Just about a year ago, a story I wrote was published in a book called RIDE: Short fiction about bicycles. If you're a regular reader of this blog you probably know this because I wrote about the book when it came out and I've shamelessly had a link to the book on the right side of this blog ever since. While the book hasn't sold in numbers to keep Stephen King awake at night (which hardly seems fair since Stephen King books have managed to keep me up late on several occasions), the sales of the book have bought me a few cups of coffee which in turn have kept me awake. Since I'm up, I might as well write something.
This is how blog posts happen. This is also how stories happen and another one of my stories made it into another book. This book is called RIDE 2: More short fiction about bicycles and like Ride, it is edited by Keith Snyder. Keith is a damn good editor but he's not exactly original when it comes to picking titles. So it goes. BTW, a friend of mine on Twitter noted that when men get gushy and rave about something the word "damn" shows up a lot. Damn right. My own story, Made with Extra Love, which you may have read in an earlier version on this blog last spring, wound up being a lot stronger and tighter thanks to Keith's editing. I'm sure if I'd given Keith a crack at this paragraph, there would be fewer "damns" in it and it'd be a damn sight better. He's that damn good.
Any collection of stories by different authors is going to have various voices, tones and tales. Not every character is admirable, not every story is a beacon of hope. But the tales run true, which is the ultimate test of fiction. You can tell in the reading that Eric Neuenfeldt knows urban bike shops and bike polo, Jan Maher and Barb Goffman understand the dynamics of families and S.J. Rozan knows love and loss. And Keith Snyder's entry, which I was wary of since it is both poetry and "Part 1", shows that yes, the man knows how to make words behave on a page. Don't let the poetry and Part 1 scare you. And by the way, Jon Billman knows a hell of a lot about the dirt roads of Oklahoma, the line between this world and the next and the importance of a good breakfast.
The common thread in these tales, besides humanity, is bicycles. The machine is more than tubes and tires and chain. In each of these tales, it is the bicycle that takes the character and the reader on a worthwhile journey.
Yes, I'm totally biased but I'm also extremely proud to be sharing the pages of Ride 2 with the other authors whose tales fill this book. I hope Keith keeps this series running for a good long time.
Keep 'em rolling,
Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA