Hi guys, we have Francis Gideon visiting today with his upcoming release Chase This Light, we have a fantastic guest post and a great excerpt so check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
Chase This Light
When Jason Flores moves to the Yukon for a new job, he’s not sure what to expect. His son Micah seems enchanted by the wildlife, but his recent fear of the dark means that the eighteen-hour nights in the winter will be a difficult adjustment. When Jason takes Micah to the local museum’s interactive lecture series on the Gold Rush, it turns out to be one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
Pete Odjick, a tattooed First Nations man, dresses up for the weekly lectures as Skookum Jim, one of the first prospectors to find gold. He takes an immediate interest in Micah and an even bigger interest in Jason.
As their flirtation grows into something more serious, Jason’s job at a big name oil company and Pete’s volunteer work with an environmental group become a point of contention. Can they come to an understanding and give Micah a family again? Or will the drastic differences between them tear them apart? As the winter nights grow longer, Pete and Jason worry their love won’t be enough to chase the darkness away.
My contemporary romance entitled Chase This Light is set in the Yukon, making it part of Dreamspinner’s Love Around the World multi-author series. The series takes countries from around the world and showcases the unique aspects of them through a novella-sized love story. Since Canada is such a big country, it was divided up by provinces and territories. When I realized that my home province of Ontario was taken, it left me to think about where I wanted to go next. In my story The Taste of Ink, I had already “explored” (via writing) the Calgary Stampede and enjoyed it, and I’ve written several other stories (some still in the works) set in Manitoba and PEI. One place I always wanted to “explore” was the North, especially since I have friends who have lived and traveled there. When the Yukon wasn’t taken, I immediately signed up and started to research.
Since I work in a university, my friend groups are sometimes divided by specialty or discipline, which often means I have a bunch of arty and theory-focused friends and then I have a bunch of math and science geeks as friends. Both sides of that life influenced this story (especially Pete Odjick’s character, as I talk about in an upcoming post about indigenous art for Love Bytes), but I depended on a lot of my science–especially environmental friends–to help me out with research this time around. In Chase This Light, Jason Flores gets a job at a big name oil company about to begin fracking the land, while Pete Odjick is an Inuit and Native man who is part of an environmental group who absolutely hates the way big oil has been treating–and polluting–the territory. Add into this mix a toddler who is afraid of the dark and the impending eighteen hour darkness the Yukon has during the winter, and the story becomes filled with angst and conflict, but also chances for love and ways to rise above.
One of my friends has worked in Canadian mines (where Native communities were often exploited) and seen these types of environmental issues and social protests first hand. I drew on a lot of her experience to create Pete, while also using her story as an example for Jason as well. Jason isn’t the typical “bad guy” oil man who wants to frack without concern for the future. He’s very concerned for the future he wants for his son Micah, but he’s also concerned with the present moment–meaning economic stability for his family. Jason’s a realist while Pete’s an idealist, and I saw both of these extremes in my friend. She needed her job in the mines, and did her job well, and then went to grad school for environmental studies to help save the environment she felt she’d destroyed. I know that from talking to her, and her girlfriend and my own students at school, that everyone has an idealist and a realist inside of them that we often keep separate or only let one speak. The main theme of Chase This Light isn’t about letting one idea win–it’s about the balance between the darkness and light. Hence the title! In order for the relationship between Pete and Jason to bloom, they both need to allow both their idealist and realist sides to speak and understand one another. It’s the only way they can fall in love and start a family.
The excerpt I’ve included today is part of the ‘big reveal’ when Jason realizes that Pete is part of the exact same environmental group that’s protesting outside his office. I really hope you enjoy it, along with the story, if you happen to pick it up. Thank you for reading!
When Mr. Napier darted back toward the cubicles, Jason tried to sink down into his desk. He’d only witnessed one protest at his former office, and if their protocols were the same, Mr. Napier would need to send someone else out to deal with the crowd and make sure there was no property damage until the cops came. Looking for arctic birds online gave Jason some purpose and allowed him to look busy so maybe, just maybe, Mr. Napier wouldn’t need his help diffusing the crowd.
Don’t be me, don’t be me…. Jason’s heart sunk when Mr. Napier paused by his desk.
“Hey… new guy, right?”
There were several new employees, but Jason swallowed, knowing Mr. Napier only wanted him. “Yes. I’m Jason Flores.”
“Right. Mr. Flores. Will you be so kind as to….”
