Posted: June 25, 2012

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Gem Street /
The GyPSy Line

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Gem Street book cover

The GyPSy Line is my first work of fiction to be published, so I am very proud of it and its inclusion in Gem Street. Labello Press is a fledgling small press launched in Tipperary, Ireland, by Deborah McMenamy, an American. She is a published author and playwright and artist. One of her first steps was to create a writing contest named in honor of her father, the Leonard A. Koval Memorial Prize. The eleven winners represent seven countries — Ireland, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Spain, New Zealand and France — and each received a cash prize. For the complete list of winners—now-available.html.

McMenamy describes Gem Street as “an eclectic and outstanding tumble of glittering new stories.” It is definitely eclectic. Now that I’ve read the others, The GyPSY Line reads pretty tame to me. The idea for the story came to me when I was standing in — where else? — a shopping line two years ago, hoping to buy one of the first Wii’s for my son’s Christmas present. I guess my imagination just took off from there.

Besides the fact it’s my first published fiction, I just like the story. It’s about four very different characters waiting in a big-box store shopping line five days before Christmas hoping the score the “toy of the year,” a gee-whiz computer called a GyPSy. The name hints at both its functional properties and its child-like appeal to the diverse characters. I made it up — GyPSy. Frankly, when I did a search I was shocked that no GPS device or site that I could find had claimed it. The story also includes a twist ending, which I particularly love in any fiction. So far, all the fiction I’ve written includes surprise endings. I hope I can continue that signature.

Some of McMenamy’s comments about The GyPSy Line:

“I loved GyPSy from the moment I picked it up. I fell in love with Lucy and her not knowing why she was jumping up and down (still makes me laugh) and her screeching. I love the treatment and the motivation of the characters so desperate to score a GyPSy. I was in that line with my take-away coffee and my frozen toes. It brought me right back to the States, to winter and skiing and the smell of snow in the air. Your writing style is unique and the ending (happily) surprised me which made it even better. It’s simply a magical and quirky story.

“My father plucked Labello (loosely from the Latin) from somewhere (Labella means ‘the beautiful’ and there is no actual translation for Labello) and decided that this should be our alternative name … I guess you could say it was our bond. He believed that to be a ‘Labello’ was to have integrity and to be a person who is true to themselves no matter what anyone around them thinks. He was a bit of a philosopher in his own way. And yes, he sure did love his baseball.”

As you will note, there is no excerpt from The GyPSy Line on my site — part of my agreement with Labello for one year. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to buy a copy of Gem Street to read all of the authors’ stories of delusion, whimsy, anguish, fear, horror and … well, I could go on with at least eleven different descriptions because that’s how different they are.

The Labello link will take you to more information, McMenamy’s back story, and how to purchase Gem Street. Hopefully, it will soon be available online at Amazon, at least. For now, my site is the only place you can buy the book in the States. Of course, I’d like to see it in Tattered Cover, Barnes & Noble and other independent stores. I’ll keep you updated here.