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Showing posts from 2013

What Christmas Means to Us

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Neither of us spend Christmas with our family, spending it instead with each other and the ad hoc, unlikely family we have assembled here in Philadelphia—good friend and dog walking buddy, Shirley; Daniel who is a pain in the ass but who I have known since God first coughed the universe into existence; Lloyd and Sandy who used to live across the driveway.They are the core group. The rest is an ever changing mix of new friends and acquaintances. This year we had a colleague from work and her son. When they arrived, I hugged Wendy and shook 5 year old Levi’s hand. “Merry Christmas,” I said.
“We don’t celebrate Christmas,” Levi responded.
His response made me think about Christmas. We’re not particularly religious so for us it is not so much about the birth of Christ. It’s not really about what’s under the tree, either. It’s more about what’s in our hearts. And who’s around our table. It’s about being grateful for what we have and have accomplished.

Our Christmas tree tells our life story…

Lost & Found

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We were out on our before-bed pee walk. As usual, Stanley was trailing a half block behind Toby and me. I hate the dark and the cold so Toby and I were moving at a brisk pace.  So, I was surprised when Stanley suddenly appeared at my shoulder. “Hey,” he said, “There’s someone sitting on the curb back there crying.”

I turned to look back at the corner, could make out a huddled black form and on the still chilly air, I could hear sobbing. Toby was pulling at his leash so we walked on, turning to look back every few feet, the sound of crying falling around us like rain. Finally I stopped and asked, “Do you think we should go back and check on them?”
“Yes. There are two of us,” he said, “So it should be okay.” I knew what he was thinking. We live in the city; you have to be cautious. We turned around. As we approached, I took off my hood so as to appear less threatening. We called out, “Hey, are you okay?" Wrong question because there’s generally one answer, “Yes, I’m fine.” The person,…

The Sissy Triumphant

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My brother outed me to our 88 year old aunt. I was stunned, shocked. I’d never told her even though we are fairly close and talk at least once a week. Still, with uncharacteristic restraint and reticence I never told her. We just didn’t discuss that aspect of my life. It’s not that I was ashamed. I was just unsure. Maybe it wasn’t really true. Why agitate everyone and then say, “Oh never mind, I made a mistake?”

Now at the other end of the phone my aunt was saying she knew. Michael had told her. She didn’t ask why I hadn’t told her myself. Or why my parents had never mentioned it.
“I’m so proud of you,” she said. “You wrote a book!” “Actually,” I said finding my courage at last, “I’ve written three.” We talked awhile longer about other things then hung up.She called a few days later to tell me how proud of me she was and she mentioned she’d like to read “Unbroken.”It wasn’t until she called again and asked where she could buy the book that I took her comment seriously. To date no one in m…

Bourbon and Tears

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On Saturday we had to put our 14 year old Lhasa to sleep. It was a hard decision to make but it was the right decision. She was deaf. She was arthritic. She suffered from stage C mitral valve insufficiency with controlled congestive heart failure.. She was on Lasix, Vetmedin and Viagra for her heart; Proin for incontinence; Rimadyl for her arthritis. 10 pills a day in all. I understood—her heart was enlarged, she was losing weight, her kidneys, from the combined effects of heart disease and many meds, were dying. She was failing. My head understood this but my heart, breaking, did not. The heart wants what the heart wants and there in her vet’s office, my heart was tumbling over in my chest in a fit of want. I wanted Coco to stay, even as I knew she could not. I remembered sitting in the yard earlier in the day holding her and looking up at the sky which was cloudless and very blue and wondering: if I just sit here and hold her and refuse to move, will time stand still? I’m a writer. Peo…

Houston, We Have a...Cover

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Here at last is the cover for Unbroken, my September release from Beaten Track Publishing.After a few versions and much discussion we think this really captures the spirit of the book. I love it. What about you? Leave a comment telling me what you think, and you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing to win one of three copies of Unbroken (either eBook or autographed paperback, your choice). Thedrawing will be open now through Sunday at Midnight.Winners will be announced next Tuesday, August 26.
Unbroken My parents, unable to change me, had instead, silenced me. When they’d stilled my hands, they’d taken my words, made me lower my voice to a whisper. Later I remained silent in defense, refusing to acknowledge the hateful words: Brainiac. Sissy. Antiman. Faggot.
Lincoln de Chabert’s life is pretty unremarkable until he comes home from kindergarten and announces he will marry his best friend, Orlando, when he grows up.His parents spring into immediate action, determined to fix him, igni…

Unbroken: The Courage to Write, The Courage to Remember

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My newest book, Unbroken will be released on the last day of summer, September 20, 2013.I am excited. I am terrified. I am excited to share a story of one courageous boy and the boy he loved.

