Yay! My dark comedy Valentines Day short story, “Conversation Hearts”, is out today!
I wrote this for an anthology call that never ended up happening, and Dreamspinner was still interested in publishing it. I’m not usually one who writes short stories, because I’m super wordy. But I think it worked in this instance, and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I had a lot of fun writing it, anyway!
It’s a story about a rent boy, Levi, who’s waiting for his client to show up…and instead ends up sharing a room for the night with an assassin named Sinjin. They bond over the course of the evening, and there’s a happy ending with a bit of ambiguity — was Sinjin really an assassin, or Levi’s client all along? You decide!
One of my inspirations for this story was something I read as a kid, a short story by Frank R. Stockton called “The Lady, or The Tiger?” I must have read this in junior high but it’s stuck with me all these years, the idea of an ambiguous ending that’s sort of left up to the reader. Like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but without any closure!
(It’s amazing Dreamspinner lets me do any of my own promotion, isn’t it?)
I talk a little about the story in this post on Open Skye Book Reviews, and there’s a link to it if you want to read it for yourself. And for the record, I totally think it’s “The Lady” instead of “The Tiger” that comes out of the door at the end. I’m an optimist, what can I say.
Incidentally, the assassin (OR IS HE?) is named Sinjin, and later tells Levi his name is James St. John. This was the name (and Sinjin the nickname) of the main character in my first-ever Nanowrimo book, “Down the Rabbit Hole”, which was an epic tale of an arms dealer kidnapping a woman from a librarian conference and taking her to a cabin in North Georgia. Where she…did crossword puzzles and took a nap every time she got upset about being kidnapped. Plot genius, that’s me. I re-read it recently and while it is not good, I did really like that name 😉 So I resurrected Sinjin and let him spend a night with a rentboy. Sinjin gets around, is all I’m saying.
See? This is what I mean about being wordy. This blog post is almost longer than the short story, amirite?
Conversation Hearts is less than $2 and hopefully will brighten up your day with a smile. If you’re like me and find Valentine’s Day cringeworthingly sappy and overly sentimental, you might just enjoy a short story with references to Southern Gothic literature, HGTV shows, and candy. What?
Conversation Hearts is available here:
If you’d like to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a free e-copy, just click here!