Music That Inspires

It’s a SMUTTY Book…

It’s a SMUTTY Book…


-or-  Why I think that warning labels and smutty classifications are in the eye of the beholder.


But I can’t say it as eloquently as this man can… Enjoy! (I know I did)


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This one goes out to my author pal, Savannah Smythe who posed a comment question from my last blog post. I encourage everyone to visit this brilliant and engaging website.

To her question, here is my more eloquent reply (ala Tom Lehrer).

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The D/Evolution of Cover Art

The [D]Evolution of Cover Art



Trying to find your place in the process whilst keeping a tight reign on your wallet when all you want to do is get the bloody thing done!


So I have a book completed. Yeah, there are still tweaks being done to tidy it up a bit more. I think it’s in a good place. It’s not a formulaic romance story. It’s a very deceptive work. I created it with that in mind. It probably means it won’t find much of an audience, but you know what? I don’t really care. Here’s the skinny on the whole Angels of Mercy project for me:

I was writing another series that was going to be my big ol’ Gay LOTR (and if you have to ask what the fuck LOTR is, then you need to come out from under that rock you’ve been occupying and take a look around for Pete’s sake). It’s that Fae Wars thing I got placed elsewhere on the website. But that fucker is huge. Epically huge. LOTR with a bunch of man on man action huge. But there’s a war so there’s destruction and mayhem abounding there as well.

Here’s the dealio with that – because it’s so big (I tend to think Cecil B. DeMille epic) I had to put off writing because I got caught up in the quagmire I’d been back building in that particular universe. I am still contemplating that story. A good friend (and beta reader) gave me some advice to simply write the back story as one big epic tome all by it’s lonesome and then spring into the one that involves Earth so it would, in effect, be like my Hobbit to the Lord of the Rings. One off leading to a series sort of thing. That’s handy. And I can definitely see the advantage to doing just that.

Anyway, so what does that have to do with the cover art of Angels of Mercy?

Well, I ended up setting aside the whole Fae Wars epic to ponder those things I’ve just mentioned, and was listening to Jay Brannan’s Rob Me Blind while bringing lunch back to the girls at home. It hit me. Two boys trapped out on the Bixby Bridge near Big Sur, CA. Police cars on either side closing off the bridge to through traffic. My boys clinging to each other as a third man’s body falls perilously to his impending death in the fog laden morning.


The Bixby Bridge - Big Sur, CA

The Bixby Bridge – Big Sur, CA


So yeah, that image stuck with me as I was listening to Rob Me Blind.  By the time I got home one exit down the freeway later, I had the story mapped out. It came to me that quick. I knew three things with absolute certainty:

  1. The boys (Elliot and Marco – I didn’t have last names for them yet) would come together at the very first chapter. I was more concerned with the ‘what happens next’ and not so much about the whole “will they/won’t they” that permeates so much of the M/M genre. So yeah, boys fall in love first chapter – BANG!
  2. The jock in the story NEVER wavers in his love and devotion to the boy he wants. I am soooo tired about the ‘straight’ appearing jock being the questioning one. My own Marco (my hubby) played football for Clemson back in the day and even played for Massillon (the birth place of modern football). And he has NEVER WAVERED once about what he feels for me. So yeah, Marco is deeply rooted there in my own life experience. If the hubby can be that strong – so can Marco.
  3. The story would be deceptive in nature. I wanted to tell a story that from the outset was more introspective, more reflective rather than the standard romance fair. I also knew it was going to spiral into a murder mystery/thriller of sorts (I am a BIG HITCHCOCK fan).

So I knew those three things by the time I got home seven minutes later. The book was already shaping up by the time I picked up the food from the car, the walk from the garage up the flight of steps to the main part of the house.  Marco and Elliot were established. Their world already taking root and like a Morning Glory vine, they spread like wildfire. After lunch I told the hubby all about my new boys. They’ve been a part of us since (that was about 8 or 9 months ago).

I went through several boys as my inspirational source. Each of them though had to have a common thread or element that made them either Marco or Elliot.

Here’s the other thing – While my story does NOT involve the supernatural in any way, I wanted a strong Angel theme to thread its way in and around my boys and their world.  So four more things got added to my list:

  1. The school was going to be big, an ex-Catholic parochial school that had been deconsecrated, but would retain its strong ties to its past by creating the high school mascot to be an Angel – and not just any, but an Avenging Angel. This was an important element as it established for me a thread to tug upon time and again with each of my boys.
  2. The main characters of the story would all have Angelic names assigned to them and those names had to some how embody the emotive core of who they were as a character. For Elliot his first name (that he doesn’t use) is Cassiel (the angel of tears and regrets). Elliot is a quiet, and sad boy by the time we meet up with him. He’s out to the community but keeps a very low profile because he knows how small towns react to big news like a gay kid in town (say nothing that same gay kid has been around since birth – but when it’s all out in the open, it’s a tough thing to deal with). For Marco, Elliot’s boyfriend (the jock), his middle name is Rafael (the arch-angel) and all things in this trilogy point to him. Marco is the pinnacle and meat of the story. I always saw it that way. The last character (which I won’t go into here as it is a spoiler) has a middle name of Azreal (the real avenging angel in the story). It is he who metes out judgement in the trilogy. And he comes out of nowhere when he does.
  3. The last reference to Angels and the town of Mercy is that the other Angels (the football team) play a part in this tale as well.
  4. The sex will be blatant. No punches pulled. I can’t tell you how many times I read about sex between two men, written by women that completely miss the mark or “don’t go there” because they don’t want to really know what men think and feel when they are having sex. Which totally blows my mind on one level, but on another completely makes sense because women are always trying to influence men to think another way (their way). But they really don’t bother at all to understand it from a male perspective. So my boys are who they are when it comes to their sexuality. It is rooted in real life. It is how we are when we are together as a sexual couple (to varying degrees, I’ll grant you, but there nonetheless).

So there is a common thread regarding the metaphor of Angels in the story. But it isn’t a supernatural story. It’s metaphorical – in name and essence only.

So the first book is in the can and the second is about a third to half way written. Got beta-readers pouring through book 2 already and giving me valuable feedback. They’re loyal to the cause already so there is an audience out there. Don’t know who they are because the story sort of defies categorization.

But how do I create an eye catching piece of artwork that embodies all of that?

Part of me wanted to keep it simple. Not too involved – involved denotes a dated look. Just look at the covers from just a couple of years ago on some of these books and they already look dated. Mostly because they employed all kinds of Photoshop trickery that was all the rage at the time but no one is doing now. Honestly, the simplistic covers sort of really do it for me. While I think that the 50 Shades book was a right piece of erotic garbage, the look and appeal of the cover work was bold and definitive in my mind. It sent a strong message and played upon the whole ‘shades of grey’ theme from the title.

So here is how I came up with the whole cover concept:

  1. I wanted angels or an angelic influence to be a part of the cover as it is a theme of the book (not the judeo-christian core but a theme of the story nonetheless).
  2. I wanted it to be strong in it’s masculine appeal and statement (though I didn’t want some hussy to grace the cover because well, they’re gay – duh)
  3. I wanted the football theme to come forward as well.

I got completely derailed on my first attempt but as you’ll see below – I think it came together quite nicely.

It all started late last night when I finally decided I’d let my book languish for far too long out there in the beta-reader ether. It’s time to get it out there. So to do that it needed a cover.

Here’s what I had going for quite some time – it was a placeholder:


Angels of Mercy - the working DRAFT edition.

Angels of Mercy – the working DRAFT edition.


The actual title artwork really hasn’t changed. I liked it from the get-go (as it were). I wanted the dramatic angel theme even back then. It was a place holder. Nothing more really. But I did have comments from the beta readers that they liked the look of it. They liked the dark tones and the brilliant blue white element. One person even said that if she saw it in a book store, the cover alone would have made her pick it up and investigate it further.

So yeah, even then I knew it had to be dramatic. And it was certainly duo-chromatic (mono would indicate one color but, even so, I got what someone said to me about that).

So last night I’d reached a tipping point. I couldn’t go further with book one until it had a graphic representation that I could call my own for it. That meant licensing. That meant (since I wasn’t a photographer) that I’d be relying on what was out there from other content artists and pay for the rights to use the material.

First stop was a google search (ha! It was actually a DuckDuck search but you get the idea) for LGBT book cover artists. I found a website that seemed, at first blush, to fill the bill quite nicely. - one stop shop to pick up rudimentary covers that you can customize yourself right from their site. – one stop shop to pick up rudimentary covers that you can customize yourself right from their site.


They even have a section dedicated to the LGBT market. Bingo! I was in like Flynn.

I just had to choose one to start with and play around with their little online designer:

The selection grid for LGBT covers.

The selection grid for LGBT covers.


Once I selected a cover – and paid for it, it would be mine to use for e-books and printed copies up to 250,000 in combined sales. At what I was planning was $4.99 a pop, that would be over a million dollars in sales. Yeah, I could agree to those numbers. They could come and ask for an extended license at that point. I could probably afford it.

So I picked a cover and started to play with it.

The online tool to create your cover art from their website.

The online tool to create your cover art from their website.

The nice part about all of this? Once I bought the cover, it was removed from the site (never to be seen/offered again). It was mine and mine alone to use as I needed to for the book. No one else would have it. It wasn’t free (prices start at $69 a cover and go up steadily from there).

So I found one that spoke to the angelic element – it looked like this:

The original book cover I purchased.

The original book cover I purchased.

I could’ve used their tool to come up with the logo, the author byline and any tag line I wanted but to be honest – I have a far more extensive font listing on my computer anyway (like over 10k fonts installed). I am a font whore, plain and simple.

So I bought it without any writing on it whatsoever. I was cool with it.

Now here’s the rub (as they say): It wasn’t everything I wanted in one pic. I loved the deco wing element – cause that was bang on with how I saw the logo emblazoned on their helmets at the school. So yeah, I was good with that part. The one element I wasn’t so pro on was the guy on it. Not that I didn’t like him – I did. He appears to be a ginger so yeah – got a Smokin’ Hot Ginger Stud section in the galleries so yeah, he works definitely on that level. I don’t know why I suddenly have this proclivity for gingers but it sorta sprang up on me all of a sudden – and one of my new characters in Angels of Mercy Volume 2: Marco has a new buddy of his that will prove to be pivotal to how Marco gets Elliot back on his feet after book one (spoiler – sorry). And Angus (Marco’s new ginger stud buddy) is a full on stud material – no bones about it but with a heart of gold that’s been stomped on repeatedly.

From that perspective, the guy (on the cover art I just bought) would work – just not on this book. Angus Carr (the ginger buddy for Marco) isn’t on the scene in book one at all. He doesn’t arrive front and center until book two. This whole buying on a whim was a knee jerk reaction to the studly ginger angel on the cover art I purchased. ‘Cause Angus has fast become my favorite character to write about. I get giddy like a school girl whenever he is in a scene.  I think if I continue with this world of my boys at Mercy, then Angus’ story will be the next one to tell. I love him that much. But, just not now. This was Elliot’s book, not Marco’s, and certainly not Angus’.

But I’d paid for the artwork so I had to use it somehow. Also, the color scheme was all wrong – while warm, bold and powerful, it was the wrong tone to take. The school colors are Blue and Silver (with white). So the golden hues of this picture just wouldn’t work. There was no tie-in other than his being an angel.

So the color had to be swapped:

My angel goes from gold to silver blue - Thanks PhotoShop!

My angel goes from gold to teal blue – Thanks PhotoShop!

Now I liked the logo work from the first book image I created (remember the placeholder?).

So that  got incorporated into it but I stayed with the whole duo-tone idea. For some reason I thought it would work, hence:

Book cover version one - EPIC fail - well, sorta.

Book cover version one – EPIC fail – well, sorta.

The feedback was rather instantaneous – a BIG OL’ “MEH…”

Cue face-palm moment on my end. Yeah, I wasn’t really thinking it through.

So I scrambled again when I got up at 7am this morning after reading the email responses from the beta reader/buddy crowd. I began to look through iStock Photo for a footballer (after I remembered to exclude soccer players from that search criteria) and found some fairly decent picts along with a decent price. The best part? Their license was greater than the one I got from site. I could walk right up to the 499,999 sale mark before extended licensing came into play. Another cool thing! So yeah, I sorted out which pictures said the most to me. Finally settling on this one:

My Marco (football player) Sforza moment.

My Marco (football player) Sforza moment.

The hubby approved – all the other guys I had targeted as potentials were all holding the ball incorrectly and it rankled my ball playing hubby. Being a former Clemson player, I tended to listen to him on this one. This was the only one where the model sorta had an idea of how to hold the ball. It was the closest we came to the truth. It’s rather stark without any helmet logo (it’s just so damned WHITE), but I knew I could do something about that.

So now my thinking was to marry the previous version with this newer image I had going.

First off, strike the black background so my angel wings would be present in the background – if just a bit more muted than before.

