Friday Flash Fiction – The Next When

The wonderful Elizabeth Lister‘s Friday Flash Fics challenge continues. Today’s picture suited perfectly for a moment that takes place in Ian’s life shortly after the events of one of the stories in my upcoming collection of short fiction, Of Echoes Born, so I decided to flesh it out a bit for the challenge. I have a feeling you’ll see more of the characters from that collection as these challenges continue.


Flash Friday 3

Ian woke early. Three hours ahead as far as time zones were concerned, he had all the joy of watching the sunrise and none of the grogginess. As far as first days on vacation went, it didn’t completely suck. He had a whole week on his own ahead of him.

He eyed the other side of the bed. Empty.

Okay, he had the whole of forever on his own ahead of him.

That hadn’t been the plan. But this morning? He didn’t mind.

That Ian had a lot to look forward to at the end of the week didn’t hurt. Friends. Big decisions. Huge ones.

The kettle whistled. He made a pot of tea, grabbed a hoodie, and settled on the deck of the cabin, waiting. The pale light in the distance gave way over two cups of tea, living up to the website’s promises. The strait blazed with reds, oranges, golds and, eventually, yellows.

He smiled to himself, thinking of colours, and pushed.

There wasn’t much here, but his gaze caught on the edge of the deck, near the steps, and the world fractured where he looked.

A couple appeared. Much later in the day, and unless he was mistaken, a warmer time of year. He couldn’t quite pinpoint the when, but the two were in their seventies or so, holding hands as they stepped down, the man pausing at each step for the woman to catch up.

Ian rose, holding on to the sight. He followed them down gravel path, and then along the road itself. They were in no hurry. Twice the man pointed at something. The woman would look, often smiling at him after, nodding, and touching his arm.

A bird? A flower?

Ian smiled, content to never know.

They held hands again, walking on.

Ian followed, sliding his hands into his hoodie pocket, feeling the rising sun start to nibble some of the chill from the air. A light rain began to fall—not touching the older couple—and Ian pulled up his hood.

It was getting easier. He shouldn’t be surprised, of course. Not that long ago, it had been second nature to look the way he could look. The colours had never gone, the auras around people, those he couldn’t shut out, but this other thing, this way to see into another when

He’d closed that door.

The couple paused again. Ian almost glanced where the man pointed, but there’d be nothing there. Not in the now.

He’d come a long way down the road with them. A sign ahead noted a curve.

Ian stood still, watching the couple once they started walking again, and only letting go of the vision once they slipped around the bend, a little piece of a sunny when.

The fractures in the air mended.

Even he couldn’t see around corners.

It made him smile.

Ian turned, and started back for the cabin. Breakfast. And then…

Then whatever happened after would happen.

 

Advertisements

Writing Wednesday – Prose and Cons (and Echoes)

Hello again! Yes, I’ve been very remiss lately on the blogging front, but in my defence, uh… Actually, I have none. I was working my butt off to hit some deadlines and anything that could go did go, and this was one of them.

That said, the fallout of said working included Can*Con being a blast, getting my first ever short story collection finished on time and delivered to the publisher, and I even managed to submit a few things throughout the time I’ve been offline, too. So, huzzahs all around.

Speaking of Prose, you can now see a particular listing for Of Echoes Born at the Bold Strokes Books website, which, let me be clear, gives me so much joy I cannot tell you. Twelve stories, half of them new, three of them almost novella length, basically, that book is so very full of my favourite things. Check it out. And come June of next year, it can be yours!

Speaking of Cons, Can*Con was great, Naked Heart is next week, and I shall be writing about both when I get back and my final deadline for Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks has passed and I’ve successfully handed it in. There, how’s that for the power of positive thinking? Put that confidence in a bubble and release it to the universe or whatever. Poof.

Now, Writing Wednesdays are supposed to be about me keeping myself honest about my writing and hitting deadlines and submitting things, so here we go…


Of Echoes Born

OF ECHOES BORN - 4

So. Pretty.

Done! Well, as done as done can be with a draft handed in to the publisher. Now I await edits, and oh wow did it feel good to do that. I can’t wait for everyone to enjoy Ian, Dawn, Bao, Danya, Michel, André, and all the rest of the characters that wander my noggin and were kind enough to let me let them out onto the page.