Jason nodded before Mr. Napier could even finish. He grabbed one last swallow of his coffee before sauntering to the elevators. At least this meant he wouldn’t need to look at numbers for the next hour or so. There were small favors.
By the time he’d reached the foyer of the building, the admin at the front was panicked.
“I’ve called the police,” she stated. “Are you stopping it?”
“No, no. Just making sure they’re not within thirty feet of the building. Any chance you have a tape measure? In my experience, visual demonstration is needed.”
The admin nodded, seeming to trust Jason’s limited experience right away. She dug around in her office drawer and emerged with a blue tape measure. “Will this do?”
“Perfect.” Jason held onto it like a charm as he stepped out the glass office doors. Most of the protestors held signs over their faces. They were all dressed in very similar dark gray or black clothing, with similar satchels that held pamphlets strapped on their sides. Jason knew it was silly, but he checked visually for guns. Most protestors like this weren’t armed—but Jason wanted to be sure.
Once he was, he stepped closer. The man with the beard held the megaphone in front of him. His voice was too loud and too garbled, but Jason saw clearly what they were protesting. NO MORE BIG OIL! KEEP THE YUKON GREEN! And finally, Jason’s favorite sign, which simply read FRACK IS WACK.
Jason shoved away his smile and donned his professional voice as he stepped forward. “Everyone. I wanted you to know that the police have been called.”
“We’re not hurting anyone,” a woman with brown skin and dark, straight hair like Pete’s said. Their similarities made Jason pause before speaking.
“I know you’re a peaceful protest. Thank you for that. But you’re still on private property. I have this to be sure you stay thirty feet away from the building, but I don’t want to have to measure. I’d much rather trust you to stay behind until police come. Alternatively, you can leave under your own volition and save everyone the trouble. I assure you we’ve—”
“We’re not going anywhere,” the man said into the megaphone. He turned his words into a chant. A few others joined in with fists in the air. Jason realized his words weren’t going to do much. He walked over to a pillar by the front area and decided to wait and watch until the cops came. As long as someone was around, it didn’t matter how proactive he was being.
As he turned around, the flash of a yellow button over a protestor’s shirt caught Jason’s eye. ASK ME ANYTHING. It was the same kind as from the museum. When Jason glanced up, he realized he stared directly at Pete.
And Pete stared directly at him. He held one of the signs reading FRACK IS WACK, his brows furrowed as he assessed Jason’s work suit and polished leather shoes.
“Are you?” Jason echoed. He examined the sign, Pete’s proximity to the van, and how he seemed to stand in front of one of the women protesting, almost like a protective shield. “Oh.”
Repeating one another seemed to be the only thing they could do for a long time. Jason could barely hear anything over the roar of Pete’s friend on the megaphone. His friend. Pete was part of the protest—part of the Environmental Nation or whatever they were called—and now he knew that Jason was part of the Eakon Oil Company. There was no easing into it, no denying it. The evidence struck them both in the face, as brightly colored as the protest signs themselves.
“Shit.” Jason ran his hand through his hair. Pete was so sweet with Micah and utterly adorable with his dark eyes and heart-shaped face framed with black hair. But he was also apparently a punk. Small bits of a tattoo were now visible beneath his short sleeves. And as attractive as that was to him, Jason couldn’t get over the sinking feeling in his gut. It’s all over now, isn’t it? We’re done before we began.
When the blare of a siren sounded from the road close by, Jason let out a breath. “You should go, Pete. I don’t want you to get arrested.”
“I won’t. We’ve done nothing wrong.”
“I know. But….”
Pete nodded after a moment. “Yeah, okay. I’ll still go.”
Jason’s heart tugged. The police arrived within seconds, but all their attention was on the guy behind the megaphone, allowing for the rest of the protestors to fold their signs in the back of the van. Pete was about to get into the passenger side when Jason called out.
Pete turned around, his brows fixed in an ugly stare.
“Are we still on for dinner? Tonight?” Jason asked, surprising himself. “I mean, I understand if you don’t want to… now that you know I’m a big greedy oil man. But I think dinner could be good.”
Pete seemed shocked by the offer. His silence ticked on for longer than three seconds with the commotion happening all around them. No one was being arrested, only talked to sternly, and again, it only was only the man with the megaphone who was bearing the brunt of it. Pete glanced from his friend to the building, then back at Jason. “I don’t know.”
Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante. He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal.