QSFer A.M. Leibowitz has a new queer/fantasy collection out: “Loose Change.”
Seven stories about small, intimate moments of change. A boy meets a mer-person; six honest conversations; deciphering the meaning of a spray-painted mural; May-December love blossoms between two teachers; the meaning of kissing; a big, gay, fairy tale wedding; an interview that changes two men’s lives.
Ten-year-old Wesley Sanders closed his book and carefully hid it under the crate he’d been sitting on. He watched the men hauling the nets and traps, their shouts mingling with the creaking of the ropes and the slap of the waves against the sides of the peapods. From his vantage point on the rocks, he had an excellent view of the whole process.
Something gleamed at a low point in the net off one of the larger boats, just on the surface of the water. It was an odd golden-green, not at all the same color as the rest of the catch. Wesley climbed down in hopes of discovering what it was. When the net twisted and rose a little further, the light caught whatever it was again, and it shimmered. Perhaps the men had found a hidden treasure. Wesley hoped so; he could do with a bit of excitement.
He started for the water to have a better look as they hauled it in, but the hand on his shoulder stopped him. He turned to look up into the wrinkled face of Old Solomon, the whittler.
“Boy, ye had best be careful.”
“I just want to see it.” Wesley pulled out of the man’s grasp.
Solomon shook his head. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
He turned away and sat back down, but his eyes were still fixed on Wesley. For a moment, Wesley eyed him back before angling away and stepping closer. When he reached the edge of the water, he gasped. That wasn’t a treasure. Whatever it was had a long tail ending in elegant fins. Some kind of fish, but not what the men were hauling for sale. The urge to rescue it overtook Wesley; it was far too beautiful to become just another meal.
He stripped down to his underthings, rummaged for his pocketknife, and waded into the cold water. It stung, but he plunged on, determined to loosen the ropes and free the creature. He was grateful this was the regular nets and not the lobster traps—he wouldn’t have stood a chance retrieving anything from one of those. When he reached the net, he searched for the tail. On finding it, he followed it upward to see how large it was. The tail flicked, and Wesley gasped to find himself looking not into the beady eyes of a fish but a boy like himself.
A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. Their published fiction includes several novels as well as a number of short works, and their stories have been included in anthologies from Supposed Crimes, Beaten Track, Witty Bard, and Mischief Corner Books. They are an occasional host for the Bi+(plus) podcast as well as doing bi+ advocacy work and curating the best-of bi list on the QueerBooksForTeens website. They are a social media contributor for Supposed Crimes, LLC, and they post about news, reviews, and updates for the website. In between, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, books, chronic illness, and their family.