Monday, October 29, 2012

Early Literary Influences-A Guest Post by S.A. Garcia

After taking a brief break for GayRomLit and a few other sidetracks, I'm back today with Early Literary Influences. Today's post is by S.A. Garcia, who has heartfelt sentiment to share about books that meant a lot to her at an early age. 

Take it away, S.A. 


I need to write about Gordon Merrick and the brave writers who made me feel like less of a freak. That might sound odd, but big revelations really impact a teenager’s mind. Many years ago, well, thirty-four years, to be exact, I discovered Gordon Merrick’s novels, which taught me plenty about gay male sexuality. His books revealed to me that explicit romances about gay males were actually being published.

Talk about a huge revelation!

Merrick’s novel “The Quirk” introduced me to his writing. I remember peeking at the novel in the bookstore and almost screaming in delight. Books like this were being written? I felt like I broke through a wall into a wonderful new world. I feared the cashier would snatch the book from my hand and kick me out of the store. Instead she took my money and handed me the bag.

I floated out, mind awhirl in glory.

Let me back track a bit. Before I discovered Gordon Merrick, I read a wide range of novels. Historical romance (including bodice-rippers), sci-fi, fantasy, horror— I read pretty much everything aside from contemporary fiction. This aversion heavily influenced me when I started writing my stories. Face it, I didn’t care what happened in the real world. I lived in it and like your average shy, bright geek, didn’t find much to like about the world aside from my geeky friends and my loving family. At least my parents accepted their weird daughter. They didn’t care when I hid in the finished basement creating fantasy art or sat on the back porch scribbling stories in my notebooks. They never viewed me as rebellious or odd. Little did they know!

I started writing what I’ll call slash at around age fifteen. I didn’t know what I wrote had a name! Why did I write about men in love? I still haven’t figured out the real reason. I’ve pondered over ideas about not accepting my own sexuality and compensating how I felt about women by writing about men, but that could all be a load of nonsense. More likely I just loved the idea of guys conducting a passionate romance. Wait, how’s this theory: as a fledgling lesbian, perhaps I wanted to desexualize men by placing them with each other.

Okay, go ahead, laugh. I would have made one helluva lousy psychoanalyst.

Time to steer back into the pavement. This detour is too bumpy. After I discovered Gordon Merrick, I purchased the Peter and Charlie trilogy. At least those books had a happy for now ending. Then I encountered “The Lord Won’t Mind”, a tearjerker of a book I still can’t read without crying a river. Then again I still cry when Frosty the Snowman melts or when the Velveteen Rabbit awaits the bonfire. Damn, I’m tearing up just thinking about that story.

Give me a minute here. *sniff*

Amazing how the Velveteen Rabbit still triggers my tears. There’s a future post!

I need to move along before something else sets me off. For the most part, Merrick did not write gay HEA. I’m not a critical student of his work, just a reader, but he often had the attitude that gay men didn’t deserve a happy ending. I can forgive him for that because he at least assured me people wrote passionate, flamboyant romances about gay men.

Then I discovered John Rechy. Damn, what a different perspective. Rechy wrote about rough and tumble sex, of drag queens, of a hard reality that didn’t jive with Merrick’s romances featuring handsome men in tragic love. “City of Night”, “The Sexual Outlaw”, “Numbers”— what eye opening books for a suburban geek. These books stripped the gay male experience down to raw, hard passion and desperation.

Larry Kramer's “Faggots” turned out to be a mix of the two authors. When I read it, I didn’t know what a fuss it created in the world of literature. I remember the story depressing me.

There I was reading and scribbling, creating a mix of fantasy and contemporary for my own private pleasure.

Until AIDS really started ravaging the community. I can point to this as when I stopped writing any contemporary stories. In the mid 1980’s, the concept of AIDS defeated my modern day romances. Writing fantasy allowed me to ignore the tragedy. I played the writing ostrich.

Odd how I never wrapped my head around the problem until this week. In the late 1980’s I did write a story where one man tried to kill himself. The character feared he had infected his lover because he had been deliberately raped by an insane AIDS-infected ex-lover. The story reached a point where the abused character was wheelchair bound after his suicide attempt. He was recovering. I never finished the story. Those poor characters, stuck in limbo.

I wanted my romances to take place in Gordon Merrick’s non-AIDS world, where everyone was handsome and tragic. Odd how Merrick killed off people due to heartrending love or a need to sacrifice.

Brutal reality killed off gay men despite anyone’s effort.

Which leads me to me finally writing my first contemporary intended for publication, “Cupid Knows Best”. I followed the rules. When my men met in bed for the first time, they performed the safety ritual.

I am determined for them to have a happy ending. Sorry, Gordon, my guys deserve HEA. No matter; thank you for opening up a whole new world to the shy geek girl who thought she dwelled alone in her gay romance world.

Sounds like a great place to introduce readers to Carl and Marcelino from “Cupid Knows Best.”


When it comes to his professional life, photographer Carl Conrad is at the top of his game. He molds impressionable minds at university by day and jets off to Paris for gallery showings on long weekends. Unfortunately, he pays for it with his disastrous personal life: Carl kicked his boyfriend to the curb after one too many punches, so now it's just him and his hamsters, one of which he suspects may be a space alien.

Then Cupid takes pity on Carl and hits him where it hurts. It takes Carl all of three seconds to fall head over heels in lust with set design student Marcelino Moya, despite the man’s questionable—okay, deplorable—fashion sense. Convincing Marcelino to give him a chance is the hard part, but Carl is up for the challenge, pun definitely intended.

Marcelino plays hard to get, but he isn't immune to Carl's charms. Carl talks him around to dinner, dating, and eventually moving in. There's just one tiny word standing between Carl and perfect happiness. Why won't Marcelino say it?