Another thing sort of stuck in my craw a bit: he doesn’t have a jersey number. I might still take care of that – though that is a time consuming process, especially with the folds of the jersey in the picture and having to get it to match up. It would take some work to place a number there and get it right. I still might put in the effort but I’m cool with it without the number as well. I also liked the finger pointing toward the camera because Marco does make a definitive choice to be with Elliot from chapter one and that decision (while two years in the making for Marco) didn’t come easy nor were they ever aware of what a chain of events their coming together would cause in their small hamlet of a town.

But I digress. So back to my cover:

I had to marry the two images – but first I had to take the green tones out of the previous duo-tone image I had going before. This after my author buddy mentioned that “monochrome” covers tended NOT to sell – they get lost in the shuffle (which I supposed he was excluding black as a color in that arrangement, but having been a graphic artist in the DTP days of the 80’s/90’s, I knew better – it was duo-tone). Needless to say, since the blue in the jersey is quite strong I had to unplug the more teal elements from my previous angel incarnation.

So he went silver-blue:

Putting the silver into my angel.

Putting the silver into my angel.

So now the wings were set. I just needed to punch it up a bit and then put my footballer in it. I knew it was going to be one helluva visual break between my footballer (standing in for Marco in my story) and the angel wings in the background – but I was good with it. Those angel wings were symbolic for all of the angelic metaphors within their world (the football team, their namesakes, etc). So I was good with the break in texture. I think it fits. So now in PhotoShop, I had this:

Footballer with his wings

Footballer with his wings

The white was still too prominent but I wanted to see it with the title and my byline (I got all schoolgirl again and couldn’t wait it out) – I also toned down the bluish tint to the wings and made them more silver in appearance since those are the school colors. And I liked that the wings have a dream like quality to them. So now I had this:

Same mock, only this time with the title and the ever important byline.

Same mock, only this time with the title and the ever important byline.

But the white of the helmet was a bit too much – I needed to rough him up a bit – and beside that, the book goes dark in the end. Matthew Shepard dark – but with a twist. That action is what sets up Marco’s book (volume 2) which is told from his perspective.

My author buddy said to think long and hard (well not like that – head out of the gutter now, but you get my meaning) about how I was going to present my byline. I should be consistent with it. I happen to like Copperplate as a font. It can be both serif or sans serif because the actual serifs (the tiny ends on each letter that help to distinguish it from one letter to the next – those little flanges on a T or an A or even a W) are rather small and innocuous. So Copperplate Light it was. It went with the “of Mercy” in the title anyway. And thus, the title work was born and stands strong even now.

I was almost there.

All that white on the helmet and gloves was a bit too distracting. Say nothing that it I was missing an element that spoke of the darkness in my novel. So I needed to punch up the color a notch – something to get it noticed. As my author buddy said, you want it to gain attention when it’s on a grid of 100 other titles on Amazon’s site – that’s the goal. He’s right in that regard, even if sales are not the ultimate end game for me in this endeavor.

Angels came to me in a whirlwind. But it was more of an experiment in my mind that just germinated and took off like hell wouldn’t have it. But I needed to fold in that darker element that will carry the story forward.

Blood, that’s what was needed.

Not a lot, but enough that it’d leave pause for thought – “ooh, blood, that’s not normally on romance novels…” – that sort of thing. A M/M romance with blood on the cover would go against the grain. Mixed signals. Yeah, it’s what the story was calling for. Because the entire work is a series of mixed signals. It’s intended that way. From the first page you are in my protag’s head so you get to hear his random thoughts (even mid-stream in a conversation with someone), and he addresses you, the reader, from time to time. He knows you’re there with him. He talks directly to you. That’s intentional too. And gayboys are always bouncing around. We constantly have to keep rethinking our game. That game being just surviving in a world where you’re constantly reminded that you are not the same as the rest of the world. Your relationships are challenged, you have to keep coming out every single day of your life because everyone will try to assume you are one of them – part of the hetero-normative club. God, in sooooo many ways, I can’t tell you how happy I am not to be in that particular club. For me, being gay means I got lucky.

So yeah, blood was definitely called for here. The story gets quite bloody and quite deadly. But all is not lost – though by the end of the book you might well and truly think so. It’s one helluva ride. And you are having to put up with all of Elliot’s idiosyncrasies and mental ramblings. He is constantly stepping from one foot to another just to stay on top of things. When Marco enters his world it is turned upside down and things have never been so right. But it takes him off his game. Marco soothes and comforts, but he also stirs things in his wake – things he doesn’t want to admit, things that are conspiring to make them both pay for the love they feel for one another. And make no mistake, my boys feel it deeply, like a fever in their blood.


Yeah, it needed blood.

Thankfully, I have the entire Adobe suite on hand and have spent a fair amount of time taking special effects courses at the college so I know how to manipulate these kinds of things. So off to After Effects I went with a bevy of blood splattering movies and clips I’d amassed over the years. There had to be some blood I could use somewhere. There was.

Here’s the end result:

The final cover artwork. Blood included.

The final cover artwork. Blood included.

My Marco now has it smeared on the helmet (both top and the face guard) as well as on the glove carrying the ball. It’s subtle but strong statement that all is not well within the small confines of Mercy, California.

But our boys do get their Ever After Happily, I swear. But that’s a discussion for another time.

So, what do you think of the process and the evolution of it all – or did I just devolve the whole damned thing?


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50 Shades of Gay

So I know it’s been a while.

Life inserted itself fully. There was work to be done. There was more writing and editing. Honestly, I don’t know what I am doing most of the time. I know what I like and I write to that. It’s a contemplative and fairly lonely existence. It is not something I talk freely about. Not that I am ashamed of what I do. I’m not. Let’s be clear about that.

I think that I needed some distance from my last long winded entry. Turning 50 was much bigger than I wanted it to be. Not in the celebrations or in the thick of the moment – they were all well and good. They are what made me what I am today – a collection of experiences and moments that have molded (for better or worse) into the man I am today.

There’s the hubby, our girls, the two cats – all the hallmarks of domesticity. Yet I burn with other thoughts and ideas. I have men coming up to me (in my mind – head out of the gutter now) who have their stories to tell. They burn with it too. I try to put passion into what I do. Tweaking it here, imbuing it there.


So I heard back from a publisher yesterday (one that I had to ping several times to get ANYTHING from them – something the hubby kept asking “Do you really want to work with a group of people that you constantly have to chase down?”) The hubby has a point. I write fiction that is predominantly gay in nature – it’s what I know. It’s what I am passionate about because in a sea of how we are not like everyone else out there (the heterosexual norm) I think our voices are important enough that I can’t help but write from that perspective.

