Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I just got up this morning to find an e-mail with the cover (by the talented Trace Edward Zaber) for my next release from Amber Allure (the GLBT arm of Amber Quill Press) and I am thrilled with it on so many levels. Not to mention that it's a delicious piece of eye-candy, but it also perfectly encapsulates what the story is about (and it is a short story, published in e-book form.
The story begins:
I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to find my penis had transformed itself into a vagina…
And here's basically what it's about (which is why the cover is so clever and thoughtful):
Thus begins the story of a very unusual day in the life of Rick, one utterly baffled gay man. After the shock wears off about his new, compelling, and completely different genitalia, this promiscuous, fun-loving gay man wonders how he can take advantage of his bizarre new gift.
Bagging a straight man is the first thing that comes to mind. Well, actually bagging whole battalions of straight men spring to mind.
There's only one problem: while he now has his very own love taco, he has none of the customary toppings to go with it. Enter Pete Thickwhistle, friend and drag artist extraordinaire. Pete quickly sets about making his friend's appearance go from butch man to convincing female as fast as you can say “Max Factor.”
Rick, now Rickie, sets off on his quest for yards and yards of straight man flesh. Little did he know that what awaited him was not his lust’s desire, but his heart’s. Rickie finds that when you got out looking just for sex, you may end up with something a lot more substantial…
And finally, here's a little taste to whet your appetite. Although the cover man might be a lot more tempting when you think about taste, I hope you'll give the book a try when it comes out around Valentine's Day.
It wasn’t long before my doorbell was ringing. And no, that’s not a euphemism for another orgasm, although I did linger over my new toy for a while longer lying in bed, managing to come a couple more times before arising. That was just one of the attributes of my glorious acquisition: I could come again and again without worrying about silly notions like erections and refractory periods. I had also showered. Under the pulsating spray, I experienced yet another orgasm as I loofahed myself down there; the marriage of a rough sponge and clitoris would have had me climbing the tiled walls of my tub enclosure, had they not been as slippery as my now spanking clean pleasure portal. And who knew the “massage” setting on my showerhead could produce such divine results? What had I done without this portal to pleasure before? It seemed like with each passing moment, it revealed yet another wonder to me.
I reluctantly dragged myself from the shower and dressed in T-shirt and jeans that were now curiously flat in the crotch. Barefoot, I padded out of my room to answer the door.
Awaiting me downstairs was my friend, and sometimes woman, Pete Thickwhistle. The masculine sounding moniker, with its allusions to penises and girth, belied his given name. Pete, with his willowy frame, and mane of blond tresses, didn’t need much to look like a female, but that didn’t stop him from gilding the lily. That sissy could layer on so much make-up it took a sandblaster to get it all off. I had no intentions of letting him go Tammy Faye Baker—God rest her soul—on my face.
“Good morning, Miss Mary Sunshine!” Pete chirped and I thought, you don’t know the half of it, sister. I stepped back to admit Pete, who was wearing pin striped bell bottoms, platform shoes, a satin blouse unbuttoned almost the naval and a tasteful Hermes scarf wound around his Audrey Hepburn neck in the fashion of a cravat. Behind him trailed the scent of Chanel No. 5.
I led him to the living room, made sure he was sitting, and explained what had happened overnight.
“You’re shittin’ me?” Pete said, suddenly not sounding very feminine at all. He cocked his head at me, an incredulous smirk affixed to a face so closely shaved I wondered for a moment if he waxed it.
So I dropped my jeans and showed him.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Ask your mother, or any of your straight friends, to use the word “rim” in a sentence as a verb and they may be hard pressed to come up with a response. Oh sure, Mom might say, “Grandma’s lovely mixing bowl was *rimmed* in *fleur-de-lis*.” But for the most part, your straight friends probably think of the word rim as a noun.
But ask your gay brethren and you’ll come up with an entirely different response. The rim of their favorite coffee cup is probably the last thing to come to their filthy little minds when that particular three-letter word arises in conversation. “Rimming” or “tossing a salad” are just a couple of metaphors for the act known less delicately as “eating butt” or for those of a more clinical semantic bent, analingus.
But how safe is putting your tongue where the sun don’t shine? Once again, I will reiterate my claim, before I go any further, that I am not a doctor, nor have I ever even played one on TV, so what I say here should not be construed as medical advice. It’s only the results of my own feeble research into the topic that I present here, so take it with a grain of salt…or a shot of penicillin…or a hepatitis vaccination. Which brings me to my first point: hepatitis. Other than winding up with a shit-eating grin, your biggest risk when it comes to rimming is contracting hepatitis, A or B, maybe even C. Face it, butt munchers, the easiest way to get hepatitis is through fecal matter and you’re bound to come into contact with some if you go sticking your nose (and your mouth) in a loved one’s butthole, however tight, pink, hairy or beautiful that little rosebud may be. The good news here is that you can allay many of your worries by visiting your doctor and getting yourself vaccinated against the dreaded virus. Then you can munch away with abandon, bearing in mind that you have NOT been vaccinated against other nasty little critters you could pick up this way, like parasites. As with most any gestures of affection, you must weigh the risks and benefits of any such display and decide what is right for you. Keeping your nose out of others’ business is your decision, as an educated consumer.
