Every week, I take part in the #RWChat over on twitter. I often feel a bit like an interloper (what with being not just a guy, and not just a queer guy, but also a queer guy who only sometimes writes romance) but the questions are generally ones that cross all genres, and they’re generally quite thought-provoking. I also generally learn a few things, share some great discussions, and often I meet a few new authors.
Which is what happened last week.
Thanks to a tangent discussion about promoting other authors as a way to not feel like you’re constantly shouting about your own stuff into the void, I bumped into A.M. Liebowitz. I took a peek at their backlist, saw a queer short story/novellette length work, and, well, my Kobo and I had a nice night.
When Al proposes to Chad, he has in mind a fairytale wedding with all the works. Chad’s not so sure it’s a good idea. Between the planner with her binders full of weddings, the myriad tasks, the short time frame, and Al’s meddling sister, Chad’s at risk of coming undone long before the big day. When his own fears bubble to the surface, he nearly breaks Al’s heart–and his own. They’ll need to work things out in time to be the stars of their own magical story.
This is a cute and fun little novella/short fiction piece that I believe takes characters from one of Liebowitz’s other works and gives you a “how they met” narrative (or at least, that’s what the dedication had me assuming). That said, it’s a complete story in and of itself, and certainly has a full romance arc to it of its own.
You get to see Al meet Chad at an unlikely place: Al’s sister has a kid performing alongside an orchestra, and despite Al not being at all inclined to the classical music sides of things, he has a good enough time, is proud of the kid, and can’t beat the view he’s got right in the seat next to him: Chad.
Al’s sister knows Chad, introduces him as an IT guy, and Chad mentions he’s got a season pass before the evening ends and they go their separate ways. Al decides the little spark might be worth checking out, and is correct, and after a really cute date or two, we move ahead to an offer of marriage and then the planning of a wedding.
It’s funny, but Liebowitz nailed a voice in Al that I had myself: if anyone asked, prior to marriage equality in Canada, I shrugged off needing a marriage in any way, shape, or form. It was a kind of sour grapes reaction: I can’t have it, so I don’t want it. There. Now you have nothing over me. But once the laws changed, I proposed almost immediately. Because I wanted the protections, the legality, and—yes—the symbology of what it meant to have the weight of the law behind the word “husband.”
So, Al wants the wedding to be a big gay fantasy, and Chad… is less sure. The reasons behind this, and how it nearly derails their relationship, are a gradual reveal that forms the crux of this narrative, and definitely felt organic and emotionally truthful. I liked these two, I liked that they got mad realistically and then talked things through just as realistically.
I’ll have to track down their other appearances.
A. M. Leibowitz is a spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. She keeps warm through he long, cold western New York winters by writing romantic plot twists and happy-for-now endings. She is the author of several published works, and her short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies. In between noveling and editing, she blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, and her family at amleibowitz.com.