Tell us a little about yourself!
Tray Ellis never learned to whistle and her home is rarely organized, but that just leaves more time for writing, which she adores. Gentle twirls of fate are her specialty and when she writes, she aims for quiet humor and a satisfying ending.
You can find Tray here:
In Thirty Things, Nate and Finn check of a list of 30 things to do before Finn turns 30. What would be on your list?
I would very much love to travel. Currently, because of other commitments, I can't venture too far or too often, but I'm saving my pennies, and once the time is right, the shackles come off!
I'd like to take long trips and short ones, perhaps rent a house for a few months in a single spot to really get the flavor of living in a place, pick up the local vocabulary, and eat what the locals eat.
I think 30 different places would be a good start!
Tell us about something you've already checked off your list. Was it everything you thought it would be?
I have been able to do some traveling -- and *yes*, it was everything I thought it would be. I was able to visit Scotland, and it was gorgeous.
The countryside was beautiful, the people were friendly, and the history was full of striking, often terrible tales, and rich with love and steadfastness.
I had hoped the Loch Ness Monster would be spotted, but she remained elusive.
I'm so hopeful I'll be able to go back someday.
While traveling the country, Finn and Nate visit some amazing places. Where have you been that has stuck with you?
One of the most beautiful places I've visited has been the Keys in Florida. This was years ago, so perhaps they've changed, but at the time, it was sunny and warm. The waters were blue, and there weren't a lot of people around. It felt magical to spend the night camping out under the stars (although perhaps a little buggy, too...let's forget the bugs were there....).
If you could only do one of the things on your list, which would it be?
I would love to pick a spot to live in for something longer than a vacation but shorter than moving there. I don't want to leave my charming home behind, but I dream of rubbing into the newness of a place until a learn it, and it becomes a part of who I am.
It would be wonderful to really soak in the atmosphere of a new place.
What items would be on your writing bucket list?
I have published only short stories as of yet, so I would very much love to complete and publish a novel-length story.
I'm not leaving it just to hoping, I have a few files in the process of being working on!
Which books are on your TBR Bucket List?
Just today, actually, I was thinking I would like to reread Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. It's been so long since I have and I quite remember how it glowed with wisdom I was only just learning. I think, perhaps, there might be something in it for me as an adult, just as there was for me as a child.
And, then, I would also like to trip my way through a whole bunch of m/m romances by the other authors at Dreamspinner and Torquere. I've met some fabulous authors and I haven't yet had a chance to really dig into their backlogs!
Tray has a book from Dreamspinner Press available!
On the day of Molly and Irving’s wedding the usual hiccups and snags happen, but Irving’s best man, chemistry professor Everett Donnelly, is there to smooth them over, keep everyone organized, and make last minute adjustments based on the lists he keeps. If only he weren’t distracted and reeling from his strong attraction to Molly’s brother, police officer Jake Mountbatten, whom Everett first met at the rehearsal dinner.
In between boutonnière crises and wedding photos, the two men have ample opportunities to catch each other’s eye, but the obligations of the wedding interrupt them time and again. Finally, all the speeches and traditional activities are over, and Everett finds Jake to see if they can make a little romance of their own.
“LOOK AT all the birds.” Everett Donnelly studied the enormous four-tiered pink and white wedding cake. It actually sparkled under the lights, and he was trying to figure out if the sparkles had been added after or were embedded in the smooth, fondant frosting.
“Not just birds,” Irving replied. “Whippoorwills.”
“Whippoorwills. Really?” Everett bent again to examine the cake. At least a dozen birds in flight scattered across the sparkling white surface, along with the most beautiful ornate green and brown tree branches traversing the different tiers. Each bird was a glossy sugary pink, their tiny beaks open as if song poured forth. “How can you tell?”
“Because Molly asked for whippoorwills, and if those aren’t whippoorwills, then we have a problem.” Irving readjusted his glasses, giving the cake a serious frown.
“They are definitely whippoorwills. No doubt.” Everett nodded. He actually wasn’t entirely sure what a whippoorwill looked like, but he did know they were a type of bird, and there were certainly graceful swooping birds on the cake. “Why whippoorwills?”
“Molly says they have an ethereal song and are considered good luck, and a symbol of everlasting love.” Irving’s tone brooked no discussion.
