Short Story

My LGBTQA+ Characters

Pride Month #1

In honor of Pride Month, I thought I’d give you a run down of all of the LGBTQA+ Characters in my novels and short stories!

Heart – Bisexual, Polyamorous

Art by @reapersun

Kalp is the alien protagonist of Triptych, and he comes from a world where there are two biological sexes (along with the standard percentage of genetic variants that produce he produce the spectrum of biological variations that occur between two biological sexes), but very little concept of gender. When he flees the destruction of his home planet – and the death of his two spouses – he finds himself on a strange restrictive planet filled with humans who have bizarre notions of who he is allowed to desire and what he should find fascinating and satisfying based on his genitals. Kalp eventually enters into a romantic and sexual relationship with two humans, over the course of the book.

Basil Grey – Bisexual, Polyamorous

Art by @reapersun

Basil Grey is a Geek Everyman with a wide-open heart from Triptych. He had never considered whether he was straight or not simply because everyone he’d ever fall in love with (or had a crush on) were female. However, he slowly falls in love with Kalp over the course of their friendship. When the alien proposes to expand his relationship with his girlfriend Gwen to include Kalp, Basil is game for giving it a try. The threesome eventually end up marrying.

Gwen Pierson – Heterosexual, Polyamorous

Art by @reapersun

Gwen Pierson is the third in the triptych of lovers from Triptych. A bit of a grump, cynical, tough, and realistic, Gwen nevertheless has a great capacity for love and genuinely revels in the powerfully memorable domestic moments that she has with her partners. She is far more reluctant to open up her relationship with Basil to include Kalp, mostly because she fears losing his friendship if the relationship doesn’t work out. She doesn’t believe in the maxim “It is better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all,” because that just sounds so painful. She’d rather stick with the safe and reliable. In the end, though, she’s happy with the development in their relationship, adores the sex, and is selfishly smug about being the wife of two big-hearted and attentive people whom she in turn loves deeply and gluttonously.

Kintyre Turn – Bisexual

Art by @inchells

Kintyre Turn is the hero of The Tales of Kintyre Turn by Elgar Reed, which is the book-within-a-book in The Accidental Turn Series. He is bold, brawny, brash, brave, and a bit of an arrogant buffon. His traveling companion and loyal scribe, Bevel Dom, has been by his side for fourteen years, and during that time Kintyre has tumbled in and out of the beds of Damsels, Princess, and Pirate Queens. These affairs were often curated by Bevel, and sometimes he even joined in. When that happened, it always sort of accidentally ended up that Bevel and Kintyre were the ones making love, and the proxy woman got up and left in an ignored huff. It took fifteen years for Kintyre to be able to work his way through the toxic masculinity he was mired in enough to realize that he actually loved Bevel, enjoyed sex with him, and wanted to be in a real and lasting, healthy relationship with his best friend. By the end of The Untold Tale, the two heroes have cleared the air and pledged their troth to one another, living opening as a couple.

Bevel Dom – Gay

Art by @inchells

The narrator of The Tales of Kintyre Turn, Bevel lives in a fantasy realm where the love between men is supposed to be brotherly, macho, and platonic. He is sixteen when he first meets Kintyre, and doesn’t understand why he is so attracted to the arrogant Lord’s son. He becomes first Kintyre’s Squire, then his Sidekick, then a fellow Knight, all the while being Kintyre’s closest friend and chronicler. Eventually he realizes that his love for Kintyre is more lustful and romantic then it’s supposed to be; he willingly sets up trysts for Kintyre (and joins in) because it’s the only time he can act on his melancholy desire. Eventually, Kintyre and Bevel work through their emotional constipation, realize their love for each other, and become as close to married as this repressed realm allows for. Bevel is blissfully happy, though he wishes they could have a child.

The Prince – Heterosexual, Transgendered

Art by @archiaart

The protagonist of my erotica novel Lips Like Ice, The Prince is an alien on the verge of sexual maturity. In his species, adolescents can choose which biological sex they want to develop as, and against all societal norms and mores, The Prince chooses to become male. This causes him no end of abuse and misgendering in the court, and leads to his father trying to bully him into becoming female by providing him with a pet that is meant to encourage his nurturing, feminine side. However, the pet is more intelligent than The Prince thought, and together they escape the court, find happiness and love, and acceptance.

