Sparks

Mrs. Watson: Untold Stories

Mrs. Watson: Untold Stories


Say hello to Mrs. Watson!

A follow-up to the Lambda Award finalist My Dear Watson, this collection of historically-inspired tales exposes real secret histories.

These stories also explore the evolution of friendship between Sherlock Holmes, his former lover Dr. Watson, and the doctor's clever and tolerant wife.

Mrs. Watson: Untold Stories will scandalize and satisfy. Currently on sale direct from indie publisher Lethe Press!
Nathan Leopold

The Crime of Last Century

A very un-merry murder-versary to you all, on this, the 97th year since the Leopold and Loeb crime of the 20th century. It's also the 5th anniversary since my contribution to the canon came out, Homo Superiors, and it’s been quite a journey.

In creating the book it went from:

  • Me, some Florida teen wishing she too had an exclusive murder BFF and possibly boyfriend

  • Post-college graduate moves to the mythical Chicago to experience seasonal affective disorder firsthand (100% thought that wasn’t a thing until it came for me, I had Sunshine State privilege)

  • Grad student in Chicago, learning how to take trains and taxis, going to a scant handful of locations the characters ultimately visited (Ed Debevic’s, the International Museum of Surgical Science, that big ol’ lake out there), and writing the first half of the book

  • Whoops, job in South Korea right after MFA graduation, finished the book while teaching children approximately the age of the murder victim (it actually helped me teach better, knowing I wasn’t going to kill any kids but also knowing that one could, and pretty easily too—it lowered teacher's blood pressure)

  • Actually writing the last word of the manuscript on the 91st anniversary of the crime (because it’s fun when real life syncs with fiction like that, and I lean into it)

In publishing Homo Superiors, the reviews have been fabulously mixed:
In fans, the book has found a home.

Over the years, this book out of all the 10+ I’ve published (so far) has touched the exact folks I was reaching towards, specifically the kind of person I was before I’d ever written anything of publishable quality, and just wanted to find someone who was on my strange wavelength, and who saw exactly what I saw in the inkblot. From the person who commented on my Tumblr picture of a stack of Advanced Reading Copies and asked how I got the new L/L book so early (I wrote it!), to the first wave of fellow Millennials telling me (at my vain request) their favorite moments, to the new wave of Gen Zers bringing the fanart (I post those gems on my Instagram)…it’s so rewarding. It’s everything I hoped it would be, and no amount of money could ever buy it.

Only the experience of being a fan myself (as problematic as it is with these shitbirds), and knowing what was missing from every book before mine (less courtroom more courtship, amirite?!), and completing half-a-dozen other creative projects over about a decade, prepared me to execute this one just as I imagined it.

For the average reader of gay or crime or gaycrime fiction, the structure may be confusing and the ending will definitely be abrupt, but for the fellow members of my tribe: I’m so glad you like the present I made you! Cheers to the new century.
L.A. Fields

Epic

Long-term projects continue as I remain in isolation for semi-pandemic reasons. Sure, I'm vaccinated, but not everyone else is yet, and I also have nowhere to go and nothing to do and no extra money to spend while I remain on unemployment sooo...the endurance goes on. Projects include:

Cat
Kobb the kitty has healed beautifully from her dental surgery (six teeth had to be pulled because she's an older baby) and non-cancerous bump removal. We're finding her new favorite food together, and it is Purina (not other brands), pâté (not other soft foods like shreds or chunks), and poultry (beef is a C- to her and fish is suspect). She turns 11 years old this month!

Marathons
I tried to read the King James Bible as a teenager with my eyeballs, which I found too overwhelming when I kept hitting long strings of "X begat Y who begat Z," so I quit. The Bible, Dante's Divine Comedy, and Great Expectations are the only books I quit reading because they were taxing me too much in high school (I tried to read the Dante alongside the Bible—too similar, do not recommend). Now that I've discovered the joy of super-speed audiobooks however, I'm finishing all three, starting with the hardest: ye olde Holy Booky. I'll also do the Apocrypha after this, and other religions' texts, because if not now, when, am I right? When else am I going to be on Year Two of this strange sort of house arrest? It's not a faith thing, it's a compulsion thing, and I'm finding fun gems in the rubble like the phrase "uncircumcised lips" which scholars don't seem to understand, and that the lyrics from "Turn! Turn! Turn!" are actually mostly from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Anyway, that specific King James was gay for George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and cited Jesus' extra special love for John for why it was okay, and no one else in his ugly-ass court could say boo about it (that's almost a direct quote). I would have gone with David and Jonathan maybe, or at least cited both, but whatever works to get those favorites in bed, judge not lest ye be judged, etc. Speaking of marathons, I'm also watching The Simpsons from the beginning, and Dallas the show since I live in Dallas the city, and other massive shows with 200+ and 300+ episodes. Time wastes me, I waste time right back, this is how I'm dealing with 2021.

