Hard Chrome bonus guide

Thank you so much for reading Hard Chrome! I hope you enjoyed Dylan and Sebastian’s story.

I thought you might like to see some of the inspiration for this story, so I put together this bonus guide as an extra treat for newsletter subscribers.


Also, there’s a bonus holiday epilogue, too!

And pop over to the Eight Arms Reading Room for a version of the book with even more photos, plus my notes about writing it!

Greenville, Maine

I spent a few weeks during the summer and fall of 2020 in Greenville, which is a small town on the lower end of Moosehead Lake, the second-largest lake in New England. I’d already come up with most of the idea for Hard Chrome on a long walk in Brooklyn, NY and we’d come to Greenville because we needed to get the hell out of Brooklyn as a respite from the pandemic and a friend’s parents own a house in Greenville they weren’t using. So, when we were walking around Greenville and the lake, I saw this garage and decided it was the perfect place to set this new story.

Source: Halestorm official store

Krystal's concert T-shirt

I listen to a lot of hard rock and heavy metal music while writing, so I gave Krystal the same taste in music. Halestorm is one of my favorite lady-fronted metal bands and I’m pretty sure Krystal would love them too.

Dylan's house

I look at real estate listings in pretty much every town I visit and we loved Greenville so much we seriously thought about moving there. (We ultimately did buy a house in another town in Maine, but that’s another story.) So, when I decided to set Hard Chrome in Greenville, I needed a house for Dylan to live in, right? This house was on the market when we were there, though there was a pending offer and we didn’t actually get to see the inside of it. Here’s the kitchen with the island where Sebastian chops things at Dylan’s direction.


I did not make this up! It’s a real event and it really is called Musclepalooza. It’s a muscle car show and drag racing event that takes place annually in upstate New York. Well, when the pandemic or inclement weather doesn’t interfere, anyway. I haven’t been to it—yet!

Source: IMDB

Benny Sampson

I do a lot a celebrity casting for the characters in my books, though I don’t always share them, because people have different images in their heads about the characters they read. But this is my vision of Benny—head mechanic at Campbell & Sons, the late Samuel Campbell’s best friend, and a second father figure to Dylan. Also because I love Jim Beaver.

Source: Fireball website


The shots of cinnamon whiskey Dylan and his buddies are doing to celebrate his dad’s life are Fireball, because this is Maine and Fireball is everywhere here. There’s a display of it near the checkout counter at the grocery store in my little coastal village (this is in addition to the entire aisle of liquor and wine). In NYC, you have to buy your whiskey in a separate store from your produce. It’s a giant hassle, lemme tell you. I haven’t done shots of Fireball myself since college, but respect, Mainers.

A classic way to partake of Fireball is in a Boilermaker—a shot of whiskey with a pint of beer. You can either chase the whiskey with the beer or dump the whiskey into the beer and drink them together. Bottoms up!

Dylan's Impala

If you know anything about me, you know what a huge fan of Supernatural I am. (Like H-U-G-E.) So, when I wrote a story about a mechanic who specializes in restoring classic American muscle cars, you better believe there would be a 1967 Chevy Impala in it. In order not to be too derivative, I made Dylan’s Impala a slightly different model than Dean Winchester’s and a different color. Here’s the original inspiration photo, though I also turned Dylan’s Impala into a convertible, which was an available option in 1967. Because why not?

This is a screenshot of a photo on an auction site and the listing is no longer available. I hope the new owner is happy with this beauty!

Ruby's skirt

My dog Giles and I were on a walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park when I caught sight of this woman walking ahead of me. This absolutely is Ruby’s outfit when she shows up at Richard Shaw’s law office during the will reading.

Dylan's shop

Picture a desk for Krystal in this space and it’s more or less what the front part of Dylan’s shop looks like on the inside. Dylan’s office is behind the half door and those photos tacked up around the doorframe are photos of Dylan and Sebastian when Sebastian was a kid.

Downtown Greenville

You can barely see the tiny Thoreau Park in front of Moosehead Lake here in downtown Greenville. This is where Sebastian sits to read his letter from Samuel and to call Ellen to confess that he maybe wants to stick around a little while to get to know Dylan again.

