Monday, April 20, 2015

Warning! Gays Ahead!

Dark Light is an urban sci-fi thriller. It's not LGBT fiction.  It does, however, have a protagonist who is gay. That, apparently, is cause for flashing red lights.

The book got a nice 4-star review on both Amazon and Goodreads. Goodreads chose to hide the review behind a click saying the review contained spoilers. I expected to read dead give-aways, but no. The spoiler they hid was, well, read it below.

"This book was intriguing... It was kind of a cross between over zealous holy men attempting to take over the town in an invasion of the body snatchers sort of way...
Carter (main character) comes home to help his ill father and help his sister run the family business. He is met by strange occurrences and unexplained accidents/deaths with some of the town residents.
The ghost of the previous owner of the house he's renting helps to guide him and his family on the right path to save themselves, the town and possibly the world.
**Just a note for prospective readers-Carter is gay, there are no overt sex scenes-but it is implied. (Emphasis mine.)
Overall a good book that keeps you intrigued until the end!"

And there you have it. Carter is gay. And, by the way, so is his partner, Robert. I get it. I guess. Or maybe not. How disturbing to get a few chapters into a book, be caught up in it, enjoying it, only to realize that guy you were liking is, gasp, gay! Quelle horreur!

But guess what. That was my intent. A not-purely-gay novel, mainstream even, where a gay person would be simply the protagonist, as if, uhm, it were, like, normal.

So, let's lay cards out, face up, with an excerpt. Carter comes home to find Robert has finally arrived:

Robert walked in and stopped, looked at the foyer, window, living room, and back at Carter standing against the opened door. "Nice house," he said, took Carter's head in his hands and pushed him against the door, fingers buried in his hair. Robert tilted Carter's head, moved close enough to mingle warm breaths, and their mouths and bodies pressed together.

Carter let himself go. For one moment, he didn't have to hold the world together. Like the first time Robert kissed him, the knee-buckling feeling overtook him, and Carter hooked his arms around Robert's shoulders to keep from sliding down the door.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Beauty of Damaged Things

How often we toss away broken, cracked treasures.

I inherited from my grandfather, brought home from his years as a missionary in Korea, a Korean celadon bowl. It had been cracked and chipped, but thought beautiful enough to have been mended. 

With gold.

I don't know its history. But in the veins of gold, I see the value someone placed on this lovely bowl with its clouds and cranes.

What a more beautiful world if we placed such value on damaged beautiful things. And people.

Ourselves, to start.

And everyone else. No one isn't cracked, chipped, injured, broken.

Instead of tossing, why not do what we can, if only with a smile, to mend them with gold. A smile, a hello, a nod of recognition, can be gold.

Let's don't toss away, pass by the damaged. We have gold to give.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pre-Opening Jitters

Curtain up! Light the lights!

You'd think, having performed on stage many times, one would get over those jitters, but no. Ask any actor or musician. I'm a bundle of nerves. I could pull a Madonna. The sound of the big thud.

If there's anything I have a hard time with, it's self-promotion.

That said, here's a longer blurb about the show about to open next Saturday:


A frantic phone call from his sister brings Hollywood actor Carter Collins home to Avebury, Ohio. Their father's had a stroke. Or was it? The quiet riverside town is falling under the sway of a new evangelist and his dark form of salvation. No one will stand in his way. Carter's father tried, and now Carter must step in and lead the resistance.

Avebury protects an ancient mystery, a secret Carter has only days to uncover before malicious forces not of this world take control. He finds allies to fight the invasion, but no one is to be trusted. The cost to secure what the town has guarded will be steep, might demand great sacrifice of those closest to him, but failure could plunge Earth itself into darkness.

As the Reverend's tabernacle nears completion, Carter must accept the unbelievable and the role he was destined for. Friends turn against him. Danger stalks family, friends, his life-partner, all dragged into his nightmare, their lives threatened.  The planet teeters on the edge. Carter holds the keys. Can he pay the price of using them?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Coming in One Week!

