By Elena Kaufman
Foreigners, drifters, and eccentrics reach out to strangers in their desire to be witnessed, to be connected, and to find safety in a sea of anonymity
Publication date: Spring 2018Buy
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Love Bites is a collection of thirteen stories set in Europe and North America. They trace foreigners, drifters and eccentrics linked by their need for acknowledgment and belonging. How do these characters survive physically and psychologically on unfamiliar ground whether as tourists, or strangers in new cities or in new situations which jolt them out of the security of the familiar? Recurring themes are of isolation, loss, and a desire for connection when strangers reach out to other strangers for stability.
A mysterious older woman and an alienated foreigner lost on a crowded London street, bond in their search for home. A single woman consults a soothsayer in London about family problems before he lures her into his own conflict. An acting student steps into a dusty music hall past when she auditions for ‘the star-maker’. A former life model and her overgrown son prey on a Canadian tourist in a Parisian garden. Interconnected scenes in Montreal, Paris and Toronto are linked by bizarre accidents and those who witness them. An elementary school boy, fascinated by his elderly neighbor, adopts the Candyman as an absent father. A woman, left by her partner in Paris wakes up with a phantom appendage and wanders Paris as a hermaphrodite. A honeymooning couple, marooned on a remote Hawaiian island, is forced to strip for their survival. An expat escapes into a new life in Paris until her ex-boyfriend reappears, reminding her of the impact of loss. An elderly woman, suffering from dementia is nearly eaten to death by her beloved pets running rampant in her home.
Love Bites reveals a kaleidoscope of human experience wherein the reader is enticed into tales of everyday exiles, witnesses, and saviors. Despite emotional or geographical displacement, the characters in this collection all have one thing in common: their need to find home.
Elena Kaufman has an MA in Dramatic Literature (Toronto) and an MSt in Creative Writing (Oxford). She also studied classical acting in England and has played on stage in Toronto, Paris, and Hamburg. As a Canadian who has made her home in Europe, she is passionate about the idea of cultural identity and belonging. In 2002 she moved from Toronto to Paris and co-founded Paris Playwrights at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore culminating in a 10 minute play festival. Writing dialogue was always of interest and being a part time flâneur in Paris gave her the opportunity to observe strangers and imagine stories. Then in 2005, she and her physicist husband relocated to Hamburg, Germany. Elena was fortunate to find The Rover Rep Theatre where she acted and ran R3 another play-reading series and her play The Furies was produced by The Hamburg Players for a competition in Stockholm. Her short stories are published in: SubTerrain, Bitter Oleander, The Penmen Review, DeComp, Women in Judaism, and Dach Kammerflimmern amongst others. Seven of the stories in Love Bites have been published in literary journals. Monologues appear in Smith and Kraus and Heinemann Press collections, and three of her stage plays were produced at festivals (Winnipeg, Stockholm, Vancouver). Divine Monster a play based on Sarah Bernhardt opened at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver in March. Currently, she is working on a novel, A History of Walking and writes from The Writer’s Room, Hamburg.
Some people swear by their inner child but Juliana has something more unique. It’s lying sideways, resting on her leg; an earthworm, pink and new, with one slit eye staring up at her.
When the phone rang, she was still horizontal on the lumpy sofa. She poked her arm out from under the comforter to prod under a bag of chips, an empty box of cookies, and some glossy French Galas strewn over the floor. Paul’s voice came from three thousand miles away.
“Honey, guess what,” she said, her voice cracked with sleep.
- 16th March 2020 Converting fear into creation
Excuse me for being out of touch but life got in the way...it has a habit of doing that. Due to some hyper-energetic twin toddlers and one philosophical, attention-seeking dog, I've been mostly out of touch except for the occasional one-liners on social media. I won't go on here about the shocking C-word pandemic BUT I will say that we must do our part in the community to stay safe…5th October 2018 When life is stranger than fiction
Hello supporters, readers and writers, family and friends,
I hope you're doing well and adjusting your internal clocks for Fall and the draining daylight from our days. The Scandinavian HYGGE is something to practice in this darker season: the art of getting cosy. Think staying at home on the weekend with candles, a book, a hot drink, fluffy blankets, either alone or with good friends and family…17th July 2018 Dear life, dear Leon, dear Love Bites, dear Leute,
Would you mind moving over to the slower lane? You’re simply going too fast this year.
I’d like to catch up, or even keep up, but am struggling to reach my pit stops on time. And I really do have to pee, like every 5 minutes (too much information?) Who knew the amount of energy it’d take to keep 1.5 year old twins and the dog out of the kitchen, get supper on the table, change diapers…27th March 2018 680 days from launch to takeoff
What's a few numbers? Specifically, a 6, an 8, and an 0. That is how many days it has taken me to get this book from nearly finished to nearly in your hands or on your Kindles or in your Pigeonhole
THE ONLINE LAUNCH IS THIS THURSDAY, yes, in two days and I'm kind of freaking out because, well, it's all so virtual. I haven't…11th March 2018 Cover beauty
If a picture tells a thousand words I would have to write a book of over a million words to express my new cover. Designed by the incomparable Marc Ecob (http://mecob.co.uk/) who incorporates the feel of the stories, the symbolism of many of the objects which show up in the stories, and the right mood for my writing - all in images. Some people are uber talented.
Sorry to tease…12th January 2018 Guten Rutsch
Happy new year – or, as they say here in Germany: Guten Rutsch, which means a ‘good slide’ into the new year.
