Sitcom sensation Felix Medrano is America’s Sweetheart. When he throws a star-studded surprise party for his sweetheart, beanpole barkeep Grover Shepherd, it’s a smash, save for one detail: Shep is a no-show. Felix plans to propose, but with no Shep, can he still get a Yes?
I’m new to Wayward Ink, who are themselves sort of new as a brand to the world of publishing. When I saw the call for submissions for Stranded, I was immediately intrigued, and made a series of laborious efforts to turn the theme on its ear. “Stranded how?,” several of my scribbled notes demand. Would I maroon one lover from another metaphorically, like by making one of them straight or married or can’t-take-a-hint? Would the separation merely be physical, as from a desert island or the wrong side of a lava flow, or should their obstacle be insurmountable, like time travel or the variably discernible line between fact and fiction? Oh, how I wanted to be artsy and brave…
Then one day, as I strolled through one — watching people scratch and claw and bargain and beg their way onto an airplane, any airplane — I realized: the only time I ever truly feel adrift, as in irretrievably removed from my life and my friends and my sanity — really and truly Stranded — is when I’m sitting around an airport on standby with no prospects and no viable plan for getting out. And so I played with that idea, and with this character called Shep, and with ways he might get stuck. But I wanted him to really feel stuck, so I tried to write him a quality romantic partner of the kind that one might badly miss while cooling one’s heels in the Houston airport, and by the time Shep started noticing Felix I was practically head over heels for the guy myself.
“Say Cheese” is the story, told partly through pictures, of how they met, how they fell in love, and how fate and a crazy best friend and a low fare airline seem determined to keep them apart. I love it. I’m thrilled to be a part of this anthology, in the company of warm, supportive, well-regarded writers, and I hope you’ll check it out and love it, too.
For a short excerpt from “Say Cheese,” please read on: Continue reading