Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hrm. Thanks Charlie

You are the World

Completion, Good Reward.

The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.

The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; you've done everything right.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turn, Turn, Turn

Two years ago at Saints and Sinners, the GLBT writer's conference in New Orleans, I got to spend some time chatting with Catherine Lundoff, my editor on Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades. One of the hot topics was the miserable state of GLBT publishing. Catherine grew up in publishing, so she has insight most of us don't. While I lamented the demise of Haworth, Suspect Thoughts (I have no idea what their status is. Ian and Greg aren't communicating with anyone) and Carroll and Graf, she pointed out that it was nothing new. She said that another indie press would fill the space.

Since then, Lethe Press surged to life. Circlet Press, which I thought as on the ropes, had come back strong with forays into e-publishing and some well-received anthologies. (I wanted very much to write for a couple of their anthologies, but simply couldn't make the stories work.). Logical Lust is back in e-publishing and in print after being in limbo for a while. The biggest news to me, and one I'm cheering on, are the moves Bold Strokes Books are making. At the WeHo Book Festival, Felice Picano stopped by to chat at the booth I was working. He told me that Bold Strokes is re-releasing some of his backlist. Until that moment, I didn't realize Bold Strokes, which has been the voice of lesbian literature, had expanded into gay literature as well. So when Trebor Healey was lamenting that all his books were with defunct presses, I suggested he talk to Bold Strokes.

Steve Berman of Lethe Press and I chatted a bit via e-mail about the struggles of GLBT publishing. It's never going to be easy. Shelf space for small publishing houses is almost non-existent at bookstores. That's a blessing and a curse. Large book chains tend to place huge orders, but they return a lot of what they order. Paying the shipping back and forth, plus having to pay to print all those books that get returned, has put a few independent publishers out of business. Amazon is the best bet, but they're brutal too - demanding huge discounts and POD publishers pretty much have to use Amazon's in-house company. Epublishing just about eliminates all this foolishness, but e-books are slow to catch on with the reading public. Still - I have faith it will eventually work out. Or at least the cycle will start over again, and publishers will rise and fall. But the writers will keep scribbling away.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Raiders of the Lost Golden Beet

Except for the turkey, I'm on deck for the entire T-Day meal this year. In an effort to wean the family off major ick foods - like cooking candied yams (more sugar per serving than a chocolate bar) in brown sugar (more sugar. this is like a chemistry experiment on super-saturated liquids) and topped with marshmallows (in case you didn't go into a diabetic coma already) - every year I do one healthy-but-they-won't-like-it food and then sneak a sleeper healthy choice in under the radar.

This year's diversion food is roasted beets. I went to four markets in search of. Whole Foods had the golden ones I wanted, but I bought a few red ones because I wanted to stain my hands deep pink. (well, maybe not) I roasted them, peeled them, and tossed them with a bit of olive oil and tarragon vinegar (thank you for the instructions, William). I'm thinking about serving them with some blue cheese crumbles, but haven't committed yet. And yes, I'm aware that I'm the only person who will touch them. But I don't care.

The sleeper dish is a sweet potato casserole with just the tiniest bit of sugar. Compared to the beets, it looks quite harmless, and it is. It's even good. What's even better, it doesn't have 95 grams of sugar per serving. (R read through the recipe an commented that it needed marshmallows on top for a festive touch, but it isn't going to happen.)

Alas, I lost the green bean skirmish this year. My fresh green beans sauteed in olive oil and lemon juice was vetoed in favor of that canned green bean and condensed mushroom soup dish. *sigh* Can't win 'em all. But since I refuse to make it, at least someone else is taking care of it.

I made cranberry relish (uncooked cranberries, oranges, and apples) and cranberry sauce (cranberries cooked with a little orange juice and a cinnamon stick) today. I'm quickly running out of things I can make in advance. Mashed potato's (from scratch), gravy, and stuffing have to be done that day. The rolls have to be fresh from the oven too. The roasted yams and sweet potato casserole have to be made that day. I guess I can get away with making the pecan pies (one chocolate, one traditional - with a nip of Maker's Mark) the night before. Pumpkin pie is some other person's problem. (I won't cook something I can't stand to eat).