Anyway, the publisher didn’t get what I was doing. They took a pass on the material. They didn’t get that it was more of a character study than a standard cookie cutter narrative. They’re obviously looking only at the profile margin. I am not there. I never want it to be about the money. The comments back weren’t even that helpful. They were conflicted (rushed and fantastical vs. prose that broke momentum – I mean, what the fuck do you do with absurd commentary like that?). It was very evident that they didn’t even really read the material or try to understand what I was doing. It is not your standard cookie cutter formulaic m/m romantic fair. It was never intended to be that. I know it’s different – THAT’S WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO! Jesus, it was evident to me that publishers don’t have a fucking clue what the market will bear.

I have given the book to people I’ve just met – who don’t know me well enough to know what I am fully about or about what voice I am trying to put out there. In each and every case thus far I have heard how they have emotively connected with my protagonist. How his inner monologue was what pulled them in. They got it. THAT’S the audience I am after. Not some housewife who wants to be swept cursorily away on some cookie cutter adventure for a few hours on some vapid inane storyline that will be instantly forgotten the moment the last page is flipped.

I have two beta readers who have read it and both are not avid readers. Both have said that my characters stayed with them. They loved that they knew so much about them that they wrote back and said that they felt real to them. They both said that this was the first book they’ve gotten through that they actually read like a fiend to finish it. One of which hasn’t read a book in 20 years. But he read through mine like a bullet train with no signs of stopping – almost in one sitting. So there is something there. I can feel it.

Another one is a young man in Britain who I met through a LGBT support site. He’s smart, bright and funny. He’s also hard on himself. My heart goes out to him in so many ways. He embodies my main character (Elliot) in so many ways. He told me that he identified with him and that the voice is very much where his head is at and it rang true for him. He’s in his early twenties (just beyond where my main character is).  But the publisher doesn’t consider the market really. They look at statistics, they look at data. And I get it that its supposed to be the business of selling. I get that it’s supposed to be about the bottom line.

My work is epically long for the standard M/M fair. I know it’s not an easy work to market. For god sake you’re inside my main characters head listening to how he processes all of the information that keeps coming his way. And he has issues – it’s what drives the drama forward. But they didn’t get that. I know they didn’t. They just aren’t seeing the work for what it is.

“And it’s only one opinion.”  They said. Yeah, it is – and it’s fairly clear that they aren’t invested in finding new talent as they profess to be. They just are struggling to survive selling the same cookie cutter formula (sorry guys/gals I have bought close to 700 books from the genre – as research on what types of stories are out there) and 98.9% of it is pure schlock. It’s absolute rubbish. But they sell what sold yesterday because it’s just GOTTA sell today too. Well, guess what, eventually they will get tired of the same bland Cheerios that you’ve been spoon feeding them. And no, changing the protag from your last best seller from a fireman to a police man doesn’t count as being creative. It’s the same formula. Shake it the FUCK up, will ya? Or the genre will tank.

In short it was a waste of a very long period of time that they could’ve just piped up and owned their fuckedupness in not managing their time well (at one point they actually used deadlines looming as a reason for the delay). They are a small publishing house. If they can’t manage the deadlines they have now and I got added to the mix… see where I am going with that?

So I realized that I’ll either have to keep looking or self-pub it myself. I have author friends who self-pub. It’s not an easy path because the type of stuff I write (while it is deeply rooted in a M/M (sometimes more) relationship slant and thus carries a bit of erotic undercurrent as all relationships do) isn’t mainstream. It isn’t what I think will sell millions and millions of copies.

But is that the type of success I am looking for? I don’t know. I think I’d much rather be successful at putting out something I think is of quality but may fall by and large completely unnoticed by the masses.

I was contemplating all of this when I came upon this little posting on HuffPo Gay Voices on gay men reading 50 Shades of Grey and commenting on it. Gay boys reviewing straight porn/erotica. I thought it was something that would get me to smile a bit. Gay boys have such an aversion to anything lady part wise… so I certainly expected some giggles over that. I got it.

Now here’s the deal – what I didn’t expect was the actual lines from this world-wide bestseller to actually be as badly written as they were. It seemed very amateurish or slightly – awkward when it came to the sex that was portrayed in the book. I am sure that the context helps but the actual inner monologue that they were reading was like some fourteen year old girl was trying to describe a sexual situation.

I was stunned…

See for yourself –

[embedplusvideo height=”255″ width=”400″ editlink=”” standard=”″ vars=”ytid=zZTSxQIxsiA&width=400&height=255&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep6159″ /]

I like Neil McNeil’s stuff on YouTube. He’s clever and he’s certainly crafty in telling his amusing slices of life (from a gay man’s perspective) and it’s light, it’s funny but there’s also a thread of really bright and innovative moments where he’s pulling back the curtain on how gay men survive in this hetero-normative world we’re immersed in. I think he’s pretty fucking brilliant and I love that he’s unabashedly gay in a big way. I admire his courage and his fortitude to get his stuff out there. He believes in what he does, he’s passionate about it, he doesn’t accept that someone else may not – or rather, he is unfazed by it all.

Then I think about my musical muse for Angels of Mercy (Jay Brannan) and how he doesn’t have a big record company backing him up. He doesn’t have a marketing department or a promotional touring company to do all of his stuff. It’s just him cranking out what he does because he’s passionate about it. And his passion is infectious. It permeates wherever he is.

I need to take a page out these men’s book. They strive forward. They press when the world presses back. So I will continue to develop Angels because I believe in what I am doing. I believe in the nature of the work. I take heart that the people who have read it want to read more (it ends on a cliff hanger – which by the way I was told by a publisher that series of that nature are not really what’s selling). Yeah, that’s why sequels in film and serialized television doesn’t work. That’s why the Potter series languished in obscurity.

Elliot and Marco will see the light. Even if I have to figure it all out on my own. I may not command a huge audience from it all, but in the end they will be unabashedly mine. They will be my boys/men – telling their own stories. Why? Because they come to me in dreams – both waking and in sleep. They have things to say. They have surprises even for me.

The hubby commented that Thomas Wolfe (who wrote the hubby’s favorite book – Look Homeward Angel amongst other things) that he had to shop his masterpiece around and really didn’t understand what he wrote in its entirety until he sat down with the editor who he would continue to work with during his writing career and they discovered the absolute breadth of what he’d assembled. Even he didn’t know what was in there. He just struck a creative vein and went with it.

That’s what Elliot and Marco are to me. Life’s blood in writing. They feed me in ways I had never imagined. I have to finish their tale; I have no choice.

Will it ultimately find an audience (of any kind)? I don’t know. I may never know (hell, I’m 50 – it could take several years or decades before it finds people who get me and what I am on about). I may get recognized long after I’ve expired from this world. I may never see the success. Or it could languish for all time. But ultimately, does it matter?

I need to tell their story no matter what. That’s what matters. It’s the only thing that matters.

