TORONTO — Not since the heyday of Dickens, Dumas and Henry James has serialized fiction been this big. In 1841, excited readers swarmed the New York docks to ask travelers from England whether Little Nell in “The Old Curiosity Shop” was dead. In 2014, they are turning to their phones to keep up with the latest adventures of sweet Tessa and outrageous Harry, who meet on their first day of college and have a heartbreaking and inspiring relationship. Every few days, Anna Todd uses Wattpad, a storytelling app, to post a new episode of this couple’s torrid tale. Chapter 278 of “After” came out last week, moments after Ms. Todd, a 25-year-old former college student in Austin, Tex., finished writing it. The first comment appeared 13 seconds after the chapter was uploaded. By the next day, there were 10,000 comments: always brief, overwhelmingly positive, sometimes coherent. “After” has more than a million readers, Wattpad says.
“The value of my book
and myself had changed, even if the book remained as invaluable to me
as when I wrote it.” Viet Thanh Nguyen on the aftermath of his Pulitzer
win. | The Guardian
On The Girls and American Girls, which both “explore the story of the Manson murders by shoving the ringleader to the side and putting the girls (and girlhood itself) at the center of the narrative.” | The Atlantic
“It never was about the work for him, about earning to take care of
family, securing their futures, meeting responsibilities. It was about something darker,
some festering pain that no amount of public adulation could heal.” Joe
McGinniss, Jr. on his father’s fall from literary grace. | The New Yorker
Liz Moore on talking to computers, writing her way out of corners, and the importance of reading. | Electric Literature
“Likely he would comment on my attempt to individuate from my
mother, to separate. And her need to envelop me. Or, he might even say,
to devour me.” A short story by Kate Axelrod. | Joyland
Also on Literary Hub: Katie Holten on turning words and paragraphs into whole forests · It’s Ok for a poem to be funny: an interview with Tommy Pico · A new poem by Chialun Chang · The high school kids are out for summer: “Darla” from Odie Lindsey’s We Come to Our Senses
LT3 is actively seeking LGBTQ submissions for our popular serial fiction line. LT3’s serial fiction runs 4-6 stories at a time, with biweekly updates (2-3 stories update on week 1 and the other 2-3 stories update on week 2, ad nauseum). In particular, we’re looking for stories that:
Are at least 35,000 (ideally 50,000) word range, but no longer than 200,000 words long. (Note: fairy tale serials can be shorter; we are looking for 10k-50k length for fairy tales.)
Be suited to being broken down to 4,000-5,000 word sections.
Be extremely engaging. Serials run for months at a time and should keep the reader interested for those months.
Be complete. LT3 does not run incomplete stories as serials.
Stories can be any genre and any flavor of LGBTQ. Once a title finishes its serial run, it’s moved to the LT3 Book Market to be sold as an ebook (and paperback if long enough).
So what do you get for serial stories? Well, for general serial stories, you get…
10% of gross subscription sales from while your serial is running. (LT3 has over 500 regular serial subscribers.)
Regular ebook and paperback royalties when your book is moved to the LT3 Book Market. (40% royalty through LT3, 35% through third-party distributors, 20% for paperbacks)
Fairy tale serials are slightly different, as we accept shorter stories and compile them together to sell them as an anthology once we compile enough for a print volume. (See: Fairytales Slashed.) If you’re running a fairy tale serial with us, you get:
One-time payment of $100
5% of gross subscription sales while your fairy tale is running.
Author copies of the ebook and paperback versions of the anthology your book is included in.
Interested? Check out LT3’s submission page for all details, and if you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.
As a result of my being on sabbatical since the end of October, I’ve had the ability to write my next novel, “Gifted: Downline.”
It’s currently in rough alpha form, and is being edited and redrafted in to a beta form that I will eventually be shopping to agents.
But, since so many of you seemed to like the alpha draft of “The Widow Wore Gold,” I figure I might as well offer it up here for an alpha read.
The draft you would be reading would not be the final, published draft. It’s a rough alpha, with a lot of problems and a lot of flaws. But it’s finished, and it’s 89 thousand words worth of Cyberpunk science fiction.
