Posts

Showing posts from 2014

2014: What a Year it Was!

Image
“…These empty white pages before me, which I feel compelled to fill with the black indelible ink of memory…I must write it all down—quickly, before it leaves me…”

Thomas-Edward Lawrence What Binds Us
As 2014 draws to a close, I thought I’d look back over a year that was—for lack of a better work—brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. But before I go on, don’t take that to mean that it was a perfect year—it wasn’t; it brought with it, fears and disappointments and challenges. In retrospect, I like to think I met each of them with grace and a determination to overcome. But I like to learn from the bad stuff, not dwell on it so this post is about the good stuff, the stuff of which I’m most proud and for which I’m most grateful.

In March, the Lambda Literary Foundation announced its 2014 Lambda Literary Awards (“Lammys”) finalists. My semi-autobiographical third book, the gay coming of age romance, Unbroken made the cut: I was a finalist. I couldn’t believe it. I reread the press release and cross …

Oh Christmas Tree: The Holiday Tree as Storyteller

Image
Our Christmas tree isn’t just a Christmas decoration—it is a visual history. It tells a story, the story of me, the story of us, the story of our family. The idea of Christmas tree as visual history it predates Stanley. My story began before him but, often, I think his story began with me.

I hang simple papier mâché ornaments from IKEA which I bought back when I was starting out and money was tight. While moving forward is important, I keep them and hang them each year to remind myself of where I came from, of how far I have come. There is an ornament an ex-boyfriend bought at a thrift store our first Christmas together. It had been his first real Christmas. I keep it to remind me of the joy that first Christmas, of how much we had loved each other, of how hurt I was when things fell apart but mostly to remind myself that I survived, moved on; I keep it to remind myself that broken hearts mend. There’s an ornament from Channing’s, my first dog’s Christmas. Each year, I bought an ornamen…

My New Story is Now Available

Image
My new short story, “The Christmas Present,” is now available as an individual eBook for just $0.99. All proceeds from the sale of this story go to benefit The Trevor Project.

“The Christmas Present” is part of a holiday anthology which brings together 24 authors from the UK, the USA, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. When my publisher and friend, Debbie McGowan, first approached me about joining the project, I knew I wanted mine to be a story of hope, because so many of our youth, so many of the youth The Trevor Project works to support, feel they are without hope. And I knew it would be set at Christmas, the season of hope. When I was a kid, hope was what got me through. But for me the season of hope was always in September. At the start of each new school year, I would be filled with hope: the hope that the bullying would stop, the hope that this year I would make a friend, the hope that this year the boy I liked would like me back. I remember during the last presidential campaign, one …

Scenes From a Thanksgiving

Image
It’s Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgiving! Now, I know Thanksgiving can be difficult for a lot of people especially if you’re LGBT. If Great Aunt Gertie doesn’t want to hear about your “lifestyle,” fuck her. After all, you -didn’t want to hear about her bunion surgery or her 1947 hysterectomy that caused her to lose all her hair, but you listen with your rictus smile and glazed over yes nodding politely. Mon doesn’t want your boyfriend at her Thanksgiving table well stay home. Make your own turkey for you and him—it’s not that hard. And while you’re at it why not invite the intern from work who can’t afford to go home for Thanksgiving. And the older divorced woman down the hall who is so pleasant.

Thanksgiving is about family but it doesn’t have to be the family you were born into or which you married into. Family is composed of the people it is not painful to be around. Family is made up of the people who support you. Who love you enough to let you be you.
I’m off to brine my turkey but be…

In Defense of the Short Story

Image
Years ago, we moved to the ‘transitional” neighborhood of Germantown (in Philadelphia), then said to be on the verge of a comeback. There was much talk about The Germantown Renaissance which was talked about breathlessly and in the tone of reverence usually reserved for people who “know” computers and pop stars who appear in bikinis two weeks after giving birth. Sixteen years later there is still talk of The Germantown Renaissance. This reminds me of all the news that short stories were poised for a comeback, its return to popularity fueled, in part, by shrinking attention spans and the proliferation of electronic devices.I am as dubious about the Short Story Renaissance as I am about The Germantown Renaissance.