Elliot is a sea of conflicting emotions. He’s an out gay kid who is shy and sticks to the shadows to survive the hell that is high school. It isn’t until the brightest light from that hellish world sees him and says – you’re mine – that he has to deal what a life in the light means. It isn’t easy for him – for them both.

But then again, isn’t the work we have to strive for it worth it? Doesn’t it make the attaining and the having all the more sweeter because of it?

So I’ll press on – navigating waters I am not sure I know how to do. But I’ll press forward and figure it out. I have a brain, I have friends and family for support. What more do I need to make a go of it?

Not a damned thing…

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On this day – I REMEMBER

This is a repost from my FaceBook page. Today is my birthday…

To FRIENDS and FAMILY on this day today…



[Author’s Note – this is a stream of consciousness – it probably has typos and grammatical errors galore – I didn’t want to edit it – I was writing from the heart and somethings shouldn’t be edited]


On this day a half-century ago I was born. With the thought that memory can be long though life is short, I wanted to take a moment this day say I remember. I REMEMBER making a new friend a month ago who has become vitally important to me as I write my second novel. He had nothing but praise for my first. He lives in a remote part of the country and often feels alone. I REMEMBER you Michael Rumsey and hold you close. You’ve no idea how much your words of encouragement have emboldened me to do what I continue to do. We’ll make sure you find your Elliot Donahey. My King of Imperfections will find his Prince of Mistakes… (that’s a Jay Brannan reference – which brings me to…)

I REMEMBER going to the Jay Brannan concert two nights ago and meeting Jay (my muse for the novel series) face to face and asking if I could quote his brilliant and moving work within my novels and took a moment to explain what I was doing – amazingly, he said yes. I REMEMBER reuniting with Chuck Hanrahan at this concert after close to 16 years of not seeing each other face to face. Our hugs, tight and deeply felt by the both of us peppered through out the evening. It was a magical night. I REMEMBER finishing my first novel and thinking – no one is gonna read this, and then promptly started to shop it around to publishers (thinking I should just self-pub myself because I can only trust myself with this work – it’s honest, it’s harsh and it’s mine – my voice, my characters, my world). I REMEMBER every word of Jay Brannan’s brilliant work – every word, because though they are his experiences, his voice could just as easily been my own. I admire his courage, his dedication and his absolute love for his fans. When I go – as one day I shall, it is his music that I want people to play to remember me. His music is the soundtrack of my life. My skin popped and percolated and tingled all over when I shared the same small crowded space with him. This truly magical and gifted man. Our voices, gay men’s voices, are in very capable hands with his bright and talented artist. I am in awe of his creations and aspire to write as well has he does. I feel his work profoundly – because in may ways, I live it.

I REMEMBER connecting with young gay people who are struggling to find their way in life. I REMEMBER Chris Nicholson, a bright and upcoming digital artist I befriended on a LGBT support site I frequent. I REMEMBER that I wanted to be there for him as he tried to figure out who and what he was all about – but mostly I wanted to cheer him on. I REMEMBER that now it is my passion to find a way to give back – to be there for some kid whose family isn’t supportive, who may be struggling with just taking their next step. Jesus, I so don’t want another gay kid to suffer through that. I’ve been percolating trying to come up with a way to raise money to start a home for wayward gay youth to help put them on their feet, to give them life skills and support when they have precious little else. I don’t know how I’ll do it. I don’t know if I can. But the passion is there and it is a raging fire that I try to keep in check. But I desperately want to give back. I’m just lost on how to do it.

I REMEMBER, seeing my granddaughter Keely Fry in musical plays each year at her elementary school – it seems only like yesterday she was entering kindergarten and I REMEMBER the day she was born – holding this little baby in my arms for the first time and knowing that my life was just as dedicated to her as I was to my husband and daughter as we all started on this new phase that would dominate our lives to this day. She’s wild, she’s unbridled, she’s a hurricane – leaving a path of creative destruction in her wake. I grouse about the mess, so does the hubby, as well as her mother – our daughter Whitney Fry. I REMEMBER meeting Whitney, MacKenna and Taylor and thinking that somehow, in some strange way, they were going to be a part of me – I didn’t ask for it, never knew why it was coming my way but I knew it was what it was – what I’d signed up for because of the man that bound us together – irrevocably, improbably, and all consuming that it is/was.

I REMEMBER meeting my husband online in a forum chat room. Never quite knowing what it all meant. I REMEMBER this to when he put a ring on my finger in the middle of a loud and boisterous night club in San Francisco. I REMEMBER soon after I had to spoon feed him a loose meat sandwich because he got really drunk that night. Jeffrey and I just looking at each other – eyes meeting eyes with an unspoken word between us. I think Jeffrey got it that this was the one for me. I REMEMBER and see you J L Fry for seeing me. I love you beyond all measure. You put my needs above your own. You give me words of encouragement when I am not sure I deserve any. You are my rock, you are the last voice I hear at night, and the first I hear in my day. I know many don’t know why we have what we have. I don’t care. It’s not for them to know. You know my heart, you have it in your hands every day I live and breathe. You are my best friend and the love of my life. I cherish our talks, our debates, and what you’ve taught me over the 20 years we’ve been there for each other. You taught me what it means to be committed to a solid relationship. In the twenty years we’ve been together we’ve never argued or fought. You are without a doubt my soul-mate (which is saying something, I suppose, seeing how we’re both atheists). I am glad it is your hand I hold when we drive, I am glad it is you I turn to when I don’t know what to do next. You are my rock, you are my light. I cherish you in ways I can never say.

I REMEMBER the nightmare that was the death of a beloved pet Gizmo, who had been with me for 20 years and saw me through some very turbulent times in my life. He was more of an emotive rock than I can ever put words to. He taught me about unconditional love and was my stalwart companion when I thought I didn’t have anyone else in my corner. February 6, 2006 was a very, very dark day for me. But somehow I got through. His ashes sit in a box that I take with me wherever I move. It has never once been packed away. I will not do that to him or his memory. I have one small video of him that I take extra care to have several copies of. I play it from time to time when I need to see and hear him again. I REMEMBER my hand on your frail body as your life slipped away and how much in that moment I wanted to follow. It was short but it was intense.

I REMEMBER my father’s passing on the very same day as the massacre in Columbine, Colorado. I REMEMBER being so wrapped up in my own grief that the events playing out on the TV screen in my parents home seemed like some bizarre movie that I couldn’t quite put together in my head. Any time that series of events plays out in a memorial or tribute to that horrible event takes me back to that moment in my parents home – watching it all and not making any kind of emotive connection because I was simply too lost in my own grief. I REMEMBER his brothers and sisters (my aunts and uncles) descending from Washington to our home in San Diego. I REMEMBER being surrounded by them all – and somehow I REMEMBER my beloved and dearest Aunt Cookie (VeeVee) finding someway in her own grief to try and get us all to smile, even just a little, so that we could endure the pain that was in missing our father. Such courage and family dedication in her eyes. I remember them like beacons keeping us firm – holding us close.

