Michael Rumsey

Those moments …

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…”

Vladislav Slavskiy

Vladislav Slavskiy

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.

Selma.

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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.

To Russia With Love

To Russia With Love

 

 

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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.

Moments.

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 …

SA C

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Quick! The Stork Done Took My Baby!

Quick! The Stork Done Took My Baby!

 

Okay, not really freaking out too much here. I mean, there was no stork, even if there was a baby (of sorts).

What happened was, I bit the bullet. I grinned and bear(ed) it. I took a leap of faith…

I published my first work.

The book is out in the world now. Hall-le-fucking-lu-jah!

The book is out in the world now. Hall-le-fucking-lu-jah!

I’m happy with it. Even if it isn’t the type of work I normally do. Part of me was concerned with that — perceptions and all. You see this work is a silly piece of fluff. Well, not silly, more sentimental and erotically charged. And while I am not about censorship when it comes to gay men and our sexuality, it is rather strange that I have a very sexual book out there that my mother can read!

Okay, I should stop worrying about that. I am gonna write what I’m gonna write. It is what it is. Right?

Yeah, well, I ain’t so sure now. Only because the next work I am putting out there is the important one. It’s the series that I feel the strongest about.

Hank and my boys of West Virginia are great. I love them and they’ve given me a spark of interest in writing about werewolves that I didn’t know I had. I sort of love my furry beastie guys. And Hank’s a rather pretty boy in their midst. I mean, the picture I have of him as an inspiration says nothing but pretty (if decidedly, beefy) boy.

 

Inspiration for Hank O'Malley in my story

Inspiration for Hank O’Malley in my story

Oh, that ain’t the only picture of him, neither (as he’d no doubt say):

Another of Hank O'Malley - tough luck lookin' like that, huh?

Another of Hank O’Malley – tough luck lookin’ like that, huh?

So yeah, pretty and beefy. Just look at them arms and them pecs, will ya? And I am not so much for blond guys – but, uh, yeah. He’d do — no kicking to the curb with that purdy boy! #jussayin

And Hank’s a lovely boy to write about. He’s caring, un-obsessed with his own good looks, genial and easy to get along with. Completely unassuming. And who’da thunk he’d be in the middle of a werewolf war that was about to break loose? Or that his mama and closest thing to a grandma he’s got are a pair of powerful witches? I know he sure didn’t.

Hank and his boys are near and dear to my heart. Which was sort of a revelation. I mean, as an author, you are deeply involved with your characters and your worlds that you create. That’s fairly a given — unless your completely dispassionate about the work then, why bother? But even if you are deeply in bed with them, it doesn’t always mean you have to like them much.

But with Hank, Riley, Tanner, Mike, Toby, Darby, Dylan, Maynard, and Spike – I am really already rooting for these boys to triumph over the likes of Cade Bowen/Talbot.

Don’t know who he is?

Yeah, well, go pick up the book, dammit!

And I’d like once again to thank Steve Grand for providing the emotive inspiration for my gay werewolves of Sparrows Hollow, West VA.

Country Crooner Steve Grand in all of his bloody manly redness...

Country Crooner Steve Grand in all of his bloody manly redness…

In a very real way, they’ve already been turning the creative wheel on the next part of their adventure. Trouble is, I’ve got a crap load of new stuff to churn out in the other series that I am just dying to get out there: Angels of Mercy.

Angels of Mercy - Volume 1: Elliot

Angels of Mercy – Volume 1: Elliot

It’s interesting because I am still not about the sales. In a very weird way though, I want to know what other’s think of my work. I know there’ll be some who bash it all to hell. There’s haters out there who do nothing but trash talk every damned thing that’s out there.

It’s just the way ’tis, thassall. <– As Hank would say.

There isn’t much that I want to censor from my work. I am so not a prude when it comes to sex. It doesn’t make my work erotic in nature because of this (though I do admit that the Sparrow’s Hollow series is deeply tinged with eroticism). Usually when sex enters my books it is because it is a part of the natural order of life. Whether it would be to have a family or simply for the pleasure of it all. I rail at those who get all uppity about it. The duality of not wanting to read about it and yet it is a very intrinsic part of life. I mean, we all got here because our parents fucked. Let’s be honest about it and pony up and embrace that everyone does it to a degree (not intending to take away anything from those who are asexual – that’s their gig and hey, I’m happy for them if they’re content to be so). I can’t though.

Sex is important. It is a vital part of why we pony up to the relationship table, right?

My works will reflect that. My Feigr story is predicated on that. Sex is power to them, a means of manipulating and rewriting genetic code. They are very fearsome creatures who use our desire as a means to an end. Allure has a very dangerous connotation when it comes to my Norse infused Fae.

So yeah, one of my baby’s has done flown the coup. It’s just as well. I gotta make room for the next part of their tale (it’s already brewing in my head).  Hank and the boys are waiting with baited breath for me to finish out my Angels (volumes 1 and 2 – that I plan to release simultaneously in the first quarter of this month). Volume 1: Elliot is already in the can (as it were). Marco (volume 2) is near completion. I think I’ll be ready by March at the latest. In a real way that’s a good thing I guess. It means, I can prep the Angel series for a proper send off. Hit the blog tour stuff and get the word out there.

Angels of Mercy - Volume 2: Marco

Angels of Mercy – Volume 2: Marco

Who knows? With a little luck, I just might have something here.

