An anthology of short fiction featuring the finalist selections from the 2020 Saints+Sinners Literary Festival.
By Julius Eks
Ben considers himself lucky. He found Gabriel early in life and he is loved.
But at twenty-one, he’s beginning to question if the boat of youthful independence will soon set sail without him. Will his devotion to Gabriel prevent him from exploring with other guys? Will he ever get to experience the heart-wavering thrill of falling in love again?
Vacationing on Gabriel’s family boat on the French Riviera, Ben is unprepared for the arrival of Leo, a beautiful adolescent thriving in the noontide of carefree nonchalance. Over the course of a single day, Ben battles his burgeoning lust and intensifying guilt.
Will he betray Gabriel, who has done nothing but love him? Or can he resist the carnal temptation of the most beautiful boy he has ever seen?
Silas Waite doesn’t want his big-C Conservative Alberta family to know he’s barely making rent. They’d see it as yet another sign that he’s not living up to the Waite family potential and muscle in on his life. When Silas unexpectedly needs a new roommate, he ends up with the gregarious—and gorgeous—personal trainer Constantino “Dino” Papadimitriou.
Silas’s parents try to browbeat him into visiting for Thanksgiving, where they’ll put him on display as an example of how they’re so tolerant for Silas’s brother’s political campaign, but Dino pretends to be his boyfriend to get him out of it, citing a prior commitment. The ruse works—until they receive an invitation to Silas’s sister’s last-minute wedding.
Silas loves his sister, Dino wouldn’t mind a chalet Christmas, and together, they could turn a family obligation into something fun. But after nine months of being roommates, then friends, and now “boyfriends,” Silas finds being with Dino way too easy, and being the son that his parents barely tolerate too hard. Something has to give, but luckily, it’s the season for giving. And maybe what Silas has to give is worth the biggest risk of all.
By Greg Herren
Someone is killing the Grande Dames of New Orleans!
It’s Christmas time, but the last thing in the world Scotty Bradley wants under his tree is a murder case that strikes close to home. The premiere party for a new reality show sets the stage for a murder, and Scotty’s sort-of nephew is the prime suspect. As more and more cast members fall victim to a cold-blooded killer, Scotty and the boys must figure out what is real and what is scripted, and have to exhume some long-buried secrets in order to bring the killer to justice.
A Scotty Bradley mystery.
Alan Keyes takes a break from his police duties to scratch his acting itch in a local stage production. But when the leading man is murdered during the opening night performance, his partner Detective Heath Barrington is thrust into the limelight to find the killer. Alan soon learns the theater has a deadly past and ghostly forebodings, including a telegram that seems to have come from the beyond.
Among the large cast of suspects is Oliver Crane, the director whose finances depend on the success of this play, Jazz Monroe, Milwaukee’s sweetheart with a secret, and the handsome actor Henry Hawthorne, who has designs on Alan. When Alan seems to return Henry’s attentions, Heath must put his jealousy and insecurities aside to determine what’s real, what’s illusion, and who’s acting and who’s telling the truth before death takes a bow.
A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery
By Bud Gundy
Intelligent, handsome, and struggling to make his rent, thirty-year-old Drew Morten loses his only meaningful relationship when his grandmother dies. A famous television anchor, Claudia Trenton leaves Drew the legacy of her secret memoir. From the fate of a vanished medieval prince to a top-secret NASA study about a mystifying space object, her unreported discoveries hum with wonder.
But history merges with the present and upends Drew’s life when he has a terrifying revelation. Teaming up with a brilliant woman who receives the same vision and a handsome man whose arrival is either fortuitous or sinister, Drew follows the clues in his grandmother’s memoir and races against time to save the world from an apocalyptic nightmare about to be unleashed in downtown San Francisco.
As catastrophe looms, so does the question: Who, or what, is the real enemy?
Two newly single, Black, queer, and socially aware men have packed up to start again—in love, career, and life—in the West Hollywood neighborhood of LA.
Zaire James, on the cusp of 30, has decided marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Despite friends, family, and coworkers loving Zaire’s “perfect” partner, divorce is a necessary step for finding himself and being free. If only it were that easy.
Kenny Kane has made a career of deferring dreams, lowering expectations, and chasing partners not on his level in hopes of finding a love to call his own. However, on the verge of the big 4-0, he realizes the clock is ticking on all his dreams.
As Zaire and Kenny undo the significant relationships of their pasts, they hope new opportunities, energy, mindsets, and connections will reinvigorate what is missing in their lives—drama and all.