Wow, quite an eager crowd gathered outside Manny’s battered brick exterior. I politely weaseled my way toward the front and wagged my fingers in greeting. Bernie, the six-foot-eight bouncer, gave me his usual bone-splitting hug. I never told him that each hug tried snapping my ribs. The confession made me sound like a dainty wimp.
“Yo, Carl, my man, it’s been too long. I heard about you finally ditching Martin. Let me warn you, he slithered in here two nights ago. I almost denied him entrance, but he acted pretty tame.”
An agonized groan slipped out. I shook my head. “My ex is the proverbial bad seed. Big boy, if Martin attacks me tonight, I’ll count on you to save me.”
“Shhiiittt, like you need saving, buff boy.” Bernie’s massive coffee-toned hands gripped my biceps. “More like I’ll need to pick up Martin’s teeth before I toss his sorry ass out the door. My hands tell me someone works out on a regular basis. See, Carl, you gotta learn to throw the first punch.”
“What can I say, I’m a dedicated pacifist.” I winked at Bernie’s laughter and entered the dense noise and body-filled atmosphere. Tonight the club appeared packed, beyond packed, infinitely packed to the max. Of course that was the point; a body wanted to dance as close as possible to the sweet target of its aching desire. Forget cheek-to-cheek; tight dick-to-dick action ruled this mayhem.
Bernie’s lover, Rasheed, towered over everyone else at the bar. He monitored the sweaty action while slipping drinks to his favorites. The ex-football player-turned-club owner acted like a trusting kitty, but if a patron broke Rasheed’s strict rules, he turned into a tiger displaying honeydew melon-sized paws. Rasheed liked this artsy-fartsy flake because I appreciated arguing about old movies. Over the years I had turned into the classic patron who dropped in on bleak February weeknights for the company, most recently when Martin had traveled on business. My paranoia sickened me, but too often I suspected Martin’s business involved other men.
My self-censor bitch slapped my dismal thoughts. Not tonight. Absolutely not. Tonight I needed to relax and enjoy the pretty young scenery dancing in communal bliss.
Murmuring “excuse me” while pushing forward helped me wade through the masculine mass. I maneuvered until I caught my friend’s interest. Rasheed laughed in greeting and held out his ridiculously large hand. The two slender men blocking the bar hastily cleared away from the imposing thick arm jutting past their startled ears.
Rasheed merrily gripped my hand and half dragged my body onto the damp bar top. Ouch, ouch, ouch! “Carl C, here you stand, back among the living, yes sir, no longer tied down to the psycho nut named Martin.”
Weird, what newspaper ad had trumpeted my newly single status? “Hello to you, Rasheed.”
Rasheed’s sharp gaze ran over me. He whistled in approval. “Mmm, yeah, lookin’ fine, Carl, lookin’ like you expect a little prime action tonight.”
My ego wiggled in glee, but I shrugged off his words. “Naw, I’m here to watch.”
My reply received a mocking snort. “What an old spoilsport. Yo, the usual?”
I nodded and held up my pointer finger. “In celebration of the new semester, please make my drink a double.”
Rasheed rolled his jet-black eyes. “Sweet hot celebration indeed. Sleek young boy flesh crowds in here. Hmmph, tonight my sappy Bernie let in a few too many youngsters. He’s always a softy when school first starts. I can’t wait until he becomes picky about his prize boys and stops setting me up for a major bust.”
“Come on, you think the police would bust a former football star?”
“Yes, I do.”
I shrugged in dismay. “What the fuck is this world coming to?”
“Damned if I know!”
We shared a laugh. I twisted around to observe the crowded dance floor.
Hubba-hubba on high, my internal lens soared into action: click, whir, and cue telephoto zoom to hot wet nirvana. What a shocker.
No way. Lust soared into red alert and tried strangling me. No shit, I saw, I saw. Ouch, I didn’t need a heart attack. Falling to the floor wouldn’t help Cupid’s wacky plan, although with this packed crowd, I’d remain standing even when dead.
Sheer joyous amazement stiffened my cock. Across the packed dance floor, up on a little platform, a delicious young blond gyrated against Marcelino. I watched their dance in rapt admiration. Blondie artfully shook his long flowing hair. Tasty. Ha, ha, enjoy my Marcelino now, sweet blondie, because in a few minutes, you are being replaced. I knew exactly what I planned to say. I had pulled the same stunt when I wanted to meet Martin. Of course now I wished that someone had stopped me. A wise soul should have nailed my damned feet to the floor. The gruesome ache would have felt less painful than suffering Martin’s unexpected white-collar violence.
Come on, no more dwelling on Martin’s abuse. Not tonight. Instead I admired the glowing future swaying mere footsteps away from me. A broad smile claimed my lips. I accepted my drink from Rasheed and sipped the cool liquid. The potent alcohol warmed my belly and bolstered my courage. Ahh.
Gin and tonics reminded me of Ibiza’s wild beaches. During our yearly spring vacations, my first serious lover, Ian, had adored sitting on a tranquil terrace sipping gin and tonics while watching the frolicking beachgoers, which included a much younger me.
My sharp wince shook the lazy image from my mind. Great, not the time to bring another failed relationship into focus. Time for mental rescue. The potent drink barreled into my system. Blam: every nerve ending tingled in giddy release.
I winked at my friend and leaned across the drink-stained bar top. “Rasheed, my dear friend, I must withdraw my earlier words. I see my sweet destiny. I am off to claim him for my own.”
Rasheed shook his massive head  in measured amusement. “Carl, you be one crazy fuckin’ hippie dude. Your sweet destiny. Christ in a sparkly purple sidecar, you talk exactly like a lovesick little girl.”
His insult failed to defeat my merry grin. “Gee, thanks.” I slid my ass off the stool. Little girl status didn’t describe me, but Rasheed spoke the truth; damned lovesickness infected my soul.
Another real-time hallucination kicked in. My body swam through thick, loud water. I moved confidently like an old shark sliding among flashing bright young guppies. Closer, closer; somehow the lively crowd parted without me having to kick, punch, claw, or rip off any pretty heads from necks. They instinctively let me skim along. The happy dancers smelled my deep, feral need. Closer. Closer.
I paused for a second. I mindlessly allowed the tight, sweating bodies crowding my space to push me around in their sexy rhythm. Before I attacked, I needed to admire my glorious prey. Damn, tonight my erotic film star had dressed for wanton sex. His heroic body sported a simple black silk vest over a strategically ripped purple silk tank top. Dark flesh peeped through the rips. Skintight black linen trousers completed his outfit. Basic. Tasty. Yum, pleasing to see at least Marcelino understood how to dress for serious seduction. Why did he dance at Manny’s? My mind ticked off other gay dance clubs closer to where Marcelino lived.
Logical answer: sly Cupid had urged Marcelino across Manhattan to me. Oh yes indeed.
My admiring eyes narrowed in fresh focus. Under the sheer material, a thin silver chain traveled between two glittering silver rings attached to dark nipples. My fingers ached to pull the chain and stop his sweet sex train. Watch out, the hungry shark planned to derail the sexy express right into his waiting flippers.
This shark swam around the platform and floated up three steps. My fingers captured Blondie’s slim right arm. I leaned in close and whispered in his delicate pink ear. His golden hair almost filled my mouth. “Sir, the man you are dancing with is wanted by the police for questioning. I advise you to step away and let me take over.”
Blondie’s head twisted. His startled wide blue gaze fixed on me. What a tender cutie. He smelled good too, fresh and minty. If fair Marcelino acted as crazy as Martin, I’d keep this prime young hottie in mind.
No, if Marcelino acted crazy, I planned to become a sad monk, a dweller of the No Romantic Luck Brotherhood.
Blondie uttered breathy little words. “Oh my. Okay.” Poof, tender Blondie vanished like pale morning mist touched by the waking sun. Perfect.
A confused Marcelino already reacted to my sneaky backdoor appearance. “What the—Professor Conrad?”
I assumed the standard position before Marcelino and started swaying to the music. “In the flesh.” Hopefully soon to be buried in hot flesh.

S.A. Garcia’s info:
Dreamspinner Releases including Cupid Knows Best:
Silver Releases:

Facebook: Sandra Ann Garcia
Twitter: @SAGarcia_Writer

Thanks for reading and hugs to Eden for granting me a therapy session.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

GayRomLit 2012

It's been a few days, but I'm finally getting a chance to report on my experiences at GRL. First off, I'd like the thank the organizers for pulling off another stunning event. The Hard Rock Casino and Resort proved to be an amazing venue, providing unique experiences such as shopping in Old Town and a performance by native dancers.

I've spoken often enough of my dear friend and writing partner P.D. Singer, and also of Jared Rackler, the talented artist who creates my banners and my self-pubbed book covers. He designed my gorgeous logo, that will soon be a tattoo on my shoulder. Well, I had the priveledge of attending GRL with these two wonderful people. I'm thrilled that Jared enjoyed himself so much during his first GRL and, as hoped, his name is now out there as the fabulous graphic artist that he is. Yes, he's a cutie, but he's much more than a pretty face. He's one of the kindest, most sincere folks I've ever met, and wise beyond his years. P.D. is....well, I don't know where I'd be without her. This is someone you want at your back. Hugs to both of you.

Last year I upset myself terribly by forgetting to wear purple on Spirit Day. This year, not only did I pack two purple shirts, I added a purple butterfly to an existing tattoo, guaranteeing I'll always be wearing purple. 

Three other people accompanied me to the tattoo parlor. If you were at GRL, or watch my blog, you'll probably know who this new piece belongs to. Dang, what a great guy!

I met tons of wonderful folk, tooks tons of pics, but won't post all of them because I haven't asked permission. I also danced with what felt like half of them at the Gentlemen's Juke Joint event. Sadly, insomnia plagued me throughout the trip, forcing me to miss a few events in search of sleep. I did sit on the Amber Allure author panel, and did a book reading from Diversion. I'm thrilled at how well the audience responded.

On a personal note, several friends attended that I made secret wishes for. Without revealing too much, suffice it to say, they all recieved what I'd wished for them, and no, it's nothing gutter-worthy. P.D. winning a Kindle Fire put the icing on the cake.

                                                         Amber Allure authors panel.

My suitcase exploded on the trip out, and Marshall Thornton saved the day by having a car and driving me to WalMart to get a new one. He's such a sweetie. I also met up with good friends Barry Brennessell, Michael Murphy, Doug Starr, Z. Alorra, E.M. Lynley, and had morning coffee with Anel Viz. I got to hang around the likes of Angel Martinez, Clare London, Belinda McBride, Shae Connor, J.P. Barnaby (rocking an awesome leather corset!), Kate McMurray, and many, many more. And I finally got a chance to buy a drink for my lovely beta, Chris, from Stumbling Over Chaos. My camera ate half my pics, leaving me heartbroken. I was sure I had one of me and Chris! (Chris, P.D., do y'all have one?)

With Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach Reviews
Marshall Thornton playing knight in shining Ford to my damsel in distress moment. 
The amazing Elisa Rolle! Short story "Boy Under the Bridge" was based on a comment she made in her review of "The Wish."

Barry Brennessell, who I met at the 2012 Lambda Awards, and loved immediately.

If Michael Murphy isn't the sweetest guy on the planet, he ranks in the top five!

The readers were fabulous as always, and I've found that I'm a fangirl of several. Can readers have fans? You betcha!

If you've never attended a GRL, I suggest you make plans for next year in Atlanta. 
Tune in next time, when I talk swag!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Last Letter to a Son

I was on a plane flying to GayRomLit when a melody lodged itself in my brain. Lyrics came so hard and fast that I had to write them down before my head exploded. With nothing but a boarding pass to write on, I scrawled out this song in about eight minutes, and did very little touching up after the original creation. Something nearly unheard of for me.

October 19 is Spirit Day, when many folks wear purple to show their stand against bullying, show support for GLBT youth, and pay tribute to those young folks who, due to bullying, ended their lives. This is the story of a mother who never had the chance to show her support, because she didn't find out her son was gay until too late.

Last Letter to a Son

Why? Why couldn’t you tell me?
I love you anyway,
No matter what others say.
Why? Why’d you feel so all alone?
I keep thinking that you’ll just come home,
Don’t leave me this way.

You left your bed unmade,
Like you’d be coming back today,
A shirt is lying on the floor,
That you won’t wear no more.

I found a letter you wrote,
To someone that I didn’t know,
You told him that you love him so,
Until the end of time.

Why? Why couldn’t you tell me?
I love you anyway,
No matter what others say.
Why? Why’d you feel so all alone?
I keep thinking that you’ll just come home,
Don’t leave me this way.

When I found your phone,
Ugly words from your so-called friends,
The truth hit home,
Your pain had reached an end.

A kid who grew up next door,
Said you shouldn’t live no more,
Never listened to him before,
Why’d you do so now?

Why? Why couldn’t you tell me?
I love you anyway,
No matter what others say.
Why? Why’d you feel so all alone?
I keep thinking that you’ll just come home,
Don’t leave me this way.

Met the boy who wears your ring,
Such a sad and lonely thing,
I'd have approved of him,
And I do so now.

We had ourselves a good long cry,
Then we both kissed you goodbye,
You took your life ‘cause they called you wrong,
But, Baby, those folks lied.

And now you’re gone,
Sometimes I can't go on,
The other one you left alone,
Says, “Live and so will I.”

Why? Why couldn’t you tell me?
I love you anyway,
No matter what others say.
Why? Why’d you feel so all alone?
I keep thinking that you’ll just come home,
Don’t leave me this way.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Heading for GayRomLit!

I finally got around to packing my bags, days after sending off two boxes to GayRomLit. Now I have to get through two work days without driving my coworkers crazy before I get to step on that plane and go see my tribe.

This is my second year attending GayRomLit, and what I like most about the retreat is that no matter who you are or where you live, for a short while you can relax and be totally yourself--you're among friends. All those taboo subjects you can't discuss on the job will be explored in full, and you can sit in a lobby and proudly read a book with two men kissing on the cover without having to hide behind a back issue of Good Housekeeping. More often than not, someone will stop by and say, "Oh! I loved that book!" Voila! You've made a new friend.

There's people I dearly love that I don't get to see often, and they'll be there. We'll squee, we'll grin, we'll hug, then try to squeeze the entire last year of our lives into a ten-minute conversation. Swag will flow like water, and I'll probably bring home as much if not more books and freebies as I'm taking.