And the literary nest will never be empty. No, I think that as I take my last breath on this Earth (hopefully many, many moons from now) my last thought will be: shit, they’ll never know how that ended now.

The life of a writer, I suppose. A lonely craft it is.

Still, I can’t think of what else I’d like to do more.

Until next time… 
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Goodbye to 2014 and here’s to a great 2015 …

Best Wishes in #2015 and what I learned from this past year…

 

“…and I count the times I have forgotten to say, THANK YOU. And just how much, I love them…”

 

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So a quick post about where I am after this whole writing endeavor of mine that I plunged headlong into without really thinking about it all.

So what did I learn?

Quite a lot, actually.

I learned that writing is a very quiet, lonely (save for some really great discussions about the craft with my hubby and some writing pals and my betas) business. I sort of knew that, but really didn’t understand the full breadth of it all.

I learned that writing a novel, no matter the actual size, is a very cathartic craft and really does take it out of you emotionally as well as physically (just the sitting for hours on end can be a bit grueling).

But I’ve also learned to listen to others. To truly try to understand where they were coming from (even if I didn’t wholly agree with their positions). I learned that after all these years I still crave to hear what my gay brothers (and sisters) have to say about our lives – even if I feel we have quite a way to go in creating a real and lasting community amongst us.

I’ve conversed (over my social media) with some really amazingly creative people in all facets of their various occupations and social lives. I was heartened to discover that the experiences I’d amassed in my life regarding my sexuality and my perceptions about it weren’t dirty or wrong (I never really thought they were – just that everyone in the mainstream seems to have a bug up their ass about it). In taking a Human Sexuality course this past few months really gave me an appreciation about sex and humans that made it all very real and personal for me.

I’ve liked my on-going conversations with sex workers (like Rocco Steele, Boomer Banks, Tayte Hanson, Colby Keller, Levi Michaels and Armond Rizzo, to name a few) who have been kind enough to respond to my little tweets to them about the work they do and the other things that interest them outside of the porn business. I really am fascinated with all they do – beyond their current incarnations as porn stars. They are truly some amazing individuals and I am heartened to see how truly brilliant they are in how courageously they live their lives.

 

Colby Keller and all of his auburn glory

Colby Keller and all of his auburn glory

 

 

Rocco Steele and Boomer Banks -  two men who's lives are very fascinating...They inspire me too.

Rocco Steele and Boomer Banks – two men who’s lives are very fascinating…They inspire me too.

 

I am emboldened that the few who have previewed my current work (I haven’t published anything yet – though they’re all going to hit early in 2015) have said that I really have something with Angels of Mercy. That’s been the most rewarding thing of all this past year.

The FINAL - FINAL version of the book cover for "Angels of Mercy - Volume One: Elliot"

The FINAL – FINAL version of the book cover for “Angels of Mercy – Volume One: Elliot”

 

For my wolves of Sparrows Hollow – A BIG THANK YOU – ’cause you’re gonna be my very first release to the world in 2015!

 

The reworked and final image for the first of my HOMO series of gay werewolves set in 1956 West Virginia.

The reworked and final image for the first of my HOMO series of gay werewolves set in 1956 West Virginia.

 

I like that my musical muses – Steve Grand and Jay Brannan have been kind enough to exchange and, in their own way, encourage me to reach for my own stars. It makes my devotion to their craft and their art that much more special and personal. These men, these brilliant writers, inspire me each and every day in the things they do.

Grand fanboy here and proud of it! #teamproud #teamgrandfam

Grand fanboy here and proud of it! #teamproud #teamgrandfam

 

 

jay_brannan_new_album

Jay Brannan’s new album – released  July 2014.

To all of my newly formed author pals I’ve come to know and interact with, I am heartened and enriched by our exchange. A special shout out to Jayne Lockwood and Brad Vance for being the great people you are. Thank you.

To my family and friends – you still teach me so much and I am looking forward to knowing what you have in store for me next year. To Michael Rumsey, Matthew Gallien, Vincent Mazza, Patricia Hamilton and the hubby JL. To Zorro and Katya (my two brilliantly smart, and infectiously lovable cats). To Matt Rayne and L.a. Le – two crazy cats in my FB life… I look forward to what you’ve got in store for me next year!

To Keely and Whitney – the girls in my life and the family I cherish.

And lastly, to my cast of characters in my works. Thank you. Even if you aren’t real except in my mind and heart, you mean the world to me because you’re mine. Of my heart, of my mind, of my flesh and blood and tears (there’s been a little of each to create them all).

So I’ll close this first year in the chapter of my writing career and be thankful for what I have and what I know I have yet to do. It’s a lonely craft, this writing thing is, but I can’t think of anything else I want to do.

So in these final hours – I’ll leave you with a simple song that from the time I heard it as a boy it affected me so. It is from the Carpenters – who were my absolute love when I was a boy. Karen’s voice still gives me the chills every time I hear her. I miss her creativity so.

Cheers!

And for any nay-sayers this next year – yeah I got only one thing to tell ya…

 

In the heat of the moment this made total sense...

Haters be warned…

 

ADDENDA –

Boomer and Rocco both were quick to respond to my NYE tweets – proving yet again, what lovely men they are! LOVE THESE GUYS!

 

Feelin' the love... guys who appreciate their fandom.

Feelin’ the love… guys who appreciate their fandom.

 

 

Boomer being his witty and charming self...

Boomer being his witty and charming self…

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