You may be wondering about that old bugaboo we hear so much about these days: HIV. From what I’ve learned, rimming is not all that likely to give you the dreaded virus, provided you have a healthy mouth (no cuts, sores, blisters, icky gums, etc.) and he has a clean ass free from any sores, rips or cuts. We won’t even get into FELCHING here.
So, dear ones, I close with two cliches: bottoms up! And *bon appetit*!
(This post originally appeared on Jessewave's Blog on a matter of "burning gay questions")
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
edited by Kris Jacen
Who says money can't buy love? Or equality?
A little cash will get you these twenty remarkable tales of love and passion by top international writers of GLBT romance such as Lee Rowan, Alex Beecroft, Erastes and Fiona Glass.
100% of the proceeds from each copy goes to the Lambda Legal Fund to aid their marriage equality fight against California's Proposition 8.
"I Do! An Anthology in Support of Marriage Equality" is available right now in e-book from www.allromancebooks.com and www.mobipocket.com, with the print version coming January 21st from MLR Press (www.mlrpress.com).
It's a great way to make sure your romance supports ours.
"There's surely something here for every taste: man on man and woman on woman; fantasy and funny and sizzling and sweet. Swans and Snow Queens and salty sailors and slithering serpents, oh my! French Legionnaires do it in the mud; little girls grow up married from childhood, and first timers discover the magic ..." --Victor J. Banis author of The Man from C.A.M.P., Lola Dances and Deadly Nightshade
"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue: twenty tales, funny, sweet, erotic, poignant – from some of the best and brightest writers in GLBT romance. Never has support for a good cause been more delicious, more delectable than in this generous helping of life – and love – affirming stories." -- Josh Lanyon author of the Adrien English Mystery Series and Man, Oh Man! Writing M/M for Kinks and Ca$h
Saturday, January 3, 2009
As a writer of a variety of genres and avid reader of mostly gay or male/male fiction, I receive puzzling looks and even more puzzling questions. “Why” being the most common. To which I reply, “Uh, because I like it.” Duh! Besides, the fact that I empathize is truly no ones business but my own. And yet, I am cornered for explanation more often than I care to recall.
Why is it so difficult for people to accept differences? I intend that question for everyone, from every side of the fence and every lifestyle. For as many who fail to acknowledge individualism, just as many in our own community don't recognize or refuse to accept the ascension of the new Queer.
For all the reasons, ways, and justifications that exist to be, as many encompass the laws of attraction if not more. Is anyone qualified to judge? I know only that I am not.
Not everyone fits into a box or a mold. In fact, most do not. In light of the much ado about the Spectrum of labels, Mark David Gerson, inspirational speaker, artist, life/spiritual mentor, writing coach, editorial consultant, and author of The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write & The Moonquest: A True Fantasy, gave me permission to repost his latest blog entry:
Friday, January 2 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
It's December 14 and I'm at the New Mexico Gay Men's Chorus's "Come Out for Christmas" concert with my friend Kathleen. It's our second year attending this event together and although this year's show is not nearly as good as last year's, there's something about being here this time that feels inexplicably right.
After the concert, Kathleen and I are chatting about this and that at a nearby Starbucks when I ask her, "Have I ever told you my 'gay story'?"
If you've been following this blog for a few years, you'll have read various versions of the story. What I told Kathleen was this:
For the first 20 years of my adult life, I lived as a gay man. Yet, as I awakened to my spirituality, I felt called to stop identifying myself as gay -- or straight. Rather, I began to see myself as a sexual being open to all possibilities. Still, I was somewhat surprised when, a few years later in Sedona, AZ, I fell in love with a woman.
When I told my gay friends that I was getting married (a sort of reverse coming-out), I explained that I had fallen in love with a wonderful spirit who just happened to occupy a female physique. From that place of love and passion, I said, gender and orientation were irrelevant and anything was possible. And it was.
Yet as profound, intimate and wonderful as our relationship was, it ended six and half years later, for reasons unrelated to sexuality.
In the four years since, I've often revisited the sexual orientation question. "Am I gay again?" I would ask in meditation. The answer was always, "Nothing has changed. Don't label yourself. Be open to all possibilities." Even though my primary physical attraction remained toward men, I honored that counsel and refused to categorize myself.