R's mother lives in mortal fear that someone will leave her house hungry, so I'm bracing for the panic attack that we haven't made enough food. Some poor soul (male) will be sent to the market with orders to grab stuff for a last minute dish, which she will make and then leave in the fridge and find while we're trying to figure out how to get the tons of leftovers inside it, and then she'll actually run around the house offering the forgotten dish to everyone who collapsed in front of the TV. One year, I expect a Mr Creosote "It's just a thin mint, Sir," moment when someone explodes from humoring her by taking a small bite.

My other pre-cringe for Thursday is that I'm sure someone will want to know where the traditional cranberry-pineapple jello mold is. No one ever eats it, so it's not getting made. End of story. The first person to complain that it's not there is going to rue the day, because I'm going to appoint them official jello mold maker for all family gatherings from now until the end of time. Can I do that? You bettcha. How do you think I got stuck with this job?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Eyes Are Still Burning

The fund raiser for Stuart went fantastic today. I counted about 160 when the readings started, but another 20-40 easily came later. I haven't heard the official amount raised, but I think they hit the mark and maybe went beyond it. This was so fantastic for a couple reasons.

1) The huge Prop 8 protests at City Hall. Many people came right from the protests to this fundraiser. Party chatter, as you can imagine, was very political. But the great part was hearing so many activists from the Stonewall generation talk about how excited they were to see the 20 year-olds marching in such great numbers.

2) It was brutally hot today in Los Angeles. Instead of going home and cooling off after the protests, people decided to come help raise money.

3) We could smell the wildfires in the foothills, and ash snowed down on us steadily all day - which is why my eyes are burning and my nose feels like it's about to bleed.

4) The sprawl of Los Angeles tends to isolate everyone. But today, we gathered together to help out. I love seeing community. One woman told me that she'd been evacuated from her home last night because of the fires, but she came anyway.

Unfortunately, Stuart wasn't able to attend. He needed medical transport and all ambulances were on call because of the fires.

While the party may have raised the targeted amount, Stuart needs a lot of physical therapy and the money raised today will only go so far. His friend Bill was telling me of the need to find specialized computer equipment so that he can write again. Giving Stuart back his voice won't just help him. It will help the entire queer community. So if you can give, please do. (Contact me off list and I'll get the info to you)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Benefit for Stuart Timmons

The past few years, I've run into Stuart Timmons at the West Hollywood Book Festival, at the launch for his book Gay LA (The most packed reading I've ever been to - SRO and people actually outside the bookstore ). When I didn't see him this year, I meant to ask after him, but got sidetracked, so I was saddened to hear that he's been seriously ill. Tomorrow, I'll be working at this fundraiser for his medical costs.

As the article says, Stuart is an important historian of gay life in America. But beyond that, he is one of the nicest people I've ever met. Smart, self-effacing, and sweet. I hope we're able to reach the goal of $20,000. (If you're interested in giving, contact me and I'll get the information to you.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Start Hating Me

I'm in the zone. Oh man, do I ever love this. For the past couple months, writing has been a chore. Sure, I've been able to write stories, but I was never into them. I like to get swept into the universe I'm writing. I love it when I "method write," that point where I'm feeling the emotions along with my characters and really seeing the story through their point of view. The story flows so well and I'm not easily distracted from writing.

I'm sure those of you who write know what I mean by this. It's a wonderful thing. Creativity is such a gift, such a joy to experience. (Now you're really starting to hate me, right? Don't worry, I'll crash and burn soon, and you'll be the one on the ride.) If you know me well, you know how I roll my eyes at the mention of a Muse. It makes me think of fringe-clad ladies with kohl-rimmed eyes who recline on aubergine crushed velvet fainting couches. Yeah, I joke about Art Divas, but they really do annoy the heck out of me. Even worse are the ones who take pen names like LadyI'mAllMystickalAndShit. But I can see where the ancient Athenians might have attributed the rush of creativity to divine powers. It's temperamental, it's elusive, and it's downright maddening. But when it's here - damn. I'm having too much fun.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Something is Lurking Out There

I've been trying to clear my schedule because I know that sometime in the next couple weeks I'll get that dreaded e-mail with the first round of edits on Personal Demons. Okay, maybe not dreaded, but it's always terribly humbling to see how many stupid mistakes I can make in 80,000 words. I'm curious too. My beta readers asked me to add two scenes so I did, but I'm curious if my editor will comment on them. While I'm obsessing focusing on that, she'll probably be all over a different part of the story. (I flirted with a few house rules on some of my BDSM scenes - as usual. We'll see if I have to tone them down. I got away with a lot more in Love Runes than I did in Chaos Magic.)

In an effort to clear out everything before the dreaded e-mail, I've been reading like mad. I finished my commitment for the EPPIES and am powering through a stack of books I promised reviews on. My plan is to get through January's reads by next weekend.

(Helen, I know you read this, so don't even think twice about asking me to beta read your MS. You know I'd do my swooning diva act if I was truly overwhelmed.)

But I'm flirting with danger here because I'm reading through the calls for submissions, and there are a couple that I might just squeak under the deadline if I get strict and write all weekend. You probably know how I feel about vampires by now, and I feel almost the same way about werewolves, but for some reason I'm mightily tempted to try to pull off a South American pulp fiction style La Lupa story. Because, you know, I'm insane. But before I delve into that one, I have to write a new Toy Box story with Master Ophir and Chris, since I promised an Ophir fan I would. Tick. Tick. Tick. I can hear those deadlines bearing down on me like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And of course I have my punk rocker who I left jumping on his bed, skull fucking a teddy bear while his neighbor watches him through the window. He's probably tired of bouncing by now, poor dear. No one ever said a rent boy's life is easy though.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Bittersweet Day

Proposition 8, the law taking away a fundamental right from some of our citizens, passed. I take some comfort in the fact that it passed by a smaller percentage than a similar measure, Prop 22, did last time, so more people are waking up to this injustice. And I know that the Supreme Court will not be amused that they have to visit this again, so it will be struck down. And then another Proposition will make the ballot, and possibly pass again, but each time with a narrower margin, until ultimately same sex marriage will have been the law of this land so long that most people will realize that the only people it truly affects are same sex couples who wish to marry. A core of vicious people will keep fighting the bad fight, but like white supremacists, they will be a small fringe of dangerous, but ultimately ineffective, evil.

Between now and then though, the haters are gloating. The message they're trying to send is "Give Up, Don't Even Try." Civil rights battles are never easy. One setback isn't going to make anyone give up. As for me and my house, we will fight to the end for Love.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Crimaninny, People

Is this just the month for authors to behave badly? I have so had it with viciousness. High school never ends, apparently. So you don't like a publisher (Because they rejected your novel, perhaps? You never make it clear why you hate them so vehemently.). Fine. But don't go writing lies about the company on your blog and then delete every post that tries to set the record straight. And don't sling insults at every writer they publish. Don't slam another genre, especially if you've never read it. Play nice on chats this could be the subject of an entire post. Don't use reviews for personal vendettas. And remember, nothing ever really disappears from the Internet.

It never ceases to amaze me how petty people are. There isn't a finite amount of success in this world. So why be so jealous?

*grumble, grumble*
I hate it when people buzzkill my groove. But don't worry about me. I'll be over here writing about a punker jumping on his bed while skull fucking his teddy bear. That will cheer me right up.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

November Reviews

My reviews are up on the Erotica Readers and Writer's Association and Erotica Revealed.

Read what I have to say about Tasting Him: Oral Sex Stories, Tasting Her: Oral Sex Stories, and Hurts so Good: Unrestrained Erotica.