Tick,Tock by Karin Kallmaker

I’m not really fond of the autumn as everything starts to points towards a dark, cold and windy winter season that will last for months, luckily enough there are a few things that lighten up the bleak autumn days – The Halloween Invitational at The Royal Academy of Bards and The Autumn Romance writing contest at The Athenaeum!

Yes you’ve got it right a lot of new fic’s to lighten up your life – follow the links and go look at the new stories for your self.

The Halloween Invitational gives us a number of fic’s from the pen of well-known writers from the (fan) fiction world. I can’t say that I have read them all, but I did take a look at the ones penned by the writers that I like the most.

If you want a taste of the possibilities of new love you can look up Artemis Callaghan’s “Light up the sky with Standard fireworks” it’s not exactly Halloween, but it’s a celebration and it holds a promise of a new loving relationship. If you can live suspended in time in the memory of shared love you might want to look up Karin Kallmaker’s “Tick, Tock” – it’s touching but sad, and if you are ok with a visit from beyond – you can look up Lois Cloarec Harts “Midnight Message”. Finally if you want a bit of a scare – and it is a Halloween Invitational after all – you can try out the short fic (!) from S X Meagher “Stormy Weather”.

The Autumn Romance writing contest at The Athenaeum is quit different – this is a contest! We – the readers – get a month to read the 9 stories entered in the contest and vote for the two titles that each of us like best. While the voting is on the stories is posted without information on who penned each story. As long as the contest run I don’t think that I should tell you which stories that I like the best, but I guess that it would be ok to say that I do have a couple of favourites.

The stories entered present a mix of storylines – you’ll find a story with a bit of a supernatural soul mate theme in an ancient Chinese setting in “Forbidden History”, a short modern-day romance in “Still Standing”, and a story of mature love that lasts a lifetime in “An October Romance” – and a number of other themes. I urge you to go read and cast your vote.

Something so close to love by Artemis Callaghan

We’ve got Paul the boyfriend oblivious or at least acting as if he is unaware that his girlfriend is sleeping around. Ella the boyish, beautiful woman with Jenna’s phone number written on her forearm, who looks awesome in a suite and waistcoat. Cass the friend kind of girlfriend, who knows more about Jenna than Jenna do. And we’ve got Jenna, the girl with a boyfriend that she can’t decide to let go, who might – for once – want to pursue more than just a little thing on the side with a woman, but can’t really make up her mind.

The thing is that Jenna really never had to choose. She has for years been able to juggle boyfriends and sexual encounters with women making sure that these parts of her life didn’t interfere with each other. Will that ever changes, is Ella the one that will make Jenna want to change her way of life, and will Jenna – finally – listen to her long time friend Cass and start living her life in full?

And what about Ella is she ignorant of Jenna’s playing two sides; does she too just want a little sex on the side? No not really, well actually not at all, but that not to say that she’ll get what she wants is it? Or that Ella’s ex Annie, her cousin Bruno or girlfriend Róisín (!) will either, but if nothing else they’ll all get caught up in each others lives!

So this story is not the usual slightly bumpy but otherwise “straight” ride towards sunset for a couple of lovebirds. Its major heartache and its well put together, touching and engaging. I like that the writer can juggle a number of characters and their interactions in a storyline that is essentially just about Ella and Jenna and the BIG question “Will they get together and live happily ever after”?

The story is told both by Ella and Jenna alternating between points of view but cleverly so. Some parts of the story might partly be told twice but each time by adding a separate set of actions, thoughts etc. to the storyline – well done I’ll say – I just don’t like the typesetting, it’s a bit disruptive.

I’ve reviewed Callaghan’s series of short stories “Hen Night”, ”Wedding Reception”, ”Honeymoon” and “Divorcee” on an earlier occasion. If you want a funny and touching read, one of those with a straight friend that finally jumps the fence, then do look it up it’ll be worth your while.


Hen Night by Artemis Callaghan

Once is properly just a mistake or a bad joke that can be excused or put down to being drunk, twice hmm … you’ve got some serious thinking to do, but the third times that’s when you got to take the clue and look for a way out – no more straddling the fence – jump it and be done with it!

Well if you want an explanation I think you should go look up Artemis Callaghans trilogy “Hen Night”, “Wedding reception” and “Honeymoon”. The woman straddling the fence is Izzie and the one on the receiving end of all the “mistaken” kisses, grabbing and the likes is Kit, her long time – lesbian – best friend. But beware this is a story with three of everything – so look out for the third woman – Rachel.

In “Hen Night” you’ll make Izzies acquaintance while she staggeringly drunk celebrates her Hen Night, makes out with Kit and wonder if her boyfriend Mark is really the one she should marry. It’s just a little appetizer, so don’t be disheartened by the rather short account of events.

You ought to go straight on to “Wedding reception” and enjoy the ladies preparing for the wedding and the ensuing reception. All the tension of the Hen Night is intact and this time you get the slight feeling that those kisses on the Hen Night might not have been just a drunken mistake, but still be ware of the third woman.

And finally you are set to go the third and final lap with the threesome and this time you are on you own, follow the link to “Honeymoon” and see for your self if this sitting on the fence thing is something permanent for Izzie or if she can make a decision the third time around as to what team she wants to bat for.

All in all just an enjoyable little tale of best friends and possible lovers with a humorously touch. I guess it would have been easier for everyone if Izzie had made up her mind and made the choice between the best friend and the boyfriend before the wedding, but none of us will have to help straightening up the mess – so who cares.

If you want a glimpse of what kind of life the ladies lead after the “Honeymoon”, you can look in on them in the last sequel “Divorcee”. Well I guess that kind of let the cat out of the bag, but you didn’t really wonder if there would be a happy end did you?