And, as I said above, it’s now listed on the Bold Strokes Books website, so if you wanted to pre-order it, you can make that happen right over here, where you can also see the amazing cover done by Inkspiral. You can also see that cover right here because I love it so much it needs to be seen everywhere, all the time.

That guy on the cover is the aforementioned Ian, Ian Simon (or Christian Simon, as he was named at birth), and given the shattering that’s happening all around him, that means he’s currently seeing the future. Or the past.

Did I mention I love that cover?


Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks

I did a thing I’ve never done before, and asked for an extension on a deadline. It’s funny, but I had myself more worked up about this than anyone else, and I gave enough notice that I hoped it would be fine and the result was an amused response from my publisher telling me to take a freaking breath and it would all be fine. So, yeah.

The end result of releasing that stress and pressure is I’ve got about 5k words left to go, some re-organizing of the plotline and smoothing out some of the issues that will cause, and almost no stress.

I cannot stress this enough, but my takeaway here was this: communicate with your publisher, and as early as you can, when things aren’t working right. I know I’m going to make this the best I can now that I have that extra breathing space, and even better? There was no actual delay to anyone’s schedule. Publishers aren’t monsters. Everyone knows everyone is a human being, and holy crap was it worth it not to drive myself mental.


Open Calls for Submission

Okay, so the other thing I do with Writing Wednesdays is keep track of open calls for submission I’m keeping an eye on, as well as track how I’ve done thus far for the year in submitting things for publication myself.

On the latter front? Previously this year thus far: January was: 6 submissions (4 reprints, 2 new), 1 acceptance; in February was bare minimum: 1 submission (1 new); March brought 1 rejection, and 1 submission (new); April saw 1 submission (new) and 1 acceptance; May: 1 submission (new), 1 acceptance. June: BUZZ! (Let’s not talk about that). July: 1 submission (1 new). August: 1 submission (1 new). September and October: While I was more or less offline here, I did manage 2 submissions (2 new), and I had 1 acceptance, but all that pretty much happened in October. My goal is to average one a month, and I’m still ahead of that, but only because I started the year off with a bang. Still, it counts.

And now, the open calls:

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul—Various titles, various themes, various deadlines, 1,200 word count limit.
  • Mischief Corner Books—Open to submissions for various themes, including Legendary Love, Everyday Heroes, Cowboys and Space; these are open rolling calls, so no deadline.
  • NineStar Press—Open to submissions for various length prose, paranormal, science fiction, fantasy and horror; Click “Currently Seeking” header for details; word count limit variable.
  • Spectrum Lit—This is an ongoing patreon flash fic provider, 1,500 hard word count limit; LGBTQ+ #ownvoice only; ongoing call.
  • Apex Magazine—Super-short flash fiction, theme of “Valentine’s Day Invasion.” 250 hard word count limit; deadline November 30th, 2017.
  • Quantum Shift—Annual celebration of quantum-inspired call for flash fiction; 1000 word count limit; deadline December 1st, 2017.
  • Best Gay Erotica for the Year, Volume 4—Cleis Press; 2,500-5,000 word count limit. Original stories strongly preferred; deadline January 5th, 2018 (but the earlier the better).
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to F*** Them—Circlet Press; Erotic short stories with magical beasts and shapeshifter tropes; 3,000 to 7,000 word count limit; deadline February 1st, 2018.
  • Lost—NineStar Press. LGBTQIA+ romantic pairing. Both HEA and HFN are acceptable, Click “Lost” header for the theme. 30k-120k word count limit; deadline April 30th, 2018.

Friday Flash Fiction — Morning After, After Mourning

The wonderful Elizabeth Lister‘s Friday Flash Fiction challenges continue. I missed last week, but I’m back for the third, with this lovely piece of inspiration, below. These involve characters you’ll meet in my upcoming collection of short fiction, Of Echoes Born, from Bold Strokes Books. I went a bit over word count this week, but come on. Look at that guy.


Flash Friday 3

“I have tea.” Michel held up two cups.

Clive barely moved his head, cracking a small embarrassed smile. “You’re a saint.”

Michel put one on the bedside table, turning to go.

“Wait,” Clive said.

Michel stopped.

“Thank you.”