And I am terrified.I am terrified the book is terrible. I am terrified the book is brilliant.I am terrified that no one will read it. And also that everyone will read it and…see…me.Unbroken is my most personal work to date. In the story, which is fictional, as well as in life, the line between the real and the imagined often blurs. I am terrified the boy I fell in love with at twelve, a man now, will read it and know finally that I loved him at twelve, that, at twelve, I dreamed of a life with him.

That said I am happy I wrote Unbroken and I owe a big thank you to All Things Queer in South Africa (@AllThingsQueer.co.za) who, in June 2012, posed a question on Twitter: “How old were you when you first realised you're gay/lesbian/bi/trans/queer?”

Reading their tweet, I quickly thought back to “the…

#RoyalBaby

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I’m a Libra.I try for balance in all areas of my life. But I’m a Libra—the scales often tip more one way than another. Anyone who knows me knows that I sometimes become obsessed by random things.This week it appears it was the birth of the #RoyalBaby. To me, no matter what they name him, he will always be #RoyalBaby.This is, after all, the age of Twitter.From the moment I booted up my computer and saw the MSN breaking news was Kate was in labor, I was hooked. My first tweet of the day read: Dear Boss: I can't come in today. Kate's in labor. She needs me. ‪#‎RoyalBaby Of course I went to work. I may be obsessive but I also have a mortgage to pay. Still, like a cat, I was fascinated by all the bright shiny things that comprised news of the #RoyalBaby’s imminent arrival. Like a cat after a ball of string, all day, I chased news across Twitter and CNN. One cranky friend, apparently tired of my breathless Facebook updates wrote, “Dear God. Don't tell me you care about this tripe?”B…

Words, You See, Are the Thing

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I am reading George Durrells’, "My Family and other Animals.” His writing, his words, causes my breath to catch in my throat, my pulse to quicken. You see, for me, words are the thing.  I love words― words strung together to not only tell a story but to paint a picture, words that are beautiful in and of themselves:

“The Turk, when he arrived turned out to be a tall, young man , with meticulously waved hair and a flashy smile that managed to convey the minimum of humour with the maximum of condescension.He had all the smug self-possession of a cat in season.”

“…and then Margo, trailing yards of muslin and scent. Mother looking like a tiny, harassed missionary in an uprising…”

Thus, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to quotes from some of my favorite books by some of my favorite authors.

Erastes, author of gay historical fiction, writes prose that is clean and spare yet full of depth as with:

“Warmth generated between them everywhere they touched, skin and cloth…a center of heat betwe…

On Mondays, Dentists and Cleavage Before Lunch

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Generally I don’t mind Mondays. On Mondays I am rested, hopeful. By Wednesday, hope has died and I am left to drag its corpse behind me until Friday when, exhausted, I drop it and fall into the bottomless sleep of the failed, mourning another week passed during which I achieved neither “Powerball winner” nor “New York Times Bestseller” status. As I’ve said, I’m usually good with Mondays. This Monday was different though; I had a dentist appointment. Going to the dentist is among my dislikes, along with being wet, wet food (think soup) and men who wear shoes without socks. As I was about to walk out the door, I remembered the receptionist had asked me to bring my plan ID card with me.Now my plan administrator, claiming to be green, but really just cheap, doesn’t provide ID cards but you can print one online.I climbed to my office on the third floor and booted up my computer.I had to register online to actually print an ID card. The registration site asked for “Member ID.” I was stumped. …

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I am migrating my blog from Goodreads to here.  I'll be posting soon. In the meantime, you can read my most recent blog posts by following the links below:

In Praise of Editors Part 1--It seems like I’ve been reading a lot of posts about editors and the editing process lately. Having just wrapped up edits on my new book, Unbroken, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the editorial process and share some of my more memorable exchanges with my editors. To date I’ve worked with three, make of that what you will...
Read In Praise of Editors Part 1 nowRead in Praise of Editors Part 2 now
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