Before I jump into my blog for the tour, let me remind you all that Sacchi Green, editor extraordinaire, is giving away a copy of Me and My Boi as part of the tour. All you have to do is drop a comment on any of the blog posts during the tour and BAM! you’re entered.
Me and My Boi has been a long time in the making. I wrote and submitted my story back in 2013. As with any anthology that Sacchi Green edits, I was excited to be a part of the project. Sacchi is a top notch editor and fun to work with.
My story, “The Way,” isn’t my typical style. First, it’s in second person. Who does that? I certainly don’t. Not with any consistency, anyway. Second person (you) is hard to write and hard to read. And, as a general rule, I don’t think it’s good form to turn reading, which should be fun, into work. That’s just silly.
Regardless, “The Way” refused to come out any other way. The main character, Rosa, was so enchanted with her love interest, Jen, that she had to tell the story of their romance, the story of them, that way. And, like a good little author, I let her have her way, obnoxious though it is.
I sent it to Sacchi, sure that I’d get back a “thanks, but no thanks” letter from her. To my surprise, she accepted it, thus blowing my belief that editors hate second person out of the water. I was thrilled!
And, as with any anthology, I waited. The release was delayed, and I later learned it was because Cleis had been sold. A new date was established. The new date came and went. Nothing. More changes at Cleis. But, Sacchi assured us that things were coming together, that Me and My Boi would make it to publication. So, I waited some more. Then, finally, at long last (and almost three years later), Me and My Boi hit the shelves!
I hope you buy it. And I hope you love it. It’s been through a lot to get to you.
The Way by Jove Belle – Excerpt
It’s in your smile, the way your mouth curves up on one side in that cheeky, “fuck yes” way that makes me melt and, once upon a time, made my friend warn me.
“She’s trouble,” Avi said, but the words rolled off, gathering like a storm at my back.
The first time I met you—fall of Freshman year—you smiled oh so properly as you shook hands and worked the room. Then you turned to me, and the pretense slipped away. All the politely manufactured polish dropped, replaced by the real you, the devilish spark that said “just wait until I get you alone.” It was meant for me, but clearly visible to everyone in the room.
“She’s a player.” Avi pulled my arm until I had no choice but to turn away. In theory, I agreed with him. You’d scanned every girl in the room when you arrived, weighing the pros and cons and cataloging your conclusions, as if to sample all the options before settling down with the chosen entre of the night. Women were playthings, snacks to be tasted and enjoyed.
But Avi’s warning didn’t last long. You didn’t let it, slipping easily through all his objections with a charming, roguish smile and a wink.
“I’m Jen.” You said your name simply, without added fanfare or inflection and without changing it for a more masculine alternative. Your whole name, I’ve since learned, Jenna Leone Rampart, could easily lend itself to a more gender neutral alternative than the unmistakably feminine Jen. I asked you once, why you didn’t go by Lee or possibly Ram. They seem better fits for the short, almost shaved hair and the button down men’s dress shirts you prefer. You laughed and said “That’s not who I am.” So comfortable then and now with who you are.
“Rosa.” I forgot to shake your hand, too caught up in your smile to think about anything else. It was enough that I was able to find my voice, remember my own name. Anything else was impossible.You reached down, took my hand in yours, and shook it gently, gentlemanly.
“Rosa.” You said my name with much more care and consideration than your own. You caressed the letters, speaking so softly, so reverently, I was certain that my name, heretofore unknown to me, held the answers to all of life’s more difficult questions. I wanted to taste it the way you did, feel it with the same depth. It’d been mine all along, yet I had no idea it was a treasure until you showed me.
It’s in your eyes, in the way you wink and drape my hand over your arm, assigning yourself my old-fashioned charming escort of the evening. You covered my hand with yours, and my reservations melted even further. Player? Maybe you were before that night, but the carefully collated collection of women was lost, left behind to never be revisited after you took my hand for the first time.
“Rosa?” Avi followed us through the party, concerned for my loss of reputation if you lived up to yours. Clearly, his tone said, I’d lost my mind and couldn’t be trusted. My clothes would fall off at any moment without him there to stand between me and a night of debauchery. He looked at you with clear disdain, untrusting, wary. His opinion of you has changed over the years, but that night he worked hard to keep us apart. “Shouldn’t we be going? You have that early test tomorrow.”
It was a lie, a pre-arranged signal between friends designed to keep us both safe from the predators that trolled campus parties. We’d used it so many times before, and each time I’d been overwhelmed with gratitude at his clear insight, his ability to see danger where it wasn’t always obvious. He’d rescued me when a nice girl slipped her hand up my skirt without permission, when another slipped her not-so-nice drugs into my drink, and when yet another pinned me to the wall, blocking others from seeing my struggle to escape. Those were the dangers of being small, of being cute, of being feminine. It was amazing we still went to parties, but for every bad encounter, there were ten other women who understood that a night out didn’t have to end in sex. Besides, with Avi at my side, why should I worry?
I blinked a few times, clearing my vision and tearing my gaze away from you. “No, Avi, I think you’re mistaken. I don’t have any tests until next week.”
That wouldn’t be enough to convince him to leave us alone completely, but at least it signaled that I was happy with the progression of things, that I had no desire to end the evening so quickly. Avi blustered, unsure where to go now that I’d changed course and left him without a map.
Instead of Avi, you responded, “Are you sure? I don’t want to be the reason you fail a test.”
The look of surprise on Avi’s face was worth the all the sulking and scowling he’d done in the past thirty minutes since you’d arrived. You couldn’t be truly nice, his expression said, you were only out for one thing. At that point, I didn’t care if you were. I’d willingly let you slip your hand as high up my skirt as you wanted.
To finish reading my short story “The Way,” along with all the other fabulous stories in the anthology, pick up a copy of Me and My Boi HERE.
June 12—Sacchi Green— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 13—Annabeth Leong– http://annabethleong.blogspot.com/2016/06/me-and-my-boi-not-just-hair.html
June 14—Anna Watson— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 15—Sinclair Sexsmith– www.sugarbutch.net
June 16—Jove Belle– https://jovebelle.com/
June 17—Tamsin Flowers– www.tamsinflowers.com
June 18—Victoria Villasenor— https://breywillows.com
June 19—J, Caladine—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 20—Victoria Janssen– http://victoriajanssen.com
June 21—Dena Hankins– http://denahankins.net/my-summer-of-boi/
June 22—D. Orchid—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 23—Pavini Moray– https://emancipatingsexuality.com/
June 24—Melissa Mayhew—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 25—Jen Cross— http://writingourselveswhole.org
June 26—Kyle Jones– www.butchtastic.net
June 27—Gigi Frost–www.facebook.com/gigifrostwww.facebook.com/gigifrost
June 28—Aimee Hermann— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 29—Sommer Marsden—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 30—Axa Lee—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
July 1— Kathleen Bradean— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com