Lydia – Bisexual

Art by @archiaart

Lydia is “the pet” of Lips Like Ice. She mentions her bisexuality just briefly, as she’s explaining to the Prince that on Earth, his desire to match his biological sex to his internal gender would not be so horrific and shocking. She teaches The Prince to accept himself as he is, to fight for his right to be male, and to love himself when no one else, save her, seems to love him. Eventually they escape the oppressive and bigoted court together, and have their own Happily Ever After.

The Narrator – Lesbian

Art found on Pinterest. If you know the artist, please let me know so I can credit them appropriately. I couldn’t find the credit.

The narrator of my short “The Moral of the Story” from “Wrestling With Gods” is a lesbian, and I hesitated to add her to this list because she dies. (That’s not really a spoiler.) And I didn’t want to promote one more Dead Lesbian. But she doesn’t die because she’s a lesbian, so… anyway. This is a tale of survival in a post-electronics world, where the magic has returned in order to heal the planet after humans have made the icecaps melt and wreaked environmental havoc.

do have a lesbian romance with a Happily Ever After in the works, but it’s unfortunately not ready to be announced yet. Soon though! I hope!

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls

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Not technically all mine, and not actually fiction, but this great non-fiction book is filled with confessionals, essays (like my own “How Fanfiction Made Me Gay”), funny stories, comics, and tales of women from a wide variety of sexualities, gender expressions, ages, cultures, and ethnicities.

I have other LGBTQA+ characters sprinkled throughout my short stories and forthcoming novels and screenplays, as well. Check them out, and stay turned for more project announcements.

JM FreyMy LGBTQA+ Characters
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A Summary of My 2015

I wrote two novels, a novella, a few shorts; two novels I wrote launched; five anthologies in which I had shorts or essays launched; I signed and announced two new book series (whaat??); got injuries that I am still recovering from (come on, me, being immobile is so 2006); had my heart absolutely crushed to sludge twice; moved back home with the rents (best. roomies. ever.); made my comic-writing debut; and made some amazing new Tumblr friends that I adore to pieces (one of whom just proposed to me last night. I’m moving to the Deep South, y’all. I hope she realizes that I’ve decided her joke was serious. :p ).

So in short: I’ve had lots of amazing things happen on the professional side, some really awful stuff happen on the romance side, so absolutely crappy stuff happen on the health side, and have had some amazing friends and family helping me through it all. Really am blessed in that category, and I won’t forget it.

Now onto the granular breakdown:

January

  • Announced that my two comics “Bloodsuckers” and “Toronto the Rude” had been accepted into Toronto Comics Vol 2. (I got a great pair of illustrators assigned to my stories, too!)
  • Midway through the month I took a slip on the ice outside of my house and (though I didn’t have a full diagnosis until November) herniated a disc, got micro-tears in the muscle of my back, wrenched my knee, tore the muscle at the top of my ankle, and tore the squishy stuff in the socket of my hip. Slept for the rest of the month with the really good drugs.

February

March

April

May

  • Unable to work full time due to my injuries, I moved home to live with my parents, and focus on getting better and meeting my contracted writing deadlines.

June

July

August

September

October

  • Attended EerieCon17
  • The War of the Worlds” happened, and I realized I was really, really not healthy enough to be treading the boards yet. It was interesting and extremely painful.
  • Began writing “Untitled Geek Dating Webseries Screenplay: Season 1”
  • Second round of edits for “The Untold Tale” begins

November

  • NaNoWriMo: wrote two short stories,one novella, and finished writing “Untitled Geek Dating Webseries Screenplay: Season 1”
  • Wrote and Launched “Ivy”, an Accidental Prequel
  • Finally got all the diagnosises for my slip and fall. Have now had enough MRIs and XRays to glow in the dark.
  • Finished line edits for “The Untold Tale”

December

 

Goals for 2016

  • Finish a short story for Peggy (so close to being done!)
  • Finish the second Accidental Novella (so VERY close to being done!)
  • Write two more Accidental Shorts
  • Write “Untitled Geek Dating Webseries Screenplay: Season 2” (And possibly 3, we’ll see.)
  • Write “The Silenced Tale”
  • Assemble all my Peggy Barnett short work into a short story collection, add a few new stories
  • Be faithful to my diet and loose some of the weight that makes my injuries worse
  • Walk every day, or ride my Recumbent Exercise Bike

Goals for 2017

  • Publish the Peggy Barnett short story collection
  • Write “The Skylark’s Search”
  • Write “The Skylark’s Sacrifice”
  • Finish some short stories set in the Skylark world
  • Be faithful to my diet and loose some of the weight that makes my injuries worse
  • Walk every day, or ride my Recumbent Exercise Bike
JM FreyA Summary of My 2015
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SHORT STORY – In, Two, Three, Four, Five

Image: Woman looking out window via Shutterstock

The first clue that something big is going down is the basso profundo clatter-growl that tickles our ears, just on the human-side of hearing. It shakes the pastry case’s glass shelves. The pies shiver and the lamps overhead swing ever so slightly in a slow, unnatural circle. Dust from the crown molding falls like grey snow.

 

Everyone in the café goes quiet, tense; prey, suddenly realizing that nearby there is a danger, a predator in the shadows and unseen places of their small world. They wait for a sign, for the next clue, for an indication in which direction they should run, or where they should burrow, or, if it comes to it, who they should push out for the danger to pick off. They wait to see where death will come from. And hope that said clue, when it arrives, does not do so in the form of an unstoppable streak of teeth and blood – too quick, too fierce, too late.

 

Another heavy boom. The café shivers again, a distinct ca-chunk lurch for all that it is subtle.

 

Heads turn to the window.

 

Whatever is making our small world shake isn’t close enough to spy on this street. But perhaps, judging by the sound of things, it might be tall enough, big enough to see around other buildings. To see how close the danger has stalked.

If it is, indeed, some creature or mechanical in motion. And not, say, a series of explosions getting closer.

 

Hands tense on the arms of their chairs. The patrons ready to press up into a run. Heads swivel and thigh muscles tense.

 

I put the coffee carafe down on the polished countertop and slowly, deliberately, inhale to a count of five, exhale to ten.

He had said that it would help with the anxiety attacks, the panic, the… worry.

 

Because, of course, if there are creatures, or mechanicals, or explosions, then that’s where he will be. Has to be. Right in the middle of it. Always.

 

I asked him, once, a few months ago, as the sweat cooled in the dips of our spines, the hollows of our throats, in the intimate pink shells of our ears, why it had to be him. Why he didn’t hang up the tights, the cape, the gauntlets. Why he didn’t put away the gadgets and the goggles, and let someone else do it.

 

“Who else?” he’d asked. He had gotten out of bed to fetch us a refreshment, and been pouring red wine. He didn’t stop to look up. He just kept on, as if he already knew what my expression would reveal: my concern for him. Certain. “There is no one else. No one half so powerful.”

 

“Surely there’s… other professionals.”

 

“Not anybody who can do what I do. And civilians… they’d get killed on the first punch.”

 

He finished pouring, set the bottle on his bedside table, and crawled back between the sheets. We toasted. We didn’t talk about it again.

 

Several months later, on the day he gave me a copy of his apartment key, he came home to find me clutching one of his sofa cushions and staring, goggle-eyed, at the television. I was doing my best to stiffen my chin, to keep it from wobbling. I thought if I didn’t blink, then I wouldn’t cry. His sudden appearance at the door – soot-stained, smelling of burnt leather and plastic, singed hair, costume covered only haphazardly by a pea jacket – startled the tears out of me.

“I–! I thought–!” I’d sobbed, sudden and embarrassed, as I shot to my feet. My cheeks burned with relieved shame at my overwhelming emotional breakdown, and were cooled by my tears. But they also burned with anger. I was so damned furious that he had nearly died, right in front of my eyes, live on national television. “I saw–!”