Stress Free Moose

The Stress Free Moose Pub is a real place! We ate there several times while we were in Greenville and their fried haddock sandwich really is excellent. So’s the reuben. Highly recommend!


This is my dog, Giles, who makes a cameo appearance (along with myself and my wife) in this book. He really did eat a French fry off the ground when we were having lunch on the patio.

Sebastian's houseplant collection

I loosely based Sebastian’s houseplant collection on that of a friend of a friend, who also has 300+ houseplants in a small apartment (in Brooklyn, NY, rather than San Francisco). She’s also gotten into bidding wars on eBay for rare hoya varieties.

Source: Apartment Therapy

Moosehead Lake

This is the shore of Moosehead Lake as you walk from the Stress Free Moose back toward Dylan’s house. And yeah, Giles tried to chase some ducks right around here. He’s mostly a good dog, but he’s got impulse control issues.

Source: Realtor.com

Dylan's house

I’m not 100% sure that side door leads to a mudroom, but it would be consistent with a lot of the houses we looked at when we were house-hunting in Maine.

When the better part of the year is either snow or mud season (October to mid-May), you don’t want to enter your home straight into the living room.

Sebastian's book

I reread Stephen King’s The Stand at the beginning of the pandemic (and also watched all the pandemic movies), so I gave it to Sebastian to read, too. The reread was on my kindle, but this is the paperback version I had in college.

And of course, Stephen King is from Maine, so it seemed apropos.

1955 Ford Thunderbird

This was one of the most fun parts of writing this book—the research for Dylan’s restoration project. I spent hours on the Hemmings Motor News website and then stumbled across the Second Chance Garage website. They restored a 1955 Ford Thunderbird and blogged the entire project. So, it was a no-brainer to give Dylan the same car to restore. I had to pare down the amount of actual car work I put into the story (what with it being a romance and all, not a car restoration manual), but I really enjoyed reading all about their work.

Public Beach

There is a public beach in Greenville and we spent a couple afternoons there. Giles and I dipped our toes in the water and promptly scooted out because it was too cold, though my wife took a dip. There were a bunch of kids splashing around, though—more impervious to the chill than me! This is the grassy spot where we spread our blanket and Giles barked at anyone who got a little too close. The pandemic has really ruined him. Sigh.

On the right, behind that little tree, is the slightly more secluded spot where Dylan and Sebastian kiss.

T-Bird Cart

The Second Chance Garage guys built a cart to remove the T-Bird’s body from the frame because they didn’t have room in their garage to store the body next to the frame. Which is honestly probably less of a problem in a shop the size of Dylan’s, but I liked the idea so much, I decided to use it.

Fish Tacos

I’ve never made fish tacos myself (I’m much more like Sebastian in that I’m a great sous chef, but you gotta tell me what to chop and how to chop it. I also ruined a pan boiling water for pasta and walking away from it, just like Sebastian did). But I eat a lot of fish tacos and after poking around on the internet for recipes, I see that it’s easy enough even I could probably manage it. Here’s one from the New York Times Cooking website.

Dylan's dining table

Where Sebastian goes over the legal papers Dylan’s been served and they kiss.

Source: goodvibes.com

Cassie's black dildo

You’re welcome! 😀🍆😀 This is all you get from the sexy chapters, though. You gotta use your imagination for the rest. 😘



There’s an annual International Seaplane Fly-In event in Greenville in September that includes competitions and a float parade. It was cancelled in 2020, but I’m hoping to make it back to Greenville for it some year.

Source: Piscataquis Observer

Ellen's CorningWare coffee pot

My mom had one of these when I was a girl. I don’t remember the precise model she had, but I do hope it wasn’t one of the models that was recalled in 1979. On the other hand, I don’t remember her using it after I was about…seven or eight…so, maybe that’s why she stopped using it. I’m not telling you how old I was in 1979.


T-Bird A/C and dashboard mod

The Second Chance Garage guys installed A/C in their T-Bird project, so obviously, Dylan had to as well.

I can’t even tell you how many hours I spent on that website, reading through how they restored that car.

