Check out that brilliant cover (by artist C. Bernard). What a thing of beauty. This is the second anniversary issue of The Red Penny Papers and it features my story, Crossroads & Carousels. The full ToC is:

A Connection to Beyond by Cat Rambo
Breathing Room by Jamie Mason
Fearsome Critters and Friendly Giants by M. Bennardo
Crossroads and Carousels by Alan Baxter
The Extravagant and Venturesome Lives of Woman Pyrates by Katy Gunn

That’s a pretty great line-up and I’m very proud to be a part of it. On top of all that, the whole thing is free right here. The ebook version of this issue should be out soon and mini-interviews with all the authors are forthcoming.

Crossroads & Carousels is a story I’d been planning to write for a long time. I finally found the right framework for the story and I’m very pleased it found a home at RPP. The story is a homage to two things I’ve always loved – the old blues legends of the crossroads and the Dire Straits song, Tunnel Of Love. I have a pretty eclectic taste in music and, while I might be a blues and metal fan at heart, I’m into a wide cross-section of sounds. One of my favourite bands for years has been Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler’s blues inspired guitar playing is just sublime. In fact, it’s almost entirely due to Mark Knopfler and David Gilmour from Pink Floyd that I learned to play guitar myself.

It’s also the lyricism of bands like these that appeals to me so much. Both Dire Straits and Pink Floyd tell fantastic stories with their music. One of the stories that’s always appealed to me and fascinated me is Tunnel Of Love. It contains such evocative lyrics and such emotive imagery. I finally found my crossroads story through a short fiction retelling of the story behind Tunnel Of Love. So I hope my homage is as enjoyable to everyone reading as it was to me in the writing. I’ve changed the location and a lot of things about the song, of course, as it was inspiration for this story – I haven’t just written a short story version of the song. But you’ll recognise key motifs in the story if you know the song. I hope I’ve done it justice.

Go here, and read.