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Guest: Kim Fielding Guest Post.

My guest today is Kim Fielding, talking about her new novella, Night Shift. All yours, Kim!


Not too long ago, I was sitting on the couch, reading on my Kindle while my husband watched something he’d DVR’d from one of our zillion channels of satellite TV. He was also texting something about football to one of his friends. A song came on the show, catching my attention. I’d never heard it before, but I really liked it, and it was a nearly perfect soundtrack to my novel Good Bones. So I picked up my iPhone and clicked on my SoundHound app. The app informed me that the song was “Chateau” by The Brute Chorus (which is coincidental, since another of my novels is Brute). A few more clicks and $1.29 later, and the song was loaded on my phone. A little surfing on my phone informed me that the band is a bearded quartet from the UK.

No big deal. Right?

Except it is a big deal. When I was a kid—back in the Stone Age—we didn’t even have a VCR or a remote control, and cable TV had not yet made its way to suburban Portland, Oregon. If you had told me that within a few decades I’d be sitting on my couch with an endless wealth of instant knowledge and entertainment at my fingertips, it would have sounded like science fiction.

If you had told me that one day I would own a relatively inexpensive device that would allow me to play songs, find information, communicate with friends, watch movies, take photos, record movies, play games, book a plane flight, translate phrases into Croatian, convert currency, pinpoint my exact location on the planet, shop, read books, serve as calculator and alarm clock and stopwatch, provide a flashlight, and even occasionally make phone calls—and that the device would be roughly the size of a deck of cards—I’d have thought you were being overly imaginative.

We live in an age of magic and wonder, when—as long as we can pay for it—we can have nearly anything we want instantly. Give me a Star Trek food replicator and all is perfect, right?

Lots of things are much easier than they used to be. My 10-year-old recently dug out the typewriter I received as a high school graduation gift. It was state of the art. It could store an entire page’s worth of typing and therefore spit out multiple copies of that page. Oooh. Of course, nowadays when I write I have laptops with word processors, I have spellcheck and track changes (one of the great inventions of mankind). I can do research as I sit in my jammies in bed. I can email attachments back and forth to my editors, squeaking into deadlines without even resorting to FedEx overnight.

But you know what? I still have to squeeze out every word myself. I still have to take the ideas my muse tosses around in my brain and craft them into something understandable, something meaningful, something people want to read. Modern magic only goes so far.

And all the iDevices and streaming this and instant that don’t save any of us from making foolish choices sometimes, and from having to pay the price for those choices. They don’t solve our big problems, like addiction, like loneliness, like lack of self-esteem.

The main character in my new novella, Night Shift, is Aiden Quinn. He’s a recovering alcoholic, an ex-con, a guy trying to get by with little emotional support and with a crappy job as a motel janitor. He doesn’t have much use for technological wonders as he tries to keep his feet under him and keep the monsters at bay. Instead, he’s going to have to rely on some old-fashioned tools: books, friendship, and maybe even love.

Night Shift at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3683

Kim Fielding:

NS Excerpt from Night Shift:

“Did you enjoy your day off?” Luka asked. His hands were wrapped around his cup, but he wasn’t making any effort to drink it. In fact, Aiden could not remember ever seeing the man eat or drink a thing.

“Yeah, it was okay. How ’bout yours?”

“I thought of you.”

Aiden shook his head. “Yeah, see, here we go again. You pretend like we’re all lovey-dovey, but you won’t have anything to do with me away from here. Why don’t you just quit the shit and be honest. I’m a hookup, a handy guy with a dick.”

“You are more than that. If you knew how long it has been since I stayed so long with a single… partner….”

“You’ve stayed so long ’cause I’m here every night. Like I said, handy.”

Luka looked at him a long time before seeming to reach a decision. “I cannot meet with you during the day. But you have Monday nights off. I will ask for my schedule to be readjusted and we can spend next Monday night together.”

For a moment, Aiden felt stupidly thrilled with the concession. Then he remembered. “Can’t.”

“You no longer wish to spend time with me?”

“I…. Fuck. I have a book club.”

To his credit, Luka didn’t look shocked. Instead, he smiled. “What are you reading?”

Iliad,” Aiden mumbled.

“Ah,” said Luka, and then he said a bunch of words in a language that wasn’t English or Spanish or Portuguese, which meant Aiden couldn’t recognize it. When Aiden just stared blankly, Luka smiled. “Sing, Goddess, of the rage of Peleus’s son Achilles, the accursed rage that brought great suffering to the Achaeans. The first lines, yes?”

Aiden had borrowed the book that afternoon—proudly using his brand-new library card—but hadn’t begun to read it yet. “You know the beginning of The Iliad?”

“I know the entirety of The Iliad. In Homeric Greek and English. Would you like me to recite more?”

As was often the case around Luka, Aiden felt slightly uneasy, as if there were something about the man he should know but couldn’t quite grasp. “What kind of security guard memorizes Homer?”

“I have not always been a security guard. I have been many things. And… I have had a lot of time to read.” He leaned forward over the table and placed his hand over one of Aiden’s. “Perhaps we could meet after your book club. I should like to hear your thoughts on the ancient Greeks.”

“I don’t think I have any thoughts on the ancient Greeks,” Aiden replied stubbornly.

“You will when you have finished this tale.”

After that, Aiden’s break went as expected, with Luka on his knees and Aiden climaxing down the other man’s throat with a muffled shout. But this time, Luka didn’t simply leave the room. Instead, he pushed Aiden gently but firmly until Aiden’s back was against the wall, and then Luka pressed their bodies tightly together. They fit well, Aiden couldn’t help but notice, like two puzzle pieces. Which was stupid, but there was Luka nuzzling into his neck and massaging Aiden’s ass through the ugly green custodian pants.

And then, in a voice barely above a whisper, Luka began to recite something that was obviously a poem of some kind, though Aiden didn’t have a clue as to the language. The words were full of that throat-clearing sound that Middle Eastern languages had, but also sort of hissy s’s and drawn-out vowels.

“What was that?” Aiden asked when Luka paused.

“A love poem. Older than your Iliad. ‘My love penetrates me like honey into water.’” Then he said more of the strange, exotic words.

Aiden felt a little light-headed. Nobody had ever recited poetry of any kind to him, let alone love poetry. He hadn’t ever pictured such a thing happening. And he knew it was more of Luka’s bullshit, yet it was also amazingly erotic. Especially with Luka’s wiry body against him and Luka’s breaths, which smelled slightly of Aiden’s own spend, puffing against his skin.

“Jesus,” Aiden groaned as Luka ground their hips together. Despite the recent and very spectacular blowjob, Aiden’s cock reawakened, rubbing through thicknesses of cloth against Luka’s bulge.

“Older than Jesus as well,” Luka said with a soft chuckle.

“I… I didn’t know people wrote love poems back then.”

“Oh, they did. So many centuries past, yet people loved as deeply then as they do now. Sometimes they loved foolishly as well, just as they do now.”

All the talk of love was making Aiden uneasy. “You’re quite a history buff.”

“I… have an interest in years gone by. But now I am more interested in the present.” He tipped his head up to look into Aiden’s eyes. “Life is so fleeting and everything we have passes through our fingers like sand. We must find joy in the moment, in the now. Like this.” He thrust his pelvis hard against Aiden’s, at the same time gnawing gently at the crook of Aiden’s neck.
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