Billions of Beautiful Hearts is OUT!

My cute little short story BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS about two teens who find a way to come together during the time of Covid lockdown is now out in the universe! Much thanks and gratitude to my readers who made this a #1 New Release on Amazon this week! My two nonbinary teen characters also thank you! I don’t think I have to say this, but representation is so important. I’m glad Wen & Kaye have made their way out into the world…and I’m excited that they’ve been well received. Thank you all who supported this short story!

Click the image below to go to Amazon to pick up a copy of Billions of Beautiful Hearts!Billions of Beautiful Hearts is one of four short stories in the COME WHAT MAY series…and I can promise you that the other 3 are quite lovely. One of the perks of being involved in this project is that I was able to get early reads on the other 3 stories. You’ll want to pick them up! Links below for the other COME WHAT MAY stories:

GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING by CLAIRE RUDY FOSTER is already out and available!

AND ALWAYS COMING BACK by JUDE SIERRA comes out Tuesday Feb 16th and is available for pre-order now.

SUNNY PASTURES by LILAH SUZANNE comes out Tuesday Feb 23rd and is available for pre-order now.

THANK YOU!

Instagram Live with Claire Rudy Foster! Tuesday Feb 9th…

When I first opened THE GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, the newest short story from CLAIRE RUDY FOSTER, I accidentally got swept away into my own thoughts and I found myself landing somewhere back in the Musée du Louvre in Paris. Naturally, the title of the story made me think of Johannes Vermeer…the artist of the famous painting by the same name as the story. This made me think of The Lacemaker, another painting by Vermeer…one which I actually saw in person. For the full circle, it was at the Louvre that I saw The Lacemaker.

I had to reel myself back to the story. And such a delightful story it was! If you haven’t read the first story in the INTERLUDE PRESS/DUET BOOKS Come What May series, you REALLY SHOULD pick it up! The Girl With a Pearl Earring is a delight. It’s all punky and pondering and cute sexy. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It brought me back to my punk days, to my museum days, and to so much more. It’s all the vibes!

It brought me to my own contemplation of the differences of the people in my punk community…how we all arrived there for different reasons and from different backgrounds. This aspect alone of The Girl was insightful! There was a passage in the story that brought me RIGHT BACK to those punk days of my own…the moment the narrator realized their friend was on a different path than them:

“For the first time, I sensed how wide the gap was between us and knew, that she had always been aware of it; knew its depths and contours and its glacial creep, taking us in separate directions. I’d thought we were the same because I couldn’t see those things, or that I could somehow shake off those differences by doing a better impersonation of the people I desperately wanted to belong with.”

I was super delighted, also, to discover that The Lacemaker actually makes a cameo appearance in this story!

Here’s an AMAZON link to pick up a copy of THE GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING. OR, you can get a copy of this short story wherever ebooks are sold.

Girl With a Pearl Earring Synopsis: In 1992, Laura and Thea live together in a punk house in Washington, D.C. Thea, a brash and unapologetic trans girl, lives the punk life to its fullest. But Laura leaves her leather and safety pins at home each day when she leaves for work in a government job—hiding her anti-establishment lifestyle from her co-workers and her mainstream tastes from her housemates.When she invites Thea with her to see a Vermeer exhibit, Laura finds the courage to open up to Thea while viewing her favorite painting. Thea—normally critical of mainstream art—is charmed by both the painting and by Laura.

Now, I guess I digressed enough. As you can see, the title of this post has nothing to do with what’s transpired thus far in the post. But if you’ve read my posts in the past you probably already know I’m really good at digressing. I just wanted to SHOUT OUT Claire Rudy Foster’s short story first, before I announced tomorrow night’s Instagram event!

