Wayne Goodman has a new gay spec fic/romance/historical short story collection out: “All the Right Places.”
“All the Right Places” is a collection of short stories, most written for submission to anthologies or collections. Starting in the near future and proceeding to the near past, men interact with other men in the pursuit of love and companionship.
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“All the Right Places”: Short Stories by Wayne Goodman
I have travelled to London a few times and explored the area, including daytrips to Stonehenge and Windsor. British history has fascinated me most of my adult life, and several of my books take place in the U.K.
Two of the pieces in this collection (the title story and “Nice Day for a Picnic”) begin and end at the statue of Anteros (usually mislabeled Eros) in Piccadilly Circus. After a friend told me about its mystical power of bringing lovers together, the statue has haunted me.
Since October 2018, I have hosted Queer Words Podcast, conversations with queer-identified authors about their works and lives (www.queerwords.org). John R. Gordon appeared recently as a guest, and I’m trying to get Rikki Beadle-Blair to commit to a recording time. If you are a published, queer-identified author and would like to be featured in a future episode, you can write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
From time-to-time I submitted short stories to anthologies or collections. Some got accepted and printed, many received polite rejections. After a few years my compilation of shorter works grew to a point where I wanted to publish them together. “All the Right Places” contains eleven pieces that take place starting in the near future and chronologically progressing to the near past.
Here is an excerpt from “Noah’s Raft.” Originally written as a submission for Best Gay Erotica of the Year calling for stories set in olden times (rejected because it did not contain enough sex), it eventually made it into Off the Rocks in their tribute to history.
April 7, 1865
Worked in front garden. Raided Arsenal with ANJ. Booty obtained, no injuries. Quota fulfilled. Will work with Smythe tomorrow to secure raft.
The Real Story:
I heard a minie ball whiz past my right ear as I ran from the armory. From the sound of the gun and the projectile’s hum, I would have presumed it was a Remington 1858, standard Union Army issue.
Trying to skedaddle in the dark with a 25-pound box of ammunition under my arm was quite challenging enough, but at the same time I had to draw my weapon, determine my target behind me, pray that my somewhat unreliable Colt would function properly, and fire thusly. I could only hope I had the skills and experience to do just that.
Because I am a bit shorter than the preponderance of adult men, the bullets tend to fly above my head, most of the time. This one almost nicked my ear, even though I was running down the hill of Jefferson Street, one of my namesakes, as it so happened.
The soldier catching up to me wore those noisy Union Army boots, and that enabled me to locate him precisely. While I do not relish the killing of another human being, even if he is a Yankee Devil, I must do what I need to do to accomplish my mission.
Just as another bullet passed near my head, I stopped briefly, turned about, and raised my gun to the angle where I could disable the bastard by shooting him just above the top of the boot leather, approximately 15 inches from the ground. Praise be to the Glory of Heaven, my Colt fired when I squeezed the trigger, and a second later I heard a scream of agony and a thump.
I started running again, turning onto Military Way and back toward Noah’s house at East Second and J Streets. I had lost sight of him but trusted we would meet back at home.
Before I go on, allow me the honor of introducing myself. Born Beauregard Jefferson Lee (no relation to our esteemed military commander), I usually go by just my initials: BJ. A few months before the outbreak of this horrible War Between the States, I had signed up to ride for the Pony Express, helping to deliver the mail satchels. They required men of smaller stature, and due to providence, I was short enough and light enough to meet their standard. It was the first time in my life that being petite had worked in my favor.
My route took me back and forth from Placerville, California, to Carson City, in Nevada Territory. One day in April 1861, I pulled into Placerville ready to hand off the mochila, the specially-designed mail pouch. However, my supervisor informed me that one of the Nevada Territory riders had been ambushed by Paiutes, and we were short couriers. He requested I ride on to Sacramento and complete the delivery.
After refreshing myself, I headed out. When I finally arrived in Sacramento, the steamship that normally took the mail on to San Francisco had already set sail, and I was required to ride down to the port of Benicia, where another ship would take the mochila.
Exhausted after my extended ride, I handed off the mail to the supervisor at Solano Hotel on First and E Streets and booked a room for the night. In the lobby I saw a handbill for the Knights of the Golden Circle, a gentleman’s society I had frequented back home in Virginia. Being a stranger in the town, I attended the gathering that evening in the hope of meeting other, like-minded fellows.
Down a block, at the Union Hotel (which I later found humorously, and ironically, named), in a meeting room off the lobby, cigar smoke clouded the warm spring air to the point I could barely make out others in the room. I did not partake of the Devil’s weed, but it did not offend me if others did so.
When I sat, to my right was a most handsome chap, whose name I later found out was Abraham Noah Jones. Tall, swarthy, muscular. All the things I was not. I had my long reddish hair tied behind my head the way our celebrated Thomas Jefferson wore his. Noah (as he preferred to be called) kept his black, wavy locks shorter, but they still managed to curl into small ringlets at the end.
Wayne Goodman has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of his life (with too many cats). He hosts Queer Words Podcast, conversations with queer-identified authors about their works and lives. When not writing, Goodman enjoys playing Gilded Age parlor music on the piano, with an emphasis on women, gay, and Black composers.
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