Monday, October 30, 2006


I think I'm ready.

Intricately carved pumpkin - check.
Bags of candy - check.
Costume - check.

The niecelets came over for pumpkin carving, meaning that they found the most difficult design ever in one of those carving kits and then promptly ditched me while I scooped pumpkin guts. Two hours later, they turned off the TV and came to check on the progress of "their" pumpkin. *Snort* My hands are killing me. On the other hand, pumpkin seeds are roasting in the oven right now. Yum.

Bags of candy. We also give out glow bracelets, which the kids go for even more than the candy. Then Mom calls out from the curb, "Take candy too!" Yeah, we all know who ransacks the kid's candy haul after bedtime. The SO wisely decided to hold off until today to buy goodies. That didn't stop me from opening the bags tonight and setting aside a few choice tidbits for myself. I live for my November 1st Breakfast of Champions - 2 miniature Snickers, a roll of Smarties, two Twizzler sticks, and a handful of the peanut butter flavored taffy that comes wrapped in the orange or black wax paper.

Costume. My hair is nearly long enough again to don my old Magenta costume. The problem, I learned from a scary but funny run-in with a hooker in Dayton, Ohio years ago, is that out of the context of the midnight showing of Rocky Horror, my Magenta costume looks a little too much like a "working girl" uniform. (It turns out that a crack addict whore has zero sense of humor when you're sitting at the bus stop on HER corner at two in the morning. Even less so when I pointed out we were wearing the same boots.) Since our hovel is on the corner of a busy street, and we sit on the front stoop to give out treats, I think I'll try a costume with a little less, um, personality. Besides, I can't stand the look of pity from a five-year old Spiderman - that look that says there's nothing scarier than a woman who doesn't realize she's getting a bit too old to be running around in fishnet stockings and a bloody French Maid dress.

L.A. area readings

I usually post these the week of, but I had advance warning this time. THree great readings:

Sunday, November 5th

Patricia Nell Warren launches her latest book, The Lavender Locker Room, with two events on Sunday, November 5th.
Meet Ms Warren, and enjoy her recount the writing of The Lavender Locker Room at the 3 PM reading and book signing at Equal Writes on November 5th. (you can also attend a private dinner with her, which includes a copy of the book. Go to the Equal Writes website for details)

Wednesday, November 15th @ 7:30 pm

The people of New Orleans have always enjoyed a love affair with their city, and only when they came close to totally losing it-in the wake of Hurricane Katrina-did they truly give voice to their love.

Now, two noted editors have called upon their friends from the Big Easy's literary establishment to pen this remarkable book-a "love letter" that takes us into this crazy and wonderful patchwork quilt of a city. With contributions from Poppy Z. Brite, JM Redmann, Victoria Brownworth, and many others, this is a book not just to be read, but to be treasured. Be here to meet Greg Herren and  get "Love, Bourbon Street," signed. (I always love talking to Greg. Not only does he put up with my catty moments - he encourages them!)
Friday, November 17th @ 7:30 pm
 More than an anthology of coming out stories, "From Boys to Men" is a stunning collection of essays about what it is like to be gay and young, to be different and be aware of that difference from the earliest of ages. In these memoirs, coming out is less important than coming of age and coming to the realization that young gay people experience the world in ways quite unlike straight boys. Whether it is a fascination with soap opera, an intense sensitivity to their own difference, or an obsession with a certain part of the male anatomy, gay kids -- or kids who would eventually identify as gay -- have an indefinable but unmistakable gay sensibility. Sometimes the result is funny, sometimes it is harrowing, and often it is deeply moving.
Essays by lauded young writers like Alex Chee (Edinburgh), Aaron Hamburger (Faith for Beginners), Karl Soehnlein (The World of Normal Boys), Trebor Healy (Through It Came Bright Colors), Tom Dolby (The Trouble Boy), David Bahr, and Austin Bunn, are collected along with those by brilliant, newcomers such as Michael McAllister, Jason Tougaw, Viet Dinh, and the wildly popular blogger, Joe.My.God. Be here to meet authors Trebor Healey, D. Travers Scott, Ted Gideonse and Rob Williams and get " From Men to Boys" signed. (Even though this is only two days after Greg's reading, I can't miss an opportunity to heckle Trebor and Trav.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Thrills and Chills

I went to Equal Writes in Long Beach today for a session with San Diego writer D.C. Elmore who writes mystery, suspense, and horror. It was a great class. Most of what she said covered writing in general. She took time to discuss works in progress with each person in the room, and she had some insights that went right to my problems with a chapter, so I was very glad I went.

While I was at Equal Writes, I talked to the owner about leading an erotic writing class. The weekend before Valentines Day sounds like a natural. I have to check with Jolie Du Pre and see when she thinks Iridescence will be released. I'd like to have a recent anthology to pitch while I'm leading the class.

While I don't write horror, I've recently taken a deeper interest in it, which is another reason why I went to the class. I've come to believe that horror and erotica are closely related. More than any other genres, they manipulate the reader into physical and emotional reactions. (Don't fuss. All writing manipulates the reader. Don't believe me? Have you ever wept over a chick-lit book? Ever sympathized with a character who was a thief or killer? Think that happened by accident? Erotica and horror are simply less subtle about it, and go for a more extreme reaction.) There's even a subgenre (sub of which, I'm not sure) of erotic horror. Erotic horror doesn't work for me, maybe because while arousal and fear may feel the same physically - increased pulse rate, sweating, increased adrenaline - the emotional reactions are opposite ends of the spectrum. Still, I'm exploring horror and the language it uses to see why it's so effective at pushing buttons. When I better understand that, I think my erotic writing will be stronger.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Jersey Decision

The High Court in New Jersey may or may not have helped the gay marriage movement with their recent decision.

I have an issue with Reuter's headline one this one though. They call the conservatives "Values Voters." Excuse me - but since when is institutionalized hatred a moral Value? And has anyone ever noticed that these people always point to their Bible, not the Constitution, as a reason for these laws? Imposing your religion on me isn't an American Value.

I demand to be called a "Values Voter." I value individual people. I think everyone deserves to be loved. I think everyone deserves equal representation and protection under the law (you know, kind of like the Constitution promises). I'm the one with values. Reuters should call those other people "Venomous Voters."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What a Writer Wants

Friend D. Travers Scott has a great entry on his blog about the thrill of seeing a stranger reading his book.

Success has many definitions. Selling my first story was a victory. Holding a copy of the anthology made it real. Going into a bookstore with a friend, pointing at the shelves, and saying, "I'm in that one, that one, and this one too," is a jolt of happy reality.

None of that is at the J.K Rowlings "richer than the Queen of England" level of success, but I'm sure that the first time Rowlings spotted a Harry Potter book outside a bookstore, it gave her a sense of satisfaction that she still remembers. Hopefully, one day I'll see someone reading one of my books too. That's all this writer wants.*

*although I wouldn't turn down fantastic success or fortune either.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Little Secret is Out

For reasons unfathomable - probably testosterone induced - the SO decided to check over my car before he headed out of town. Did it LOOK like I was hiding a spare cabana boy in the trunk when I threw myself across it and cried out, "I can explain!"

He found my secret stash, damn it.

I promised I'd cut down on my Amazon habit, and I did. I swear I did. But when I go to readings, I have to support friends and the bookstores that provide venues for them. Besides, people give me books. They do. Honest. Complete strangers walk up to me, hand me books, and say, "Oh, you MUST read this." Okay, they aren't really strangers, but some of my friends are completely strange (wouldn't have you any other way, darlings. *mwuah*). I can't explain why I have three copies of Ian Philip's Satyriasis though. Porn amnesia, maybe. Ian worship, probably.

Now the SO knows I'm reading Gay Haiku by Joel Derfner (absolutely wonderful! 10, 36, 36 and 94 are particular favorites) and The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios (geek girl glee!). Thank god the he didn't look on top of the pile o'books stacked on the floor near my side of the bed. I dropped another $30 at A Different Light this past weekend for my latest issues of Honcho, Girls Like Us, and Blue's special Cabana Boys expose.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Reading for GAY L.A.

The reading for Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and
Lipstick Lesbians by Stuart Timmons and Lillian Faderman was standing room only at Skylight last night.

Stuart signing books:

I was glad that I bought my copy at the West Hollywood book fair, because the line to get a copy signed was almost out the door. It was exciting to see that many people turn out. I hope this book is very successful since it relates history that's hidden or unknown even to people who think they know LA and think they know the history of the gay rights movement. While I'm enjoying the stories of closeted Hollywood, the parts of this book that really touch me are the personal tales of everyday citizens such as the women who felt she couldn't report a car accident because she knew the LAPD would at least threaten her and possibly arrest her for being gay - a real possibility given the notorious paramilitary thug mentality of the LAPD.

Trebor Healey, who emceed, models his t-shirt for the event:

Even though I showed up to cheer on Stuart, I was absolutely thrilled to find myself standing next to Malcolm Boyd. The whole time I was thinking, "This man is a civil rights legend! How cool is it that I'm talking to him?" Hopefully my inner dork didn't shine through while we chatted. If it did, he was much to kind to mention it. I'm sure there were tons of other notable people there, and I certainly recognized a number of men in the crowd from other readings, but I haven't matched up faces to names yet. It doesn't really matter. I don't go to these readings to meet famous writers (not that I mind it a bit). I go to support and celebrate books.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Iridescence Cover

Editor Jolie du Pre let us have a sneak peek at the cover of Iridescence which is coming out from Alyson sometime this winter. The picture reminds me a bit of Jolie, who is beautiful and smart and so fun to hang out with.

For some reason, my contribution, Tamales, was one of the hardest stories for me to write. The basic idea was good, but I had to twist and turn it over so many ways before I found the right perspective. I can't remember another short story that took that much effort. Hopefully it will flow so well for readers that they won't realize how much polish had to go into it. The first draft of any story is creative, but revision is the craft of writing, and its when I'm cursing and sweating over a piece that I feel like a real writer instead of a hobbyist.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Gay Day at Disneyland

I'm not sure who picks the day, or how word gets about, but in the middle of September, I always become aware that gay day is going to be some weekend in October at Disneyland. Most years I can't go, but today, I went with a group that calls itself "The Queerkateers" or sometimes "The QueerScouts."

Most of us wore red shirts, which was how we were supposed to recognize family. Of course, there are always the ones who don't wear red, but it was sort of easy to spot them. If two guys hugged and shared a brief kiss, chances were they were part of the tribe. If a guy walked off Splash Mountain, turned his back to his friend, and asked "did I get wet," and his friend quickly cupped his ass to feel for a wet spot, chances were pretty good neither one of them was hetero. If two women were walking around the park holding hands, a red shirt wasn't necessary.

Then there were the unintentional reds. We had a great time pointing out people in red who desperately clung to wives or girlfriends, as if they'd be dragged away otherwise. I saw some cruising, but for the most part, people were just hanging with friends. You know, like people do when they go to an amusement park - even gay people. Amazing how that happens. Humans acting like the rest of humanity. Not exactly revolutionary, radical, or offensive. Too bad some people couldn't see it that way. I was beside the Main Street City Hall and overheard a couple complaining to Disney staff about gays and lesbians in the park. "They were holding hands! We shouldn't be forced to stand in line with those kinds of people." (Direct quote from the man.)

First off - Gay Day is not an official Disney event. I'm sure Disney would put a stop to it if they could. (Never mind that half their staff seems to be family.)

Second - Some of the red shirts said "Gay Days 2006," but most of us wore whatever red t-shirt we owned, so it wasn't as if Disney could stop people from coming in who wore a certain shirt. The parks has been sued enough times for discrimination and civil rights abuses that they've wised up. (Best red t-shirts of the day "Hi. You'll Do," and, "I'm NOT with stupid. We just broke up.")

Third - As I pointed out above, not everyone who was gay was in red, and not everyone in red was gay.

Fourth - I see GBLT folk at Disneyland all the time on other weekends. If it weren't for the red shirts, would Mr. and Mrs. LittleMind have known who was gay? In their quest to have the lines segregated according to their narrow-minded view of who should be allowed out in public, did they also ask that Mexican families or Muslims be shunted off to the side? And did they stop to think that red shirts were MAYBE 2% to 5% of the entire crowd? I would have loved to have a special queuing area just for the Gay Days celebrants. Fewer feral kids, better eye candy, fun people to chat with in line, and that hour wait for Haunted Mansion would have been cut down to 15 minutes.

I know it's the job of Disney employees to mollify angry guests, but it would have been nice if the lady patiently listening to the couple whine would have said, "We have a rule against unaccompanied minors in the park, and since you two obviously still need to grow up, we're going to have to ask you to leave." Hey - it was Disneyland, the place for fantastic dreams.

Friday, October 06, 2006


I picked up my copy of this book at the West Hollywood Bookfair, but I'll probably try to get to this reading too. I'm several chapters in and enjoying it - even found a mention of a long gone dyke bar in my white-bread slice of suburbia.

So if you're in LA, come on out for:

What: Launch Reading and Party for

Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and
Lipstick Lesbians by Stuart Timmons and Lillian Faderman

Who: Dramatic readings by Priest/author Malcolm Boyd; cult diva Mink Stole; performance badboy John Fleck; and stunning actor Corey Saucier

When: Wednesday, October 11, 7:30 pm

Where: Skylight Bookstore, 1818 N. Vermont Ave, (323) 660-1175

I haven't met Lillian, but Stuart is great company. I'm wishing them all the best for this book.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dildo Diaries!

Molly Ivins has a great (long) feature here called The Dildo Diaries.

that exposes (ahem) the lunacy of Texas dildo laws. Definitely Not Safe For Work, especially if you work in Texas!!!!!

Gosh, some of my favorite sex toys are spatulas and wooden spoons. I wonder how many of those I'm allowed to possess before I go beyond being a hobbyist and become a nefarious criminal? Oh wait. That ship may have already sailed.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


My novel Chaos Magic was accepted by a publisher earlier this week.

I should be ecstatic, but I'm wary. About two years ago, a different novel of mine was accepted by a new imprint of a fairly well known publisher. After contracts were signed, they sent a curt notice that they'd decided not to start the new imprint. (Cue a series of nasty e-mails from them which seemed to blame me for making them buy a book they didn't want in the first place - as if I'd forced them to accept it. I guess the idea there was to demoralize me from taking legal action against them. I didn't, but I have a long memory, which makes for interesting moments at parties where I run into their editors who try to hand me their business cards.) Now it's hard for me to believe anything until I see it happen, so the most I can summon up is cautious joy. Hopefully, as the publishing process progresses, my faith will be renewed.

A Day Late and 3,000 Words Short

Until I finish my current novel in progress, I've sworn off calls for submissions for short stories. There were two calls I wanted to submit to a couple months ago. I was able to write something for Iridescence (coming soon from Alyson Books) but couldn't for a GBLT science fiction call.

So I'm at this science fiction convention this past weekend, listening to David Brin talk about the screenplay for his fantastic novel Kiln People, when the perfect plot for a GBLT science fiction story pops into my head. Arrrrgh! Why didn't this happen four months ago? It's not as if my idea has anything to do with movies, screenplays, Kiln People, or David Brin. Nope. Completely unrelated. So why, oh why, oh why couldn't I have thought of this sooner?

Actually, I did. One random little thought that made me raise my eyebrow, but nothing came of it. That thought must have been wandering around in the back of my brain collecting images and other ideas like a dust bunny under the bed until it was big enough that it caught my imagination.

Someone, please, put out a call for another GBLT science fiction anthology! I swear I'll submit this one.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I'll admit to a gallows sense of humor, but even I raised an eyebrow at bags of Disney's OLD YELLER dog food. Someone at Disney didn't think that one through. I could imagine the ads: If he's a-sufferin', son, you know what you have to feed him.


Please pull that creepy product off the grocery shelves.