Mother
It's Mother's Day weekend, and though she's been gone for over 15 years, I still think of my mother often, and not always fondly. There's a lot of unresolved garbage there that can't be dealt with through the grave. It's a strange balance to miss someone who—should she still be alive—could easily not have liked me at all. For a long time, grief only called up all the good times had and unhad, but after a while that dulls, and the bad memories bubble up too (the failures and cruelties and ignorance and abuse). Gotta stir that in with all the love and pity from previous phases of mourning, so that's also how it's going this year.

Epic
As I'm trying to cram every difficult piece of literature into my head before I'm employed again (Infinite Jest, anyone?), I realized that my Riot Son project is becoming a passable attempt at the mythic Next Great American Novel. I'm inserting a lot of historical context for a once-in-a-generation moment that the characters are falling in love during, and while it's not encyclopedic (no Ulysses), they don't have to be (The Great Gatsby). I'm not saying it'll ever be considered curriculum alongside those others, but it could, that's the trick, and academia isn't the sole arbiter anyway. Cleaner than On the Road, and gayer than all of them! Why not? To be submitted for consideration as soon as I finish it (I'm halfway there already, 50%), and secure an agent (which is in the works, process ongoing).
Sparks

Uprising

Things are looking up:

- I've received both doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and will soon be fully immune. The relief is real, I'm already less paranoid when going down to get my mail, and I'm dreaming about visiting my sister in South Korea, possibly as early as this fall (should they relax their quarantine restrictions for vaccinated travelers). Optimism! It's been a while.

- I won a year's worth of coffee from Too Strong Coffee for commenting on an Instagram post (great value for the effort involved). I am looking forward to sharing some with my sister because she loves coffee more than me and is constantly on the lookout for recyclable packaging around clean/organic, fair-trade foodstuffs. I mostly like the progressive funding this coffee company does, plus the cheeky name of the breakfast blend (Uprising—snort), so we're all having fun with this one.

- Coincidentally I'll be drinking this coffee while working on my radical new solo writing project, Riot Son. Basically, I'm spending this summer setting a story during the protests of last summer. It's a summer romance starring legal observer and sideline types (your reporters, lawyers, and medics) interspersed with leftist rants and research so far (at about 20% completion). It's also possibly the easiest book I've ever written. Maybe after writing around fifteen different kinds of projects I'm just really well-practiced at it by now, or maybe it's because for the first time in a long time this one is a whim, a flight of fancy, and not an assignment (the last few books have been commissioned, collaborative, or were on my self-imposed 10-books-by-age-30 schedule). Riot Son I keep contributing to early, and putting aside other fun things to work on. Writing has never felt less like a chore since I first started doing it, and I find it sweet that this love of the game is still in me, I hope I never lose it.
L.A. Fields

New Story: “Whatever a Body Is Not Obliged to Do”

I have a new story in the inaugural issue of Bachelors (Lethe Press), an occasional webzine that is free to all.

“Whatever a Body Is Not Obliged to Do” queers Mark Twain’s classic characters Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and I dare you to claim that’s an unrealistic portrayal, as it’s well established that Tom Sawyer can talk a body into anything. 


Check it out along with stories by Ryan Vance, Will Ludwigsen, and Nick Mamatas: Bachelors, Vol. 1
Sparks

Breaking: The 21st Year of the 21st Century

My plans for 2020 were:

- Attend an MFA reunion
This kinda happened in the spring, for an hour or two on Zoom. A group of writers, a year inside: I better hear about everybody's pandemic project next year.

- Visit family in South Korea
LOL NOPE. Originally the plan was to go in October, but when it arrived I couldn't get there by law, by hook, or by crook because of COVID-19 restrictions.

- Health check (in Korea)
NOPE AGAIN. The reason I meant to do this in Korea is because even when I do have health insurance in my own country, it's intermittent, still prohibitively expensive, and not comprehensive. Meanwhile, in Korea I could get an entire inside-and-out body evaluation (bones, blood, weight, vaccines, vitamin deficiencies, allergies, cancer screening, and other bodily curiosities) for $500. I also get dental care for $40 whenever I visit (x-rays and cleaning), so even with the flight and hotel factored in it's a great deal, comparatively, because the United States is killing us with corruption.

- Save money
Sort of I did this? When I wrote it down I had a job that disappeared about a month later, but since I was able to get on unemployment quickly and have always lived below my means, while I haven't saved any extra money, I have at least maintained the savings I built up before. Turns out what I was saving for was weathering the third recession of my lifetime. That averages one per decade! Someone tell my boomer relatives these conditions aren't what they used to be.