I REMEMBER dancing at Deirdre and Karen’s wedding and having a marvelous time, even if I knew inside that my time with Eric was coming to a close. It was odd to celebrate someone else’s happy moment when your world was changing. I REMEMBER that juxtaposed feeling that night. My world was shifting while one of my good friends was reaching solid ground. I REMEMBER another life in San Diego, with another man who influenced me and taught me about commitment – I remember you Eric Flaniken. I REMEMBER our ten years together – complete with massive roof top parties in the middle of Hillcrest surrounded (literally) by our family and friends. It wasn’t always magical, sometimes it was a bit off. But I remember our world there and back in Normal Heights with the three cats (Demon, Maggie (Majestic Interlude), and my beloved Gizmo).

I REMEMBER Jackie Feitler and her bunnies in that little enclave we had on Adams Avenue – my cats looking at her rabbit and wearing an expression like – what the fuck happened to you to make you look like that? I REMEMBER Deirdre Murray and Randy (can’t recall his last name though), and Jeffrey and my beloved Tom who was a kind and gentle soul that played piano and drew beautifully. I was glad I was there until he passed – he steals across my mind from time to time. Emotively I pull him close and say I’ll never let your memory fade. I REMEMBER that life – sealed behind two doors and the magical garden courtyard that was all our own. Like slipping into wonderland that small set of WWII bungalows it was. Alice had nothing on us. That life was magic time. Nothing short of it.

I REMEMBER the horror that Eric went through when he accidentally ran into a small boy who dashed out from between cars and how very frightened and horrible he felt at something that was ultimately not his fault. I REMEMBER for the first time that I had very few words on how to comfort him in that terrible time.

I REMEMBER working at the City of San Diego and having lunchtime Buffy the Vampire Slayer lunches with Beverly Asbill-Gumbs, Michael Winterberg and others where we watched episodes together. While the TV show was great and all – I just liked having the camaraderie of doing something together.

I REMEMBER performing for close to four years back to back in shows with San Diego Comic Opera. I remember working with such amazing and talented people. It was where I met a very valued friend in Joseph Grienenberger. His wit and charm still tickles my senses every time our paths cross. Which after I stopped performing there seemed to be less and less – now living in another city I miss his laughter and comical witticisms that never failed to make me laugh. I REMEMBER Chris Allen, a virtuoso of a piano and musical genius slipping in (comedically) the Twilight Zone theme song into whatever piece we were rehearsing to let us know we’d gone off the rails musically. It kept things light when we were getting very frustrated. There are others, too many to mention, some more faded from that time – with names I can’t quite recall but I still see the faces and worry if they too will fade with each coming year.

I REMEMBER meeting my bestest friend in the whole world – Jeffrey Merrell Davis, who had the serious misfortune to sit next to me and in his words, “He started talking to me and hasn’t shut up for the next 32 years…” – He’s like the brother/sistah I never knew I had. He knows my secrets, he knows my fears, and I know his. We don’t talk about them, we don’t have to. Jeffrey and I can exchange thoughts with just a look. It’s automatic, it’s irrevocable, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Jeffrey is complicated, he’s brilliant, he’s ever present in my mind and heart. He’s moved close to me, he’s moved away – each time we reconnect it’s as if we’ve only just picked up from where we left off the last time. Words cannot express the depth of love I have for him. He is a light in a very dark tunnel sometimes. When I crumble, as sometimes I do, and i need an outside voice to give me some balance – his is the first hand I reach for. He knows me all too well. It can be dangerous trusting someone that much – I get that – but with him I know it’s in the most capable hands. I cherish him and the friendship and love we’ve built over the years. Moments can be magical – Jeffrey is magic.

I REMEMBER meeting Pamela and Barbara Stompoly and Liz Stephens – these women are tentpoles in my young life. I admired them for so many reasons. Pam has been there in both my artistic life and my personal one. She has never wavered once in absolute support and dedicated friendship. These are brilliant and bright ladies that I am truly blessed to call friends. My life became immensely rich the moment these three entered my life.

I REMEMBER taking then Lorna Laughlin and Lawana Bailey (from my high school days) to my haunt in my early club land days at Studio 9 in North Park. It was the last vestiges of my old high school life fading into what I was going to become as I took my life into my own hands. I needed the comfort of friends of my past to allow me to slip into my future. I thank them for being so supportive and such brilliant, brilliant women who amaze me even today. I REMEMBER Teresa and Don – my two flatmates in those times when I struck out on my own (with Eric in tow) and our lives on Cherokee Avenue – listening to Tameka and T’sondra’s mother scream their names at all odd hours of the day. I REMEMBER Jeffrey’s foot talking to Teresa at our house warming party (anyone remember Almond flavored Champagne?)

I REMEMBER long escapes to a nightlife in TJ (Tijuana, Mx) – remember that gay disco that was WAAAAAY the fuck out in the middle of nowhere with the Las Vegas banquet seating? What was THAT about? I REMEMBER one of us getting so drunk they were going to toss their cookies so we told her to roll down her window and instead she rolled it up and then tossed – yeah, that was a fun trip home.

I REMEMBER Cheryl Peterson – quiet unassuming Cheryl hanging out with loud boisterous and bizarre gay boys at Studio 9. I REMEMBER that lock of hair constantly obscuring one eye. And that special smile you had whenever one of us went off the rails. I REMEMBER Teresa getting so high one night on poppers that when a song came on and we grabbed her to dance an ice cube fell out of her drink and hit the floor and she thought it had come out her, uh, skirt – yeah, we’ll say skirt cause uh, ew, lady parts.

I REMEMBER sitting in a car with my new friend Robert Villa at the border into Mexico when he and his boyfriend had spent the night in TJ and had a breakup and Robert was stranded at the border crossing and he called me to see if I would come down and get him at 2am. I remember we sat and talked in the car at some grocery store parking lot until the sun almost came up. It seemed important that I make sure he was alright. I had to go to work only a couple of hours later – I was tired but happy that I helped keep him going.