 

He’d tried, at first, to shrug it off. He was smirking in that lopsided, superior little way that first caught my eye across the café where I waited tables. But when he saw how genuine my distress was he came over, sat on the sofa, and folded me against the embossed emblem on his chest.  He petted my hair until all the embarrassment, all the relief, all the anger had been sobbed out.

 

“I was careful,” he had whispered into my ear. Tugged lightly on my little earring with his teeth. “I’m fine.”

 

“You didn’t look fine,” I had said.

 

“Take a deep breath. In through your nose. One, two, three, four, five. Good, and out for one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Good, again, sweetheart. Very good. Just like that. Do you feel calmer?”

 

“A little.”

 

“It’s a good trick.”

 

“Do you use it?”

 

“All the time.”

 

I inhale and exhale again, and the café rumbles me back into the present. A woman with a stroller is strapping her child into a carrier on her chest, getting ready to abandon the contraption and hoof it if need be. An older man is carefully counting out change to leave on the table. I wonder if he thinks that if we all run, I’ll stay behind to bus the tables and collect my tips from the candy dish by the front door.  The boom is louder, closer, and this time I can hear the stacks of plates and chipped, coffee-stained cups rattle against one another.

 

A couple slips out the door without paying, but I don’t care. I go to the window, not at all concerned that I’m blocking the view of others, and press my hands against the morning-cool plate glass. Look up. Look around. Crane my head, press each cheek in turn to the glass, straining, searching…

 

There!

 

Across the street, on the other side of the brownstones, just tall enough that I can see it through the chimney stacks. A flash of deep blue plated armor, steam rising from turrets.

 

Oh, that’s definitely a mechanical he’s never shown me before. I wonder briefly if it’s new, or if it’s so old that it was crammed in the back of the workshop where I wouldn’t have been able to see it through the other detritus, the piles of scrapped vehicles and junked parts.

 

There is a great squealing shriek of tires on pavement, a crinkling crunch not dissimilar to the sound of a candy wrapper being opened, and then suddenly an armored van is smashing into the asphalt directly in front of me.

The whole café jumps: me, the people around me, the tables and the chairs and the very foundations of the building. A laugh burbles and bubbles up my throat, but it is nervous and tinged with hysteria. The woman with the baby swings around the counter, tears through the kitchen, and I can hear the fire alarm wail and snarl as she forces open the emergency exit. A stream of patrons follow her out like lemmings, like fish in a school.

 

I should go. I should go with them. I should run.

 

I could be hurt. The glass of the window that I’m pressed up against could shatter, shards flying into my eyes, my mouth. The armored van could explode. The café could come down on my head or the foundation crumble under my feet. But I stand, motionless, waiting. Because he is here, dressed as his alter ego, and I trust him to save me.

 

Witless. Naïve. Possibly even stupid.

 

But I trust him to save me if I need it. And until that time, I want to see. I want to watch him in action, brave and fearless. I want to see that inner beauty of his shine out of his face, light up the underside of his cloak, spark along his gauntlets.

 

I want to see him dazzling in the sunlight, bright and wonderful, and heroic.

 

In, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

 

See, even the driver of the armored van has gathered his wits enough to scramble out of the window of the cab. He draws his gun, turns back towards the brownstones he was thrown over, and I can’t help my snicker. A gun. A very small gun. Against powered people. Ridiculous.

 

The night-blue vehicle climbs over the brownstones, drops onto the street right beside the van, and I can see that it is accented in brass. It is dented, and worn, and parts of it are smoking that probably shouldn’t be, and parts of it are sparking that definitely shouldn’t be, but it is…

 

It is the product of his imagination, his blueprints and hard work, and so, for all that the mechanical is crab-like and squat, it is gorgeous.

 

A pincer waves at me, and though I cannot see his familiar smirk though the viewscreen, I know his mouth well enough that I can tell that he is smiling, just like that, for me. I wave back, though the glass, excited.

