Genre/Mood: Light and fun fantasy
After one of our bleakest stories, here’s one of our most fun stories.
Dean Wesley Smith is a co-mastermind of this project. We worked on the Holiday Spectacular the way we work on many projects. I come up with something truly off the wall, and Dean figures out a way to make it a reality.
Last year, he was too busy running our Kickstarter for this project, and dealing with some other big issues in our business to write for the Spectacular. This year, fortunately, I asked early and often. I wanted several stories from him, but more than anything, I wanted Poker Boy.
Dean writes great, memorable characters, but, in my opinion, Poker Boy is the most memorable of all. Maybe some of that is that there’s a lot of Dean in Poker Boy, and Dean and I are married, so I might be biased.
But Poker Boy also gets into truly original situations that couldn’t exist in anyone else’s fictional world. Dean has written a lot of stories in the Poker Boy universe. Some have been collected in Playing A Hunch. He’s also written one Poker Boy novel, The Slots of Saturn. (I’m trying to get him to write more.)
Dean also writes the popular Cold Poker Gang mystery series, as well as the Thunder Mountain series, and many other novels and short stories. You can find some mention of these things on his website deanwesleysmith.com, but mostly you’ll find his daily blog, which chronicles his writing, publishing, and other endeavors.
This Poker Boy story celebrates a holiday I’ve never heard of, although Dean says I should have, given that I grew up in the Upper Midwest. I haven’t Googled the holiday, so I’m still wondering if he made it up. Not that it matters. I can guarantee that no one in the world celebrates this holiday the way Poker Boy and his friends do.
Poker Boy is a fun character which tells me you have fun writing him. Which reminds me, I sort of collect snippets of great writers who I confirm also wrote into the dark. Turns out one of my favorites, Louis L’Amour wrote into the dark. The man wrote hundres of short stories and over 100 novels, as have you, and this is what I read his son Beau saying about him in an interview about his writing process and I couldn’t help but think of all your advice:
“I would hope that [Louis L’Amour’s] legacy is a lot of good entertainment. He taught himself to write directly from the unconscious, with very little planning, so his work has this incredible energy. You the reader are discovering the story as my dad discovered the story. You’re kind of carried along. I liken it to surfing: My father is the wave, and you are the surfer.”
– From the Christian Sciene Monitor