“Sure. Of course.” Everett wasn’t going to argue with Molly, even if it was through Irving. He was especially not going to argue on her wedding day, and definitely not about her wedding cake. He glanced at his watch. “We need to get going. If I don’t have you to the church on time, Molly will come after me first and with a vengeance.”
Irving raised an eyebrow. “Only after she has vented her wrath upon me, I’m sure.” He turned away from the cake. “I have to finish checking on the preparations.” He readjusted his glasses with a nervous gesture while he scrunched his brow in deep thought. It was an expression Everett knew well from work, where they shared an office and a lot of time together. “Balloons and flowers, then we go.”
“What about the balloons and flowers?” Everett scanned the room and saw a giant cluster of pink and white balloons hanging in one corner. He was relieved to see them plain and unadorned. Given the virulent color theme, it would be easy to go overboard into gaudy and garish with excessive heart designs. As it was, the intense color scheme stayed on the proper side of beautifully classic. Before this, Everett hadn’t thought much about the color pink, other than to associate it with love and being preferred by girls. But today was certainly full of pink, and he was feeling slightly overwhelmed. “Should those be lumped together?”
“No.” Irving’s tone was emphatic. “Help me distribute them.”
Everett moved to help. “What type of distribution?”
“Randomly, I guess.” Irving looked perplexed. “I don’t honestly know. Molly wanted the balloons. They were supposed to be spaced evenly throughout the room.” He sighed. “I’m happy they were delivered on time.”
Everett studied the balloons. “There are eighty pink balloons and only forty white ones.”
Irving laughed. “I love when you do that. Do it again.” He pointed. “What about the flowers?”
Everett gave the room a complete scan. The flowers were already in several vases around the room and stood as centerpieces on each table. “That’s a ton of baby’s breath. I’m not including those,” he muttered. His parlor trick ability had always been a little bit mysterious. He was able to just look and the numbers tabulated themselves in his brain. Since there were more flowers, it took a little longer to tally them than the balloons. “Three hundred dark pink. One hundred light pink. Two hundred white. And, wow, that’s a lot of flowers.”
Irving turned his considering gaze on the flowers. “Roses. Not just any old flower.”
Everett shook his head. “Look at you. Two years ago, all you wanted was tenure and a secure position in the chemistry department.”
“Which I got.” Irving straightened up, head held high.
“And now you’re over the moon. Probably a pink moon. A forever-wedded moon, no less.” Everett found it hard to ignore the potent pinkness of the wedding’s color scheme. He supposed it was the pure white background that made the pink so vibrant. Or else he was just very sensitive to it. But if it made Molly happy, then he was all for it. Everett genuinely liked her, and she made Irving smile goofily all the time, even when he was working on something as hated as the quality control manual revisions. She was sappily sentimental, as evidenced by her adoration of the color pink, but her sweet nature made it endearing. “And getting married.”
A look of utter adoration suffused Irving’s face. “Yeah,” he said wonderingly. “Molly’s fantastic, isn’t she? I can’t believe she was interested in me in the first place. She’s so beautiful. I just want this wedding to be perfect for her, so she’ll always remember it.”
“Molly’s a once-in-a-lifetime catch.” Everett bumped Irving with his elbow.
Irving practically glowed with the praise. “Thanks for being my best man.” He cleared his throat. “And if I look like I might faint during the ceremony—”
“—I will prop you up!” Everett gave Irving a playful shove. “Now, let’s get those balloons distributed, and get over to the church. At forty to eighty, that’s a one to two ratio, so groupings of one white and two pink should work.”
Irving fussed with his glasses as he nodded. “Yes, excellent. That seems to be a well-conceived proportion.”
It only took ten minutes to parcel out the balloons, tying their strings to various locations. It somehow made Everett think of his days in high school. Dances, proms, and weddings always had balloons. He hoped tonight’s festivities would be more fun than high school had been. Everett had definitely been a late bloomer. As a teenager, he’d grown too tall too fast and had suffered gangly arms and legs, making him clumsy. After high school, though, he’d finally grown into his own, and his long limbs were an asset. He hadn’t knocked a vase over in years.
Plus, a good percentage of the guests were from the college where he and Irving worked, specifically the chemistry department. There would be a camaraderie among them.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for the interview, it has been thought provoking and fun!
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