(For the record, while researching the science in the novel, my search history consisted of:
Stochastic Theory Determinism Quantum Entanglement Delivery Methods and Symptoms of Cyanide Compounds
And so much more!)
Anyway - if I get at least ten positive replies to this post, I’ll work up a posting schedule for the story.
Keep in mind, though: If you vote “yes” to reading the thing, I’ll be asking you to comment on it, reblog it, and generally spread it around. As I’ve said before: my readership is crowdsourced, and you are that crowd.
Now that the latest season of Game of Thrones has ended, fans may be feeling a little untethered — and some publishers would like to fill that gap with serialized books. As TV dramas get better and better, book publishers are hoping to convert binge TV watchers into binge readers.
Summary: Pushing into Muhimu Shimba, the 1st Motor Rifles meet stiff resistance and a tragic fate. Amid the bloodshed, a new threat appears.
Note: This chapter contains a skippable scene. Though its content is handled as responsibly and seriously as it can be, it could still be upsetting. You will find the list of warnings and the link to skip it at the top of the chapter as usual.
Live-written as sixteen tweets. I just intended to write a single tweet, but someone asked what happened after, and I started to write. It took a little while to figure out where it was going, but I’m quite happy with it. Although it seems the ending is controversial, as some consider dracocide a horrible crime. I can’t really argue with that.
He only spoke after we were on the highway “Who’s the target then, dearest?” I had been playing and replaying the instructions from the dossier in my head. Who the hell was this B. guy, anyway? I picked the documents off the dash again, thumbing through the organized and bound sections, one after another for a fifth time.
Until now, I had actually been avoiding reading anything about the target, afraid of what I would find. When I finally read it, my mouth went a little dry. I reminded myself about the money, retiring.
There was not one but two targets.
“Arthur Pendragon and Lance Cart,” I said. B. grunted, a sound that was a mixture between something used to terrify animals and a kindly laugh.
“Shame really,” he said.
“I’d hoped,” he looked over at me, smiling, “there’d be more.” I could feel him putting the frown into his words. He was starting to grate on me.
“How did you know we would have to pose as a married couple?” I asked out of the blue. I had hoped to take him by surprise.
“Headed down to the meeting point about two hours before you did, love.” It was so simple I couldn’t believe I hadn’t considered it. “I do an extra check under the rock on my way to my humble abode every night.” He actually lives in that god-forsaken english outback?
“Then if you knew about the targets, why the hell ask me?” I said through the dossier into the back where it collided with the seat. He grunted again.
“Listen, you don’t have to work with me, you can get out of the car here and now if you want.” He knew I couldn’t do that. I’d be dead before my feet hit the damn sidewalk.
“No, really, I’m fine.”
“You sure?” he asked, working a nag into his tone. It came off as whiny.
“Yes, I am fucking well sure.”
“Right!” he shouted. He said it so loudly that it startled me, causing me to tip my water bottle and spill it all over my clothes. I opened the glove compartment — my papa used to keep napkins for things like this there. “You may not want to —“ B. started to say, but he didn’t get the to finish.
It was too late.
Black sooty ash poured out, bled out of the box onto my clothes, propelled by the air conditioning, sweeping the car and getting all over anything and everything.
“…Do that.” B. finished.
“What the hell is this shit?” I yelled, trying to rub it out of my soggy clothes. It wasn’t helping.
“That would be the previous owner of this vehicle, ma’am,” he said sheepishly. I turned and just stared at him, trying to process his words.
“The previous…” I began. Then it hit me. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me,” I started in on him. “You stupid English…”
Every Wednesday I found myself waiting for the G train.
This morning was no different.
I checked my watch as I walked up the subway platform, the four inch pumps on my feet clicking against the soiled cement.
I had at least ten minutes before the next arrival.
If I was lucky.
Standing in these shoes wouldn’t do it. Not caring about the designer trench coat I wore I sat in one of the wooden seats. Crossing my legs I pulled the stocking higher on my left thigh.