Due a conversation with my daughter, and having to keep a list of stuff I need to hide when the grandkids come over, I've taken a different approach to swag this year. I've got a new logo (thanks, Jared!) and most of my swag will simply feature my name and a magnolia blossom, suitable for displaying without having to cover up when young-uns are around. Here's a list of what I'm brining:

Books, books, and more books! I'm bringing copies of Diversion, Settling the Score (complete with newly added "Lambda Finalist" stickers, The Angel of 13th Street, Fallen Angel, and The Wish.

As far as swag, I had pocket calculators made up with my new logo, business cards, ink pens with a lovely mountains scene, more post-its than I know what to do with, refrigerator magnets, and something new I'm trying this year: note cards, featuring a quote from Night Watch, with instructions on the back of how to get free copies of The Telling and Night Watch, should anyone there not already have them. Plus, I'm bringing disks of free stories and The Angel of Thirteenth Street trading cards, featuring Noah and Jeremy.

I've packed a purple shirt for Spirit Day, October 19, and my python boots for the Gentlemen's Juke Joint party. Yes, I've ridden in these boots, both horses and motorcycles, as witnessed by the "Harley Kisses" on the heels.

Come Wednesday morning I'll be boarding a plane, leaving illusion behind to be the real me for a few days. The only problem is, once I return, the real me will want to stay out forever.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What's in a Word? -- All the Right Moves

"If you use the word 'move' one more time, it'd better involve a van and a new apartment." Those words of wisdom  that threat came from a dear, sweat beta, who I trust with my life and my literary children. And you know what? She was absolutely right, though it took me far too long to get the message. And that message involves the dreaded words no author wants to hear: "You're telling, not showing."

The main problem with the word "move" is that sometimes, not only is it lazy, it's a thief, stealing sensory perception from the reading audience. I'll give an example:

Steve stood, awestruck by the way Andy moved on the dance floor. 

There's nothing wrong with that sentence, is there? Look again. Steve is getting a visual that really impresses him, but as a writer, I'm saying, "Look at that!" then slapping a hand over your eyes.

How about:

Steve stood stock still, mesmerized by Andy's gyrations, how he kept in perfect tempo no matter how intricately he wove around his partner. 

While that may be a bit of an over-the-top example, I hope it provides the general idea. As a reader, I want to see to see, hear, taste, feel, touch everything that Steve, the protagonist, does.

Another example I see a lot of, and yes, do myself, is:

Steve watched the way Andy moved through the room.

This leaves me to wonder how Andy did move across the room. Did he saunter or swagger, painting the image of confidence, or did he meander, working the room and stopping to speak here and there, leading me to believe he's social? Did Andy creep through the room to avoid notice?

Sometimes, as with other words I've featured on What's in a Word "move" is the only term that fits. But, as my beta pointed out, it usually involves a group of good ole boys in pickup trucks, as moving normally happens in my neck of the woods.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Early Literary Influences-World Book Encyclopedia

Looking back, I suppose it seems strange that, as poor as my family was, we had our very own set of World Book Encyclopedias--and we weren't afraid to use them. After we'd washed our hands, that is. It's a tribute to my mother and her desire to give her children the best advantages she could that she scraped together the money to buy us those books. I, for one, made good use of them.

Growing up on a farm, we had chores, and I don't mean "take out the trash" and "clean your room." At a very early age I worked in the garden, fed and watered livestock, and even helped during slaughtering, if you can count hysterical crying and pleading to spare a life as "helping." Yes, there's reasons I'm vegetarian, but I digress. The point is, when my brother, sister, and I were kids, we had very little free time, and were permitted only one hour of TV per day, if we watched TV at all (oh shudder in horror you TV fans!). What time I wasn't working, you could usually find me in lying in the hallway, a World Book Encylopediea in hand.

The colorful pages of those books took me places I never imagined, and I learned of such notable characters as Joan of Arc, studied Clothing Through the Ages, History, Animal Behavior, and thumbed through pictures of different breeds of horses, hoping "some day." Alas, our old plow mule didn't come close to the Morgan or Arabian of my dreams. (Yes, it was the seventies; yes, we had tractors. No, we didn't use them and plowed with a mule instead. Mom has never completely explained this logic to my satisfaction.)