On new year’s eve I received six texts with the same video of an elephant sliding belly first down a muddy mountain path. So, on that visual metaphor yes, thank you, I will lose weight this year, and yes, good idea, I will have more fun in my life. I’ve just finished the Christmas cookies…14th August 2017 Embracing surprise
You know that thrilling feeling when you see something unexpected - usually visual - and for a tenth of a second you're speechless, breathless, frozen? Your mind hones in on what is in front of you and blocks out all other external input - it's like when you have tunnel vision. Your interest is fully piqued and your concentration is 100% there.
Slowly, you sit back, relax, take…12th July 2017 Sprinting ahead while dragging my feet
What a strange post title that is, dear supporters. Has she gone mad? You ask. Lost her use of language? (or the use of her legs?) She's mixing ideas and images that conflict. Does she actually know what she's doing anymore? Should we go away and pretend we didn't read this? Poor girl.
Hello supporters, ahem,
My alter ego wanted to take over this post but we've decided to share it. You see…25th April 2017 The weight of paper off my shoulders
April 5, 2017
A fortunate day when I handed in my book to one of Unbound's brilliant editors in London. Now it's a waiting game while she does structural edits for a few weeks, sends it back to me, then I get to accept or reject changes before returning it for copy edits. All in all, about a 4 month cycle. My pages will travel.
I'm raising a glass of bubbly to all of you supporters both…25th April 2017 Minor miracles
Today is a good day wherein I am up to 50% pledged - thanks to all of you 82 supporters! I am grateful that you put your trust and bucks into this project. These stories have been percolating for many years and in many places such as Toronto (Humber School, with Joan Barfoot - an extraordinary writer), in Paris (WICE, with Lauren B. Davis, another amazing writer and teacher I admire), and at Oxford…7th March 2017 Revisiting storyland
It’s a strange sensation re-reading older stories and remembering how and why I wrote them. Most are set in specific cities for this collection. Today it’s London for ‘Call Me Bernie’ about a girl who helps a woman with dementia find her way home. Of course they don’t find the physical place but between them they create the feeling of having landed somewhere safe. The story…20th November 2016 Embracing darkness
Hello dear supporters,
It's a rainy Sunday in Hamburg and we're cosied up inside with the fireplace going, guitar music playing and the dog snoring on the floor beside me. In Germany, there is a culture of cosy (Gemütlichkeit) on winterly Sundays...when candles are lit in the windows of people's apartments and there's an official quiet time between 1:00 and 3:00 during which the phone and noisy…6th November 2016 Birthing 3 babies
Sunday is a good day to bring news, when we have time to write and read and digest it. So, I'd like to share some: my crowdfunding campaign has come alongside being pregnant with twins. Although LOVE BITES, which you have so generously supported, is already in the world (the stories are written, some are published, and some still need editing), the twins have not yet arrived. When…25th October 2016 It's the little things that make us fly.
Dear supporters, readers, writers, family and friends,
All of you are superheros or heroines in some way. You spread your good vibes, you do a good deed, you say the right thing at the right time to someone in distress, you send your love online or on the phone or in person. You pledge for (as-of-yet) unpublished books to help an author meet her goals. These little actions are what weaves us…9th October 2016 Crawling up the hill
dog ate my novel
workspace at home
Hello dear supporters,
It's Sunday and the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving. What I'm grateful for: a wonderful family and dear friends, a loving partner, my health, enough money to enable me to eat, a roof over my head, and some creative ideas in my head. I'm also grateful for YOU, for having earned your support and belief in this project…12th September 2016 "Ideas are like rabbits"
Today is a hot and bright Monday when Fall should be creeping in but instead Summer is stretching her wings over us. Today, I'm thinking about late bloomers, slow starters, about the seasons coming when they please, and about my own slow process of writing, editing, trusting my stories, myself, and the surroundings which I thought were one thing - Fall, but in fact are another - Summer.
Why am…25th August 2016 108 stairs
Hello dear LOVE BITES supporters,
We're in Berlin this week and staying in a comedy writer's apartment. Yep. If that doesn't give me incentive I don't know what could. The only challenge is that getting up to this light-flooded apartment at the top of an elevator-less building in Kreuzburg is hard work.
It's 108 stairs up. Another 108 stairs down.
Forget your groceries downstairs? Or the…15th July 2016 Why I'm not selling my book from the back of my car
Although Unbound calls their process ‘crowdfunding’ it is not a new concept but goes back to the seventeenth century when it was named 'subscription publishing'. Recently, I found an interesting article on this from the University of Pennsylvania.
“As a way of acknowledging subscribers, authors included printed lists of subscribers in the work, often at the beginning, in place of or in addition…21st June 2016 Curiosity
“The constant happiness is curiosity.” Alice Munro
One of my favourite short story writers knew what she was talking about. Curiosity keeps us engaged in life on a moment-to-moment basis.
When I walk my dog in the park it's a delight for both of us. Every tree he sniffs, every unknown sound or smell he experiences makes him stop and observe. This makes me observe too. What does he see in the…3rd June 2016 A deep gut experience
First of all: YAY, HOORAY, YIPPEE, (Leon and I are doing a happy dance). You are the people who are making this book happen so thank you. It's been 2 weeks since LOVE BITES went live and it's 19% funded. While trying not to obsess about the rising digits - a worse obsession than checking Facebook or Twitter - I have been thinking a lot about my characters.
The thing about writing…18th May 2016 Eye candy18th May 2016 Launching Love Bites
It's one of those days when excitement overrides nerves. Xander has officially launched my collection - thankyouverymuch! These stories have had a long life, some having travelled on my laptop from Paris to Hamburg where I now live. It's much easier (for me, at least) to write about places after I've left them. Stories about Hamburg may never come or I'll have to find a way to write…
These people are helping to fund Love Bites.
An anonymous donor