Independently published in a (very) limited print run in mid-1993, my first collection of short fiction, Secret Things, quickly sold out. In 1994, Immediate Press released a second edition of the book across Canada and the United States and, with the help of Alamo Square Distributors, the second print run also sold out.
The stories deal with survival issues; how various types of child abuse and/or neglect impact upon people in various stages of their lives. Some of the stories were autobiographic, some fiction, and some a combination of both (which I like to call “faction”).
To this day I’m not exactly sure why the subject matter of the stories is so dark. (Perhaps I was influenced by David Feinberg’s Eighty-Sixed, a book that I found extremely unpleasant at the time.) Regardless, within three months the first draft of Secret Things was finished. In another three months a more polished draft of the manuscript was finished and passed around to friends. Nobody commented on the downer aspect. (That would come later.) There are, of course, some lighter, humourous pieces in the book to balance things out.
The book went out of print several years after its release. I’ve thought a number of times of releasing an e-book version but could never get the timing right. Now, however, since I have started writing again, I thought it would be prudent to prepare an expanded edition for e-book to celebrate the passing of twenty years since its first release. The e-book was published July 28, 2014 and is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and most other major retailers. (Scroll down for a complete list of online retailers.)
Secret Things was originally comprised of twelve stories. The expanded version has twenty-one, not quite doubling the length, but definitely making it a heftier read. I worked with an Associate Editor to complete the expanded edition and am really pleased with this new edition.
“Gripping, heartbreaking, and often surprising tales of love, death, abuse, alienation, desire, and regret. Definitely recommended for LGBT people as well as allies, these stories will grab your attention and not let go. Excellent writing and each character, whether autobiographical or a blend of fact and fiction (faction, as the author calls it) is carefully crafted and packs an emotional punch, no matter how briefly he or she appears in the book.”
—Linda Fausnet (Queen Henry)
“A bold debut. Childhood wounds, wild imagination, a wry and wicked sense of humour, wistfully combined. A wonderful read.”
—James Johnstone (Queer View Mirror 1 & 2, Quickies)
“Hysterical and bittersweet… Thomson has an extremely engaging, almost inexorable writing style. These stories are unified by his precise and concise speech and images. He has a knack for hooking his reader into the text almost immediately. Mr Thomson’s energetic writing style and succinct format combine to create wonderful glimpses into the personal peccadilloes of anyone’s life, gay or otherwise.”
—Craig J. Simmons (XTRA West)
“Robert Thomson’s stories are honest and bold, sometimes hilarious, and always gripping accounts of what it means to be a boy and a man. I read Secret Things in one enthralled sitting.”
—Lucy Jane Bledsoe (Sweat: Stories and a Novella)
“Secret Things is an outrageously delicious read… It has a thematic richness and a keen sense of life’s absurdities… The stories are well painted, yet they’re fanciful and free of stereotyped images. It’s a vivid read.”
—Gwen Costa (Ashley Publishing)
“[Thomson] writes fearlessly and honestly, from the heart, possessing a razor sharp wit and an alchemist’s flair for transforming desperation into laugher. His prose is emotionally charged.”
—Laurie Pearson (Sullivan Entertainment)
“A welcome respite from what I call Bi-coastal elitism in the incestuous literati circles of New York, Faabulous P-Town, and LA. Bravo, Robert. Your work is at times lyric, funny, cathartic, and always honest.”
—Doug Motz (An Open Book)
Secret Things is available at the following online retailers:
SECRET THiNGS by Robert Thomson
Published by HowNow Media