(Source: Second Chance Garage)


Greenville Junction train depot

There’s a really cool old railroad depot in Greenville Junction, a couple miles west of Greenville, built in the late 1900s. The rail lines behind it are still used, mostly by freight trains traveling between Maine and Canada, but the depot itself was closed and abandoned for decades. There’s a group of volunteers who have been working on restoring the building and putting it to community use.

(Source: Save the Depot)


Metallica's Ride the Lightning album

My favorite Metallica album is the black album, but Ride the Lightning is a close second. And when you’re pissed as hell because your former best friend is back in town and still betraying you, it’s probably the most cathartic album to listen to while you drive your frustration away.

T-Bird engine before

Before the work the Second Chance guys did on it.

(Source: Second Chance Garage)

T-Bird engine after

Look how clean and pretty it is!

Metallica concert

I didn’t set this story during any particular year, so there’s no particular Metallica concert Dylan, Art, and Krystal attend. Also, I think the last time they played at the stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts was 2017, so that ain’t the concert they attend, either. But I attended a Metallica concert in January 2019 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, part of their WorldWired tour. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it was my very first Metallica concert, despite having been a fan since the release of the …And Justice For All album. And because I’m sadly too old for the mosh pit, I ponied up for actual seats. Still, the concert was amazing!

Sebastian's fountain pen

I love a good fountain pen. I bought this one at the Fountain Pen Hospital in NYC and I think its understated elegance is exactly what Sebastian would have chosen for himself. It’s apparently not available for sale anymore, sadly.

Hoya Linearis

Sebastian’s finally flowering Hoya linearis is very pretty! After doing all this research on hoyas, now I want an entire greenhouse of them.

San Francisco Ferry Building

I love San Francisco. I came so close to moving there about thirteen years ago, but moved to NYC instead. I (very) loosely based Sebastian’s law firm on a plaintiff-side employment law firm that I’ve worked with before (and might have worked for, if I’d moved there). Their offices were near the Embarcadero and I’m quite certain several of their associates would have gone to Blue Bottle in the Ferry Building for an afternoon coffee. They’re nice people—really, I swear.

Restored T-Bird

The finished T-Bird! I didn’t hate the turquoise color as much as the Second Chance Garage guys did, but I also love the cherry-red color.

Marin Headlands

There’s an old fort on the Marin Headlands in Golden Gate National Recreation Area with a set of abandoned concrete bunkers built in the early 1900s to provide artillery protection for the entrance to the Golden Gate, before the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed.

Truthfully, I’m not at all sure this is secluded enough for two dudes to fuck on the hood of a convertible, but that’s what artistic license is for, innit? And San Francisco gets a shit ton of fog, so fog obscures all sins, right?

Golden Gate Bridge

Sebastian’s and Dylan’s view of the Golden Gate Bridge in fog from the Marin Headlands.

Ellen's tentacle porn collection

Good heavens, it’s extensive, lemme tell you, and all of it deeply NSFW. But here are a couple of tidbits…

Wowza, El.

Although...no tentacle down this dude's throat? I legit searched for a tentacle spit-roast image but no joy.

I did have to put a time limit on searching for tentacle porn images, though, because I needed to format this book and get it published.

Otherwise, I could have done this all day...


Oh, poor, long-suffering Simone! First, she has to endure the indignity of her person leaving her with a cat-sitter and then she must be trapped in a carrier for a cross-country car trip?? Why not just force a pill down her throat and put her in a cone of shame while you’re at it, asshole?? I have a cat that is as cranky as Simone (and also shits in the bathroom sink when we go out of town out of spite—sigh) but she’s a very private creature, so I did not model Simone after her. (I do share occasional photos of her on Instagram, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her, right??) I figure Simone is a Siamese cat, partly because I’ve kind of always wanted a Siamese. But all the cats who’ve owned me have been rescues and no particular breed.

Hoya Kerrii

Look at that wee bloom at the base of the plant! So pretty!

Thank you for reading!

I had so much fun with Dylan and Sebastian and I hope you did too!

What's next?

Well, I’m planning to write the next book set in Greenville about Benny Sampson and Art Davies. But it’ll take a little while and I can’t give you an estimated date for that story, yet. In the meantime, if you want more of my writing, check out His Dad Will Do.