Oh, I’m so pleased to be able to introduce you to some of the authors from the anthology Bedtime Stories, published last month by Wilde City Press! Have you seen this cover? A handsome, shirtless man wearing glasses and reading a book–you definitely have my attention! (I’ve tried to explain this concept to my boyfriend, to make him understand just how sexy I find it that he loves reading. He thinks I’m cute but odd…)
So without further ado, the authors of Bedtime Stories!
Hey, all, we’re some of the authors of “Bedtime Stories” that was released last month from Wilde City Press. Thanks very much to Sarah Madison for hosting us!
Below you can find a few words about what inspired each story, and some excerpts.
Whiskey Wishes – Anna Martin
Kilbeggan is a town that has, if you’ll excuse the expression, feck all in it. I left at eighteen for Dublin, sure that with some education and big city living in me that I’d never go home. I was sick of the green, of the people and the predictability of rural life. Things were slow, money was rare, and I was gay.
And at eighteen years old, there was no way I was about to make that announcement to anyone.
– – – – –
When I sat down to write this story, all I had was the lyrics of Ireland in my head. I wanted Jim’s narration to be almost musical, so his voice and way of speaking has this very particular rhythm to it.
I was afraid, at first, that I wouldn’t find a home for the story because it’s fairly unusual for me. I don’t often write short stories, and when I do, it’s for an open call for anthologies. The only way I could deal with it was to gather together my friends, and ask them to help me out in writing a collection of bedtime stories, which is how this amazing journey began.
I’ve absolutely loved every minute of being involved in this anthology. My wonderfully diverse group of friends all responded to the request for stories in a different way, resulting in a collection which is diverse and interesting and beautifully written. I only hope the readers love it as much as we do!
Click Your Heels Three Times – Blaine D. Arden
Groggy and disoriented, I stared at the sky above me. My arms were heavy. I tried to move them, but it was as if I’d been wrapped in cotton wool-they wouldn’t budge. So I lay watching the clouds. Big fluffy clouds in a clear blue sky. The one above me vaguely resembled a hook-nosed witch sticking her tongue out. I blinked. Creepy. But what was even creepier was that she was still there, no matter how long I watched. The clouds weren’t moving at all. They didn’t change shape, either. Frozen, like cotton balls hanging from a ceiling
Where was I? Why was I here?
– – – – –
I so loved writing that one 🙂
The inspiration for this story came from Anna Martin mentioning fairytales and “Twists on Classics”, and for some reason Dorothy clicking her heels came to mind. There are no red shoes, tin man, or scare crow in my story, but there is a lion, and there might just be a way home.
Frangipani Kisses – Liam Livings
(Liam has a lovely blog post about the inspiration for his story, so go read it there. 🙂
I walked around the table, handing out small paper plates with taster samples of my cakes. “Help yourself. There’s plenty for everyone. Dig in. It’s only small pieces so if you’re watching your waist, it won’t do any harm. It’s all homemade. All natural ingredients. All made by yours truly.”
The noise in the room built as people chewed and compared notes with their neighbours, nodding as they repeated the words homemade and all natural. Clearly two concepts very close to this room of professionals’ hearts.
As I reached the chief executive at the far end of the table, he waved the plate away. The woman next to him said he had to give it a little try, it was the best she’d ever tasted, better than she’d ever made working her way through the Great British Bake-off cookery book.
I stopped by her chair. “You’ve got that, have you?”
She nodded, taking another tiny sample of my wares, smiling.
“Wonderful, isn’t it?” I leant on the chief executive’s shoulder gently and deliberately camping it up slightly, with an accent straight out of Oklahoma!, turned to him and said, “Oh please, sir, please do try some of my cake. It’s surely the tastiest cake you ever will try.”
He rolled his eyes and took a piece of my special recipe, never been shared, tried eight different versions until I reached the best one, double chocolate sticky brownie. “Good Lord!”
Beryl curtseyed and gestured to me. “Ladies and gentlemen, my secret weapon, to save the Canvey Island shop. John.”
Charmed – MJ O’Shea
Basically, I wanted to try my hand at re-writing Cinderella in a (very) short form. It’s both easy and a huge challenge, since it’s been done a million times so it has to be a little bit different than the other attempts. I decided I wanted to make my prince the one who’d been beat down by life and not very trusting, and while “Cinderella” does come from a family with sisters it’s a loving supportive family. I took the framework of the story, three magical nights that ended with the possibility of happily ever after, and made the characters very normal and somewhat cynical (in the prince’s case). I put the whole story from the Prince’s point of view instead of Cinderella and let his snark run wild:)
Here’s a bit from the beginning:
It happened one average Friday night like it always did. You know those things, the whole boy meets boy, smile flirt go home fuck for a few hours then see ya later typical kinda things, right? Yeah, it was just like that. Sort of. Except not at all. Except everything changed in that moment. There was none of the normal stuff, no sly smiles or lingering looks of acknowledgement, just whole lot of awkward needy pulse pounding staring. Like some kind of cosmic blinding soulmate shit. Seriously. Heavens colliding, universes aligning, love and rockets soulmate shit. Of course all that could only be true if Kelly believed in cosmic blinding soulmate sorts of things. Which he didn’t. Probably.
