Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Guest & Giveaway: Stevie Carroll ~ Charmed by Prince Charming

Today, it's my pleasure to welcome Stevie Carroll to my Place. Stevie's come to talk about one of the stories in the upcoming collection A Series of Ordinary Adventures, "Charmed by Prince Charming", to share an excerpt of this fabulous story and to offer up a copy of the book to a lucky commenter.   


Faaaan-tab-ulous.


Tomorrow I get to sit down for a little chit chat with Stevie, so be sure to come back and check that out, but for now... it's Stevie's first time here, so please help me give an uber warm welcome :D


Welcome to my blog Stevie!


*****
Charmed by Prince Charming  


“Charmed by Prince Charming” is possibly the closest to real-world out of all the stories in my collection. It started out as a story for a British-themed anthology, and then rather outgrew the target word count. It's also the closest I come in this collection to a conventional romance plot, although the characters and their relationship are some way from conventional.

Our tale begins with a theatre company. In the summer, they mostly perform Shakespeare, and in the winter, they put on a pantomime. Already we have the seeds for a fairy tale or three and any number of opportunities for cross-dressing. Colin is the main comic actor, playing the humorous best friend to the hero or heroine in each production, and he has a crush on the company's leading man. Who may in fact be a woman. Who happens to have a girlfriend—Colin's offstage best friend—and she is most definitely a lesbian.

Poor Colin. Encouraged by the boss of the theatre—who is also the pantomime dame and any number of older male characters from the Shakespeare productions—as well as by his best friend, he finally plucks up the courage to speak to his crush. Who, it turns out, is also rather keen on him, and more than a little flexible when it comes to both relationships and gender identity.

I think “Charmed by Prince Charming” grew out of my frustration with a lot of romances involving more than two lovers, which seem to assume that all partners are together all the time. But my experience with polyamory is that some relationships function that way, but a lot more operate with the idea that different partners are going to spend varying amounts of time together doing things that they like while their other partners are off doing things that they like more.

In the story, Colin and Ash go for a “blokey” night out at the local gay pub, while Jen is off with her more “girlie” friends at the women's disco. Other times, though, they might all go out together, for a picnic perhaps, and other times again, Ash and Jen might go out together while Colin spends time with his other friends. After all, people (whatever kind of romantic relationship they might be in), go out to different activities with different groups of their friends and relatives, so why should that change completely with regard to their lovers?

“Charmed by Prince Charming” is set in an army town, which may be Colchester, home to a garrison since Roman times and with a typically British jumble of old and new buildings. Then again, it may be a town very close to wherever you happen to be right now.

Excerpt:

“You’ve gone quiet again, or was that the whole sentence?”

There were crinkles at the corners of Ash’s eyes. Cute crinkles that Colin wanted to kiss.

He wondered what would happen to the crinkles, if he were to push himself out of the chair. If he were to place one hand on each side of Ash’s chair—on either side of Ash’s thighs—and then kiss Ash full on the lips. Would the crinkles deepen, or would they disappear? Would Ash kiss him back, or push him away? Colin wondered how different it would be, kissing Ash, from kissing a bloke anyway.

The thought made him light-headed, churned him up inside, and sent his blood rushing to places it was better off keeping away from right now. Colin wriggled in his chair trying, very discreetly, to make himself more comfortable. He shouldn’t be reacting like this, not when he didn’t know what Ash thought of him, or what Ash thought of men in general.

“You’re cute when you’re confused,” Ash said. “Come on, I’ll answer your question as soon as you answer mine. Why do you want to know?”

“You think I’m cute?” Colin looked down at his hands, watching them twist together and around each other, seemingly of their own accord.

“That’s another question, and you still haven’t answered my first.” Ash leaned further forward, moving his legs together and raising his joined hands so he could rest his chin on them. “Why are you so interested in who I’m interested in?”

Colin’s confusion deepened. He wasn’t sure what had changed, but he’d suddenly found himself thinking of Ash as “he” rather than “she.” He didn’t know whether that was because of how Ash was acting, or because Colin’s stupid, stupid brain couldn’t handle the idea that Colin—gay, definitely very gay, Colin—might suddenly be attracted to a woman.

“You and Jen aren’t exclusive.” Colin decided to go down the hypothetical route. “Is that because you want to be with men as well as with her, or just with other women? I’m trying to understand why you and Jen aren’t enough for each other.”

“So love’s a finite commodity, is it? If I love Jen, then there isn’t enough love to give to anyone else? If she loves me, then she can’t love anyone else?”

Colin started to nod agreement. Then he shook his head. He loved Jen, and she loved him. As friends. He loved his family, and Jen’s were pretty cool, too. If he could love all those people one way, what was to say that Ash couldn’t love more than one person in the other way? For all he knew, Jen might be off with someone else right now. She didn’t tell Colin everything, and he’d never asked too many questions about how her and Ash’s relationship worked. Come to think of it, Jen had always been slightly cynical about those soppy films in which one of the main characters absolutely had to choose between two of the others, for no real reason other than that was how a happy ending was supposed to be.

“Okay,” Ash said. “We’re agreed that there’s no reason why Jen and I need to be exclusive. And, yes, Jen’s tastes in potential partners aren’t as wide-ranging as mine. Is there another reason why you wanted to ask the question?”

Colin wanted to say that that was another question. Ash had only answered one of Colin’s so far. Ash hadn’t said whether he—or she—thought Colin was cute. Ash definitely hadn’t said whether that was in a “cute puppy that I want to take home and feed” kind of way or a “cute and I’m attracted to you” kind of way. Generally, with Colin, people seemed to think the former rather than the latter.



Over to you. Shakespeare or fairy stories? Do you like one better than the other, or do you want both in your world? Or for those of you non-Brits reading, what do you think of our pantomime tradition?

2 comments:

  1. Nice extract! And definitely Shakespeare and fairies - at the same time! :)

    albrookeATmeDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  2. This seems very interesting! I can't wait to read it all! Also, I agree with the above, definitely both!

    catatonic_rhythm@hotmail.com
    thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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