FIVE STAR review of ANGELS OF MERCY – VOLUME 2: MARCO.
Thanks to Paul Gay Berry from GayMediaReviews for the lovely words and the opportunity to share it with the readership out there! #Humbled #DoingTheHappyDance !!
BIG GIVEAWAY WITH THIS ONE – There’s an opportunity to win the entire series (all 6 books when completed) and a $25 Amazon GC! GO check it out!
Those moments …
“There are moments you remember all your life. There are moments you wait for and dream of all your life. This is one of those moments…”
While that line is from a song in Yentl, it covers what’s been going on lately for me. I know it’s been a while since I’ve been in the blog chair. It’s something I find that I can’t do – just blog for the sake of blogging. I have to want to say something. This one took me a while to gestate and finally take shape.
Thinking back on it though, I don’t think it was because I didn’t know what I wanted to say. But because it was about those moments that are sort of milestones in your life (that sometimes come and go so quickly you scarce sense that they have any real meaning until you reflect upon them much later). I think that I knew I was going to write about them but it seemed the universe wanted me to wait a bit. It seemed that it had moments for me that I needed to observe. Things I needed to take stock of that were milestone moments. To quite simply not be in such a rush to produce.
As a writer, I am purely an artist. I don’t give a damn about whether my story is at the top of the best seller list. I wouldn’t mind it, but it’s not requisite. I’ll publish regardless. At some point I watched as my author friends publish with established boutique houses and think wow. Not because I begrudged them their success at getting a story sold. I am quite happy for them. But it was a moment where I realized I can’t compromise my voice. The stories I write must be what they are. If it means a real slow burn to find readers, well, so be it. I will persevere and write what I want to write. Uncompromising in tone and measure. No punches pulled, as they say. Well, as I say, really.
So yeah, moments.
And some may not have to do with my writing at all. I had one such moment with my granddaughter a week ago.
It was a random movie night at home. Just the grandpa’s and her. Mom was out on a date. What did the granddaughter choose? Some mindless chick flick? Some bombastic super hero or sci fi romp? No.
[embedplusvideo height=”255″ width=”400″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1VoTYWp” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/x6t7vVTxaic?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=x6t7vVTxaic&width=400&height=255&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep2910″ /]
That was her choice. And I couldn’t have been more proud or pleased with her. So was my husband. So we sat and watched it. It was one of those moments where I watched her as much as I watched the movie. I watched the idyllic world she had as a child fall away as she realized the horrors that people can put upon one another. In a very real way, it was a sad moment. The veil was lifted. She saw the worst in humanity (well, the worst she’s witnessed so far).
It was a moment.
Loss of childhood innocence. A reckoning that had been long in coming, when you realize for the first time the world is not the safe place you thought it was as a child.
Definitely a moment. And she chose it.
The next moment? Another movie (sensing a theme here?):
To Russia With Love.
[embedplusvideo height=”255″ width=”400″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1VoTTC5″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/3Se4mAwHxOk?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=3Se4mAwHxOk&width=400&height=255&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep4769″ /]
No, not the James Bond flick of old – that’s FROM Russia With Love.
In this amazing documentary (produced by out athlete, Johnny Weir – amongst others) we encounter Vladislav Slavskiy. His story is emblematic of what our queer Russian brothers and sisters are suffering in that country. His story broke my heart. It also gave me hope. It was a revelatory moment. Why? Because I’ve always wanted to do something for them back in Russia, but my fear was that any communication from the west might make things worse for them. But Vlad’s story does have a happy ending – probably unique when it comes to our queer Russian brothers and sisters. Why was this a “moment”?
Well, because I became Facebook friends with him. I asked and he accepted. I was overjoyed at the prospect of interacting with him. I made a connection. It was just before his birthday. On that day I wished him a happy birthday and thanked him for being my new friend. He liked the post. It was a small accomplishment, but I was happy.
So about a week ago, I finally worked up the courage to ask him if he would come onto the podcast to tell his story to our listeners. Amazingly, he said yes.
A DEFINITE MOMENT. A MILESTONE. One that said loudly – Don’t fuck this up, Baz! This is a gift.
So we record that special ep tomorrow. For the first time in my life, I am nervous. I’ve performed in front of thousands on the stage and not batted an eye or had so much as one simple butterfly roaming around in my stomach. But speaking with Vlad; trying to relate his story? Yeah, I got a whole bag full of butterflies going on in there.
I want to get this right for so many reasons. None the least of which, that my granddaughter watched the movie with me and is just as excited about my talking to Vlad as I am. So yeah, young ears are listening to what I am about to do. Definite responsibility. She’s listening. She’s watching grandpa step into a very important place to help someone tell their story. And she’s a questioning queer youth – so it’s doubly important that I get it right.
When I met my very first fan (beyond my family, that is) – Michael Rumsey. You brilliant and loyal man, you!
Like the moment I met Jayne Lockwood and Vance Bastian. Two people I love immensely and can’t get enough of. They’re like a drug I don’t ever want an intervention for. They were definite moments. Milestones. The podcast is a testament to that.
Like the moment last Friday when I got to circle back with Jay Brannan at his concert here in San Francisco and thank him personally for allowing me to quote his works in my book – Angels of Mercy (I am still reeling over that generosity). He remembered the book when I spoke to him after the concert. He was so generous with his time and his attentions about my works. But that’s Jay. He gets the self-promotion – even when I know all he wants to do is go to sleep and rest. But it was a moment of accomplishment that I could provide him with a copy of the finished work. Another moment. One I’ll cherish.
I plan to get back into the blogging chair more. It’s been a while. I need to do this. Not everyday. I don’t want to ramble on about stuff that really doesn’t have much meaning. I’d rather do it when it counts.
Until next time …
Words and Errata –
The Vocal Edition (Episode 004)
So here’s the thing – I am writing quite a bit in my stories (and yeah, that’s plural because I am hitting up four of them simultaneously). So those are moving along. I am hopefully on target for an August release of Angels of Mercy Volume 2 – Marco. The weres of Sparrows Hollow should be out shortly thereafter and I am jumping for joy on The Cove Chronicles getting some much needed love and attention. So that one has been updated a bit too.
Now, I just have to sort out the time so I can POST the damned updates to the site.
Which brings me to the whole – it’s tough to be an author in this day and age. I mean, it’s great and all that we can control our own destiny (if you’re so inclined to take it on as I have). But at the same time there’s so much you have to pour into it to make it worth your while monetarily speaking. And there’s the rub for me because I am gonna write what I want to write. I am not looking for what’s selling – I frankly don’t care what’s HOT right now. I am more about the craft of writing and perfecting my art in writing. I will write the stories that interest me and that I would want to read. That’s not to say that others might find them interesting and think what I am doing is cool… and that would be fab.
But it’s not the focus. Not by a bloody long shot.
So I just posted another audio blog of Words and Errata on Soundcloud. They’re sort of our way (the hosts of the 3 M/Musketeers podcast show) to put down our after thoughts and takeaways from the shows we’ve done with these guest authors. I did go off bit when I bring up a current issue that I saw happened to another author in the genre. Seems she was taken to task over a books she wrote about a couple in an open relationship. They had a threesome – (BIG GASP! The HORROR!).
Fucking get over yourselves, readers. Jesus, this shit happens. How do I know this? Because I was in an open relationship for a number of years. It is a part of gay men’s lives. While we may be striving for marriage equality, the opponents do have one element right – procreation is NOT the focus of our relationships. Sex for us is strictly PLEASURE. We write our own rules – which I guess is why so many on the opposition are cranky – ’cause we say that from the get-go. No mincing words there. We’re outliers that want a place at the table – get used to our shit.
So, yeah, kids aren’t the focus. But they could be.
Which, in a very real way can only be a good thing, BECAUSE, then it means that when we do have kids, it is with some very serious thought behind it all. We make a very conscious and concerted effort to have them in our lives. BUT they are not the focus for many of us.
Let’s get one thing straight (our straight women allies) if you want to read/write about us – get to know us first. And I mean that in the real sense of it – not the “oh, my gay friends are so funny and cool.” I mean really get to know our shit and what makes us tick. I can tell ya, it ain’t nothing like them books out there. And as a reader, I’d much rather hear about those other guys than the hyped up romance stuff that’s out there. I feel really strongly about this. Romance reads by and large are fantasy – I get that. And they are largely forgettable. Yet I contend that quite a bit of realism injected into them would only enhance these stories and make them far more powerful than they currently are.
I read reviews where they go on and on about how powerful the storytelling was – I read the damned thing with great hope that I’ll be wowed by this only to be completely disappointed time and again. It’s pathetic, is what it is.
SO, howzabout this? Rather than pushing your myopic view on what kind of relationships GAY MEN have, let the author tell you the story THEY want to write and tell? Threesomes, moresomes and FUCKING ORGIES and still be in a REAL romantic relationship that isn’t beholden to some fucked up Judeo-Christian ethic that isn’t applicable to our gang (unless we want it to be – choice, it’s a beautiful thing). Who knows? You just might learn a fucking thing or two (if the author has done their homework) about who we are as GAY MEN (not some rose colored straight women glammed up bullshit that is nowhere NEAR what we are).
From the romance reads out there, those readers can’t be truly interested in actual gay men. Hell, for the most part from what thin plots are out there, they don’t seem to be interested in who MEN are at all… just some idolized 2 dimensional caricature of what might be passed off as a man only because he’s got a cock n’ balls and wants to put his cock n’ balls next to some other guys cock n’ balls. Propped up beefcake, much? Sistah, that’s only the beginning. We’re a helluva lot more than that.
And no, lap dances by male strippers at a convention/conference isn’t gonna get ya there neither (yeah, I saw that posted somewhere at a “Gay Writers Conference” and went – how the FUCK is this gay? Women with male strippers – what the bloody fuck? Shouldn’t it at least have been MALE authors up there with the MALE strippers thus underscoring the whole – oh I dunno, GAY thing?).
