There’s been a new review of Black Shades, always a treat to writers when one of your books gets some attention even after it first comes out, and this is just the right time of year for the prequel, Red Lettering.
Red Lettering came out last year on Halloween. The story is really the first new work I did all last year, and it was a rush to get the story in to the deadline that was just a few days away from realizing the anthology call existed.
This is my Japanese-Canadian drag queen ghost story. Ren was one of the characters I’ve written that just started off on the page as a three-dimensional character. Considering he started off the story dead, several years before the book begins, it’s odd that he’s the character that the reader learns the most about. Yes, he had his issues. Yes, he thought attention came in finite quantities and more for anyone meant less for him, but he loved Colin with a fierceness that even as a drag queen he didn’t know he had. Colin had been so happy just living in the shadow of the bright and beautiful creature that Ren was that he wasn’t willing to even try to move on–until Ren makes a few arrangements ahead of schedule.
Peter, Colin’s love interest, isn’t Ren. He didn’t have Ren’s supportive parents and family and he grew up knowing he liked silky things despite the cost to him personally. He headed out west with his cousin to get away from his parents’ control only to tumble out of the frying pan into the fire in the lower east side of Vancouver. Getting up and out and moving up north to teach his first art class should have been the start of a whole new life, but by the time he meets Colin, he’s back working his last shift at a diner that’s attached to the hotel he’s been living in. Both are closing on Halloween at the end of the tourist season, leaving him jobless and homeless again.
For all the trash and riff-raff that Peter had gone home with just to have a bed, Colin’s obviously different. And not just because they both like Peter liking to control things in bed as much as he can. This time feels different. If they can both let go of the past, they might have something else to hold on to. And as much as I love the current love story, Ren isn’t one to be forgotten about.
Which is important, because he’s a main character in Black Shades. He plays all four ghosts in the Christmas Carol. (“You’re going to be visited by three ghosts. Spoiler alert: it’s me in four fabulous outfits.”) Colin needs to see the past, present if he wants to have any future with Colin, and Ren can’t help but nudge a few wrongs into the right while he’s at it.