Too bad nobody told that to him. To the lanky, dorky, freckly guy with stupid pale ginger hair — of all things…ginger. Had he learned nothing from Southpark? One damn look at the kid made Kelly’s whole body burst into galaxies of ridiculous heated sparkly starry pulse pounding no. Nope, nope, nope. Absolutely not. Kelly didn’t do stars. Usually. No. Never. None of the sparkly shit for him. He didn’t have time for that kinda trouble.
Kelly one, Soulmate zero. Game over.
See the thing was, Kelly knew how to work it. No shame in that. He had to work it. It wasn’t like he had much of anything else to fall back on. School had been a bust, his family was more of a slow pathetic slide from not much to speak of into big fat zero. He got lucky when he’d first come to the city. Malek, The Court’s owner, thought he was cute and that bartender course he’d taken because, well, why the hell not, pretty much saved his life. He’d been ruling over the bar at The Court since he turned twenty-two and he didn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.
Three years in Kelly had his game down. Flirty but not too flirty, smile for tips and maybe unbutton a few buttons on his shirt so his tattoos showed, never wink like a sleaze-ball, and when he took guys home he did it once and once only. Wouldn’t do to have any of them thinking they owned him. Every guy wanted to keep one of the ungettable bartenders at The Court, especially Malek’s favorite, Kelly. Nobody got to keep him. Ever. There was a reason for that.
James, the last bartender Kelly had to fire was a really great guy, and the hot Scottish accent raked in the tips, that was until he contracted an unfortunate case of long term jealous boyfriend. The stupid boyfriend perched at corner of Kelly’s bar most nights like a malevolent vulture glaring down the customers who even dared to look James’ way. Wasn’t good for business and there was no way Kelly wanted to get into breaking up the inevitable fights. He had to let James go. Malek trusted Kelly to keep the bullshit to a minimum. He hoped the rest of the guys behind the bar knew better. He sure as hell did.
So yeah. Cosmic blinding soulmate shit? He’d give that a miss, thanks.
But it happened anyway. And there was nothing Kelly could even do about it.
Miles To Go – B Snow
I’m not really sure where this story came from – a combination of a vague story idea about a father who falls in love with the baby sitter, and trying to work out in my head how someone could reach the age of 30 or thereabouts without knowing they were gay. Yes, there are people in the closet, people in denial, but every once in awhile there’s someone who really didn’t known until a friend – or more usually, a potential love interest – points it out. And some people need more hints than others. 🙂
“Do you have a lot of anonymous sex?”
Danny blinked at him. “How do you define ‘a lot’?”
“Then yes, I would say I do. Or used to, anyway, I’m slowing down in my old age.” He smiled. “Are you saying you’ve never had a one-night stand?”
“No. Marty’s the only person I’ve ever been with.” Except for that afternoon at Dave’s, but no, he’d been high, and besides, Marty had been there, so that didn’t count.
Danny cocked his head. “You’re kidding, right?”
“No. I’ve been with her since we were both seventeen.”
Tragic? Impressive? Boring? Joe didn’t get to find out, because Danny’s phone rang. When Danny jumped up to answer it, Joe set his beer bottle on the coffee table and went upstairs to give Danny some privacy and to check on Ethan again. When he came down, Danny had his jacket on.
“One of my friends got to the bar early, so I’m gonna meet her there. Unless you want to keep talking?”
Thank God, an escape. “No, I’m ready to call it a night. Go meet your friend.”
“All right, see you next week.”
“Marty said this’d be a regular gig for a while.”
Ah, hell. The conditions of their agreement. He had six more dates to get through. “Yeah, see you then.”
“Okay. Good night.”
Six more dates. Joe locked the door behind Danny, and leaned against it, muttering, “Fuck my life.”
Leave a comment about this blog post or your favorite bedtime story for a chance to win an e-copy of Bedtime Stories or an e-copy of any of my (B’s) massively extensive backlist.
Thanks for stopping by, guys! It’s been so delightful getting a sneak peek into your worlds and a hint of your stories! And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment to get a chance at the giveaway! Contest is open until Sept 16, 2014