What I love most about a submission I received for The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance from author Bella Stanberry is that it has a new adult focus combined with m/m romance elements. I hadn't specifically asked for that in the call for submissions, but when I started reading it I fell in love on page one.
In fact, I loved it so much I contacted this author and asked if she would be willing to submit three short stories to make the first story part of a small trilogy. And she not only did that she blew me away with the two stories that followed.
The story begins with the main characters in college, and then it moves forward and ends with them living their new adult lives after college. That one year in the final story is almost like a bridge between their young adult lives and the lives they will one day lead as adults. It involves a gay man, a bisexual man, and straight women. There are romantic scenes that are very sexy, but not quite what I would consider hardcore sex. These are more subtle, and lean more toward the emotion and feelings of the characters. When I asked authors to submit to this book, I told them they had the freedom to do whatever they wanted to do, and I wasn't disappointed.
And as the editor, my goal with this book is to share the voices of these authors and remain in the background.
Here's one excerpt that I remember very well from one of Bella Stanberry's stories. This comes from the third story where the main characters are driving cross country, on their way to San Francisco to begin new lives. I love the feeling it captures...almost as if it is describing an era we're living in right now.
We planned two weeks for the drive. We decided we might never get a chance to actually take a road trip like this again and we wanted to see and do all the pop culture historical things Jack Kerouac had done on his cross country road trip in the novel, On the Road. This had been Luke’s idea…fantasy…because he’d always been a fan of the beat generation. In many ways we identified with Kerouac because he’d been just as unusual for his time period as we were for ours. In other words, we knew we weren’t mainstream and we didn’t want to be. We thought of ourselves as the best part of our generation because we were breaking all the rules. And, at the same time, we weren’t doing anything that differently in a literal sense from previous generations.