There’s all the details! TUESDAY FEBRUARY 9th @ 7PM Eastern Time. This will be hosted on Claire Rudy Foster’s Instagram Account. If you go follow them now, you’ll be alerted when we go live tomorrow evening! Go follow them. Now. (-:

There will be giveaways and our novels will be on sale at the Interlude Press Store. We’d love to see you there! Please come…interact! We’ll be talking about…well, I guess whatever suits our fancies at the time. The announcement from our publisher is as follows:

Join Claire Rudy Foster and Kevin Craig live on Instagram talking writing, Vermeer, punks, the Camino de Santiago and pretty much whatever they feel like. They’ll also have giveaways of their new short stories,”Girl With a Pearl Earring” and “Billions of Beautiful Hearts.” And be sure to stop by store.interludepress.com, where we’ll have their novels on sale 2/7-14.

They officially said, WHATEVER THEY FEEL LIKE…so, like, we’re allowed to do whatever! Come see what happens!

(One quick note: my story is the only YA story among the 4 Come What May stories…just an FYI for readers.)

Oh! PS! My own Come What May short story comes out tomorrow! The special preorder price of 99 cents will be disappearing soon! Here’s the Amazon link to pick up a preorder copy: BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS. This one can also be purchased wherever ebooks are sold. GET IT NOW! (-:

FLASH ACCESS! Billions of Beautiful Hearts on Net Galley for a Hot Minute!

If you blink, you might miss this one!

My awesome publisher–INTERLUDE PRESS/DUET BOOKS–found a way to include BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS (and all the other COME WHAT MAY short stories) on Net Galley!!But you need to be SUPER QUICK! Act now! You must request it now because it releases TUESDAY FEBRUARY 9th, 2021 and won’t be on Net Galley for long! If you’re unfamiliar with Net Galley, it’s a website where publishers offer books for review. Once the books are posted to Net Galley, reviewers can log in and request to read/review. The publisher vets and approves readers and they have access to the book ahead of publication, for review purposes.

I found out overnight that BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS went live on Net Galley, but it will be gone in a hot minute, so…act fast!

Here’s what BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS is about:

A short story from the Interlude Press COME WHAT MAY collection.

Wen Devante is Insta famous with a massive following and a flare for fashion. At almost 18, they have already published a book on gender nonconformity, released several songs on Spotify and appeared on television. During the first wave of Covid-19 lockdown, they reach out to an unsuspecting Kaye, one of their 2.3 million followers. The two form a bond, first through Instagram messages and then through Zoom. They discover there are ways to have a meaningful relationship despite the bleak circumstances. In fact, the pandemic seems to make reaching out even easier than it used to be.

I was invited by my publisher (they published my latest novel, THE CAMINO CLUB in October of 2020) to write a short centring around love and relationships in the time of Covid. At the beginning of the pandemic, I promised myself that I would never include the nightmare in my fiction. In my fiction, 2020 would just be a normal year. But then, when I was invited to be a part of this project…I realized that life has to go on…whatever the challenges we face. And love…it happens…COME WHAT MAY. So, here we are. This is how Billions of Beautiful Hearts came to be, and how I wrote about a pandemic I vowed not to recognize in my fiction.

PREORDER IS LIVE NOW WHEREVER EBOOKS ARE SOLD. REMEMBER, THIS IS A SHORT STORY. Click here to go to my BOOKS page (it’s the 2nd book down the list) for multiple preorder links for 99 cents!

CLICK HERE TO REQUEST BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS FROM NET GALLEY WHILE IT’S STILL THERE!

There are 4 short stories in the COME WHAT MAY series! Visit THIS LINK TO READ ABOUT ALL OF THEM.

 

Short Story Release Day is 2 Weeks Away! Billions of Beautiful Hearts…

It’s almost that time! My short story BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS will drop two weeks from today!

This is a story I was invited to write as part of INTERLUDE PRESS‘s series called COME WHAT MAY. The idea for the series was that no matter the circumstance, love finds a way. Whether it be during the chaos of a pandemic, or any other impossible situations…love finds a way, come what may. My story is one of FOUR stories in the Come What May series, mine being the only young adult.

In BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS, I write a cute YOUNG ADULT story about two nonbinary teens who quite possibly find each other during the opening chaotic months of the Covid-19 disaster.

It releases on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9th, 2021…but you can PREORDER it now for half price at 99 cents. Preorders help the author, and the independent publisher, greatly! So if you’re even considering eventually picking up a copy of this short story, there’s no time like the present.

Wen & Kaye are two teens who find themselves in an unprecedented situation, lost in the new world of social distancing and screen-only interactions. Find out what they do with this new world order. Preorder BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS today!

BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS (Duet Books/Interlude Press)One of Four Short Stories in the COME WHAT MAY project – Wen Devante is Insta famous with a massive following and a flare for fashion. At almost 18, they have already published a book on gender nonconformity, released several songs on Spotify and appeared on television. During the first wave of Covid-19 lockdown, they reach out to an unsuspecting Kaye, one of their 2.3 million followers. The two form a bond, first through Instagram messages and then through Zoom. They discover there are ways to have a meaningful relationship despite the bleak circumstances. In fact, the pandemic seems to make reaching out even easier than it used to be.

AVAILABLE FEBRUARY 9th! PREORDER NOW FOR HALF PRICE AT APPROXIMATELY 99 CENTS DIRECTLY FROM INTERLUDE PRESS OR AT YOUR FAVOURITE RETAILER:

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | Kobo UK | Interlude Press Store | Barnes & Noble Nook

As I mentioned above, BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS is one of 4 short stories in the COME WHAT MAY series. To read about the other 3 stories, CLICK HERE to be taken to AMAZON where all 4 stories are collected. The remaining stories are; GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING by Claire Rudy Foster, AND ALWAYS COMING BACK by Jude Sierra, and, SUNNY PASTURES by Lilah Suzanne.

Come What May – February 2021 – from Interlude Press!

Last week I announced my upcoming short story, Billions of Beautiful Hearts. I also mentioned that it’s one in a group of short stories being published by Interlude Press. There are 3 other stories in the Come What May project.

All 4 of these shorts are available at your favourite ebook retailers, including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple Books and more. Below, you will find the Direct-from-the-Publisher buy links for the 3 remaining stories:

In GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING by Claire Rudy Foster, Laura and Thea live together in a punk house in Washington, D.C. Thea, a brash and unapologetic trans girl, lives the punk life to its fullest. But Laura leaves her leather and safety pins at home each day when she leaves for work in a government job—hiding her anti-establishment lifestyle from her co-workers and her mainstream tastes from her housemates.

When she invites Thea with her to see a Vermeer exhibit, Laura finds the courage to open up to Thea while viewing her favorite painting. Thea—normally critical of mainstream art—is charmed by both the painting and by Laura.

Available here for the special pre-order price of 99 cents

In AND ALWAYS COMING BACK by Jude Sierra, at first, David and Evan found a silver lining to quarantine in togetherness. But as the months wore on, the novelty wore off. At the seven-month marker, David broke down—but not because of what was happening outside. Recognizing that loneliness could wield power even when you’re not alone, David and Evan commit to rediscovering the silver that lines togetherness.

Available here for the special pre-order price of 99 cents

In SUNNY PASTURES by Lilah Suzanne when Frankie’s glamorous big city life falls apart, the only place she has left to go is her grandmother’s retirement village where she’s charmed by her grandmother’s friends, and a beautiful home health aide named Claire.

Available here for the special pre-order price of 99 cents

Covers are on their way for these 4 short stories. The release schedule is as follows:

The Girl with the Pearl Earring – February 2, 2021

Billions of Beautiful Hearts – February 9, 2021

And Always Coming Back – February 16, 2021

Sunny Pastures – February 23, 2021

CLICK ON THE TEMPORARY COVERS BELOW TO VISIT EACH STORY ON GOODREADS! Don’t forget to add to your TO READ shelf!

