Or was it too soon, too big a risk?
How could he be willing to trust Gavin with the act, without being willing to trust Gavin with the confession that he wanted it in the first place?
“I…oh, God…” Gavin’s hands tightened, both on Derrick’s nipple and around the ridge of his cock beneath his fly. The words, when Derrick forced them from his throat, came out much more coy than he would have liked. “I wondered what it’d be like…if you’d…gone further….”
“Further? You’re wondering what it would’ve been like if I’d fucked you this morning?” Gavin’s voice was smooth, steady, controlled. And yet it seemed to growl.
Derrick nodded, his cheek sliding against the wall.
“I admit, I’ve thought about it. Imagined the noises you’d make. How you’d move.”
Derrick moaned as Gavin’s hand slid up and down his bulge with deliberate intent.
Gavin dropped his hand from Derrick’s chest to his fly and opened it quickly, pushing his jeans down his hips before pressing him back against the cool wall. The pressure of Gavin’s erection against his ass was even hotter without the extra layer of denim between them.
“Is this what you want?” Gavin murmured in the same low, insistent tone. “You want me to fuck you until you can’t see straight?”
Derrick swallowed hard, nodding again, trying to pull himself back enough to make it clear he wasn’t just carried away.
“Yeah,” he said soberly. “Yeah, I want it.”
“You have what we need?” Gavin’s voice took on a serious note as well. “I won’t do it, otherwise.”
Derrick blinked at the question, surprised for a moment that Gavin wouldn’t have brought his own supply of condoms and lube, just in case. Or maybe Gavin was testing him, seeing if this was something Derrick had truly thought through. Especially with the question of Gavin’s health outstanding.
“Yeah. There’s a bag in the bedside table.” He glanced over his shoulder, seeking both to reassure Gavin and his own reassurance.
Gavin smiled, kissing Derrick. He started at Derrick’s mouth, gently, and moved down his neck, his teeth scraping. His fingers brushed teasingly over the length of Derrick’s cock, straining against the navy cotton of his briefs.
“Out of the pants,” Gavin murmured. His tone was soft, but it wasn’t a request. “Into the bedroom. Now.”
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Amelia C. Gormley
Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her five year old is napping. When she’s not writing, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into a everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else. Her first novella from the Impulse Trilogy is available through Amazon, Smashwords and other retailers.
Find Part 1 of Amelia's Musical Influences here:
Thank you, Amelia, for joining us here on the site!
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