When struggling actor Phillip Stalworth breaks up with his girlfriend, he returns home to the Deep South to care for his ailing mother and unexpectedly falls for a local carpenter. Working through his past with his complicated family, some old high school chums, and the desperate characters who grace his hometown, Phillip ultimately finds his own voice as his mother is finally regaining hers.
Already an award-winning film, Counting for Thunder was inspired by writer Phillip Irwin Cooper’s personal experience and, like Augusten Burroughs, covers many of the universal themes of love, life, sex, and death with his own brand of gallows wit. Phillip’s three-year quest is a hero’s journey proving we truly can go home again to learn the lessons we should have mastered the first time around.
An anthology of short fiction featuring the finalist selections from the 2019 Saints + Sinners Literary Festival.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Brody’s Family Secret by J.R. Greenwell
- Figures of Speech by Lewis DeSimone
- Foxes by Jonathan Harper
- Omaha by Michael H. Ward
- Fixing Uppers by Maureen Brady
- Stones with Wings by Louis Flint Ceci
- Flawed by Felice Picano
- The Grove of Mohini by J. Marshall Freeman
- Shopping for Others by William Christy Smith
- Solid Gold Saturday Night by W.L. Hodge
- Washington’s Retreat by Stephen Greco
- Salvage by Karelia Stetz-Waters
- Trick Hearts by Michael Graves
- The Importance of Being Jurassic by Daniel M. Jaffe
- Arundel’s Name by Jamieson Findlay
- The Unit by Aaron Hughes
By Greg Herren
A Katrina survivor waits for rescue on his roof in the brutal heat, reflecting on the life choices that brought him to this moment. A young woman discovers there’s more to her perfect man than she thought. A gay journalist travels to Italy to interview his teen idol, only to discover a darkness in the Tuscan hills. A gay man cleans his home, reflecting on his sociopathic criminal mother. Chanse MacLeod returns to his hometown to help his younger brother, accused of murder. A daughter keeps her father’s legacy alive while hiding his darkest secrets.
Including five new stories written for this collection (along with the first-ever Chanse MacLeod short story), Greg Herren’s tales of murder, crime, and the darkness that lives inside all of us are evocative of the proud Southern Gothic tradition of writers and are now available, for the first time, in a single collection.
Naos has come to Calamity, and chaos has come with her. Cordelia had enough problems without teaming up with former enemies in order to defeat a mad goddess. And she doesn’t yet know that the Storm Lord has been resurrected in a new body. On the plains, the prophet Lydia is convinced that Fajir is the one chosen to stop a massive firestorm in the future, if only Fajir wasn’t so set on killing everyone around her.
With their murderous leader dead, hostilities have ceased among the drushka, but the long-living aliens are slow to adapt. The last thing they want is a drushkan king with powers none of them dreamed of before.
After appearing in Best Gay Love Stories, HarringtonGMFQ, Q Review, and Off the Rocks, Lenny and his partner, Dave, return in a hotbed of manhood and jealousy.
Lenny is managing a failing bookstore and struggling to keep his promise of fidelity to Dave. He flirts relentlessly with grad student Ian until he discovers that Ian’s ambivalence masks something personal and devastating. Caught up in a whirlwind of sex and lies, Lenny and Dave’s relationship spins out of control. Lenny clings to Dave’s unassuming manhood in hopes of keeping himself grounded, but when another seductive stranger becomes too tempting to resist, Lenny and Dave face the ultimate challenge.
Being the kid abducted by crazy old Ms. Easton when he was four permanently set Cole’s status to freak. At seventeen, his exit plan is simple: make it through the last few weeks of high school with his grades up and his head down.
When he pushes through the front door of the school and finds himself eighty kilometers away holding the door of a museum he was just thinking about, Cole faces facts: he’s either crazier than old Ms. Easton, or he just teleported.
Now every door is an accident waiting to happen—especially when Cole thinks about Malik, who, it turns out, has a glass door on his shower. When he starts seeing the same creepy people over his shoulder, no matter how far he’s gone, crushes become the least of his worries. They want him to stop, and they'll go to any length to make it happen.
Cole is running out of luck, excuses, and places to hide.
Time for a new exit plan.
