Harmony Ink Press is proud to present the winners of the fourth annual Young Author Challenge. This book contains the best of the best in short LGBTQ+ fiction by authors from age fourteen to twenty-one. They represent the future of both our literature and our community, and the future looks as bright as these voices are strong, inventive, and unique. These fifteen stories range from the realistic to the fantastical, and they are populated with characters from all across the rainbow. They explore love, friendship, being different, finding one’s purpose and place, and what it means to grow up—in the modern world or one of pure imagination.
First, Second, Third—Elliot Joyce
It was animosity at first sight, but Derek slowly warms up to Thomas, a quiet boy who shares Derek's love for science fiction, video games, and snarky comments. When Derek attempts to ask Thomas out, though, Thomas confesses that he likes Derek, but they’ll never be able to date. With help from his friends, Derek’s eyes are opened to more than a few secrets Thomas is keeping—now he just needs to decide what to do about the things he’s learned.
From the Red Field—Frisk Gillespie
High school junior Radley isn’t sure what she wants from life or where she fits into the world—only that Ginger is part of it. Over the summer, they grow closer and find they complement each other. Will friendship with the new girl in town, Leila, confuse their relationship… or clarify it?
Scarlett starts off the school year as Roy O’Ryan. Stuck with a teacher who believes in strict, old-fashioned rules regarding gender, she struggles with her identity and fears coming out. Can a friendship with a quirky, bubblegum-obsessed boy named Tracy help Scarlett learn to accept herself?
Honor Among Thieves—Giulia Maggio-Tremblay
Honor has lived a charmed life since the temple priests took him in as an infant, but that happiness is threatened when sacred offerings begin to go missing. He fears he will be suspected of the thefts and lose his home, just like his friend Ren did. Honor decides to catch the culprit so he can clear his name and Ren's, and when Honor makes a deal with the thief, it seems like the danger has passed. But Ren has different ideas of how to justly resolve the situation, and his actions force Honor to choose between protecting his sheltered life—or the thief who may have stolen his heart.
Applesauce and Oatmeal—Claire Hekkala
Roswell Collins dreams of escaping his parents’ Nebraska farm—and the girl named Rose, who his family is forcing him to be, even going so far as to demand he wear a dress to the Summer Festival. The only thing stopping Roswell from fleeing is the cute and kind boy next door, Jay Lee. With Jay’s help, can Roswell find a way to keep his home and still be true to himself?
It’s the Journey—Mattye Johnson
All Felix wants is to know who he is and what exactly that entails. In a risky attempt to challenge his aversion to sex, he comes face-to-face with another boy not much older than himself. Deciding to trust this stranger—William—he goes home with him. The night may lead Felix to a better understanding of himself—and perhaps a new friend who accepts him just as he is.
Entrances and Exits—Olivia Anne Gennaro
The foyer of the Huxtable family home has seen its share of struggles. It bears witness as siblings Pippa and Mike try to strike a balance between their dreams and the expectations of well-meaning parents. As Pippa grows up, she realizes the influence of everyday heteronormativity on her life, while Mike cannot seem to escape his driven sister’s shadow.
Lovers In the Great Collapse—Amy Carothers
Humanity succeeded in eradicating disease—until an injection meant to kill sunburn killed the world. Gillian and Jacqueline, among the few immune to the resulting virus, will be put into cryosleep to carry on the human race. Their dreams are filled with each other, but will those dreams come true when—and if—they awaken to a new world?
Ramen and Unrequited Crushes—K.A. Maldonado
Beck has pined for his best friend Wren for as long as he can remember—they even kissed after a party back in high school. Beck never forgot that kiss, but Wren never mentioned it again. Surely Wren doesn’t even remember what happened between them years ago….
Cursed to take on the appearance of people who touch xem, Dawn Ritworth leaves xir father's home to pursue a life in college outside the sheltered, antagonistic one xe's known until now. Dawn is nervous about how xir new friends will react when they learn of the curse, but they might surprise Dawn—and show that everything Dawn’s father has said about magic and its acceptance might not be the truth.
I Know This Is Bad But I Have A Good Reason—Joey Scully
University student and aspiring novelist Robert Seabrook has hit the jackpot—he’s the lucky winner of a date with a beautiful young woman. The only problem? Robert’s gay. Worse yet, the eventful night means less time to work on his creative writing assignment—due tomorrow. But the awkward date may not be the only thing keeping Robert from finishing his story.
Hoodies and Glasses—Sengtdavanh Kinnavong
Swamped with work and stress, Salil plonks himself in the library, determined to finish off his school assignments as soon as humanly possible. Of course, not everything goes to plan, and he’s awakened by the hottest guy ever. The brief interaction remains in his mind for days, and he has to admit he’s under the man’s spell. Eventually Salil learns the man’s name is Aras, and the two of them grow close—it might even be love. So why does Salil’s every attempt at a physical relationship with Aras fail?
Mortuus Feles—Arbour Ames
Sulvan, a young man from a tribe of assassins so lethal most consider them mere legends, is found at the scene of a brutal murder—and allows himself to be arrested. Kyel, the detective investigating the crime, is more familiar with the assassin tribes than anyone can imagine, and it’s her job to learn who is the real killer, why Sulvan allowed himself to be taken when he could’ve easily evaded the police, and if there’s something bigger at play. Only then can she convince Sulvan to aid her against their mutual enemy.
The Fall—Kat Blake
Is happiness a choice? Jake wants to think so. After years of depression, self-harm, and even a suicide attempt, Jake is introduced to a new group of friends by his neighbor, Aaron. Over time Aaron might become more, and be the one to show Jake he’s not as alone as he always thought.
The Dating Simulator—Lia Shepherd
At Pixel Hearts, people can achieve the relationship of their dreams—at least through text messages. Yanmei is assigned to design the perfect boyfriend for a girl named Brinn, the same girl who ends up starring opposite Yanmei in the Sixth Form play. Brinn is beautiful and charismatic, and Yanmei finds herself attracted to Brinn for real. But perfect romances rarely happen in real life. Right?
||ebook and print
|| Harmony Ink Press
||Anthology/15 short stories, 298 pages/92579 words
|| $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle