I have a new story online today! And people, this one feels special.
The story, “Curl Up and Burn,” is another from my collection, Strangers Die Every Day. When my story “Have Love, Will Hurt” shows up later at The Rusty Nail, all the short stories (but not the novella) will have been published somewhere, at some point.
“Curl Up and Burn” is also the longest story in Strangers Die Every Day, more than 10,000 words, and it’s a bit of an experiment on my part: patterned after a magazine feature à la The New Yorker, with a journalist as the narrator; rooted in the (mostly) true history of my hometown, Boerne, Texas, including a handful of real people as characters; and drawing on actual research, complete with quoted sources. The story itself — a football hero becomes a town pariah after allegations of rape — is pure fiction, but this is the truest fiction I’ve ever written.
Some of you might also remember that the collection this comes from is a story cycle, full of recurring characters and locations. Because the story is so long and so far-reaching, it touches on a lot of the other stories. For those playing along at home, keep an eye out for characters from “Counting Telephone Poles,” “Kamikaze,” “A Few May Remember,” and “Summerplace” (another Eunoia story!). If you check out my Publications page, you can look up the other stories and see if you can find the connections between the stories.
But you certainly don’t need to read any of the other stories to figure out this one. So enjoy! And, as always, huge thanks to Ian Chung and the rest of the Eunoia gang for this second opportunity to appear in this awesome lit review.