It’s a tight 12,000-word story that involves zombies, biting, the world in chaos, and romance. It’s also kinky. There’s male/female love, which has always been the case with my fiction, and male/male love, which is something new in my writing. Since my romances often have a few twists under the bedcovers, I believe my readers can handle a little something different. If you only know my work through The Runaway Mail-Order Bride, this is not anything like that. Not even close.
But, as I said, it’s not a new publication. Not entirely new, anyway. Back when the zombie genre felt hot, Harrell and I wrote a tight 12,000-word story called World War Zelda. (There’s no underline because Zelda has been pulled from the marketplace.) That tale involved zombies, biting, the world in chaos, and romance. It was kinky. Exactly the type of thing I wanted to read at the time, and exactly the kind of thing I hoped others would want to read, too.
I was so wrong.
It turns out, it takes a certain kind of person to want to read about the collapse of civilization spiced up with a good session of hot shower sex. Not enough of those people wanted to read World War Zelda. Maybe they would have tried it if I’d subtitled the novelette, The Hot Shower Sex Edition.
It wouldn’t have hurt. Almost everything sounds more interesting if you include the words, “the hot shower sex edition.”
“Did the mailman come?” “He sure did. The hot shower sex edition!” “What’s for dinner?” “Bean burritos with a side of rice. The hot shower sex edition!” You say it makes no sense; I say it’s marketing genius.
Zelda came out years ago. Jumping past all of those years to last week, I was sitting on the sofa, reading manga. Boys’ Love manga. I mentioned to my writing partner that I wanted us to plot a Boys’ Love story, not for 2022, but for one distant day in the future. To my surprise, he was paying attention to my rambling and the words, “the future”, triggered something inside of him.
Leaving the sofa, he told me had an idea. (No, it wasn’t hot shower sex.) I reminded him we had no time to spare until 2024. He told me that his idea would only take a dozen hours or so.
Less than two days later, he brought me a print-out for World War Zayne: Boys’ Love During the Time of the Zompocalypse. He’d rewritten W. W. Zelda, of course, but he’d changed enough of the body of the story that it felt fresh to me. One of the first surprises was the way he’d altered our main character’s primary sexual relationship. In Zelda, our heroine loved her slacker-ish boyfriend and wanted to be with him. In Zayne, our hero wasn’t getting along with his driven girlfriend. They stayed together because neither of them was quite unhappy enough to separate. Knowing how things were going to unfold, I realized that this was the approach we should have taken with the first version of the story. It made things more interesting. It made the ending more enjoyable, too.
The only part he didn’t get right was the “Boys’ Love” sections of the manuscript, but he’s not a Boys’ Love reader. That’s my hobby. It cost me the better part of the next day, but it came out nicely. Or so I hope. The question now is whether other readers will enjoy this version, too.
If the novelette struggles to find a readership, you know what I’ll do? I’ll change the title to World War Zayne: The Hot Shower Sex Edition! And, if that works, can The Runaway Mail-Order Bride: The Hot Shower Sex Edition! be far behind?