Short stories seem to be the stepchild of literature.Publishers don’t seem to want to publish them. When I started shopping around my first collection of short stories, I was told that no one would publish a collection of short stories, unless I’d first written a novel length w…

Andrew Q Gordon & I Go Outside the Margins.

Image
Fellow writer Andrew Q. Gordon and I had a video chat the other day, as part of Prism Book Alliance’s “Outside the Margins” series. We talk about everything from writing to marriage to diversity in LGBT fiction to his thoughts on my writing a sequel to What Binds Us, to my next release. 

So if you'd like to see us “unplugged,” pull
up a chair, pour a cup of coffee and watch. Feel free to leave a comment on Prism’s page. One random commenter will win a $25 gift certificate.
A Chat with Larry Benjamin ~ Andrew Q Gordon: Outside the Margins Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.


How/Why I Became a Writer in the LGBT Genre

Image
Today, I’m over at Rainbow Gold Reviews talking about the state of LGBT fiction, why I write what I do, whether or not my fictional characters are based on real people, and what’s next. Check it out here.  Then check out Marc’s response to my thoughts on m/m romance vs. gay fiction here. Then join the conversation and tell us what you think.

Kenneth Larsen writes...: Scenes in the making

I loved this post so much, I asked Ken if I could share it.



Kenneth Larsen writes...: Scenes in the making: Weddings are wonderful events, but much like the arrival of a new baby, nobody wants to hear about it every day. I like to think I’ve done a...

"The Christmas Present" Cover Reveal

Image
Probably not many people know this but short stories were my first love. I cut my teeth, so to speak, on short stories. My second book, Damaged Angels, a collection of short stories, was actually the first book I wrote. But I was told more than once that I needed to publish a novel before I could publish short stories. At any rate, this year I’m returning to short stories—at least for a while. Writing novels is great because you have a longer time frame—What Binds Us spans a decade and Unbroken unfolds over 40 years—so you have time to develop your characters, to let readers watch them change and grow.But I wanted to go back to short form fiction which has a much smaller time period. 

My newest story is the holiday themed, “The Christmas Present,” which is one of 24 stories from the Beaten Track Publishing’s holiday anthology, Boughs of Evergreen. The story spans about two weeks in the life of a gay teenage who is neglected, marginalized, without hope until circumstances beyond his con…

Catching Up With...Andrew Q. Gordon

Image
This week, I'm very excited to turn my blog over to my friend and fellow writer, Andrew Q. Gordon, whose book, Purpose, I absolutely loved. I can't wait to read the new one.  Andrew's new book, A Closed Door, is set to release today (October 8) by Wayward Publishing.

Blurb


Outted at thirteen, Orin Merritt left home after high school hoping to escape the hell his life had become. Ten years later when a tornado destroys his childhood home and kills his parents, Orin finds himself in an entirely new nightmare. One he can't run away from. Blaming himself for failing the two people who always loved and supported him, he returns home and confronts his past in the person of his one-time best friend, Thomas Kennett.  Thomas not only rejected him when Orin came out, he led the group that tormented Orin into leaving.   As he struggles to deal with his grief, Orin also labors to fulfill the pledge he made to his parents before their death.  In the process, Orin learns that sometimes …

Is An Open Heart the Route to Happiness?

Image
We lost our beloved Lhasa Apso, Coco, last September. She’d had a heart condition, so her loss wasn’t entirely unexpected but it was devastating nonetheless. Her slow decline was heartbreaking and painful to watch. After taking a cue from her and consulting with her primary vet and her cardiologist we decided it was time to let her go. My husband met us at the vet at the appointed hour. I remember him sitting on the bench in the exam room crying as I held her. “I thought I was ready,” he said between sobs, “But I’m not. I’m not.”
My heart broke for all of us: for Coco, for him, for myself. She’d been a great dog, stubborn and regal and difficult, but utterly herself and a fighter to the end.
We still had Toby, our silky terrier. He seemed fine, we assured ourselves. He enjoys being an only dog finally and getting our undivided attention, we said. We weren’t ready for another dog, couldn’t face the devastation that would come with another loss. We’d lost two dogs already and I was afrai…