Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday: OUT ON THE NET

Every Thursday, I plan on using this blog to highlight a title from my list of books already out there that you might have missed. This week, I'm throwing back to my very funny coming out story--told in blog form, OUT ON THE NET. Indie Reviews said of OUT ON THE NET:

"...a laugh out loud romantic comedy that is interspersed with touching moments and tells the story of a man who decides to open the door of his closet and step out of it on his wedding day..."

Ray Tolliver has bad timing. Cold feet? It doesn't get much worse than accepting you're gay twenty minutes before your wedding to a woman, yet that's just what happens.
Join Ray as he recounts in his blog the hilarious and touching events that lead him on a journey toward true love. Although he originally starts looking for love in all the wrong places, will he eventually find another man who wants more than just quick sex? A man who appreciates romance, hearts, and flowers? Or will he find that self-acceptance and bliss do not always go hand-in-hand?

And what of Alice, Ray's lovely, jilted fiancée? Will she find it in her heart to forgive the man who left her at the altar?

These questions and more are answered in this unique love story, told in the form of blog entries. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but you'll come away with a renewed appreciation for the power and difficulties of loving not only others, but yourself...

Amber Quill Press

...I get the same question all the time—when did you know when you were gay? Aside from the obvious sarcastic response to such a query—“When did you know you were straight?” And aside from the obvious further probing of the asker—“Well, what do you mean? When did I know? Or when did I accept it?” 

Fine hairs. 

I knew, accepted, whatever…that I was gay when I was standing in the little room just off the altar at St. Alfonso Catholic Church in Summitville, PA at approximately 12:30 P.M. on a hot and humid July afternoon. I was wearing a white tuxedo jacket, white shirt, black tie and cummerbund, and black tuxedo slacks. My black patent leather shoes were buffed to a high gloss. My dark brown hair had just been cut and not a single strand was out of place. I could hear the soft talking and laughter of those who had assembled in the church as they waited for the proceedings to begin. A string quartet played Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” so gorgeously it brought tears to my eyes. 

I was thirty years old and about to be married for the first time. 

To a woman. 

The ceremony was due to begin in twenty minutes. 

That’s the moment I realized, accepted, knew for sure, that I was gay. I’d like to say it came to me in a flashing moment of clarity, like some blinding white light. Or that I fainted straight away, hitting the marble floor with a thud. Or that a chorus of angels came down from on high to reveal to me this alarming news in celestial tones. 

But all I did was say softly to myself, “Oh shit. I can’t do this. I’m gay.” 

My best man, Doug Taylor, primped in the mirror. He had no reason to primp. His reddish blond hair, freckles, and blue eyes were already the lustful design of every female in the wedding party. His body, buff, tight, and ripped, filled out his tux better than I could ever hope to fill out my own. 

Doug helped me realize the truth because at that moment—as God, literally, as my witness—I discovered I’d rather be marrying Doug than my bride, Alice, who was, I’m certain, waiting anxiously with her father at the rear of the church. Poor Alice’s anxiety was nothing compared to what it could have been had she known what was going through her groom’s head at this very moment. 

Doug turned to me. “Did you say something?” He smiled and I have to tell you, Doug has one of those smiles that light up a room. I also have to tell you that it wasn’t quite true what I said about Doug—I really didn’t want to marry him, but I would prefer that the wedding night be spent in his arms. 

Should I make Doug—my old college roommate at Ohio State University and beer-drinking buddy—the first recipient of my revelation? 

I didn’t think about it. I knew that, in moments, the anxiety would rise up, the adrenalin would kick in and I would be a mess—a trembling, heart-palpitating, sweating buckets mess. In moments, thoughts like how I was about to hurt Alice, disappoint my parents, stun the wedding guests, and perhaps ruin my life as I knew it would be taking turns tormenting my mind. 

But, as I said, I didn’t think about it. Instead, my mouth worked independently of my brain as I said to Doug, “Yeah. Yes, I said something.” I cleared my throat, and looked around the cramped little room, at how the sun’s beams shone in through the stained glass window of Jesus opening His robe to reveal His heart. 

I shrugged, and like a lemming poised at a cliff with a thousand of my lemming buddies waiting impatiently behind me, I jumped. “I said I can’t go through with this...”

Amber Quill Press

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Good Karma, Good Books--Spreading the Love SPOKES by PD SInger

Every Wednesday, I put on my pimp clothes (you should see me!) and help promote the new or old work of some of my favorite fellow authors. Be sure to stop by every week and see what’s new. This week, I’m all about SPOKES by PD Singer.

Here’s what PD Singer has to say about SPOKES:

My husband is a distance cyclist: his road bike has pride of place in our dining room over the winter because temperature fluctuations in the garage aren’t good for it. He eats, drinks, and breathes bicycle racing too, so I get to watch the Tour de France coverage in its entirety, and often with more than one repeat in the day. I haven’t dared tell him about streaming coverage of the entire racing season on the internet, because then I’d never see him. Sooner or later, I had to write a book about cycling. Besides, who can resist fit guys in Lycra?

Speed is important, and so is stamina, but strategy is the third leg of the winning tripod. That’s what I wanted to focus on, not only as part of the race, but as part of Luca’s life. Christopher’s understanding, or lack thereof, of the challenges Luca faces drives the book. Christopher’s a neophyte in the strategies Luca’s using to plan his future, and their mismatch of expectations kept me with them on and off the bike.  The climactic race in Spokes is not the Tour, but the Giro d’Italia, an equally import stage race, if less well known in the US, and no, I won’t tell you if Luca wins. The Giro is frequently run over some atrocious-by-any-standards roads, unlike the Tour, where the asphalt generally slants in only one direction.

As I write this, we don’t know who will win the Tour. Alberto Contador won the 2015 Giro and (at this moment, possibly not when you read this) is in contention for the Tour, which is a marvel of conditioning. Luca would be a contender, and Christopher yearns to write up the results for CycloWorld. To let you share the cycling love, Spokes is on sale for 99 cents through August 2. Enjoy the ride.

Pro cyclist Luca Biondi lives for the race. For the star of Team Antano-Clark, victory lies within his grasp—if he can outdistance 200 other hopefuls, avoid suspicion from race officials, and keep his lieutenant more friend than foe. Luca also has secrets, and eyes for amateur cyclist and journalist Christopher Nye.

Christopher understands Luca’s need to keep their relationship under wraps, but chafes at hiding in the shadows of his lover’s career. He’s ready to cheer Luca’s victories, but he knows too well how triumph can turn to tears. While Christopher’s heart sees Luca the man, his inner journalist—and his editor—sees the cycling world’s biggest scoop.

From the jagged curves of the Colorado Rockies to the viciously steep Belgian hills, Luca can ride out any bumps—except rumors.

A few words in the wrong ear could crash everything. With miles between them, hints of scandal, and Luca’s fierce need to guard his reputation, a journalist might have to let go of the biggest story of his career or risk forcing his lover to abandon the race. Christopher and Luca face a path more treacherous than any road to the summit in the Italian Alps.

Rocky Ridge Books
Barnes & Noble
All Romance

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Wizard of Oz and Coming Out in a General Way

My senior year of high school, back in East Liverpool, Ohio, my school put on The Wizard of Oz as the spring musical. It was a kitschy mix of the original with some songs from The Wiz thrown in to make--the director, a gay man, hoped--hip.

Since I have always loved The Wizard of Oz (clue #1 that I might have been gay), I had to audition. For the singing part of my audition, I sang "Sentimental Journey", an odd choice for a small town high school boy (clue #2).

For my stellar singing talents, I was cast in the farmer's chorus (swaying in the background as Dorothy sang "Over the Rainbow"); as a ghost in the witch's castle (I got to come through the audience in a sheet, dancing); and as one of the witch's generals.

This last part is what caused me to have a revelation. There were fifteen of us generals and we all said the same line to the single private in the witch's army. If we wanted to stand out, we had to do something to differentiate ourselves. I chose to do a nasal voice (thinking that's all it was). When my fellow cast members heard the voice, they cracked up. It took me a while to realize what they found so hilarious was that they thought I was doing a gay general.

Oh, a gay general? Sure, that was what I had in mind.

Not really.

But now I wonder if it was the subconscious, closeted gay boy yearning to be recognized for who he was coming out. Even though I hadn't intended to be a gay general, I went with it and added a lace hanky to my sleeve and a sashay to my march that was so effeminate it would make Paul Lynde look butch. It was probably a horrible gay Uncle Tom moment, offensive, but I plead ignorance--on a lot of counts.

The audience loved it; they roared.

Now I can look back at that thespian moment in my life and see it for what it was--an unconscious moment of coming out, a moment where I was recognized for who I really was, recognized and laughed at, yes, but appreciated all the same. And remembered. And, in an odd way, accepted--because I was entertaining. Bringing what I so loathed about myself and was desperate to keep hidden to the forefront was, now that I look back, revealing myself.

And the best part was, I was not hurt for it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Life Advice from Ted Baxter

As I start this new day, I'm thinking about Mary Tyler Moore and Ted Baxter...and the profound advice he gives in the following exchange:

Mary: "it's not my furniture that needs rearranging, it's my life is do i change that?"