Something changed when I returned to Albuquerque in November after 40 days on the road. It was as though after 15 years of traveling in the spiritual realms, I had crash-landed back on earth and was reconnecting with the 38-year-old I had been before my spiritual awakening.
Suddenly, people from my past resurfaced, as did work opportunities disturbingly similar to those I hadn't pursued in 16 years. And at the very physical (read "earthly") job my financial situation pushed me into last month, I have been "Mark." Only friends and family from years back know me as Mark. To most everyone else I'm "Mark David."
I was starting to believe that I was living my own version of the infamous dream season of the 1980s Dallas TV series and that I would wake up and discover that nothing of the past decade and a half had really occurred.
Of course it all did, and I have a beautiful nine-year-old daughter (and all of you) as proof. What I have been experiencing, rather, is a giant turn of the spiral I wrote about in Everything Old Is New Again, a "full circle" far more comprehensive than any I remember having lived.
In spiritual terms, it's time to take all I have experienced on my spiritual journey and bring it down to earth -- into the practical, into the physical...to reconnect who I was with who I am now.
"Perhaps," as I wrote so presciently in The MoonQuest, "it is time...to allow the boy I was to touch the man I have become..."
When I leave Starbucks that Sunday evening, having shared my story with Kathleen, I feel the same kind of rush I felt 24 years earlier when I began coming out as a gay man to straight friends. I feel as though a tremendous burden has been lifted from me. I feel lighter.
The movie is brilliant, compelling and moving (as is Sean Penn's portrayal of the title role) and I find myself wiping away tears at frequent intervals.
It's compelling for another, more personal reason: the film's time frame covers the period of my coming out, and the gay activism it portrays is a bolder version of my activism in the Montreal of the mid- to late '70s. It's like watching my own life play out before me.
I leave the theater in an altered state and when I got into the car, I begin to sob uncontrollably. I sit there -- crying, heaving, releasing -- for 20 minutes. And when the tears stop I see that I have come full circle, that I have allowed the Mark I was to touch the Mark David I have become, that as open as I remain to the infinite realm of possibilities in life, I am a gay man. Again.
Even as I share this story with close friends in the days that follow, I'm not sure what to do with this realization. Is it appropriate to come out a third time? Is it necessary to be as openly gay at 54 as I was at 24 and 34? Does it even matter anymore to anyone but me?
During the show, Joan shares her spiritual coming out story and reveals how difficult it had been to let her spirituality have a place in her coaching work. And I note how vulnerable I felt putting out my most recent blog post, All That Matters Is That I'm Writing.
As we're talking, I remember how important it is to be vulnerable, how healing it is to share our truth and our stories out into the world. I remember, too, how much of my work is about helping give people permission to do those very things by doing them myself.
That's largely what this blog has been about. That's largely what Harvey Milk's message was about. He insisted that we must be who we are out in the world, and it's a message that's as valid today as it was 30 years ago -- whoever we are, whatever our orientation.
I realize, too, this morning that like Joan we all have many parts to ourselves and that each of these is more potent and transformational when operating as part of a oneness. When we fragment ourselves -- being spiritual only with our spiritual friends, gay only with our gay friends, Jewish only with our Jewish friends, vegetarian only with our vegetarian friends, Democrats only with our Democrat friends -- we cheat the world and ourselves of the strength, power and paradox of the human soul.
Each of us is a unit within which lives unparalleled diversity. Only when we can be at peace with that diversity within ourselves will we be at peace with that same diversity in others. And only then will we see peace in the world.
That peace begins in me. That peace begins in you. And it begins with me honoring all of who I am by integrating all of who I am into all that I do. One of the ways I achieve that integration is by being open and vulnerable with you, by letting you see more of me than I might always prefer you to see in the hopes that you will be inspired to share all of you with others.
Tikkun olam is a phrase in the Jewish tradition that translates from the Hebrew as "healing the world." That healing begins when I open my heart to myself so that I can see who I am. It grows when I open my heart to you and let you see who I am. It grows further when you do the same.
Won't you open your heart and share your light -- all of it -- with a world so desperate for healing? Won't you come out of hiding and be?
What parts of yourself are you hiding from yourself?
What parts of yourself have you hidden from the world?
Where can you integrate more of who you are into what you do?
Where can you be more open to others' diversity?
Where can you be more open to your own?
Won't you share some of who you are here?
Photos: #1 Gay Santa from The Austin Chronicle; #2 me and my daughter, Guinevere; #3 Book cover for The MoonQuest, designed by Angela Farley; #3 Poster for the movie Milk, starring Sean Penn; #4 Hebrew lettering for "tikkun olam"