Actor Carter Collins returns to quiet Avebury, Ohio to find his father's stroke may not have been a stroke at all. A new evangelist is spreading a dark kind of salvation and silencing those who oppose him. The town holds an ancient secret, a power that nefarious forces not of this world want to control. Now Carter must find his place as leader of the resistance to this invasion. The cost may be steep and demand great sacrifice, but failure could plunge the whole earth into darkness.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Coming Out . . . of Hibernation

It's been another long, cold winter. I'm so ready to come out of hibernation. Today, though it won't, again, get above freezing, I went looking for signs of Spring.

What I found outside my door perfectly showed, to me, the essence of this season. Snow in retreat. Warming earth pushing back the white blanket. Abstract yin and yang. And in the center, emerging leaves of new life, damaged, burned by the cold, promise of blooms that will rise from the wreckage.

When all the snow has gone and Spring has come, with the leafing out of trees and shrubs, I will, no doubt, discover what more damage the bitter cold has wreaked. Last year, I lost limbs from two prized plantings: an azalea and a Japanese maple. Yet the plants survived, and the damage resulted in a reshaping, of new form. In the maple, more open spaces, the killed branches  pruned away, left a more spare and possibly more beautiful tree.

Somehow the damage done enhances the value, the beauty of what remains, of what survives. The golden daffodil that rises above burnt leaves.

If only we could remember, more often than we do: such is our lives. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Are You That Person at the Back of the Room?

That guy at the back of the room, the one at the edge of the party, the one in the bar who only talks to people who approach him? That guy isn't aloof. He isn't unfriendly.

That guy is me. I have been accused of being aloof and standoffish.

Could be you, too. Right? (Guy or gal, this is NOT gender-specific.)

I am shy. Most people don't guess that. I'm pretty much an introvert, although after a drink or three, you might beg to differ.

I don't like rejection (who does?) so I avoid putting myself out there.

At a party, I'll zero in on the person or two I know and hang with them all night. I don't work a room. Never could. I've no doubt missed interesting folk.

So have a set myself up for failure? Actually, no. I don't stay home and entirely avoid the situation.

Approach me, say hello, even toss a slight nod my way, and I'm ready to chat. A smile given gets a smile returned.

Know what?

Many, many people are the same. Just like us. Oh, they look friendly and outgoing in their immediate group. Remember what I said about zeroing in on the ones you know? Comfort zone. So you, we, look at them and think what a clique, bunch of snobs, stuck-up.

Of course, sometimes that is true. We do run the terrible risk of putting ourselves out there, saying hello first, introducing ourselves, whatever, only to find no interest, a down-the-nose glance, and a turn away.

It's happened. I didn't die. Sometimes you win.

My point?

Let me relate it to writing. I'm not convinced my stories or my book are great. Sometimes, not even really good. But I kinda do, and other people have thought so. When it came to the publishing world, the odds kept me from participating with serious intent for most of my younger life. Oh, I wrote. Plenty. Stories. A novel. I queried, some, not a lot. I expected rejection and got it, and it didn't kill me. I got a solid bite from an agent who rejected the manuscript. And a small publisher, when I decided I really didn't care about landing an agent and a deal with one of the Big Five, where I'd no doubt be buried alive, anyway. But I didn't stay home from the party.

Then someone said yes.

Sometimes you go to the bar and nurse a beer and go home alone. Sometimes you nod back when someone nods your way, and you go home with a hottie who may a great one-night toss, or may be a forever real thing.

Don't assume you won't win. Maybe you won't. But maybe you will. Maybe you'll be misunderstood, your reticence taken for arrogance. But maybe you'll connect. Don't be afraid.

One thing is sure. You never will if you don't go out and try. As "they" say, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Oh, and that other person, the one not talking, across the room, at the bar, the party, the one who looks so up-in-the-air? That person may be just like you. Like me. Smile.