“It’s just tea,” Michel said.

Clive shook his head. He stretched in the bed, and Michel worked hard to keep his eyes on Clive’s face. Shirtless, with the covers so low Michel was afraid to find out what else Clive shucked overnight, the bartender had an actual six-pack. The tattoo Michel had only glipsed fully revealed itself, crossing Clive’s left arm and shoulder, and some of his chest.

Michel felt tiny.

“Not for the tea.” Clive’s grin was somewhere between sleepy and amused. “For stuff I’m only vaguely remembering from last night.”

“Ah.” Michel’s face burned.

Clive shifted—eye contact, eye contact! He picked up the paper cup, taking a generous swallow.

“From NiceTeas?”

“One of Ivan’s ‘recovery’ blends.” Michel nodded.

“I’m okay,” Clive said. “No hangover.”

“That’s so unfair,” Clive said. “I had a headache like you wouldn’t believe, and I only had three drinks.”

“Did I throw my shirt at you?”

“Uh. Not… I mean, yeah, but…” The question tripped up Michel’s tongue. “Yes. It was raining after the wake…” He sipped. Maybe ‘recovery’ worked on brains.

“So you took me home to have your way with me?” With Clive’s hair tousled like that, the smile, and his beard, he was pretty much the sexiest guy ever, and…

Wait. What?

“No!” Michel said. “Of course not. You were a bit…”

“I was a lot.”

“Okay, yes. A lot drunk. My place was close. I couldn’t use my umbrella and help you walk—you’re heavy—and…”

“Breathe, Michel.”

Michel breathed. “Sorry.”

Clive looked around. “I don’t remember you joining me.”

“I slept on the couch.”

Clive’s eyebrow rose. “I fell all over you, you carried me home, I threw my clothes at you—”

“Because they were wet and I have a dryer.”

“—and you gave me your bed?”

Michel nodded.

“And now you get me tea. How’d you know I liked tea?”

“You said you only drank tea when Danya offered coffee after the wake.”

Clive lifted himself into a seated position. Muscles played along his chest and stomach. Michel stared into Clive’s eyes with nothing but prayer and willpower.

“I don’t normally get drunk.”

“You said that, too.” Michel couldn’t help but smile.

“Are you teasing? Is this you teasing?”

“Little bit.” Michel blushed. “It’s okay. You and Hans were close.”

“Like a second father. Or first, honestly, given what mine was like.” Clive took a deep breath. Michel tried not to watch what that did to his chest, and failed.

“Hans was an amazing man. If not for him, I’d never have opened the gallery.”

“Really?” Clive said. “Wait. We talked about that last night.”

Michel nodded, sipping.

“And you called me a hottie?”

Michel choked. He recovered after a moment, and put his cup down. “So, I don’t normally drink, either…”

Clive patted the empty space beside him. “C’mere. It’s Sunday; it’s raining. Relax. Drink tea. Tell me your Hans stories. And maybe a few more confessions. Sober ones.”

Michel stared for two long seconds before he stripped off his shirt, and threw it.

Clive caught it with a grin.

 

Writing Wednesday – Typa Typa Typa.

This last week has been much, much better. Wordcount is flowing, even I’m starting to get sick of the rain, and my books arrived for Romancing the Capital, which is in less than a month and oh wow, that’s really soon.

The other thing that will happen this week is the Flash Fiction Challenge, from NYCMidnight. I made it to honourable mention in the first round of the earlier contest, which… isn’t far. But it’s a challenge and it makes me stretch, so I’m in again. It all starts Friday, and tomorrow is the last day to register if you want to join me.


Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks

I am back on track with my new word count goals, and although I’m still fighting through inertia (man, this book doesn’t want to flow at all, every scene is like walking uphill), I’m still supported by the magic that is friendship. Camp NaNoWriMo is helping.

Plus side? I got a scene drafted I’m quite proud of: this is Cole “landing” in the bedroom of his boy-crush with an errant teleport-gone-wrong when he is escaping some bad guys.

“Hey, hey, Cole…” Malik said. “Are you okay? Do I need to call someone? What happened?” All the while, he ran one hand over my back in a small circle, pulling me against him with his other arm. It felt warm, and safe, and I slowly got myself under control.