Men in these works are often written superficially and paper thin. Not even close to how we move through life.
As I tell my girls often enough (daughter and GRAND-daughter in my house), I may be gay, but I KNOW my sex.
So yeah, it’s a bit of a rant on that audio blog posting. I would apologize for it – nah, who am I kidding, I won’t.
As Gore Vidal said – style means saying what you want and not giving a damn.
That’s my motto and I’m sticking to it.
Topics on hand this episode:
1) The Podcast so far…
2) Queer Youth
3) Tchaikovsky 2015 Competition (Started in 1958)
Van Clyburn, Daniil Trifanov, 13yo Violinist (youth competition) – Gregory Ibatulin
4) St. Petersburg, Russia and Tchaikovsky – Russia and gay culture
5) Gay Men’s Lives and Literature – The missing connection – Downer Books of the 80’s and 90’s (not the whole story)
Threesomes and Moresomes – censoring our lives – WTF?
6) Queer Stories in Media (TV/Film and Stage)
7) Growing up with threads of Pride – John Rechy and Gordon Merrick and the Pride Parade
8) Writing “Clamath Boy” and the risks involved in an autobiography
9) What’s ahead on the Podcast … Angel Martinez! Woot!
In the blog posting on Soundcloud, I do mention the Tchaikovsky competition that is going on now in Russia. I said I’d post some links to the competition (which only happens every four years). If you love classical music this is a competition that is NOT to be missed.
[embedplusvideo height=”255″ width=”400″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1Bf17lB” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/lfanuR3PGkY?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=lfanuR3PGkY&width=400&height=255&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep2222″ /]
Daniil Trifonov Interview
[embedplusvideo height=”255″ width=”400″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1Bf1xrZ” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/AAu6BRWL8p8?fs=1&vq=hd720″ vars=”ytid=AAu6BRWL8p8&width=400&height=255&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=1&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep4785″ /]
Daniil Trifonov in Concert – Daniil Trifonov, Zubin Mehta – Rachmaninov, Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini
Until Next Time …
3 M/Musketeers Podcast –
Ep002 – It’s Like Chocolate
So our second episode is up and boy is it bang on brilliant! Brad Vance stopped by and we had a real blast talking about his works and what it was like for him coming up in the industry. Brad was a very engaging guest author/host and we were so lucky that he said yes when we asked him to come on and share his experiences with all of its successes and stumbles along the way.
We laughed, we ranted, we poked at each other – but mostly we laughed. A LOT!
Come take a listen to what the fun was all about!
If you’re an author and would like to come onto our show and discuss your works, we’d love to have you! Just follow this link, and fill out the form and we’ll take care of all the rest to get you scheduled.
If you’re a reader of Gay Lit Fic (in all of its permutations and sub-genres) then by all means sign up as well. It’s a great way to interact with the authors and to present a readers perspective on the genre you love to read so much!
All for fun and fun for all – that’s our motto! Come join in on the fun!
Until next time …
Words and Errata – The Vocal Edition Ep 002
So episode two of the Words and Errata blog (the audio edition) are up on SoundCloud now.
And it’s rather an interesting thing to post these. I’ve always been a talker – getting up in front of people and yapping hasn’t ever been an issue for me. Doesn’t matter the size of the house either. I’ve performed in very large houses. That part isn’t an issue. What is weird for me is that I seem to be of two minds on this whole audio thing. I mean, I love that I am just talking and riffing on topics that are running around in my head – a snapshot capture of a moment in time. Yet, it is still somehow permanent as a piece of my personal history that is out in the digital ether now. Forever committed.
You see, I come from an era where we didn’t do that sort of thing. It was still fresh in everyone else’s minds what having too much information out there about yourself can give over too much power in your life. There was a reason to play things close to your chest. I am not so convinced you can do that anymore.
So today’s ramble is a mental wandering over topics related to the second 3 M/Musketeers Podcast that I am a co-host on that show. We had our first guest author – noted Gay Romance/Erotica writer – BRAD VANCE. I’ve known Brad for a few years now and he’s always been such a gem of a guy to correspond with, and it was truly lovely to hear his voice and interact with him.
If you’ve not read any of his works then I highly recommend that you do. While I discuss Given the Circumstance by him, any of his books are worth buying and reading.
So what am I rambling on this time around?
In this week’s mental musings (after we’ve recorded our FIRST guest author podcast!!)-
1) Episode thoughts with guest author – Brad Vance
2) The referendum in Ireland (wrap up and thoughts)
3) Audioblogging vs written blogs
4) Writing in general (periods of no writing)
5) The business side of writing
6) Successful writing
7) Influences (John Rechy and Gordon Merrick)
8) Alone in a sea of support
9) My semi-autobiography (pits and pratfalls) Boyhood of a Contrarian Nature
10) Gay men as an outlier (the advantage of being so)
I also look forward to Brandon Witt who is on deck for the next episode. Can’t wait to get to that discussion as it promises to be a great one!
So May 29th, Brad Vance will hit the podcast waves. Keep an eye out for it and subscribe via SoundCloud or iTunes.
Until Next Time…