One of my latest reads is something a bit off the beaten track: Trying to Grow by Firdaus Kanga. It’s set in Bombay several decades ago and is the semiautobiographical story of a boy with osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease), who is also gay. It’s not a romance, although the protagonist does fall in love. But it is funny and bittersweet, and it certainly offers a unique perspective. Give it a try if you’d like to try something different.
Um, I hope you’re in the mood for spec fic, because that’s what I have for you in June.
First up, there’s my short story “Phoenix”. It’s part of Dreamspinner Press’s Daily Dose package, or you can buy it as a standalone right now. At 13K words, it’s a longish short.
First a soldier and then a diplomat, Juberi now spends his solitary days on a single ambition: trying to resurrect the phoenix, which has been extinct for centuries. He’s not pleased when he is obligated to attend a public ceremony in memory of an elderly friend and former colleague. But at the ceremony Juberi meets the friend’s beguiling son, Desen. Despite being from a markedly different culture, Desen has much to offer. But after decades of denying his own desires, Juberi fears there is no alchemy that will reopen him to love.
Another short story coming out this month is “Corruption”. It’s part of Wayward Ink Press’s Of Heaven and Hell anthology. All the stories have demon and/or angel themes. It releases on June 12. You can preorder now.
Now he exists in miserable servitude to men who plunk down ten dollars to fulfill their dark desires.
Agent Charles Grimes figures a captive demon is just another assignment.
That is until he meets Tenrael.
Want something longer? My novella The Downs will also be available shortly. It’s part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Love is an Open Road event. What that means is that it will be available absolutely free. If you’re a member of the Goodreads group, you can read it there. But it will also be available for everyone to download in various formats. I’ll post links on my website when they’re ready. In the meantime, look at the gorgeous cover photo! The photographer is John Andreson, who very kindly gave me permission to use his work on the cover.
Falsely convicted of murdering his father, Enitan Javed is judged irredeemable. He is banished to the Downs–where, he has been told since childhood, demons torture the condemned. Blinded and broken by his fall to the Downs, Enitan is taken in by the enigmatic Rig. But the Downs contains many dangers, not the least of which is Enitan’s hunger for revenge.
Last but longest, Dreamspinner Press will release my novel Astounding! on June 26. You can preorder now! This is a sci-fi/urban fantasy tale set in Seattle, Portland, and Northern California. And here’s a secret: not only do Ery and Karl make a brief appearance, but the book contains a few other surprises as well. You can preorder now.
Carter Evans is founder and editor-in-chief of Astounding!—a formerly popular spec fiction magazine currently in its death throes. Not only can he do nothing to save it, but stuck in a rathole apartment with few interpersonal connections, he can’t seem to do much to rescue his future either. And certainly all the booze isn’t helping. He snaps when he receives yet another terrible story submission from the mysterious writer J. Harper—and in a drunken haze, Carter sends Harper a rejection letter he soon regrets.J. Harper turns out to be John Harper, a sweet man who resembles a 50s movie star and claims to be an extraterrestrial. Despite John’s delusions, Carter’s apology quickly turns into something more as the two lonely men find a powerful connection. Inexplicably drawn to John, Carter invites him along on a road trip. But as they travel, Carter is in for some big surprises, some major heartbreak… and just maybe the promise of a good future after all.
One of my latest reads wasn’t m/m and wasn’t romance–although there was a brief, unexpected scene with two men, and although a romantic relationship helps drive the story.
The Night Inspector by Frederick Busch is set in New York City right after the Civil War. The protagonist, WIlliam Bartholomew, was a Union sharpshooter who had half his face blown away in the war and now wears a mask in public. He’s a complex and fascinating character, somehow both coldblooded and sympathetic. He befriends Herman Melville, who’d achieved fame with Moby-Dick and other books but by 1867 had seen his literary light fade.
The writing is not easy to read. It’s complex and many-layered, written much in the style of the mid 19th century. The scenes often jump time from 1867 to the Civil War or to Bartholomew’s youth. And what’s described is often very ugly. But the writing is nevertheless beautiful, and it truly drew me into the story and setting.