 

And then the pinchers jerk up. A roundel that I mistook for a crab eye on a swaying stalk orients itself on something high above it, and then the crab jerks and leaps. It’s gone from my sight in an instant, and the security guard looks around, looks up, bewildered and white-knuckled. He raises his gun and fires – one, two, three, four shots. Nothing falls from the sky.

 

The whole café lurches under my feet.

 

Ah, he landed on our roof!

 

More dust and this time ceiling plaster rains down on me. Right. Now is probably a good time to leave. I take the street exit, scrambling up to the back of the armored van. The guard sees me, waves me over into the lee of the chassis, head still raised to the sky and one hand still tight around his gun.

 

“What’s going on?” I ask.

 

“Incrediman, and Skye High…” he starts, and then swallows. “I don’t know what Vertego wants, no one told me what was in my truck, but he sure as hell ain’t gettin’ it!”

 

The roar of a flamethrower above us drags my attention upwards. The flame coming from the pincher is so hot that it warps the fire escape and singes my eyebrows. The guard curses and ducks into the safe, cool shadow of his cab. I keep watching as the mechanical crab vomits fire.

 

The battle is hypnotic, a ballet in the air before me of ducking bodies and close misses and I cannot look away. A small, cold fear grows in me that if I look away, if I stop murmuring endearments and half-articulated prayers for his safety, then his luck will change and he will lose. He will die. And so I watch, my fingers balled tight, painful in my apron. The fabric twists and tears under the strain of my anxiety.

 

In, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Be safe. Be careful. Oh! No, behind you! In, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Be faster. Be better. Come home to me. In, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Come home to me. Come home to me alive.

 

As the fight weaves back and forth across the rooftops, lurching, drunken, the security guard turns away. The motion catches my attention and I watch as he jams his gun back into his holster and uses both hands to wrench at the twisted lever of the back door. He manages to lift a panel, and fumbles for the oversized, elaborate key handcuffed to his wrist.

 

His hands are shaking so badly that the key slips between his fingers, dangling, impotent, no less than four times. He gives a snarl of frustration.

 

“Let me help,” I say, go over, lift the key, slot it into place. It is big, unwieldy, and takes both of us to turn it.

 

I look down. He hasn’t snapped the strap back over his gun, so when he throws open the heavy door and overextends his step to hoist his bulk into the back of the truck, his gun slips down his leg and clatters against the pavement. It’s a quiet sound, barely audible above the wailing sirens that are creeping closer, the crush and crashes above us, the roar of the crab’s flamethrower. But we both hear it, tense. Wait.

 

The gun doesn’t go off.

 

I bend down to scoop it up.

 

“Careful,” the guard says as I extend it towards him.

 

“You really don’t know what’s in your truck?” I ask.

 

“No, only that mine’s the real one. It’s not one of the decoys. Gimmie the gun, help me get this out of here. Vertego can’t get at it. We’ll hide it.”

 

“Good idea,” I say.

 

Then I flip the gun around and shoot him in the foot.

 

The guard screams and falls back into the far corner of the box, swearing and grunting. The air smells of warm copper and gunpowder. I can’t believe I just did that. I never thought I’d be able to do something like that.

 

But then, he always said that I could. That he believed in me.

 

In, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

 

He believed in me, and I did it.

 

I did it!

 

I pick up the briefcase. It’s light. It feels empty. Is it empty?

 

The guard’s face is white with agony, and I hope, for his sake, that he passes out soon. I turn back, jump out, toss the gun into the café.  The air is still and silent. I breathe in, deep, two, three, four, parse the scents of grit, dust, fire, fear, and the great swelling sense of pride and wonder. Alone in a city, the buildings empty, the windows drawn, or dark.

 

Glorious.

 

The crab mechanical swings down to street level and then, with a pneumatic hiss, the spindly legs fold under it, lowering the carapace to the asphalt. The mechanical’s mouth opens.

 

I look up, around, but he is alone. No one is waiting to drop down on us. No ambush in wait. The world is silent, waiting, waiting.

 

He steps onto the gangplank and I hold up the case, waggling it at him, overjoyed.

 

“Come and get it, if you want it!” I tease.

 

He laughs. I try out his smirk.

