May is "Short Story Month."
One of the things that made me so excited to write a story for BOYS OF SUMMER was to put something out there that my younger self never found. When you're a gay kid (and, I assume, any sort of LGBT kid) and you see nothing out there that represents you, you start to doubt the future. I had a belief - albeit a very shaky one - that things might improve. I had no actual proof of that, but it was enough.
Believing in the magic of the world is at the core of the next story in BOYS OF SUMMER, L. Lark's "Breakwater in the Summer Dark." Here two characters find themselves together each summer as counselors at Oxwater Lake - a camp for kids - and their worlds intersect in a kind of middle ground: Cody is a city kid, and wants to study biology, and although he's been enjoying the company of girls, he's preoccupied with Harris. Harris is the son of the owners of the camp, a reader of fantasy novels, and a believer in the monster in the Oxwater Lake. That Cody is the one who sees the monster - and captures a shot on his cell phone - puts both their mindsets askew.
Cody and Harris dance around each other - Harris leads with belief, Cody ripostes with denial and then attraction, which Harris deflects... The interplay between the two, with the mystery of the potential monster in the background, is a delight. But for me, the central issue: belief vs reality, and which has more power - was the voice of the tale that Cody and Harris were speaking. It put me back to my own youth, and my own notions of how the world had to have some magic in it.
And I'm glad I still believe that.