Thursday, September 29, 2016

things I am reading: This Winter's Night

With the change of seasons lately, it has me thinking more about my story in the Snowed In anthology. The air is getting colder and winter is coming. Of course, as an author, I'm always interested in writing about my own work, but the other stories in the collection were solid and enjoyable.

I thought it might be fun to mention a few of the ones that resonated with me. Definitely not to be considered reviews. I'm totally biased when it comes to stories, and especially stories that share space in an anthology with my own work.

I took a little time today to reread "This Winter's Night" by Kassandra Lea.

The anthology has been out for awhile, so I don't think there needs to really be a spoiler alert, but don't go farther if you don't want to be spoiled, even just a little. I'm not giving anything away but in talking about a story, it helps to be able to mention things that happen.

My summary: Barry has gone out to the barn to check on his horses during a snowstorm and he is feeling neglected and unhappy about his relationship with his boyfriend, Oliver. Oliver has been working a lot lately and not paying enough attention to Barry.

What I liked about this story -- first, and foremost -- the notion that saying "I love you" is not always enough. *Showing* "I love you" for some people is the crux of the matter. Lip service is nice, but put your money where your mouth is.

This is such a button for me. I adore stories where at least one character gets this on an intellectual level as well as an emotional one. Talk is cheap. Action and investment are not.

For this theme alone, I will always go back and reread this story.

There were some other things I really liked, too. The horses in the barn, and especially the mare named Dumpling. Adorable. I would have been happy spending the whole story out there in that barn. And the depth of writing about how absolutely sad it is to feel a distancing from someone you love. Writers mine that well all the time, but it's a deep well. There is never a true translation of that bottomless pit into words, but some stories and characters get closer than others. Barry's solitude and sadness were right up front for the reader to see.

This story is more about romance and emotional connection, so it's sad and sweet, but isn't a fingerburner (the pages aren't hot, hot, hot). I tend to like it that way.

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