He’d gone all out this time.
The tags on this week’s lingerie had prices listed in Euros. I hadn’t bothered to look up the exchange rate so I had only a faint idea of how much everything cost. Not that it mattered. Cost never concerned him.
Too bad I’d never wear any of this again. Every week a box arrived at my brownstone. I wore whatever was inside and never put it on again. He insisted that I didn’t. Impatiently I glanced at the time again.
Four minutes had passed.
I was alone, only the sound of dripping water and the squeaking of a faraway rat keeping me company. He never understood why I took the subway especially at this hour. It was dirty, foul smelling and crime laden apparently.
None of that bothered me though.
Being raised in the gutter made you immune to a lot of things.
Like homeless people for example.
He was wasted.
I could smell the liquor hanging on his clothes from feet away. Muttering to himself, the man didn’t seem to notice me at first. For a drunk schizophrenic he wasn’t dressed too shabbily. It was the worn look in his eyes that tipped me off. A year and some change ago I had that same look. We locked eyes as he passed, or I should say he locked eyes with my exposed thigh-that and the cleavage peeking through the top of my coat. His grumbles tapered off and he sat two seats away.
I stared straight ahead knowing the man was undressing me with his red eyes.
I hid my smile as I heard the rustle of clothing. A muffled moan followed. I didn’t look as his sounds increased echoing off the tiled walls.
It bothered him when I did.
“I like this pair,” he huffed. I kind of did too. The hand stitched lace was a nice touch even if it itched.
“Thank you,” I replied.
He was quick. Soon four letter expletives flew from his mouth, hand moving faster and faster. Hoped he used something. Friction like that would give any man a burn.
My head snapped to my right as I heard footsteps coming down the staircase near me. It was strange. People rode New York City transit at all hours but not once had I ever run into anyone at this station.
Not at thus hour at least.
Except the homeless man of course.
I eyed the intruder, not bothering to cover myself. He stood a little away, hands stuffed in the pockets of a lettermen jacket. His eyes lingered on me longer than necessary. My mentally insane counterpart paid him no attention.
Still working he let out a shaky grunt and several whimpers.
Ah, there we are. Light shone down the tunnel, signaling a coming train. Right on time.
Standing I placed my bag on my arm, finally looking at the insane man. He was wiping his semen covered hand on his pant leg. I got a distracted smile.
“Enjoy yourself?” I asked casually.
“The lace,” he replied embarrassed. “It does something to me.”
The train approached sending humid wind through my messy curls. I considered his words and said, “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Stepping in the train I blew my homeless friend a kiss. It sent a deep blush to his smudged cheeks. “Later Jimmy.”
“See you,” he said clearly. It was really the only time I understood his words.
The doors closed after the double chime and I took my seat.
Usually I was alone.
Most people were headed out of Brooklyn, not to it. His intrusion on my late night ride irritated me somehow. With one eyebrow raised I looked at him full on.
Upon closer inspection I noticed that we had similar complexions. Aside from his platinum hair he had full lips and a pair of soft grey eyes. A black Fedora sat on his head. White t-shirt, torn jeans, black combat boots. He would be attractive if he could manage to stop looking at me like I had two heads.
He took it upon himself to break the silence. “You do that often?”
London accent. I picked it up immediately. Being around so many of the city’s rejects I encountered people from every part of the world. I knew dialects and inflections better than most.
“I like to do my friends favors, don’t you?”
He cracked a smile revealing perfect teeth. I got the feeling I’d seen him and that smile before. “Not those kinds.”
“Try it sometimes. Good stress reliever.”
Blondie laughed, not commenting.
The train rattled on jerking and lurching like it was sick. I pulled out my ragged composition book, making sure the tape still held the front cover on. I began scribbling letting out an array of random thoughts. This book was my best friend closer to me than my actual human ones.
He (yes my journal had a gender) held the most secret parts of me providing therapy on its lined pages.