I REMEMBER being in high school – people like Jennifer Bundy, Marcy Tooze, Brenda Loreman, Maria Jones, Robert Wagner, Tim Mutt, Lyle Nash, Sven Seaholm, Regan Ray, and Sylvia Davis. Choir and Drama people who colored my life and my senses. So many to name that I’d spend the majority of this little write up with each of you. Of particular note – my piano teacher Marilyn White and the Beckman’s who taught me about musical community more than anything else. I remember this time being turbulent in my life because so many things collided in ways that shook everything I’d ever come to know about myself.

I REMEMBER spending time with Carolina Guadagni and knowing what a special and compassionate woman she was and how she paid me attention when I never really thought I deserved any. I REMEMBER going out with her and thinking how to tell her I wasn’t the one for her. I knew then how different I was from everyone else. High School was surreal for a boy like me. We walk through it, we are in the thick of it – but are ultimately disconnected from it all because we know, deep down inside, that our experiences – our lives are not like yours. It was acting, it was putting on a face, a mask to try and get by. It was an artifice I didn’t like wearing, I wasn’t honest with you all – how could I be? I wasn’t completely honest with myself. But you all influenced me. With bright lights and lovely souls like Karen Worley, Carolina and Maria Jones keeping the laugh track going, I know I made it through because you all made my questioning time bearable.

I REMEMBER the musical rehearsals at my parents house where we’d all woodshed stuff we were working on. I remember using my reel-to-reel recorder to record our work. I REMEMBER how many of us gathered around and sang our ever loving minds out. You people inspired me to be better at whatever I did (which admittedly, wasn’t much – I was still trying to figure things out). You all taught me how to strive for what you believe in. Your threads in my life are colorful and vibrant – if a little faded with the passage of time. I REMEMBER you all. Names too many to put here – but I remember each and every one of you. I don’t need to open the MVHS annual. I see you all – stealing across my mind – moments and feelings frozen in time like an emotively charged museum.

I REMEMBER bringing a copy of the Update (a local gay rag) into my high school and it had a picture of our choir teacher (Ron Jessee) in a musical production of a theater piece. I did it because I was angry with his hiding who he was to the world when I desperately needed a figure I could latch onto that said I was alright. That I was okay. I wanted Mr. Jessee to be that for me. Ultimately I never did anything with it. Mr. J – It was NOT a proud moment in my life. More than anything I regret being angry with you for something that I had no right to put on you. It was a difficult time for me – it was a turbulent time for me. I should’ve reached out to you and held tight to sort out why I was angry with you not being who I needed. It wasn’t fair of me to do that. I see that now, I hope you can forgive me and my childish ways. You taught me to step back and think before acting. It is a lesson I carry to this day. It took me a long time to sort it out. I performed with your husband when I did Aida with the San Diego Opera – he mentioned that you’d probably like to see me again. I told him that would be nice only to duck out and not do it at all. I couldn’t – not because of anything you’d done. I was simply too ashamed for the way I’d left things with you all those years ago. Some pain is hard to put down. I get it now, what you were dealing with. What we, as gay men, deal with. It’s not an easy road, and it can be terribly tiring. I am happy for you and your husband. He’s a really nice man. I have nothing but admiration for how you’ve progressed – and I’ve kept my ear to the ground over the years to see what you’re up to. I wish I could’ve been better at my end of things. I am happy that you and I have friended each other on FB. It makes the pain of that time so long ago easier to bear.

I REMEMBER Chrystal (Leigh Sickler) Bandreigh walking up behind me while I was playing something on the piano in the choir room during a break between classes. I REMEMBER musical nights at her house rocking out to Heart, Stevie Nicks and of course Queen. I REMEMBER going to concerts and her absolute devotion to her Bri-guy (Brian May) from Queen. I REMEMBER being there when we went to their concert in Irvine and scoring those backstage passes. What an amazing night that was. I REMEMBER rocking out to Heart in concert at the sports arena in San Diego. Singing til our voices became hoarse and the ring in our ears didn’t stop for hours after we had long departed the event.

I REMEMBER my junior high school days and Mr. Carl Abel. A caring and very dedicated science teacher. He took a moment to see me, in my youth, knowing what I was struggling with in figuring out who I was and pulled me aside to make sure I was okay. I had the biggest crush on him (even if I couldn’t put a name to it). Mr. Abel saved me in ways I never can repay. I think of him very fondly. He was a rock for me that got me through, just because he took me aside and said ‘I see you – and I see what you’re going through’ – Mr. Abel taught me compassion for others. It is a lesson I try to apply as well as he did. I’m not always successful, but I do try to carry his torch forward.

I REMEMBER being in elementary school – I REMEMBER being bullied by a boy who held me up to a fence when no teachers were around and threatened to beat me up because I wasn’t doing what all the other boys were. I REMEMBER looking at him square in the face and saying he was going to be sorry he did that. He was hit by a car three days later and became paralyzed from the neck down. It was coincidence, i know that now. But at that time I REMEMBER thinking something or someone had intervened. I REMEMBERED to hold my tongue from saying things like that after.

I REMEMBER my family life being colorful and loud. My family was passionate about being heard. I REMEMBER our childhood friends Robert Vega and Kelly Mayo and all of the days we’d spend at our house or at theirs (they only lived down the street). Many days with them – our strike parade against household chores comes forward for some strange reason. Or playing dodge ball in the dark during summer vacation to where we couldn’t even see in front of our faces but we just didn’t want to give up playing for one more night.

I REMEMBER singing the Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?) in my head over and over until I begged my grandmother to buy it for me so I could play it until it wore out. I REMEMBER buying my first record – Thelma Houston’s Don’t Leave Me This Way (a theme song of mine perhaps?).

I REMEMBER going to the public pool with my Aunt and listening to that tiny ball radio she had. I REMEMBER going to San Diego Gulls hockey games and then meeting the players after. I REMEMBER my aunt giving me my love for Ice Hockey to this day. I REMEMBER camping out with friends (I won’t name who) and realizing that the boys interested me far more than the girls. I REMEMBER how I marveled at what we could do – how we saw things. I wasn’t the outdoorsy type (my family will get a big laugh out of that one), so it was my fascination with boys at this time that sort of brought me out of my shell.

I REMEMBER traveling to Washington state to meet my dad’s side of the family for the first time in 1972. I REMEMBER meeting my cousins and realizing there was a whole other world that was somehow related to me that I had no knowledge of. I REMEMBER my uncles and aunts (all of them – and there were a lot to remember as my dad had a HUGE family). I REMEMBER clam digs in the early morning hours and the clam fries we would have later on in the day. I REMEMBER they were good with ketchup. I REMEMBER my mother sewing up drawstring bags made of garish material that was so prevalent in the early 70’s and then filled them up with all sorts of games and coloring books to take up our time while we made the long drive up the coast.

I REMEMBER family events at my maternal grandmother’s house. I REMEMBER those gatherings of great Mexican food (family recipes from that side of the family) and how to properly serve Spanish Rice. Something I’ve imparted to my girls now. Grandma’s iron hand with etiquette still reigns supreme in my head. I REMEMBER Mexican hot chocolate and belotes with butter and a slice of cheese warmed in the broiler. I REMEMBER that wacky and bizarre aluminum christmas tree with the weird disco lamp that had a color disc that would turn slowly bouncing it’s color off the stick like Andy Warhol inspired aluminum tree. That thing was hideous. I’m glad it’s lost to time. But it marked those years in my youth so – yeah, I guess it deserves a mention.

I REMEMBER being very young and my grandmother couldn’t watch us because she became ill. I REMEMBER that the neighbors grandmother taking her place and for a week we had to contend with trying to bridge the language gap because my mother purposely hadn’t taught us how to speak Spanish because she didn’t want her bi-racial kids to have any perceived accent. It was a different time.

I REMEMBER speaking up at a very young age at the dinner table and my mother’s brother piped up that children should be seen and not heard (this was a stupid rule even then). My father interrupted him and said that at his table we all had a right to be heard as long as it wasn’t silly. I REMEMBER looking at me and his eyes said he would always be there for me. I REMEMBER loving my father that night so much it hurt.

I REMEMBER not taking the bus from Highland Elementary in kindergarten because somehow I became confused and thought my dad was picking me up from school that day (when he wasn’t). I REMEMBER several teachers stopping to ask me if someone was coming to get me and I told them each that yes, my father was going to be here at any minute. I REMEMBER sitting at that little planter in front of the school as time slipped away from me and the light faded a bit and I suddenly thought I must have misunderstood what was supposed to happen. I got up and calmly walked into the office and explained that I got confused and that maybe my dad wasn’t coming to get me. I asked them if I could call him and ask him what I should do. I REMEMBER my father coming to get me sometime later as I calmly sat in front of the school again. He pulled up in that Studebaker that he never quite finished remaking and opened the door. There was a look of pride on his face at how I’d calmly handled the whole thing.

I REMEMBER that no matter what, my parents had my back. I REMEMBER taking my mother to Britain, Denmark and Russia as a thank you for all the years of sacrifice she and my father made. My father never made that trip as he died the year before. But symbolically he was there. I REMEMBER my mother and father being absolute in their love and devotion to me and my siblings. I KNOW we’ve not always been easy for them. I KNOW I confused the hell out of them on several occasions. I KNOW I am blessed to call them my own. I KNOW I am blessed to have my brother and sister (Pablo and Carmelita) and the complicated and profoundly felt emotions between us. I KNOW they don’t always get me or what I am doing. I KNOW I don’t make it easy on anyone. But I REMEMBER IT ALL.

I REMEMBER you all. Even names I’ve not mentioned. Know that you’re all part of the tapestry of my life. On this day, 50 years after I took my first breath, I REMEMBER everything. It’s passionate, It’s clear. You are all threads that make me who I am – every single one of you. So on this day, this day of deep reflection – I want to say thank you. Thank you for giving me moments I can reflect upon. The good and the bad. The happy and the sad (I swear I am not trying to make this some childish poem). But I wanted to stop and acknowledge how you’ve all enriched me. How much you’ve all contributed in some way to making me who I am. I live, I breathe and I feel – deeply, profoundly and irrevocably. I wanted to say how much you all mean to me, how much I regard those memories and how they continue to drive me forward. Thank you. You’ve no idea how my journey has colored what I do now. But I thought I’d try to put it out there and let you know – today I may be a year older – but I am far richer for having crossed paths with you all. -SA. C.

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31 Days of Brannan – Day 30  

(The EVE of Jay’s San Francisco Concert @ Bottom of the Hill!!!)


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So I was going to find something deep and moving from Jay’s catalog. That was the plan. That’s what I had envisioned when I started this back on July 1st. I would credit Jay with his deeply evocative lyrics, his lovely, dark prose, his haunting melodies and incredibly layered musical compositions.

That’s what I thought I’d do…

BUT I CAN’T! I am fucking over the damned moon that at the time I am writing this tomorrow, I’ll be watching Jay himself spin the magic that his fans have come to expect, that frequently comment on his youtube channel about how much they love what he does. Fans just as dedicated and just as fervent as I am. Hell, even my granddaughter competes with me on that score. Some days I think she wins. Some days… certainly not every day.

Jay’s a fixture in this house. In my car, on my iPod – he keeps company with other out gay artists and classical geniuses that are part of my repertoire. Brannan is next to Borodin and Bach. Housewife is right along side É Lucevan Le Stelle by Jose Cura.  In my world he has the same place as Amadeus, as that other gay artist that his held in very high regard in my mind – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. To my way of thinking, when you consider the times of these two geniuses (yes, I consider Jay’s prose to be deep and emotive enough that I give it that status – he speaks to the same fears and the same hopes and dashed dreams that I went through many years before he was even born – somehow his existence in many respects mirrored my own – so yeah, he gets a FUCKING genius status in my book – period.)

So Jay and Pyotr are equivalent – very different in their approach and scope of their work, but given Pyotr’s love of pretty boys – Jay would certainly have garnered his interest if he was around these days. So yeah, I think even Tchaikovsky might’ve been a Daddy admirer of Jay were he in the here and now.

But that’s beside the point right now. For me, I want to celebrate the musical joy and brilliance that is Brannan’s work. So for that, no deep evocative and emotive piece. No, instead, I’m just letting Jay dance his hot gayboy body all over the damned place.

Seriously, some boy better grab that soon – were I only 25 years younger… and unattached and not have a family of my own and… yeah. Okay. That was a lost cause even before I began that sentence. But that doesn’t mean someone else can’t snag that – I mean c’mon boys – what’s not to love there?

Anyway, enjoy Jay doing what he ALSO does best – shake his money makin’ body all over the damned place.

I can’t wait for tomorrow night. It simply can’t come soon enough – though when it does, I am sure it will all seem like a dream, one that I won’t want to end. It’s about as fan girl as I can get at my age. I’m good with that. Jay’s work is certainly worthy of this kind of adoration and fandom. Your work touches my past, even though we’ve never met, it gives me a journey of my own. My foray into writing my own works, of creating my own worlds – and for that I am grateful for that creative nudge.





The Always, Then & Now Tour…

Please check out his site with links for his upcoming shows. I am definitely a late comer to the Brannan bandwagon whenever he pulls through my city. But now that I am going this year, I am making it a goal never to miss when he swings through town. I hope you take advantage of the opportunity as well. Also be sure to check out his web store at the following link.

Jay's Website -
Jay’s Website –







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