Ted: "You want to know how to change your life, Mary? I'll tell you how to change your life. I've known you for six years now, I know exactly what's wrong with your life...[each of the following said in a more depressed tone] you wake up, you eat breakfast, you drive to work, you say hello to your friends, you work at your job, you go to lunch, you work some more, you say goodbye to your friends, you drive home, you have dinner, you sit down, you watch television, you read a magazine, you go to sleep. Am i right?"

Mary nods in agreement, head bowed.

Ted [getting up]: "You want to change your life completely, this is what you've gotta do starting tomorrow...[each of the following said in a more upbeat tone] you eat breakfast! [eating motions], you drive to work! [steering wheel motions], you say hello to your friends!, you work at your job!, you go to lunch!, you work some more!, you say goodbye to your friends!, you drive home!, you have dinner!, you sit down!, you watch television!, you read a magazine!, [dramatic finish] and you!!! [applause]

Mary: "Ted, that was wonderful! was profound! And you're absolutely right, it's not what you do, it's how you do it!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

COVER REVEAL: A DEMON INSIDE (Now Available for Pre-Order!)

I'm so thrilled to reveal the cover for my upcoming romance/horror novel, A Demon Inside, from DSP Publications. The cover, I think you'll agree is amazing: the super-talented Aaron Anderson designed it and I bow down to his artistic sensibilities (and thank my lucky stars he's in my corner!).

The book, an alternately hot and chilling blend of love story and nightmare, will officially release on August 25, but you can pre-order it now at DSP Publications.


BONUS: When you pre-order the paperback, you can get the ebook (in all available formats) for FREE!


Hunter Beaumont doesn’t understand his grandmother’s deathbed wish: “Destroy Beaumont House.” He’s never even heard of the place. But after his grandmother passes and his first love betrays him, the family house in the Wisconsin woods looks like a tempting refuge. Going against his grandmother’s wishes, Hunter flees to Beaumont House.

But will the house be the sanctuary he had hoped for? Soon after moving in, Hunter realizes he may not be alone. And with whom—or what—he shares the house may plunge him into a nightmare from which he may never escape. Sparks fly when he meets his handsome neighbor, Michael Burt, a caretaker for the estate next door. The man might be his salvation… or he could be the source of Hunter's terror.


Or go to one of the following blogs to enter! It only takes a second!
Tour Dates & Stops: July 8, 2015
MM Good Book Reviews, TTC Books and More, My Fiction Nook, Bayou Book JunkieJessie G. Books, Andrew Q. Gordon, Multitasking Mommas, Wake Up Your Wild Side, BFD Book Blog, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Tara Lain, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Molly Lolly, The Hat Party, Amanda C. Stone, Love Bytes, 3 Chicks After Dark, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Velvet Panic, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Up All Night, Read All Day


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On My Birthday, the Top 10 Things I've Learned So Far

Gasp. I'm 57 years old today. I don't know how I got to be this age so fast, not when I can clearly remember childhood birthday parties and getting a wire-haired terrier puppy for my birthday when I was eight as if it was yesterday.

But I'd like to think, humbly, that life has taught me a few lessons in my 57 years here on earth. In no particular order, here are the top 10 that come to mind: 

1. That love is the world's most valuable commodity.
2. That family can be defined by more than blood.
3. That feeding someone can be a profound way of telling them that you love them.
4. That silence is often more powerful than words.
5. That, in the end, we do what we want to do.
6. That life is always a work in progress and that we can strive for perfection and strive for happiness, but can never attain them. Not completely.
7. That we should love ourselves for our mistakes as well as our triumphs and find forgiveness in our hearts for those who most need it, which often turns out to be ourselves.
8. That the bond between parent and child, for better or worse, can never be broken. Not even by death.
9. That creativity and art is what separates us from beasts and that, by telling our stories, we realize not only who we are, but our place in the universe.
10. That you should never, ever, refrigerate a good tomato.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Golden Girls and Golden Compassion, Way Ahead of Its Time

I like to think Sophia would have been thrilled with Friday's SCOTUS ruling. Remember, the exchange below is from a television show that aired during the 1980s.

DOROTHY: Ma, how would you react if one of your kids was gay?
SOPHIA: I know you don’t get many dates, but stick with what you know.
DOROTHY: Ma, I’m not gay, it was a question.
SOPHIA: To tell you the truth, Dorothy, if one of my kids was gay, I wouldn’t love them one bit less. I’d wish them all the happiness in the world.
DOROTHY: That’s because you’re the greatest mother in the world, and I love you!
SOPHIA: Fine. Now shut your fat mouth so I can get some sleep!