 

He rushes at me, sweeps me up, and then his mouth is on mine, hot, wonderful, wet.

 

“God, you’re perfect. Absolutely perfect, sweetheart,” he says, his breath puffing straight into my lips. When he puts me back onto my feet, I offer him the case. He pulls it open easily, snapping the locks with the strength of his fingers, and digs in. As he’s fishing around, I reach up, tug his goggles away, smooth back sweat and mechanical-oil-slicked hair.

“Thanks sweetheart,” he says and gifts me with one of those lovely lopsided smirks. “Whew, that was close, eh? Nearly squashed the café! Wouldn’t want to destroy such important memories, eh?”

 

“Yes, then where will I work?” I ask, laughter in each syllable, too joyful, to relieved, too flush on his kisses and his successes and my love, pure and deep and ridiculous, for the spandex-clad man pressed against me.

 

“Work? Oh, sweetheart, you’re never going to have to work again.”

 

“Oh?”

 

Then he holds it up. It’s a diamond.

 

The diamond that I read about in the paper that morning. The one cut by one of the most powerful magical mystics the powered community has seen in the last three hundred years. The diamond that is said to have been cut so perfectly that any focused beam of light through its prisms emerges as a laser powerful enough to burn through any material, and whose refracted rainbows are said to grant any that they fall upon an immeasurable increase to their own powers, whatever they may be. The diamond that was supposed to be travelling via an unknown route in armoured transport, while a dozen other decoys travelled with it along all sorts of strange side streets from the airport to the museum where the it was meant to go on display.

 

That diamond.

 

Oh, my man is so clever.

 

Already, he looks quicker, happier, fresher. Under the concrete dust and the blood, his skin glows with returned youth. And I, I feel marvelous. The repetitive strain in my wrist is draining away as the rainbows thrown up from the jewel skitter across my face, my headache pulsing away to nothingness, the soreness of my feet after the non-stop work of the morning shift nearly gone.

 

“Sweetheart,” he murmurs again, and then he turns us back to his machine. “Wanna go for a ride?”

 

“Sounds fun.”

 

“Hop up.”

 

I cast around for a seatbelt and he just laughs. “It’s safe, believe me, it’s safe.”

 

Safe. Such a liminal word. He sees the worry flit through my eyes. “Hey, I have an idea,” he says, and that smirk licks back up into his mouth, curling, sensual, into the dimple there. “How would you like to never have to worry about me ever again?”

 

“I’d like that a lot.”

 

“Great, sweetheart. Then I have a gift for you. Under the seat.”

 

I curve low, reach, and retrieve a case. On my knees – unlatched—oh. Oh. “It’s a … gun?”

 

“Sort of.”

 

“What am I supposed to do with it?”

 

The smirk stretches across, catlike, to take up the other corner of his lip. “I left Incrediman in the bottom of a crater. He’s probably still alive.”

 

“What about Skye High?”

 

The smirk flickers and flirts. Delicious.

 

“Really?” I ask.

 

“Really – she’s as dead as a body can be. And if Incrediman still lives, then you can do the honours with that, sweetheart.”

 

Oh!

 

Now that is a gift. Never having to worry about his capture, his death, his whole life rotting in jail, or his turn on the electric chair. Never having to worry about him being abused on the inside, or intimidated, never having to worry about him being hurt in street brawls or defeated in battle ever again.

 

He will be safe.  Safe. Safe.

 

“Let’s go!” I say, and clutch the gun tightly, anticipation crawling like a delicious shiver down my spine, spreading out to the tips of each tingling digit. I peel off my apron and toss it out the window, followed quickly by my name badge. That’s not who I am anymore.

 

Now I am his.  And he is mine.

 

Oh, to have him safe. And free. And powerful. Young. Hale. Whole.

 

And mine. With me. Always.

 

This is going to be good.

 

Oh!

 

How lucky I am that he smirked at me across the cafe. I am so excited, so excited, that I need to breathe. In, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. In, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. In, two, three, four, five. Out, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten…

Story by J.M. Frey © 2015
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JM FreySHORT STORY – In, Two, Three, Four, Five
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