Please welcome all the fabulous authors of
Summer Love: An LGBTQ Collection
Summer Love is the first collection of short stories published by Duet, the young adult imprint from Interlude Press. These short stories are about the emergence of young love of bonfires and beaches, of the magical in-between time when young lives step from one world to another, and about finding the courage to be who you really are, to follow your heart and live an authentic life. The contributing authors have written stories about both romantic and platonic love featuring characters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual and queer/questioning. The authors also represent a spectrum of experience, identity and backgrounds.
Beautiful Monsters by Rachel Davidson Leigh
A campaign volunteer is assigned to assist his high school’s Gay Straight Alliance for the Pride Parade, forcing him to face the students he had previously avoided, and the truth about himself.
The Willow Weeps for Us by Suzey Ingold
Jack, the young son of a grocer, falls for a charming piano teacher at the dawn of World War II.
The Fire Eater’s Daughter by Amy Stilgenbauer
When a traveling carnival comes back to town, Ruth must choose between caring for her mother and a life with the beautiful and mysterious Constance, the fire eater’s daughter.
Surface Tension by Ella J. Ash
Logan just wants a summer where he can be anonymous and fit in without labels, but that all changes when he meets out-and-proud Dave at summer camp.
My Best Friend by HJ Coulter
In a letter to his best friend, a young gay man reminisces about their relationship
What the Heart Wants by Naomi Tajedler
A young student discovers attraction and desire through her experience drawing figures in her summer art class.
The Most Handsome by SJ Martin
Carter, a Cape Cod boy who recently came out as transgender, meets and falls in love with a college student visiting for the summer.
Something Like Freedom by Caroline Hanlin
A boy finds a safe space from which to imagine a new future after leaving his conservative parents’ home, thanks in part to a new friend.
On the Shore by Rachel Blackburn
A young woman retreats to her parents’ beach house to nurse a broken heart, but instead meets a vivacious girl who helps her find joy again.
Excerpt from Beautiful Monsters
“Glad to see you could join the party,” Terrence deadpans, pressing a rainbow bandana into André’s hand. André grabs a second bandana out of the bag, stuffs one in each of his back pockets, and then goes in for a third.
“Cody was checking out the parade route,” André replies, in a smooth lie. “It turns out we’re still walking six blocks through absolutely nothing and then calling it a day.” Terrence laughs, and, as he turns away, André presses a handkerchief into Cody’s hand. “Use it wisely,” he whispers into Cody’s ear. “You’re one of us now.”
One of us. He’s never been part of an “us.” Cody stares down at the lines on the handkerchief and then at the two patches of color on the back of André’s jeans as he walks toward the arriving cars.
Cody expects panic, but it doesn’t come. Maybe he isn’t ready to be Gay with a capital G, but if “us” can mean being one of these idiots, then maybe he’s ready to have people of his own. As he watches the sharp sway of André’s hips, the heat rising up his neck doesn’t feel like fear. It feels like... clarity, as though the run put everything in perspective and now he can’t stop seeing André in crisp, dazzling color.
Someone presses a sign into his hand and guides him toward the parade staging area with the rest of the crew. Once again, he can’t hear himself think over the din, but it’s different now. At the meeting, and for years before that in the hallways, he felt like an invader locked out by a wall of sound, and now he’s somehow wandered inside.
Bonus - Character Interview with Nikki from HJ Coulter's My Best Friend
We asked him to simply talk a little bit about his daily life...
Ha, well, I can tell you that my days are not as fabulous as I intended them to be at almost 25, that’s for sure. And now that Scott isn’t here to cause trouble I definitely see the cops less often, which is always a plus. Not that I saw them on a regular bases or anything, but you know, Scott and some of his cousins are kind of known around town, so…
To be honest, right now I kind of take life one day at a time, and I am okay with that. On my days off I usually go and visit my parents and Aunt Olga. Depending on how my dad is feeling I might take him for coffee. Or we go see Charlie in the shop. It’s been awhile since he sold the place to Scott’s brother, and I know it’s tough for him not to work there full time anymore. But the doctors say doing something productive—even just cleaning is helpful. I never thought I would say this, but I actually like spending time with him. Before he went to the hospital we never really did much together. And after, it was hard. But now that things are slowly getting better it’s nice to see him make an effort. We both are.
At work, I am currently touching up this year’s grad photos, which is just damn crazy. One of my cousins is graduating this year and, God, does it make me feel old. I mean, when Becky graduated I was like okay, years younger is not too bad. But Carter? I remember when he was born. I babysat him and his friends when I was 14. He’s not allowed to be legally an adult. That’s just depressing man. I like the days when Mitch lets me take the photos like he did for Scott’s wedding. It kind of sucks that another couple got married the same day, and Mitch being the only other pro photographer in town, couldn’t snap a couple of pics with me in the bridal party, but whatever. Tomorrow we’re shooting baby photos for a girl I went to school with and I am super excited.
But like I said, right now my days are kind of slow and settled. And I really am fine with that. Sure, one day I would like find my Prince Charming, sort of speak, but I’m really in no rush. I have my family here and I am working towards a career in something I am very passionate about. The only thing that would make my days better would be if my best friend was still here.
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About the authors:
Rachel Davidson Leigh is a writer, educator, and small town native who tells stories she wishes she could have read as a teen. Beautiful Monsters is her first published work of fiction. She lives in Wisconsin with her family and two dogs who are spoiled out of their tiny minds.
Suzey Ingold is a writer, linguist and coffee addict, currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brought up in a household where children's books are quoted over the dinner table, literature has always had a strong influence on her life. She enjoys travelling, scented candles and brunch.
Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.
Ella J. Ash is a lawyer by day and an author by night. She has been a writer in online fan communities since 2006. She also enjoys dance parties with her family and cooking experimental vegetarian cuisine. She lives in Toronto with her partner, three daughters and four tropical fish.
H.J. Coulter lives in Winnepeg, Canada, where she works as a respite worker and studies music, in hopes of one day becoming a musical therapist. My Best Friend is her professional writing debut.
Naomi Tajedler was born and raised in Paris, where art has always been a part of her life—including painting, restoring books, and working in auctions. She started writing in online fan communities in 2009.
S.J. Martin lives with his partner and their cranky, rotund cat in Washington D.C. He’s a barista by day and a writer by night. He makes a mean cappuccino and lives for good coffee, good books, and good company. The Most Handsome is his first published story.
Caroline Hanlin is a full time statistician, a part time stage manager, and an avid sports fan. She currently resides in Boston, where she enjoys writing during her commute. Something Like Freedom is her first published short story.
Rachel Blackburn is a writer, musician and librarian based in central Ohio. When free from work, she enjoys cuddling with her cats, drinking tea, and baking more cupcakes than necessary. On the Shore is her professional writing debut.
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