Say hello to contest judge Charley Descoteaux

In case you missed it, I’m running a contest to celebrate The Pillar’s release. You can see the details here. And I have coerced persuaded three lovely people to serve as contest judges: Bru Baker, Andrea Speed, and Charley Descoteaux. Yay! Today’s blog entry is a guest post from Charley, who also had a new release very recently.

Top Five Things I Geek Over

  1. Authors whose books are like onions.
  2. Star Trek: The Original Series
  3. Mystery Science Theater 3000
  4. The stories behind the music I love (anything from Tool to 50 year old West Coast jazz)
  5. Research!

I did a lot of research for The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds, even though I’ve been watching birds in the Pacific Northwest for almost 25 years (and have first-hand experience with a few other things that happen in the book). I researched Jeep Wranglers and hypothermia and organic farms and folk art. Of course I did some of that online, but I also read books and magazines, and visited museums and nature preserves. More than once I walked the streets where my characters lived and worked (and played)—just to get the feel of a place at a certain time of day. It was a blast!

I hope you enjoy the story, and that the research doesn’t jump out and wave a rainbow flag in your face. Research is fun, but the idea is for it to be invisible from the other side. Let me know how I did!



The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds, by Charley Descoteaux


All he ever wanted was to be a normal guy….

Phil Brask spends his days in the basement of his mentor’s Victorian home, converting legal documents into electronic format. When the pipe feeding the water heater bursts, Lee Redding arrives in the plumber’s truck and draws Phil away from the narrow focus of his computer and camera lens. Lee gives Phil hope for a life beyond the walls he’s constructed using the nesting habits of migratory birds and dense legal files, a guided tour through a world filled with romance and music…maybe even family. But there’s a reason Phil retreated behind those walls, why he panics at a simple touch.

Lee has a good life—working with his uncle and on his mother’s farm, playing bass in a horrible metal band, and hooking up when he pleases—but he’s always suspected something was missing. When he meets the hot photographer with the icy-blue eyes, he knows exactly what that something is. Phil isn’t like other guys, but neither is Lee beneath his carefree exterior. Maybe Lee’s the perfect guy to show Phil that everything doesn’t have to be done the hard way and “home” isn’t a four-letter word.


Lee popped the tops on two cans, one in each hand, as he walked across the clearing. He’d spent a few Willston Jubilee weekends working in the beer gardens, and opening twice the number of beers he could drink at once wasn’t the only useless skill he’d practiced. Phil’s eye roll didn’t take anything from the fact that his face wasn’t pointed toward the ground.

“Ch-check it out.” Phil took a long pull from the can as he stepped aside to let Lee look through the viewfinder.

Lee was speechless. The view was like nothing he’d ever seen in real life: a huge bowl-like nest that had to have been made from branches the size of his wrist sat near the top of a tall old maple. Two full-grown blue herons stood outside the nest, and as Lee watched, four or five beaks appeared and started a cacophony of bird sounds.

It was cool, but not cooler than what happened next. Phil moved so close he was almost pressed against Lee’s side, and then he bumped him out of the way with a strategically placed shoulder. Lee took a few steps sideways to keep his feet and when he turned, Phil was snapping photos like a photographer on America’s Next Top Model. And smiling. Not a split your face kind of smile—somehow Phil’s plain joy packed even more of a wallop. Phil was captivated by what he was doing—snapping a series of pictures, fiddling with the settings on his camera, and then snapping few more.

If the guy puts that much effort into sex, I might not live through it.



Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they let her sleep once in a while. Home is Portland, Oregon, where the weather is like your favorite hard-case writing buddy who won’t let you get away with taking too many days off, and in some places you can be as weird as you are without fear. As an out and proud bisexual and life-long weird-o, she thinks that last part is pretty cool.


Buy Links:

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Rattle my cages—I’d love to hear from you!





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