I got so caught up I almost missed my stop. I shoved the journal in my bag and got up. Waiting for the doors to open I shed my trench revealing the deep purple teddy underneath. With the thin straps and the way it stopped just below my ass I was more naked than clothed.
Wasn’t so abnormal.
I’d seen girls in clubs wearing less.
Like I was taking an evening stroll I tossed my coat over my shoulder and began my walk home.
The blonde must have thought I was stupid that or completely oblivious if he didn’t think I noticed him following behind. He was being a little too loud if he wanted to attack me. I passed my place and rounded a corner removing the knife I kept tucked in a protective case.
He stopped immediately when we came face to face.
“You picked the wrong one,” I said with a half-smile.
Cautiously he took a step back, putting his hands up. “I just wanted to make sure you got to wherever you were going safely. What you’re wearing-that’s not the best idea.”
“I’m a big girl.” I tilted the knife so it caught the street light at the hilt. “I’m going now so it’d be in your best interest not to follow me. Again.”
“Tell me your name and I won’t have to,” he replied.
I eyed him suspiciously wondering what his game was. “Ayanna.”
“No last name?”
Cute but I didn’t have the time. “Nope,” I said walking away.
“Don’t you want to know mine?” he called after.
“Not particularly Blondie.”
I left him stuck on stupid, my trusted companion in hand. One plunge of this blade and his guts would explode all over this street.
A wasp knife.
No girl should leave home without it.
Once inside my brownstone I locked the door and headed up the stairs stopping to check in two rooms. One of my roommates/best friend Leah was sound asleep at her desk, head cradled by a textbook. From the drool on the page she’d been there a while. Gently I shook her, helped her up and tucked her in. She was mumbling something about law theory when I closed the door.
Further down the hall I opened another door. The bedroom was empty. I half expected that.
Heading up another set of stairs I entered my domain. My bedroom, sanctuary and sometimes torture chamber. It was dark. Knowing my way around I went to the window and let the night light spill in. The sidewalk was empty, except for a passing car and…Blondie.
He was standing there looking right at me. He must have caught the curtains opening. We stared at each other for a brief moment something strange passing between us.
I shook the feeling and smirked.
If he wanted a show I’d give it to him.
I climbed on the window sat, knees sinking into the pile of pillows. Slowly I lifted the edge of the nightie stopping to touch my body at all tge right places.
Once it was at my breasts I pulled it over my head in one motion. I let him get a good look before I hopped off and walked away. It was the least I could do.
It wasn’t like I was going to ever see him again.
“Exhibitionist. Why am I not surprised?” a voice asked from the darkness.
So that’s why he wasn’t in his room.
He did this sometimes.
Whenever I came home late he waited up for me like a concerned father. Max, my other best friend and roommate, lay in my bed.
“Just giving my stalker a little taste,” I said taking off my shoes.
“Yeah the guy that followed me from the train station.” I said this like it was no big deal.
Max sat up, his long hair spilling over his pain-stained shirt. His angel-like face turned fierce. “Tell me who,” he ordered. “Is he still out there?” I blocked him from jumping off the bed and showed him my knife before tucking it safely away.
“Calm down I’m fine.” I rummaged through a few drawers before I found my black XO t-shirt. I pulled it over my head not bothering to take the thigh highs off.
He still didn’t look happy. “This is bullshit. I don’t know where you go every Wednesday that keeps you out until early morning but you need to find another way home. That or I will have to escort you. Despite what you think you’re not invincible. You’re a female, walking alone at night. All it takes is some motherfucker to overpower you. If something happens to you-“
I put my finger over his lips and climbed under the covers beside him. I leaned on my elbow and placed my leg across his hips. “But nothing did happen,” I said running my hand through his hair.
He was caught off guard but still pressed the issue. “Something could. Do you know what I would do if you were ever hurt? I’d give my life.”
He would not shut up.
I led his hand to my thigh and brushed his fingers against the trim of my stockings. “You like?” I whispered the words against that special spot on his neck.
Max took a breath and cursed. “I do.” He paused knowing what I was doing. “This conversation is not over Ayanna. You can’t always get your way with me.”