Welcome back to another edition of my monthly newsletter, and my apologies for the late arrival of January's addition. I have been working hard, knocking out college assignments, drafting Dumbstruck - Part, and packaging some of my short stories, compiled in We Are Here: Volume 1 for a wider release. So, without further delay, I'll dive into the newsworthy bits.
February will have four individual releases, each short and slightly different from the others but equally enjoyable. Three classics and the fourth tale are new additions to my backlist. Below are the details regarding each story, each adding layers of complexity to my multi-universal tale world. If you have Kindle Unlimited, the four below are available for free.
Speed Bumps: Release's 9th February 2024
Speed Bumps tells the story of a teenager who is blackmailed, forced to commit crimes and humiliating tasks for a group of peers in his school. This story was inspired by the recent string of similar news stories appearing in the media then, and I knew I had to tell the story. If you like a serious read, this story might be for you.
Twelve-year-old Carson catches his fifteen-year-old brother, Logan, at a pivotal moment with a gun in his hand. Carson learns about a secret his brother has been keeping for months. Being tormented, bullied, and blackmailed, Logan is forced into a dark place, persuaded to steal, perform humiliating tasks, and make degrading requests. Logan wants to salvage what's left of his dignity and believes the only way out is to end it all, but he doesn't expect Carson to come home early.
Our Little Darlings: Release's 16th February 2024
Our Little Darlings tells the story of a teenager called Gavin, who, on Halloween night, allows his intrusive thoughts to take control, and he ends up in a situation that both he seems to take satirisation from, but also disgust. The story highlights the complexities of these extremes. I wanted to tell a harrowing tale about teenage prostitution; this was the outcome. Ed Sheeran's A-Team inspired me to create this story, as I had heard it a few times when I was fifteen. Upon hearing it for the first time after years, it got my brain cogs running about, thinking of the subject material and how it could be told in the world of Our Little Darlings.
The streets are empty; children sleep snuggly and safely in their beds. Parents are watching the latest episode of Chicago Fire, but Gavin is skateboarding alone, heading for Wickham Bridge. The local meet-up spot, where junkies hang out hoping to shoot up, and individuals with darker motives prowl, waiting in the shadows. Gavin knows who is waiting. He must make a decision. Will it be good or bad?
Love In Paris: Release's 19th February, 2024
Written for an IOMFATS writing challenge, Love In Paris was the result of the challenge. At the time, I had been writing for a primarily American audience, and since the source material looked European, it allowed me to write something a little closer to home. Love in Paris was born, telling the story of a teenage expat fascinated with a French boy in the latest 1990s. This was fun to write; I'm thrilled to share it with an expanded audience.
What would you do when you see a cute boy on a routine jog?
William, the son of an expat from England, takes a much-deserved break on a hot summer day while out on his afternoon run. Feeling tired and sweaty, William stops in one of the many small plazas Paris offers to enjoy a milkshake. It is here William notices Alexandre. Days pass, and both boys are too intimidated to progress beyond clandestine stares. Until William's curiosity builds to a clumsy mistake, coincidently allowing both boys to meet face to face. What will be said? Will William confess to Alexandre about his burning fascination, or will this encounter be just a fleeting moment?
I've Got A Friend Who Might Be Gay: Release's 1st March 2024
Having created a shared world between all my stories, it was time to add some pop culture and icons to populate it. I wanted people to occasionally discuss video games, famous people, and movies that existed only in the world. Content I wrote in 2017 contains some dated material, e.g., 7 Days to Day in Chasing Christmas. Though the game was excellent in its day, it is a dated reference. This was a concern for me, as I've never explicitly stated a timeline in the stories or particular year, except for my ÉIRE universe. So, I needed content that never aged.
Felix Castillo was one of these first references, a teenage pop star that had won over the general public like young Justin Bieber, Donny Osmund… etc. His celebrity status has been mentioned in the Dumbstruck series, my upcoming Even if We Tried, and others. However, I've Got A Friend Who Might Be Gay tells the story of two best friends who encounter the teenage heartthrob, opening the door to a future story about the celebrity as a closeted gay kid. That story will come later, but he gets to meet Felix and uncover the type of person people have fallen in love with.
Alex and Lydia are best friends and decide to spend another weekend at the mall, browsing storefront windows, getting wasted on Mc Flurries, and boy stalking. It's their favorite pastime, and since Alex is gay, Lydia talks nonstop about cute boys. An unexpected situation occurs when they have exhausted all the fun the mall could present. Upon noticing an adorable boy, the pair take off in pursuit, but they soon realize they are not the only ones. Felix Castillo, a young musician and the hottest and most talented teen heartthrob, has been seen roaming around the mall. So, Alex and Lydia set forth on a mission to find the singer before any fanatic fans find Felix first.
Even If We Tried
EIWT is entering the final stages of development, and I'll be releasing some supporting material soon, like Sometimes With Reality, a prequel to the story with Austin Copeland. I'll also reveal the cover, the first chapter, and other behind-the-story content coming up to the big day, so stay tuned for all those fun details.
Backstory: If you wish to read more about Austin, he appears in How I Live Now. Read How I Live Now - Click Here
Dumbstruck - Part 4
DS-4 has officially hit the ground running, and the first draft is coming along lovely. I'll have more details about this story soon, but if you have not read the previous three novels, I'd encourage you to check them out. This would be the first summer the boys spend together. This narrative will also cross over into other books. We have two supporting characters established from previously written stories making appearances, but I'll keep that a surprise for the moment.
Read the Dumbstruck Series: Click Here
The History of A Bench:
The long-awaited short film I made is available on YouTube. It's the first time I've done anything like this, directed, or made a movie. The link below is if you'd like to watch the film I wrote and directed. The story is based on the short story The History of A Bench, compiled in my book We Are Her: Volume 1. Let me know what you think.
That brings this January to a close. I hope you are looking forward to reading more of my stories in the coming next month. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
Movie of the month:
Released in 2023, Joyride is a compelling Irish drama film starring the remarkable Olivia Coleman. Through its captivating storytelling and powerful themes, the movie delves into relatable aspects of the human experience. Here, I'll explore the prominent themes presented in Joyride, highlighting its significance and why it is a must-watch for all movie enthusiasts.
The story follows Olivia Coleman's character as she embarks on a daring road trip across Ireland, seeking to break free from the burdens and limitations imposed by society and her fears. This exploration of freedom encourages viewers to reflect on their lives, inspiring them to break boundaries and live authentically.
The film does not shy away from addressing the challenges of overcoming fears and insecurities. Joyride beautifully explores the theme of friendship and its ability to bring solace and happiness in the most challenging times. Olivia Coleman's character encounters various obstacles, symbolizing the internal struggles we all face, such as self-doubt, fear of failure, and the opinions of others. By witnessing her determination and resilience, Joyride motivates viewers to confront their fears head-on, reminding them that growth and fulfillment lie beyond their comfort zones.
Joyride is a poignant masterpiece that effectively tackles many themes, including friendship, personal freedom, rediscovering passion, overcoming fears, and embracing nostalgia. Its ability to engage audiences on an emotional level and inspire introspection makes it a captivating cinematic journey that should not be missed. Joyride encapsulates the complexities of the human experience, urging viewers to reflect, grow, and embrace life's vast potential.