So the thing about an event like Goodread's M/M Romance Group's big yearly story event, this year called Love's Landscapes, is that they're a bit of a crapshoot when it comes to the stories. You can write the most amazing prompt in the world, but there's no telling the story you're going to get from it. It could be, to be succinct, crappy. There have already been the usual fights over bad stories, bad reviews, being gentle on newbie authors versus the right to review however you want, and the list goes on. Naturally, no one is going to like every story written for this event. Some of them, quite frankly, are just bad, and that's part of the learning process of writing. The prompter might not get what they wanted. They might not like their story. Whatever, that's fine, that happens.
Then we get stories that just kill me, kill me, with how amazing they are. Like, a few of these have seriously thrown me into conniptions. Some of them are so good, so satisfying, so atmospheric that I can smell the cigarette smoke, I can feel the edge of the blade, I can taste the cannoli. I want to share a few of my absolute favorites so far, in case you're interested in reading along and getting some awesome stories for free. Because, oh my god, some of these are so good they give me shivers. And we're not even a month in, so...yeah. Much more to come.
The links lead to the download page if downloads are available for a particular story, btw, not the Goodreads page. Also, there are going to be plenty of great stories I don't list, mainly because their theme didn't really appeal enough to read. GFY, college boys, lots of BDSM...meh. Take it or leave it.
The Dreams You Made in the Dirt: Lisa Henry, guys. Guaranteed to get good writing, and it is, it really is. Dark, creepy, the kind of thing that makes you want to shrivel up a little...yeah, Lisa Henry, but it's also really good.
Guarded: Kim Fielding, epic fantasy, amazing world building, some very uncomfortable moments in the midst of awesomeness, bodyguarding, cross-cultural...look, just check it out. My synopses suck.
The Lonely Drop: Vanessa North, a really sweet story about friends reuniting and becoming more than friends, just the sort of slow burn I can get behind, plus inclement weather and people with parent issues. Sign me up.
Better Than New: Charley Descoteaux, a short story that still packs a punch with a phenomenal prompt that I was a hairs-breadth away from trying to claim for myself, and a gorgeous picture of Sebastian Stan, who--yeah. More of that, please.
Broken Phoenix: Edmond Manning, and wow, this one was at a different level than a lot of the other stories. It doesn't do more than genuflect in the direction of contemporary, just drops you feet first into a whole new world. It felt very Patricia McKillip to me, actually.
The Last Cannoli: Tali Spencer's, a long contemporary story about baking, Italian-Americans, family feuds and how to market your business. Slow, steady and delicious.
And lest you think all of my recent favorites are by long-published authors, THING AGAIN! Perhaps the best thing I've read over this whole event just came out yesterday, from a never-before-published author who had better write more, because goddamn this was amazing...
The Case of the Insufferable Slave: Gillian St. Kevern, and I loved pretty much everything about it. It's a noir detective story in an alternate history where the South won the American Civil War, and takes the slave prompt and turns it completely on its head. Hot, well-written, atmospheric as hell. Read this.
And we still have so many to go, including stories by Kaje Harper and Alicia Nordwell and, oh yeah, myself. Be part of this! Read these wonderful stories, and check the threads out to find the ones I didn't mention that you'll love anyway.