PRAISE for Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks:
"Burgoine (Of Echoes Born, 2018, etc.) has created a gay teen protagonist who is a bit goofy at times but who is comfortable in his own skin....Overall, a feel-good, contemporary read with strong LGBTQIAP rep and an unusual fantasy subplot." —Kirkus Reviews
"Burgoine uses science fiction elements to explore homosexuality, pansexuality, bisexuality, and gender nonconforming identity....Burgoine's immersive writing excels in the details, from the precise sensations Cole experiences at the onset of a teleport to the overwhelming intensity of his feelings for his friend Malik....VERDICT A definite purchase for any library collection." —School Library Journal
In this bawdy novella, Cal State engineering student Hardy tries not to repeat all the mistakes of his gay-supportive but womanizing father. Hardy is too young for a husband, but not too young to fall for bi Tom, or out Brad, or to move in with Sebastien, a French visiting economics professor who surprises Hardy by not taking him along to Paris for the summer—perhaps because Sebastien has a secret boyfriend? In Sebastien’s absence, Hardy works as a barista and turns to online hookup Dick, who is obviously not who he says he is, yet inspires in Hardy the fantasy of being husbands.
"[F]ast and explicit and honest...I have to recommend this one on the uniqueness factor alone." –Love Bytes: LGBTQ Book Reviews
"The narrator, Hardy, is enviably young, enviably self-absorbed, and enviably attractive, frolicking with hot man after hot man....Any gay man will find this short book an entertaining, arousing read." –Jeff Mann, award-winning author and teacher
All Detective Heath Barrington and his partner, Alan Keyes, want is to get away for a weekend of romance, but they find murder instead when a missing tie leads them to the body of the peculiar Victor Blount, and Heath can't resist the urge to investigate. Who killed Blount, and why?
Clues turn up around every corner, but what do they mean? The bloody "W," the green spool of thread grasped in the dead man’s hand, the newspaper left at the doorstep: they all lead down a strange and winding road of mystery and danger. As Heath and Alan work together to solve the case, they encounter various and eccentric suspects, old friends, and a hostile Chicago Detective, Marty Wilchinski, who doesn’t like Milwaukee police involved in a Chicago crime. Forced to act on their own, out of their jurisdiction, they race against time to find the killer before Wilchinski files the case closed.
Outside a hospital in Ottawa, a heartbeat returns long enough for a good-bye. Downtown, a man steps into shadows of the past to help those who have died find their way free from their memories. In Niagara, an icewine vintage is flavored with the truth of what happened on a dark evening of betrayal. In British Columbia, the snow itself can speak to someone who knows how to listen.
The past echoes through these queer tales—sometimes soft enough to grant a second chance at love, and other times loud enough to damn a killer—never without leaving those who’ve heard it unchanged.
Of Echoes Born is the first short story collection from Lambda Literary Award finalist ’Nathan Burgoine.
Advance praise from Publishers Weekly: "Burgoine assembles 12 queer supernatural tales, several of which interlock...The best tales could easily stand alone; these include 'The Finish,' about an aging vintner whose erotic dalliance with a deaf young man named Dennis gets complicated, and 'Struck,' in which beleaguered bookstore clerk Chris meets Lightning Todd, who predicts his future wealth and romance. A pair of stories set in 'the Village,' a gay neighborhood, feature appealing characters and romances and could be components of a fine Tales of the City–like novel."
An anthology of short fiction featuring the finalist selections from the 2018 Saints+Sinners Literary Festival.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Stockyards Harlot by W. L. Hodge
- Sand Angels by Jeremy Schnotala
- Aloha, Ollie Bell by William “Chris” Smith
- Frey and Gared by James Penha
- Women and Children by Miranda Recht
- Always Chasing the Serpent by Sarah Fonseca
- The Widower by Vince Sgambati
- Down Hawthorne Street by Mahin Ibrahim
- When We Get Home by Dante Fuoco
- Devoured by Andrew Schopp
- Collecting Brass by Laura Steadham Smith
- Mr. Darcy’s Pride by Jameson Currier
- The Buried Bodies of Old Pompeii by J. Marshall Freeman
- Old Friends by J. Michael Norris
- Memorial at the Club New Orleans by Reed Vernon Waller
A steamy bacchanal bending through time and space, replete with the occasional God, mythic creatures, and oh-so-many men. For centuries the godling Nerites luxuriated in a shifting sexual paradise, hopping from one bathhouse to another—from disco-era Manhattan to Feudal Japan and back to where it all started: ancient Rome. When the dark shadow of his half-brother, the sinister Obsidio, descends, his deadly kiss leaves bodies cooling in steam room corners. Nerites must adopt a new role: as defender of these hidden havens, his eternal orgy becomes a race across history itself.
"The Lurid Sea is either the most lyrical filth I’ve ever read, or the most sexually explicit legend of ancient Rome ever put on paper. Probably both." Wayne Hoffman, author of Hard and An Older Man
A "mythology-themed pornographic paean to the art of fellatio." Publishers Weekly