“Sorry,” I said again. My voice was rough. “I’m having a really bad night.”

Malik let go, and reached up behind him to his bedside table. He handed me a box of tissues. I used a couple to wipe my face.

“What happened?” he asked.

“I got snatched,” I said. It just came out.

It felt so good to tell the truth.

“What?” His voice rose, and we both flinched. We waited a couple of seconds, but no one came to the door.

“I got grabbed. They took me somewhere, and…”

“Wait,” he said. “Who? Who took you?”

“I don’t really know. There are a few of them. I’ve seen them around a few times now, and they said they’ve been watching me.” I shook my head as Malik shook his head. I sounded like I was insane. “I got away.”

“And climbed up my house and through my window?”

“No,” I said. I bit my lip. “No, that’s not how I got here.”

Malik frowned. I could practically see him deciding I was a lunatic.

“You’d never believe me,” I said.

“Try me.”

I took a deep breath, and used one last tissue to wipe the last of my meltdown off my face. How did I even start? The people who’d taken me were obviously like me: a teleporter. That guy had grabbed me and yanked me through a door with him, and we’d ended up in his creepy-ass cell.

“There’s something happening to me,” I said. “And, actually, it goes back to the locker thing.”

I looked at Malik, and he nodded, once. His dark eyes didn’t leave mine. It was really distracting to have him looking at me like that, so I stared at the floor.

“It’s going to sound insane,” I said. “And I can’t think of a way to say it that isn’t insane.”

“Just say it,” he said.

“I teleported.”

Malik blinked. “What?”

“I can teleport. It keeps happening. I start to go through one door and I end up coming out of a different door.”

He scowled. “Cole,” he started, voice low and annoyed.

“I dove though a window where the guy had taken me and came out through your window. I was aiming for my own bedroom. I guess I missed.”

“You missed.” Malik crossed his arms.

“It’s actually tougher than you think it is,” I said, annoyed. “I’ve only been at this a week.”


Of Echoes Born

Typa, typa, typa. Juggling the stories, the YA novel, and crafting my “Cards Against Humanity” game for Romancing the Capital (yeah, you read that right).


Open Calls for Submission

Every Wednesday I try to include my list off all the various open calls for submission I’ve found and/or am trying to write for. If you know of any others, by all means do drop them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. If this is helpful for people other than myself, it’s even better.

July thus far? Nothing yet, but the Flash Fiction Contest will be a new submission on Friday.

Previously this year thus far: January was: 6 submissions (4 reprints, 2 new), 1 acceptance; in February was bare minimum: 1 submission (1 new); March brought 1 rejection, and 1 submission (new); April say 1 submission (new) and 1 acceptance; May: 1 submission (new), 1 acceptance. June: BUZZ! (Let’s not talk about that).

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul – Various titles, various themes, various deadlines, 1,200 word count limit.
  • Clarkesworld – Currently open for art, non-fiction, and short story submissions.
  • Cast of Wonders – Young adult short fiction market, open to story submissions up to 6,000 words.
  • Totally Entwined – Many calls, various dates and lengths.
  • Erotic Short Romances — Carina Press, an ongoing call for 10k to 17k word count limit.
  • The Witching Hour – Mythical creature visitation theme; deadline July 30th, 2017; 10k to 40k word count limit.
  • Holiday Stories – Ninestar Press is seeking queer holiday tales; deadline July 31st, 2017; 5k to 30k word count limit.
  • Haunted — Erotic stories centered around the theme of haunted, Mugwump Publishing; Deadline August 5th, 2017; 1k-5k word count limit.
  • Flint Charity Anthologies – Organized by Vicktor Alexander; deadlines throughout September, 2017; 5k to 20k word count limit.
  • Saints & Sinners Short Fiction Contest — Judged by Radclyffe; deadline October 3rd, 2017; 3k to 7k word count limit.
  • Futurescape Contest – “Blue Sky Cities” theme; 8k word count limit; deadline October 13th, 2017.

Writing Wednesday – Let’s Just Pretend June Didn’t Happen, Okay?

Wilde Stories 2017

June? Not so great. July? Turning out to be awesome.

So. June.

Two things happened in June. Thing the first? Renovations. Casa Smith needed an upgrade, and unfortunately it needed a major one. Hence why no visit to New Orleans this year for my fave literary festival. The roof needed to be replaced. So did some windows. So did the siding. Oh, and the parging. Oh, and the eavestroughs. Oh, and…

Well, you get the idea.

So. Why do I bring this up? Because BANG-BANG-BANG-Whirrrr! You know what I don’t do well? Write while construction noises are blasting me from all sides. And I didn’t escape much, as said construction noises were also driving poor Coach a little mental, and I felt bad about leaving him behind to suffer with the noise. Most days he sat right beside me, leaning against me, with this look on his face that said, Why aren’t you making this stop?

So. My “write and submit something every month?” Nope. My word-counts for June? Nope. And that sent me into a pretty bad spiral of writer’s block and self-loathing and… Yeah.

Plus side? Triad Soul launched, and launched pretty darn well. Response has been solid, so I used my daily productiveness on blogs, podcasts, and generally tooting my own horn (which doesn’t come naturally).

And now?

Now I get back on track.

Also? Today I received my copy of Wilde Stories 2017, and I have to tell you getting into a Wilde Stories anthology is a checkmark on a literary bucket list for me. I’m so stoked.


Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks

I am back on track with my new word count goals, and not looking behind me. In fact, thanks to CampNaNoWriMo, I’m feeling shored up by the awesomeness of some other writer friends, and I hope to reclaim the ground I lost, but like I said—looking forward, not behind.


Of Echoes Born

The three Ian Simon stories are going well. I’m jumping between the three of them, back and forth, and that’s been good.


Open Calls for Submission

Every Wednesday I try to include my list off all the various open calls for submission I’ve found and/or am trying to write for. If you know of any others, by all means do drop them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. If this is helpful for people other than myself, it’s even better.

July thus far? Nada. And ignoring the cataclysmic June, here’s the rest of the year:

Previously this year thus far: January was: 6 submissions (4 reprints, 2 new), 1 acceptance; in February was bare minimum: 1 submission (1 new); March brought 1 rejection, and 1 submission (new); April say 1 submission (new) and 1 acceptance; May: 1 submission (new), 1 acceptance.

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul – Various titles, various themes, various deadlines, 1,200 word count limit.
  • Clarkesworld – Currently open for art, non-fiction, and short story submissions.
  • Cast of Wonders – Young adult short fiction market, open to story submissions up to 6,000 words.
  • Totally Entwined – Many calls, various dates and lengths.
  • Erotic Short Romances — Carina Press, an ongoing call for 10k to 17k word count limit.
  • The Witching Hour – Mythical creature visitation theme; deadline July 30th, 2017; 10k to 40k word count limit.
  • Holiday Stories – Ninestar Press is seeking queer holiday tales; deadline July 31st, 2017; 5k to 30k word count limit.
  • Haunted — Erotic stories centered around the theme of haunted, Mugwump Publishing; Deadline August 5th, 2017; 1k-5k word count limit.
  • Flint Charity Anthologies – Organized by Vicktor Alexander; deadlines throughout September, 2017; 5k to 20k word count limit.
  • Futurescape Contest – “Blue Sky Cities” theme; 8k word count limit; deadline October 13th, 2017.

 

Cover Reveal for Of Echoes Born

I don’t think I’m going to shock anyone here by admitting that short fiction is my first (and still strongest) writing love. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy reading and writing novels and novellas. I’m not going to stop, either (though I’ll admit part of that is knowing that I couldn’t make a writing career out of only writing queer short fiction).

Why do I bring this up, though?

Feast your freaking eyes on this:

OF ECHOES BORN - 4.jpg

This. Is. Perfect.

So, Of Echoes Born will be my very first short fiction collection. I have a due date for the stories, but I don’t have a release date yet. I do, however, have this cover, and I don’t think I can properly explain how perfect this cover is.

The guy on the cover is my character Ian Simon. If you’re not sure who that is, that’s not a surprise. He’s got a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in my very first published short story, “Heart,” from Fool for Love. He is one of my first characters. I’ve been working on his stories since I began writing. I can’t wait to introduce him to you all.

And his eyes, his face, his goatee, the way the world around him is shattering..?

Perfect.

This cover’s magic is at the hands of Inkspiral Book & Cover Design.