Anyway, imagine this little farm girl, whose world suddenly got a whole lot larger thanks to twenty-four leather-bound volumes. Sometimes I reread favorites passages, other times I'd go where I'd not been before. I expanded my horizons, and learned to question what I'd been told, deciding things for myself. (I think my mother just hoped I'd get good grades, which I did.)

Now, when I'm in the mood to research, I simply go online, and pick bizarre topics that I find fascinating, devouring every scrap of information I can before moving on to the next shiny new thing to catch my eye. But in the old days, you couldn't beat good ole World Book.

It's the reading that opened my mind and taught me how to see things from others' points of view, instilling the compassion thats still a big part of me today, and, I think, helps me to create characters whose viewpoints are different from my own. And if I happened to look up things my mother wasn't ready to explain... well...

I'd not thought of those encyclopedias in years until that fateful day I sat down and explained my writing to my mother. She said, "I guess all that time you spent reading the encyclopedias paid off." She also says she's proud of me. No matter how old a person gets, is still great to make your parents proud, isn't it?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Spirit Day 2012

What is Spirit Day?

According to GLAAD: Spirit Day is:

"An annual day in October when millions of Americans wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth."

This year that day falls on October 19. Those of you attending GayRomLit, be sure to pack purple to wear on that day.

Here's the entire entry from GLAAD. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's in a Word--Hey, Good "Looking"

After two solid weeks of ranting, I've finally moved on from my bias against the word "walked." Now I'm moving on to "looked."

To me, "looked" is another lazy word that doesn't do much for a story. I'm leaving Lucky alone this time to use Seth and Dustin from my upcoming novel "Naked Tails" for examples.

Seth has returned to town after a long absence to a family legacy he's not equipped to handle. He's also returning to his former best friend, Dusty, only both of them are all grown up now.

Here's today's lazy word in a sentence: Seth looked at Dustin. All this tells me is that Seth has focused his eyes on Dustin, nothing else. But, if "Seth gazed slyly at Dustin" you get a whole different picture, right? Could this be an amorous moment between our two heroes?

Maybe it should be, "Seth glared at Dustin" or even "glowered" or "scowled"? Oh my, not a good moment. As with "walked," changing one word adds interest to the story, avoids repetition of an oft overused term, and shows us somthing. Seth is glaring, glowering, or scowling, so he's not happy, and possibly even angry.

How about, "Seth gawked at Dustin" or "goggled." Oops, did Dustin just inform Seth that he's going to get furry at the next full moon?

Then there's "regarded", "scrutinized", "studied", and "observed". Is Seth watching for a reaction from Dustin?

Most word processing programs that I've used have a built in thesaurus. Highlight the word in question, right click the mouse, and choose "synonym." Click on your choice and voila! It couldn't be easier. Bear in mind, however, that sometimes "look" is the only word that fits.

Have fun with words, but make them work for the priviledge of being in your story. Think you've used the word sparingly? Do a search, and "find all". You might be surprised how many there are, and how much stronger a story can be by just a few one-word changes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Friday Review on Tuesday--Hey, I couldn't wait...

Today's review is The Rebuilding Year, by Kaje Harper, that I just finished reading a short while ago.

"It's not the gender, color, race, or religion I'm attracted to; it's the person."  That's what a young friend once said to me, and since then I've met more and more people who've repeated variations of the same thing. Lines are blurring, labels are falling by the wayside (thank goodness!), and people are seeing each other as people first, everything else later.

And in the mix John meets Ryan, two lonely souls who fit together and fall in love. I wouldn't call this story "gay for you" or "out for you," it's merely kindred spirits who click, jump hurdles that would cause many to stumble, and come out on solid ground.

Together with John's son (and from a distance, his daughter), a wounded warrior and an artist in need of something, he's not sure what, begin a family.

The mystery was masterfully woven in, and the action sequences had my heart pounding. The romance was sweet and touching. One of my favorite parts of the book was the pacing. The story never rushed or dragged, it ambled along at a steady yet leisurely pace.

I must say, though, that when I saw the cover of this book and the title, for some reason I thought it was a historical, until I happened upon a review. (I love historicals, so it was still going on my TBR list.)

A truly lovely read.