Posted By lantoniou on September 1, 2013
Now available from Circlet Press, and from your favorite e-book sellers – “Scenes from the Marketplace,” a collection of all of my Marketplace-themed short stories.
For every novel I’ve written, there are hundreds of pages of resource documents, ranging from actual research to background details of characters who might only appear for a chapter or three. I have a timeline for the Marketplace that starts in 1894 and ends in 2003 – and of course, it’s incomplete. Because I haven’t even begin to full in the years only in my imagination so far. But that will come soon.
The first time I wrote a short story for The Marketplace, the universe didn’t actually exist. I created a quintessential leatherman named Ron who tops two twinks in a short story in my first book, The Catalyst. I liked Ron; I always knew there was more to his story as well, and he turned up in a few gay porn stories I wrote over the years under different names. But when I was sketching out the character backgrounds for my Marketplace novels, I decided that Chris Parker, the main character, had an older brother. A gay older brother, macho and handsome and…oh. It was Ron, from the story Boys Will Be Boys – of course!
The second Marketplace short story I wrote was Mandarin Style. I was invited to read at a LGBT Center event celebrating sexy stories featuring characters of color. Well, I certainly HAD such characters – Mistress Madeleine, Ali Cruz, Gordon Reynolds and of course, fan favorite Ken Mandarin. But what I didn’t have were any lengthy scenes *featuring* them. Everything seemed so short when I reread the books looking for an excerpt to read. So I did what anyone else would and wrote a new story starring the Eurasian spotter.
Then, I was asked to send a story to Switch Hitters, an anthology featuring gay men writing about lesbians and vice versa. And while I could have just picked one of dozens of gay stories I’d written for various magazines under a variety of pseudonyms, I decided to write a Marketplace story, Brian on the Farm.
By the time I was ready to start book four of the series, The Academy, I had it in mind to do an anthology – I would invite other writers to create their own stories, and tie them together with some loose plot. Well, that didn’t work. My “loose plot” grew into something huge – a complete novel in itself. But seeded through the novel were these stories the characters told to each other – and some were written by friends and fellow writers, and some were mine, including, finally, a place to put Mandarin Style. But at the climax of the novel was a lengthy story showing a pivotal time in the life of a very young Chris Parker – Clocking. That one almost turned into a novella – I cut it down dramatically and filed away part two for some other, future book.
By the time The Academy was finished, though, I had changed publishers. My new publisher, Mystic Rose, issued new editions of my past books, with lovely, restrained grey covers. I felt guilty. What if my older, loyal readers decided they wanted the spiffy new editions? To make buying them a little special, I wrote a bonus short story for The Marketplace (A Leash Has Two Ends), and book two, The Slave (A Familiar Ring.) These two stories answered the question my young self was always bothering my mother and teachers with – what happened NEXT? (For book three, The Trainer, I wrote the equivalent of three new chapters and did not include a short story.)
In the way of genre books, I found myself with a third publisher – the on who produced the collection you’re holding now, Circlet Press. This time, I was going to have e-books. Well. Naturally, people who owned older paperback copies might want the e-book as well, so…
More bonus stories! For Want of a Nail, That’s Harsh, (winner of the National Leather Association’s John Preston award for short stories) California Dreamin’, Inside Straight and Kaleigh Lad were all written specifically for the e-book editions of the series, and eventually individually released as 99 cent downloads just in case paperback owners just wanted the new story. These stories all have a theme – “Life’s a Party!” I rarely show my characters at parties, and decided it would be fun to write a series of stories all with one uniting element.
And as I was writing all of those stories, I also wrote for Take Me There, a collection about best trans* erotica, The Man With the Phoenix Tattoo, the first story about Chris Parker outside a Marketplace book. That story also won the NLA’s John Preston award. Oh, and Zoom In, a story about one of the most disliked characters in the series, the nosy photojournalist, Nigel Pepper, appeared in Voyeur Eyes Only, a collection raising funds for the Erotica Writer’s Conference. It was easy to write that one, since the collection is all about voyeurism.
So here they all are, collected in one place at last. You would have had to be a dedicated Marketplace reader to have all of these, encompassing three publishers and a few anthologies you won’t find stacked near the door at any brick and mortar bookstore or high on a search at MegaOnlineStore.com. If you are one of those people and you got this anyway – thank you so much. Without you and readers like you, I would be long forgotten. If you had some of these and not the rest, then you may relax and know you now have the complete set.