Hi and welcome! Please join me in unfurling the red carpet for my friend, Lloyd Meeker, who has brought us a charming and unusual romance for the holidays. It’s called STONE and SHELL by Lloyd Meeker. Here’s Lloyd to tell you all about it —
Early last spring I came across a submission call asking for romantic short stories with a winter holiday theme, I knew immediately the kind of story I wanted to write — a story told from the point of view of an eight-year-old boy who wanted a new husband for his dad. And so The Courtship of Eddie’s Father met winter solstice magic.
I realized that while the story was incredibly romantic to me, it wasn’t the usual romance told from the POV of one or both of the romantic leads. I understood it was a gamble. But I couldn’t envision the story any other way. To be frank, I’ve written three stories for anthology calls, and none of them were accepted by the publisher who put out the call. Happily for me, they each found a different path to print. I’m really grateful to NineStar Press for giving this story a home.
When that initial inspiration for the story struck, I didn’t appreciate the most basic and important challenge I would face writing it: I’d never tackled a story from a child’s point of view. I quickly discovered my imagination is better than my memory. It’s been a long time – 60 years – since I was an eight-year-old boy. So rather than rely on my memories of what my rather complicated and unhappy life was like as an eight-year-old, I decided to create an eight-year-old character very much like I would create a character of any age for a story: what was Howie Evinger like?
Well, he was smart, gentle, unusually observant, and wore glasses. He liked to think about stuff, and was sensitive to an adult’s irritation. His dad was a psychotherapist, which meant Howie was likely to be exposed to a level of language and ideas that some of his contemporaries might not be. For example, he knows that his dad is gay, and that it’s not as big a deal as it used to be in times past. He knows that until two years ago his dad was in a relationship with Joel. And he knows that his dad loves him completely.
This brought me to my most important “aha” moment. Howie would understand life events (like his dad’s breakup with Joel) through personal impact, but would be unable to grasp the adult reasons behind them. So an observant eight-year-old boy might see the world as a kind of puzzle, with pieces that sometimes don’t make sense to him. He’s busy learning for himself, and at the same time learning how to navigate the behavior and world views of the adults around him.
My heart went out to Howie, feeling deeply his naïveté and his fragile, unabashed, innocent sincerity, his sense of responsibility to help his dad find a new partner. I felt his irrepressible sense of adventure and mission, and his eagerness to call on some of his Buddhist Wiccan aunt Shanna’s quirky wisdom to succeed.
As soon as that happened, this little story just poured out, and I still happily tear up a bit when I read it. I hope you do too!
Eight-year-old Howie Evinger is convinced that his dad would be happier if he found a new husband. Howie would be happier, too. And somewhere out there in the city of Vancouver, there’s the right man for his dad to love. But how to find him? That’s a problem, especially if you’re just a kid and your dad says he doesn’t want another husband.
With the help of his quirky aunt who calls herself a Buddhist Wiccan, Howie builds his very own solstice altar with cool symbols to support his search. It has a candle, a feather and a twisty stick, plus an agate for his dad, and a scallop shell for his new husband. Share Howie’s solstice adventure as he learns how real magic requires courage and patience as well as symbols.
This sounds so great I’m anxious to read it. Thank you so much for coming by the blog. See you soon. : )