Keep reading to find out more.
There’s something to be said for life experience, a little gray at the temple…
And then there is the appeal of youth.
When it comes to what the heart wants, Age Is Just A Number.
My Overall Review
To start, as has become tradition with these anthologies, I have to start by stating that I have a story in this one. I won’t be reviewing it, for obvious reasons, but I will try to be as objective as I can be in reviewing the rest.
That being said, I enjoyed the eclectic nature of the short stories and the use of different and varied sub-genres, from Sci-Fi to Paranormal, Contemporary to Historical, and some that were in between. As usual with Wayward Anthologies, the heat level is varied as are the writing styles.
I can say from experience that writing a short is difficult. The writer needs to be concise yet still descriptive. The story needs to be short but full-bodied. Like the kind of red wine I enjoy drinking.
A good majority of the authors were able to walk this tightrope more than satisfactorily. Some more skillfully than others, but all were nevertheless enjoyable reads.
Below you will find a review of each short story, except for mine of course.
TWENTY LIGHT YEARS BETWEEN US
An alien encounter…
An unfortunate misstep…
A lightning fast journey through space…
The laws of physics are about to wreak havoc on Walt and Michael’s May-December love.
I have to be honest. This wasn’t my favorite story written by Eric Gober, but they can’t all be favorites. This one was still quite good.
I’m an avid Sci-Fi reader, and from experience, as a reader and a writer, I can say without doubt that it’s difficult to write a short story in this genre (even as a sub-genre in romance).
For me at least, the science needs to be at the very least understandable and logical. This story hits the mark, even if it is in a tongue-and-cheek kind of way. Don’t get me wrong, Eric Gober does tongue-and-cheek very well, and this story is a good example of it.
The short is also part of the historical sub-genre and, in this Eric excels, if he hasn’t lived through the 70s he’s certainly researched it well.
The incorporation of HIV, historical gay culture icons, political figures and events made this story worth reading.
The romance felt a bit rushed, as did the ending, but that’s not a bad thing in and of itself. It just means I wanted more and that’s a good thing.
ALL ROADS LEAD WITHIN
When James spotted Rogue, a young man for whom wandering is like breathing, half-dozing on the hood of his car, he never expected that warning him about the dangers of sleeping out in the open would lead to a weekly visitor at his door.
This one is a keeper. I enjoyed the writing, the world making and the socio-economic and academic level disparity commentary, as well as the inter-generational subtext.
The two main characters come from different worlds in quite a few different ways and seem to be on different paths but sometimes the paths not only intersect but follow along, like different county roads, or hiking paths, joining and separating and sometimes joining again to become one road together.
Read this story and enjoy.
Upon the death of his grandfather, up and coming Fantasy author, Thomas, returns home.
A place he left four years earlier to get over his unrequited love for Sam Fletcher, his older, straight, and very much married neighbor.
Thomas soon discovers, however, that things are much changed with Sam…
I tried to dislike this one. I really did. I’ve given Lily Velden far too many 5 stars for her shorts. It’s becoming a little embarrassing. In this case, I just can’t not do it. It’s just too good. The story symbolizes the reasons for the anthology in the first place. It should. Lily is the publisher. Nevertheless, the story is still brilliant.
It’s realistic. It has a moral, as most (if not all) of Lily’s stories tend to have. The writing is compact yet stylistic. Realistic yet filled with germs of wisdom.
It has the right amount of sexiness. It’s sensual yet the realism and straightforwardness of the writing also shines through.
AMERICAN MASTER BAKER
Dale Cameron Lowry
Baking is a way of life for Joey, a young pastry chef vying for first place in the popular reality show American Master Bakers.
But the judges have been showing favoritism to Terence, an aggravatingly attractive older man with more experience under his belt.
When the competition gets hot, so do the two men. Can a relationship that started in hatred end in love?
I enjoyed this one, even though I didn’t want to. After the first sentence I guessed the ending. You know what? That’s okay.
The food references. The whole rivals-become-lovers thing. The realistic-seeming inside view of a reality TV show contest. All these elements make this a good read.
ALPHA AND OMEGA: THE CLAIMING
A young Omega shifter meets a much older Alpha.
Will Elliot let Issac help him be who he is too afraid to be?
Not a Review
I do have to say, however, that I live in a May-December relationship. My husband is 23 years older than I am. I tried to write a story about Ken and me, but I had too much to say. I will be writing our story, or something inspired by it, but not today.
I enjoyed writing this short. I decided to do something new. It’s in a genre that surprised me how much I was titillated by it. I will be writing more.
STAND AND DELIVER
Necessity has forced former soldier Captain Keen to assume the occupation of gentleman highwayman. His fortunes take a turn, however, the night he stops the Marquis de Beaumont’s coach and gets more than he bargained for when he utters the words “Stand and deliver!”
Asta always surprises me. This is no exception. She has an ability to drop you into the middle-ages or whatever period she decides to write about. The characters are somewhat caricatures, but they are meant to be. That was the style of writing of the time. She emulates the period. It’s funny, sensual and even has a moral. I like this one a lot.
LOST AND FOUND
The loss of his best friend leads Phil to find love.
Louise wrote a story for this Anthology. Yay!
I make no secret about it. I like Louise’s writing style. This one has animals!
The characters Louise can put on paper are real. The relationships seem authentic to me. As with most of her romances, the story isn’t just about the two main romantic leads. The secondary characters make her writing shine. In this case, it’s dogs.
The relationships and situations each one causes is what makes this story great.
TRAIL TO LOVE
There’s only one thing Kit Conley likes more than horses and that’s Roman Meadery.
But will the elite rider ever notice him?
I’m not a horsy person; although, I have enjoyed the occasional horseback ride. It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve ridden, but I do enjoy reading about the horsy lifestyle.
This story is sweet and captures the “May-December” dynamic quite well. The uncertainty and sweet exuberance of youth. The uncertain yet pragmatic realism based on life experience, of a mature person… these are the makings of a good story.
And there are horses.
CRUISING WITH LOVE
Gus is under the thumb of a controlling father. Can meeting his mate give him a reason to make a break for freedom?
Nelson is twice Gus’ age, and very protective of what is his.
What will happen when Gus’ father tries to split them up? And what surprises does Nelson have up his sleeve?
When I decided to write a shifter short, as a means to get myself out of writer’s block, I thought I would be unique. I was wrong… and gladly.
I thoroughly enjoyed this shifter story. I like it because it’s different, at least in comparison to the stories I’ve read to date. There is a slight Dom/sub dynamic in the main romantic pairing, but it isn’t obvious.
The Beta (or Omega, depending on what trope you adhere to) in the relationship, although he is submissive, he has a backbone. Refreshing.
The Alpha of the relationship isn’t overly macho and treats his mate with respect and kindness and isn’t an ass. Also refreshing.
I’m hoping Carol reads my story. I’d like an honest and informed opinion on how I did. Looking forward to it.
A few seconds, that’s all it takes to make a difference between life and death.
Between killing someone and stopping on time.
But is it enough to turn yourself around when you’ve hit bottom?
Or to make you recognize something good when you have it?
This one is difficult for me. I enjoyed it, but the dark nature of the situation and the realistic dark nuanced nature of the main character took me by surprise.
The closeted nature of the characters, although realistic was a bit of a downer for me, but in a good sense… if that makes any sense at all. The realism and the social commentary was refreshing and left me breathless at times.
The commentary concerning suicide and its effects to others who aren’t the victim, but are affected greatly regardless, was an interesting and necessary commentary.
I applaud the author.