Hello! I’ve still not 100% decided what I’ll be doing this year with the blog re: short fiction, but a weekly check-in of some sort is in the cards, and so I’ll start in that manner, at least.
What I’ve Been Reading
I’ve got a few anthologies and novellas on the go right now. I started Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World that Wouldn’t Die last year, and I’ve been nibbling at it and enjoying the heck out of it. Apocalypse through the lenses of queerness and hope is a heady mix and I’m really digging it. I listened to a short Audible Original novella/YA book this week, The Wierdies, and that was a balance of hit-and-miss. The hit was definitely the narration: Kate Winslet rocked it. The miss was in some of the choices the author made: I think they were going for an Adams Family kind of vibe, but when the children drugged someone and stole all their teeth I stopped being charmed—at that point it crossed into something closer to body horror what with the whole violent assault thing. I also got back to listening to How Long ‘Til Black Future Month, which I have to admit I’ve been sitting on too long now: I keep rationing out the stories instead of just letting myself gorge, if that makes sense? I’m listening to them on audio, too, which I’ve got less time for since husband working from home means we do most dogwalks together. Lastly, my bedside reading has been Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Anthology. This has been lovely, as I drifted away from fantasy over the years and these tales have felt like warm, queer hugs. What have you been reading in the short fiction zone lately? Tell me your favourites (they don’t have to be new releases, I’m often years behind).
What I’ve Been Writing
In the short fiction lane, in 2020, I’d also been working on a YA novella, and I’m in the final stretches before a first draft is done. It’s called “Hope Echoes” and it’s about a young gay man named Fielding Roy, who had to more or less put his life on hold thanks to an illness in his family and some financial distress. He also has a little quirk—people who read my writing won’t be surprised by this—where he sometimes catches glimpses of the past, seeing “echoes” of important moments in people’s lives.
Fielding’s friends went to university, but he stayed behind to keep his uncle’s pet shop and pet rescue running and to help support his mother, and now it feels like everyone got to move on but him. He’s driving across Ontario to get to a convention where he’ll finally see his friends face-to-face, but ends up stuck in the middle of nowhere—a small town called Hopewell, Ontario—where his quirk kicks in and he finds himself trying to solve the mystery of an undelivered lesbian love letter.
Y’know, as you do.
More on “Hope Echoes” as I have information I can talk about, but yeah, that’s in the pipeline. And novella-writing seems to be well within my ability these days with my wobbly elbow/arm.
I’ve also got a Flash Fiction piece for tomorrow’s Flash Fiction Draw results, via the wonderful Jeffrey Ricker’s monthly draw challenge (details on that here). I don’t have a title yet (no surprise) and I’ve got some parts to smooth out, but that’ll be up tomorrow.
Oh, and of course, I’d be remiss in not mentioning “Village Fool,” which you can pre-order from Bold Strokes Books. It’s my latest in my fictionalized Ottawa gay Village romance novellas, and is the story of Toma and Owen, who you might remember from “Faux Ho Ho.” It’ll be out in March, and this time the holiday in question is April Fools’ Day. Here’s the blurb.
Owen is only confident in two places: at work, supporting clients through IT woes, and when he’s sitting around a gaming table in the role of a smooth and charming bard. He’s never acted on the crush he’s had on his physiotherapist—and total cubcake—Toma. Even though Owen’s no longer Toma’s patient, and his crush hasn’t dialed down in the slightest, Owen can’t figure out how to make a move.
When a friend decides to play a prank involving Owen’s contact list, Owen spends the morning of April Fools’ day inadvertently texting smooth and charming thoughts about Toma… to Toma himself.
By the time Owen discovers the prank, things are completely out of control. Discussions of thighs and awards for the World’s Best Chest have been handed out—not to mention they’ve set an accidental coffee date—and there’s no taking that sort of thing back. When this joke finally gets told, Owen’s convinced he’ll be the punchline, but with a little luck and some nudging from his friends, the last laugh might be the best of his life.
That’s it for this week. See you next Sunday!