I feel like every December I ask myself, “Where did the year go?” So I won’t do that this time. Instead, I’m trying to take stock of everything I managed to get done during our latest turn around the sun and think of everything I didn’t get to as opportunities for the future. Is it working? I’ll let you know in January.
Probably the biggest deal was that I finally had something published after a long fallow period: Three Left Turns to Nowhere with my colleagues ’Nathan Burgoine and J. Marshall Freeman. I’m pretty pleased with how my contribution turned out, and I was happy that I even got to talk about it on a podcast. I’ve only done that a couple times, so it’s still a novel experience—and no, that pun was completely unintentional.
The thing I’m most pleased with, though, is that I managed to get halfway through the first draft of a new novel, a near-future YA story whose working title is The Ghost in You. I’m excited about where it’s going, even when I get to a tricky part in the storyline (which is where I am at the moment, as it happens). I suspect that tricky bit may be part of the reason I’ve also started a side project, which is a holiday-themed queer romantic comedy, and if you like tropes…
It’s got opposites attract, a road trip, forced proximity, and my favorite:
Only. One. Bed.
I’d be lying if I said the other part of the reason I started writing it wasn’t because Candace Cameron Bure shot her dumb mouth off about only making Christmas movies that “keep traditional marriage at the core,” i.e., not the ones with the gayz. Needless to say, her comments didn’t sit well with a lot of people including her former co-stars and the entire LGBTQ+ community (of which I’m a member; you may have noticed?).
Anyway, instead of brushing it off, I thought, nuts to her, I’m writing my own damn queer holiday romantic comedy. Because a) queer joy deserves expression, and b) nothing fuels a Ricker quite like pure spite.
Also? It’s just so darn fun. I love reading these stories, and I don’t think there’ll ever be enough of them out in the world during my lifetime. Same with YA novels that have queer kids at the center of them. It was tough for me to find stories like that when I was a teenager—oh, they were out there, but I didn’t know where to begin to look for them. It wasn’t like the high school library was about to carry them, and was there even an LGBTQ+ fiction section at the B. Dalton? Doubt it. I don’t think I read a YA book with a queer character who had a happy ending before I was an adult, and now I read as many of them as I can.
I should say, though, the one I’m writing has plenty of angst to spare, and my main character, who is bi, will get put through the wringer—but not because he’s bi. (No, he’ll put himself through the wringer by making awful choices and running from his problems instead of facing them head on, which only leads to even bigger problems.)
Now, here’s the part where I make a plug for my newsletter. If you’re signed up, you’ll be getting a sneak peak at Chapter 1 of The Ghost in You today. If you’re not signed up, well, go ahead and take care of that below: