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I’m very happy to announce that I’m taking part in a contest that’s being held this summer on JukePop Serials, the website where I published my spy thriller, The Armored Satchel, in installments during 2013 and 2014. The 2015 Summer Writing Project, sponsored by JukePop, Black Hills Press and 1888, began June 1 and runs until August 31, and they’re showcasing novellas that are being published in serial form on the JukePop site. My new novella called Barefoot in Rome has been accepted. The first chapter of the story is already live, and free–click here to read (or click the above image).

Barefoot in Rome is an idea I’ve been working on for quite a while. It’s sort of a romance, but also sort of an anti-romance–it’s about love and relationships, but don’t expect me to hew too closely to the traditional rules of the romance genre. Taking place in Rome in the year 1990, the novella focuses on a wealthy and callow young man, Dane, who comes to the Eternal City to look up an old boarding school friend and ultimately gets a lot more than he bargained for. Here is the teaser, which I wrote to be deliberately provocative and a little opaque:

Rome is a hell of a place to try to find yourself–especially if you’re looking for someone else. Dane doesn’t understand what compelled him to come to Italy to find a school friend he hasn’t seen in three years, but it probably has something to do with girls, sex and partying. Those are easy to find in Rome. But love? For Dane, that’s like Caesar’s wife: he did not know her, but they said she was pure.

The story is just for fun, but if I get enough votes and reader feedback, I do have a chance of having it published with Black Hills Press. I’ve always wanted to do a novella, but as the commercial market for them is limited there just hasn’t been an opportunity. JukePop Serials is trying to change that and I thought I couldn’t pass up a chance to participate. Please vote for the story! You will need an account at JukePop Serials in order to vote, but it’s a free sign-up and they do not spam you or sell your information in any way. Those of you who were reading this blog when I was doing The Armored Satchel should be well familiar with the drill.

Thanks in advance! I hope you like the story, which is a big departure for me as it’s not horror, science fiction or adventure. I’ve got more chapters in the pipeline and Chapter 2 will probably go up in the next few days. Thanks for your support!