Myth and Magic Anthology Coming in December

Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales

I’m very happy to share that I recently signed a contract for my short story “The Vain Prince” to appear in Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales (Radclyffe and Stacia Seaman, eds) forthcoming from Bold Strokes Books.

The title is an anthology of retold fairy tales and legends from a queer point-of-view. Rather squarely up my alley, huh?

A select few may remember “The Vain Prince” from its first appearance in Ganymede back in 2009. The story is a bit of a mash-up of “The Frog Prince” from the Brothers Grimm and the opera “Turandot” by Giacomo Puccini. It was my first fiction publication. Sadly, Ganymede went out of print when its editor and founder John Stahle died in 2010.

I gave the story a tune-up for its republication. It’s a bit campy and definitely whimsical, and I hope that readers will enjoy it on its second run.

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Download “Mike’s Pond” for Free at Smashwords

Mike's Pond Cover Art

A few of my short stories are out of print, and I decided to publish them for free on Smashwords.

The first one up is a fictionalized memoir “Mike’s Pond,” which first appeared in the quarterly e-zine Wilde Oats. This was one of my earliest publications from back in 2011.

The story is special to me for a few reasons. I wrote it as an experiment for a critique group in which I was participating at the time. A couple of us were writing fantasy. Most were writing contemporary, literary pieces. Just for a fun challenge, we decided to all take a crack at writing horror.

My mind had drifted back to what had scared me as a kid. I grew up with an older brother so the source material was vast. We lived in a quiet, suburban town outside of the city of Buffalo. During the summer break from school, the thing to do was charting out the wooded pockets of land surrounding our tidily developed neighborhood. That was fine during the day, but there were stories of terrible things that had happened in those wild, abandoned places at night.

Mike’s Pond was the best-known legend. When my piece was published in Wilde Oats, I was happily surprised to hear from readers back in Amherst, New York who told me the story was alive and well. The one square-acre or so site had been idle for decades. But just recently, it was sold to a hotel developer, and it will soon be no more. Local residents, organized under the banner: Friend’s of Mike’s Pond, have tried to oppose the razing of the forested wetland, which is a vital ecosystem for wildlife. Sadly, it appears that they are losing the battle.

As a kid growing up in the 1980s, Mike’s Pond was both a playground and a cautionary tale. It seems that everyone in that neighborhood has heard the story that some young man named Mike drowned there, but no one can reliably say who Mike was, why he drowned, and when his death happened.

Those curiosities inspired my “horror story,” but it gradually turned into more of a coming-of-age piece. It became about my struggles proving myself to my older brother, wanting to be a “normal” boy, and confronting the frightening reality that I was not “normal” by the conventional standards of the time. Of course, those conventional standards were the only standards I knew as a twelve-year-old.

If you like the story, you might just give it a rating and/or review on Smashwords. Of course, you can do that if you don’t like it too. This was my first foray into Smashwords publishing, and I spent many hours working on the formatting, but I’m aware it’s not perfect. New respect for self-published authors!

 

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Jacks is Back: Release Day for Werecat, Book 2

I’m happy to announce that the next installment in my Werecat series is out today.

Werecat: The Glaring continues Jacks Dowd’s adventure in the terrifying and erotic world of shifters.

Werecat: The Glaring

Free from Benoit, the man who made him a shifter, twenty-two-year old Jacks tries to get on his own two feet while crashing with Farzan, the only person who knows about his werecat nature. It will take a grueling schedule of off-the-books jobs and a steady mantra of self-control.

Then a raid on a bodega pushes Jacks to transform into his mountain lion self to fend off a group of gun-wielding gangbangers.

Jacks scrambles to disguise the truth, but the incident leaves a thundering wake of questions. The police want to know what really happened to a freaked-out young thug in custody. Farzan, who has been crushing hard on Jacks since they met, begins to doubt that it’s safe to have Jacks living with him. Jacks wants to know where he belongs: with the man who took him in when no one else would or among his own kind. As he searches for answers, Jacks is confronted by a secret shifter society The Glaring. They have come to avenge the death of Jacks’ maker and to claim a powerful item that Benoit left behind.

You can buy the e-book for $2.99 at All Romance E-Books, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Some fun promotions will be coming soon!

Many thanks to the team at Vagabondage Press for bringing this latest project to life: my editor N. Apythia Morges, book cover designer Maggie Ward, and managing editor Fawn Neun.

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Werecat, Book 2 Cover Reveal!

I just received the final cover art for the second installment in my Werecat series.

It now can be revealed…

WerecatTheGlaringCoverFinal3

It’s the same model from The Rearing with a new profile and a hint at what’s to come in Jacks “Cherokee” Dowd’s latest adventure. All credit to Maggie Ward at Vagabondage Press. We went back and forth a bit conceptually, but Maggie put in the real work making the cover come to life.

Werecat: The Glaring will be available for purchase February 28th. I’m hugely excited about it. Some more hints about the story and promotions will be coming soon!

 

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“In a Wine Phase” Re-Running in Retrospective “Best of Wilde Oats”

My short story “In a Wine Phase” was chosen to be published in Wilde Oats Issue 14. The issue features the editors’ favorite submissions over the e-zine’s past six years.

Many thanks to Stanley Ridge and his editorial staff!

“In a Wine Phase” is a contemporary, realistic story (yeah, I write realistic stories every now and again). It’s a quick peek into the life of thirty-something Ryan who has a surprise encounter at a cruisy bar that rattles his notions of loyalty and family. The story is really short so saying more would give it all away. You can read it on-line for free here, and check out the entire issue. There are stories ranging from historical fiction, sci fi,, romance and plenty of contemporary fiction.

Artwork from Wilde Oats #14

Artwork from Wilde Oats #14 by Rowan Plantagenet

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Got my first advance!

Since this blog has become an on-line diary of sorts, I had to include this happening.

I came home from work tonight to a long-awaited discovery: my first advance from a publisher for my book! This was from Bold Strokes Books for the sale of The Seventh Pleiade.

Of course, I laid it out on the kitchen counter and took a photo of it with my iPhone for virtual scrapbooking. :)

photo (1)

I wouldn’t say this was more or less rewarding than any step along the way for me as a newish author. My first offer of publication was spectacular. Seeing my work in print for the first time was a damn proud moment. Getting nice praise from reviewers and readers made me feel ten feet tall.

The advance just registers to me in a different way. I’m not ready to quit my day job for sure, but it’s awfully sweet validation that I’ve entered the world of the professional author.

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