This is a set of short stories for those that like to be made to think whilst being entertained. Each story draws us to different views of our sentient being, and may well work differently for individual readers with differing life experiences. In my case, ‘Conflict’ was the story that resonated most deeply for me. This is a book that clearly sits on the contemporary fiction, literary, shelves, a vague classification though it is. Perhaps I may build a shelf labelled contemporary fiction musings.
So then, this isn’t a set of adrenal thrills, isn’t all about those fashion icons, plot and character, though Halpenny certainly writes with style as he pulls us deep into different fictional consciousnesses. This is reading for those that like nutritious input rather than the crude modern hits of sugar salt and hot pepper. There is a thread of sorts through these stories, that being the nature of reality.
These aren’t the classic short stories for a half-conscious read on the commute to work. They need quiet time and certainly benefit from undivided concentration. They are worthwhile stories for possibly short, but always deep, quiet moments.
East Van Saturday - four short stories and a novella, has just been sent out to three more Canadian publishers.
The process began in November of last year when I decided that self-publishing another work (currently I've self-published eight novels and two plays) wasn't going to achieve what I wanted.
What do I want?
Critical, serious consideration for my writing and you're not likely going to receive that as an self-published author.
Why? Because it's now dead easy to self-publish and guess what, everybody's doing it. In 2015 alone, 625,327 ISBN numbers were issued for individual indie books.
In the past six months I've submitted to five publishers. If you think sending out submissions is easy, well, I guess it depends on what you're comparing it to.
- publishers are obsessively specific about how your manuscript should be presented: what font style, what type size, margin widths, headers, etc.
- part of the submission package is to explain why you think your work is a good fit for them,
- you must provide details on how you're prepared to market your book,
- in most cases they will not accept simultaneous or multiple submissions,
- they won't let you know they received your submission,
- you are under no circumstances allowed to contact them in any way,
- they won't let you know if they reject your work, they'll just shred it, using "a secure process".
Okay, so it's not that difficult, it's just extremely annoying to have to deal with their arrogance - and that's without ever having the opportunity to speak with any of them.
To make it even more galling, in 2014-15 these guys (and gals) received $30 million dollars in Canadian government subsidies - that's my tax money.
And what exactly do they do for this money now that all the services: editing, cover design, production, marketing and distribution can be done by the author or purchased from experts relatively inexpensively?
They're the gatekeepers to literary acceptance. If you're an indie author you're a joke, if your traditionally published you're accepted by the literati.
Not that I'll make any more money. Emerging authors are lucky to receive a fifteen percent royalty on traditionally published books.
So here we go again.
East Van Saturday Night - four short stories and a novella, are to some degree autobiographical and impart to the reader why you can take the boy out of East Van, but you'll never take East Van out of the boy.
Though the stories are all set in East Vancouver (with the exception of Hitchhike, which is a cross Canada misadventure during the "summer of love"), the themes have universal appeal and the music, the fashions and the culture are distinctly familiar to "boomers".
Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU
The 2nd in this fabulous series, Satin can be read as a standalone.
Joel Hunter is a DC (Detective Constable) on a surveillance job with his partner Trish, in a bar/lounge, hoping that the owner comes by so he can be arrested.
The stakeout is going fine, but then Joel is rather distracted when Satin takes the stage - a beautiful singer whose sultry voice nearly puts Joel under a spell.
Shortly thereafter, with the bar owner locked up and the stakeout over, but unable to get Satin out of his mind, the smitten DC goes back to the bar to listen to Satin again.
And Satin makes her move.
Except, Satin is really Ross Dauntry, a female impersonator and aspiring ballet dancer. Joel gets over his shock pretty quickly and agrees to meet Ross for coffee, as friends. Joel has until now identified as straight, and any previous attraction to a man has never been acted upon. He is confused at the attraction but also doesn't feel any shame or massive angst. He is willing to explore this thing with Ross, even if they only end up as friends.
Obviously, Joel isn't as straight as he thinks he is. Things get steamy pretty quick, and there's very little angst in this book, other than Ross wondering if Joel is attracted to him or to Satin, and Joel taking a bit of time to make peace with his attraction to Ross. The sexy times are not only steamy but seriously sensuous, and I contemplated taking a cold shower after each scene. There's one in the ballet studio where Ross trains... holy hot boysecks, Batman!
Of course, there's a bit of a conflict there too, and Ross' roommate didn't do him any favors with her interrogation of Joel, but I understood where she was coming from. Joel struggles with how to be in a relationship and his feelings for Ross, while Ross falls quickly but also realizes that he might set himself up for heartbreak.
Trish was a great character - supportive and not afraid to call Joel on his bullshit when he needed it.
There's a scene towards the end - gah! Nope, not gonna tell you what happens. You should read this for yourself and experience the same kind of swooning I did.
KC Wells' personal brand of magic shines through in every word in this book. This was fabulous, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I'm pretty damn sure you will too.
** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **