I've been in contact with several of the Story Orgy authors (Havan Fellows, Lee Brazil, J R Boyd, Hank Edwards, Jade Baiser, Em Woods - forgive me if I missed anyone) for some time through writers' groups and online mutual friends. They always seemed a fun group to me, kind of like the funny, quirky group at the back of the school cafeteria that you want to go talk to but can't see butting in. They're having so much fun.
I'd also heard terrible rumors that they were all the same person. Now, one has to consider the source of such rumors and they stemmed from a particularly bitter, angry individual, so I never put much stock in them. It seemed unlikely to me since I'm pretty good at spotting speech patterns in people's posts and none of these folks sounded remotely like each other.
I can tell you, without a doubt, that they are not the same person. I've met several of them and unlike Clark Kent and Superman, they are capable of being in the same room at the same time. Silvia Violet introduced me to one of them, a gentleman by the name of Hank Edwards. In the Swag Room. In front of the pile of Charlie's Fluffer Balm. I wasn't sure enough of my surroundings yet, so I laughed quietly. I wanted to double over guffawing.
Hank is in every way a gentleman but there's a twinkle behind that quiet smile. This is a man who understands that life (and, often enough, sex, too) is inherently funny. We went to readings together and both nearly died laughing at some of them. (The ones that were supposed to be funny, mind you. Just to be clear.) Hank's own reading, from The Plus Ones, was also well done. Not in an in-your-face, skateboard accident on YouTube funny, but in a more sneak up on you and poke you sort of way. The funny catches you off guard, especially when read with such earnest intent. Beyond the readings: drinks, dancing, group silliness (and yes, there are pictures) - we had a blast.
But Hank doesn't limit himself to comedy. His Venom Valley series is paranormal at its tense and scary best. You're thinking vampires and zombies? Isn't that a bit much? But the premise is sound, in a paranormal way - the necessity for both of these things for the plot to move forward is quickly apparent. The opening scene for Cowboys and Vampires is one of the best edge of your seat beginnings to a paranormal I've seen in a long time. The bad people are bad. The good people are conflicted and freaked out. (I am a little sad that I didn't wait to buy the Wilde City versions since the covers are so cool. Someday when I'm wealthy, I'll just have to buy them a second time.) Can't wait for the next one. (Next one, Hank? Please?)
I've talked to Hank quite a bit over the past year and we've even gotten involved together. Hey! Stop snickering! In an anthology. You knew that's what I meant. I had the good fortune to read his Walking After Midnight before the rest of the world has a chance, releasing this November 1 in the Mixed Tape Anthology from Total E Bound. It's a treat - but the rest of you will have to wait.
So here's to Fluffer Balm and Zombies and Hank, who I can't wait to see again!
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.