Billions of Beautiful Hearts! Come What May…

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce a second project with INTERLUDE PRESS/DUET BOOKS! This time around, it’s a short story. Releasing on February 9th, BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS will be my contribution to the small series of stories in their COME WHAT MAY project!

From the publisher:

In our COME WHAT MAY project, authors Claire Rudy Foster, Kevin Craig, Jude Sierra, and Lilah Suzanne explore relationships born from, changed by, and discovered in isolation in short stories released individually throughout the month of February.

After their release, these quick reads will be $1.99 each. But until February, they’ll be available in a pre-order special for only 99 cents each.

And here’s a link to the full announcement, complete with a synopsis for each story: COME WHAT MAY ANNOUNCEMENT

All Stories are available now, either directly through the INTERLUDE PRESS STORE, or your favourite ebook retailer (Including Amazon & Kobo)!

Might I add that I love the title of the series for a few reasons, but mostly because it shares a title with one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite movies! COME WHAT MAY from Moulin Rouge!

Preorder the shorts now and save! Only 99 cents each until February!

Musical interlude coming up in 3, 2, 1…

Or… What about WHAT ABOUT US?! That song inspired the title to my story…

3rd Place – Paris At Sunset And Into the Night…

It’s official! The winners of the 2019 Stratford Rotary Short Story Contest have been announced! My story PARIS AT SUNSET AND INTO THE NIGHT, about a lesbian couple coming to grips with a cancer diagnosis while taking an impromptu trip to Paris, tied for 3rd place in the competition!

A new beginning, she said. A chance to reconnect. To say we needed one was more than a little misleading. We’ve never been closer. I was more than willing, however, to accept Annie’s reasoning on calling it a new beginning on our year instead of on our lives. It’s only early June and I’m ready to pack this year away and never look back on it. When Annie mentioned Paris, it took me three seconds to say yes.

And now we’re here and I’m trying my best not to regret our spontaneous decision. We’ve left so much chaos back home, I find it difficult to focus on anything else.

So begins my story. I will refrain from posting it in its entirety here, as I heard there would be an anthology of winners in the future.

Congratulations to all the winners, including SHARON FRAYNE who I know from the Muskoka Novel Marathon. Sharon took 2nd place. (-:

2019 Stratford Rotary Short Story Contest Shortlist Announced…

What a great way to get back into the writing mindset!

I made the list! Such a thrill to discover yourself on a shortlist! Rotary Club of Stratford’s annual short story contest winners will be announced at the Stratford Writers Festival on October 19th.

Up for grabs in the contest?

19 and under-Teen

  • First: $300
  • Second: $200
  • Third: $100
  • 3 Honourable Mentions

20 and over-Adult

  • First: $500
  • Second: $250
  • Third: $100
  • 3 Honourable Mentions

For me, just making the shortlist is a great reward and honour. I submitted a short story about a lesbian couple struggling with a recent cancer diagnosis and revisiting one of their favourite places on earth for a respite from their harsh new reality. PARIS AT SUNSET AND INTO THE NIGHT made the first cut, and in my book that’s pretty awesome in and of itself!

YOU CAN VIEW THE FULL SHORTLIST HERE

Good luck to my fellow shortlisted writers! And to all those who entered, KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING!

2019 Rotary Stratford Short Story Contest

I’ve just been made aware of the upcoming open-to-submissions date for the next FREE Rotary Stratford Short Story Contest. The 2019 Rotary Club of Stratford Short Story Contest will begin taking submissions for short stories of no more than 2,500 words of any genre on MAY 1st, 2019.

Submission window is:

MAY 1st – AUGUST 31st, 2019

There are two categories, based on AGE—Youth & Adult.

19 and under-Teen (must have parental or guardian consent)

  • First: $300
  • Second: $200
  • Third: $100
  • 3 Honourable Mentions

 

20 and over-Adult

  • First: $500
  • Second: $250
  • Third: $100
  • 3 Honourable Mentions

NO CONTEST FEE!