- Become pescatarian
Success, however, I tried to go further into mostly vegan and ultimately wiped out because of cheese. I love it too much and am weak in moral fiber (is there a supplement for that?) and so have slipped back to consuming certain low-lactose milk products. I'm sure there's a compound name for what I'm doing (no eggs, yes cheese, no land meat, yes sea flesh, no preference pro or con on honey) but I'm not fully dedicated to any of it, just trying to make better choices and not consume factory-processed livestock meat because I know how the sausage is made, and it's not okay. My cat is also no vegan, she eats poultry, so I'll never be all the way out of the game as long as I'm feeding my favorite little carnivore.

- Write 1 TV script
This did not manifest in 2020, but it's scheduled to be first up in 2021. My collaboration buddy and I find that scripts aren't that hard or time-consuming to write...if we're in the right headspace. The pandemic year was not that headspace.

- Write 2 novels
YEP. One was a solo project, a follow-up to My Dear Watson written in diary form (look forward to Mrs. Watson: Untold Stories soon!). The other was a collaborative novel that I did the lion's share of writing on (because I'm the unemployed one), based on one of our shared script projects. If anyone picks up any part of it, we've got the full show and novel tie-ins ready to go, a nice package deal.

Other highlights of the year include:
- I increased my fitness efforts from two days a week to three and lost another 5-10 pounds because of it (neat!).
- I can now comprehend TV/movies/podcasts at 3x-4x playback speed. I'm very proud of this, I tell everyone about it, I feel like I'm reaching higher heights and am approaching the galaxy brain stage, etc.
- Due to these speed records, I now find reading via my slow human eyes to be pretty basic, and so at long last I've embraced audiobooks. Difficult books are easier to take in if someone else reads them to you, dull books are easier to tolerate if sped through, and if you can digitize a book at all you can make the computer machine read it for you (it's not perfect, but it is preferable to me now).

My plans for 2021 are:

- Write 1 TV script (at least) and 2 more novels (also at least)
One promised script, maybe scriptifying an old project, then one or two collaborative novels (we have two outlines that are ready to go and these years are LONG), plus one solo project if I can find some new inspiration. Also, I have a short story commission for January, going to start small and grow as time and stress permit.

- Find a job (???)
This isn't something I can really control, but I check for jobs regularly and apply when it's at all appropriate before sinking back into isolation...where I'm strangely comfortable. When I was a teenager, this was my life every summer: go nowhere, see no one, plan my days around input (TV, music, and books) and output (writing fiction, doing small crafts, and organizing). I was surprised to learn later on that the other teens went to the beach during summer? Weird, but who's flourishing now, eh? Ol' Latchkey Fields, that's who.

- Drink less, weigh less, move more (in moderation)
After a decade of consuming booze I'm starting to feel it (or I'm starting to feel my age in relation to it), and every overindulgence (a cute word for "bender") feels more damaging than it used to. I'm slowly replacing the booze rituals with tea rituals to at least keep me sober for the opening hours of each day—that's a start, and it helps fight the boredom of isolation. As far as other forms of health, I know the secret there: adjust food quality and fitness goals in tandem, but the trick is to find more small ways to notch it up without burning myself out entirely. What I gained in weight between grad school and my first stable job I have since lost, so it definitely works, it's just the tedium of it all that's the big problem.

The bigger picture:
Beyond that, it's obviously hard to plan for the coming year until vaccines reach everyone who wants one, and we find out what fresh hell the re-trashed job market is. As far as I know, I've lost no one to COVID-19, I remain healthy and housed myself, and I have stayed busy in ways that fill me with a sense of accomplishment. I've been lucky so far, and I'm cautiously optimistic about 2021.
L.A. Fields

End of an Era

It's finally time to grow up: the fifth and final book in my YA series is out this month, called Fixation. Here's the summary:

***

In this last installment of The Disorder Series, these friends are finally forced to grow up.

Marley Kurtz is still looking for love when he discovers he’ll also need to look for a new job. Is college still an option? His best friend Missy survives another health scare, and tells her long-suffering boyfriend he needs to move on to be happy. Can she take her own advice? Marley’s ex-boyfriend Jesse bites off more independence than he can chew. When he comes crawling back, will anyone accept him?

No one is left untouched from the realization that they’ll have to change to move forward. Faces emerge from the past, relationships are tested, and the one thing that’s clear across the board is that complacency is not an option. Join these characters one more time as they grieve their mistakes, alter their behavior, and learn to prosper.

Sparks

Double Quarterfinalists!



Along with being Quarterfinalists for the 2018 ScreenCraft Pilot Launch Competition, Tyson Kadwell and I are now Quarterfinalists for their Cinematic Book Competition as well! Our entry, Back to the Morgue, is an ensemble-cast commercial thriller (think The Big Chill meets Mysteries of Pittsburgh, with sprinkles of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on top). Currently unpublished, we're actively on the hunt for agent representation.

We're pleased, we're proud, we're cross-platform writers and it feels great!