Charlie Descoteaux: The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds

on Sep 04, 2014 by Charley Descoteaux

The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds

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.

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Excerpt

Since this post is about photography research, here’s an excerpt featuring a little of that info and how I worked it into the story.

 

Saturday. He should be finishing cleanup on his apartment. It comprised half of the basement, and the water had invaded enough to soak the rugs and just about everything within four inches of the floor. Instead, he was stretched out on his stomach in the damp grass behind his tripod, staring through his Canon EOS 5D Mark III with the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III telephoto zoom lens. A hummingbird zipped back and forth across the yard on a different trajectory each time, gathering materials for her nest, and Phil shot her construction work. He didn’t have to lie in the grass—the bird probably wouldn’t have cared if he walked around searching for a better angle—but he wanted to see how far away he could get and still freeze her wings. It wouldn’t be easy, but he had the time.

She zipped away and over the fence seconds before he heard someone coming up behind him. Jerry would’ve called first, but Phil’s pocket hadn’t vibrated. His chest tightened and he knew he should start employing strategies to avoid a full-on panic attack, but then two things happened at once.

Lee’s voice said, “Hey, Phil,” and a jeans-clad bottom dropped onto the grass beside his head. “What’re you up to? Or maybe I should ask what you’re doing down here.”

He turned his head just enough to see Lee’s knee peeking through a hole in his jeans, and then he dropped his face into the crook of his elbow. After a few slow deep breaths, he lifted his head and Lee was still there. Phil looked up farther, and there was that smile again, making him sweat.

“Geez, did I mess up your shot? Sorry about that. I don’t see what you’re shooting, though.”

Steady; breathe; rehearse. “It’s o-okay. Sh-she’ll come back. Lee.”

“Who? It’s an animal, right? Not some girl next door, right?” Lee laughed, but it wasn’t the same one he used before. He wasn’t breathing through it.

Phil rose onto his elbows and turned on the view screen. He felt Lee’s eyes on his fingers as he scrolled back to a shot worthy of sharing. Close enough, anyway.

“Her.”

He pointed at the screen, and before he could move out of the way, Lee stretched out beside him and zeroed in on the screen. Phil gasped when Lee leaned so their shoulders and upper arms touched. He was busy processing the sensation of having someone touch him casually—even through the fabric of his shirt, he was reduced to staving off the hyperventilation he feared was inevitable—so he missed what Lee was saying. Lee was close, so close, but his voice was far away.

Thanks for reading!

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About Charley Descoteaux

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.


The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds

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.


Excerpt from The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds:

Since this post is about photography research, here’s an excerpt featuring a little of that info and how I worked it into the story.

 

Saturday. He should be finishing cleanup on his apartment. It comprised half of the basement, and the water had invaded enough to soak the rugs and just about everything within four inches of the floor. Instead, he was stretched out on his stomach in the damp grass behind his tripod, staring through his Canon EOS 5D Mark III with the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III telephoto zoom lens. A hummingbird zipped back and forth across the yard on a different trajectory each time, gathering materials for her nest, and Phil shot her construction work. He didn’t have to lie in the grass—the bird probably wouldn’t have cared if he walked around searching for a better angle—but he wanted to see how far away he could get and still freeze her wings. It wouldn’t be easy, but he had the time.

She zipped away and over the fence seconds before he heard someone coming up behind him. Jerry would’ve called first, but Phil’s pocket hadn’t vibrated. His chest tightened and he knew he should start employing strategies to avoid a full-on panic attack, but then two things happened at once.

Lee’s voice said, “Hey, Phil,” and a jeans-clad bottom dropped onto the grass beside his head. “What’re you up to? Or maybe I should ask what you’re doing down here.”

He turned his head just enough to see Lee’s knee peeking through a hole in his jeans, and then he dropped his face into the crook of his elbow. After a few slow deep breaths, he lifted his head and Lee was still there. Phil looked up farther, and there was that smile again, making him sweat.

“Geez, did I mess up your shot? Sorry about that. I don’t see what you’re shooting, though.”

Steady; breathe; rehearse. “It’s o-okay. Sh-she’ll come back. Lee.”

“Who? It’s an animal, right? Not some girl next door, right?” Lee laughed, but it wasn’t the same one he used before. He wasn’t breathing through it.

Phil rose onto his elbows and turned on the view screen. He felt Lee’s eyes on his fingers as he scrolled back to a shot worthy of sharing. Close enough, anyway.

“Her.”

He pointed at the screen, and before he could move out of the way, Lee stretched out beside him and zeroed in on the screen. Phil gasped when Lee leaned so their shoulders and upper arms touched. He was busy processing the sensation of having someone touch him casually—even through the fabric of his shirt, he was reduced to staving off the hyperventilation he feared was inevitable—so he missed what Lee was saying. Lee was close, so close, but his voice was far away.

Thanks for reading!

Copyright © 2014 Charley Descoteaux. All rights reserved.


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About Charley Descoteaux

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.


Find Charley Descoteaux:


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2 Comments

  1. Z.Allora says:

    WOW!!! This sounds yummy!!!! Love the title & the cover art!!!
    Hugs, Z. Allora

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