Submission Deadline Again: AUGUST 31st, 2019

LINKS:

CLICK HERE FOR CONTEST RULES AND REGULATIONS AND TO SUBMIT

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE LIST OF LAST YEAR’S WINNERS

FULL DETAILS AND ELIGIBILITY

Contest Announcements:

  • Shortlist Announcement: September 2019
  • Winner Announcement: October 18 – 27, 2019 during the Stratford Writers Festival

NYC Midnight – Round Two and Me!

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The entrance stairs to my third floor flat in Paris in Rue St Louis.

I honestly can’t believe this, but I get to move forward to ROUND 2 of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2019! The first cut of this challenge is the deepest. It just went from over 4,500 writers to only 750 writers in the 2nd round. Just after midnight last night (or, I suppose, this morning) the Round 1 results were posted. Not only did I make the Top 5 in my heat, but I made FIRST PLACE. I know, I’m just as flabbergasted as you are! But after I read the results three (or four, or five) times, I decided I was reading them correctly. It’s right there in black and white, come what may…

nyc

I have been writing short stories quite a lot lately, and they’re always set in cities that I have visited in the past few years. I decided not to stray from that theme with this one. I guess it’s working. My heat in round one had 3 stipulations. The genre had to be DRAMA, it had to involve PET-SITTING in some form or another and one of the characters had to be a FIANCEE. I wrote a story from the perspective of the apartment I actually stayed in while in Paris in 2014. I had the good fortune of being told by the hotel concierge when I arrived at my hotel on Rue St. Louis on the Island that they had a special apartment down the street. He said, “You’re a writer, no? We would like to give you the full experience!” He took me for a walk down the street and showed me a top floor flat with a view to a courtyard below. As if he was afraid I would say no and demand to be taken back to the hotel, he offered me a daily discount to stay in the incredible flat. He had me at hello. I saw the woman downstairs while I was staying in that flat. I put her in my pocket, knowing I would use her at a later date. Thanks to the NYC Midnight challenge, because the prompts called her willowy ghost back into existence.

20140620_201122
See those three windows at the very top? That’s where I called home when I was in Paris. They looked down into the closed circular courtyard below. And…maybe into a few of the windows below, too. (-;

I’m stunned, really…so so happy and excited too. I can’t wait for the next round, even though it terrifies me. I can work around the other stipulations, it’s the genre challenge I fear the most. I tend to stay in my lane as a reader and as a writer…which means I could definitely miss some of the subtle nuances of quite a few of the potential genres I could find myself facing. I shudder to think!

And I won’t have long to worry about the gunshot that goes off and sends a scary genre-bullet my way. THURSDAY AT MIDNIGHT—that’s when I’ll receive the 2nd round challenge. And the 750 writers still alive in this challenge will have 72 hours to submit their 2000 word stories for the next round of judging.

paris1
Nina, a dear friend I met while in Paris for the Left Bank Writers Retreat in June 2014. We spent a lot of our free time together, exploring all of Paris on foot. This is us atop the Arc de Triomphe.

Here’s what the 2nd Round officially looks like:

nyc2

I’m so thrilled that I held on to that woman these 5 years. When I run across my potential characters in real life, they sort of haunt me relentlessly until I get them on the page. She was particularly insistent. She’s free now. And I thank her from the bottom of my heart, both for sticking around and for pinch-hitting when I needed her most. Cheers to the woman downstairs in Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, Paris! I am eternally grateful for ‘meeting’ you.

GOOD LUCK TO MY 749 FELLOW ROUND TWO WRITERS! Full disclosure: Every July I travel up to Huntsville, Ontario for the 72hr Muskoka Novel Marathon. That’s right…I write an entire novel in 72 hours. I’m ready for this challenge! BRING IT!

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