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It’s been a strange couple of years for all of us since I last posted: not just because of COVID, but more importantly, the profoundly destabilizing, disorienting force the pandemic has been in our culture.

What do I have to show for my two-year silence?

Well, without going into all the detail: life-threatening diagnoses, two life-changing surgeries for me and one for my hubby, writing a 120k word fantasy, traumatic estrangement from a beloved family member, finding a literary agent, parting ways from said agent, pulling my books from a dishonest publisher, getting said books ready for indie release, querying agents until I saw Query Tracker in my sleep, selling our house and moving, music lessons, radiation therapy, and diving into a new writing project that I’ve carried in my heart for years, and falling more deeply in love with my wonderful husband as we approach the 20-year mark in …

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Thanks to the startling generosity of complete strangers, I have my mandolin back! Here’s the story. It’s a story well worth telling, if you ask me. Which you didn’t, but I’m telling it anyway. I have to, because this chain of miracles needs to be celebrated by more than Bob and me.

On October 17th we flew into Málaga with a year’s worth of luggage — one large suitcase, a smaller suitcase, and a backpack each. Plus my mandolin.

At the taxi rank we got a driver whose car could carry everything, and we loaded up. I showed the driver the address of our AirBnB apartment, and off we went. In the flurry of paying the driver (in cash at his insistence) I didn’t check to make sure we had everything. My mandolin was still in the taxi, and he was gone before I realized it.

So we were met …

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Every year, Queer Sci Fi runs a one-word theme contest for 300 word flash fiction stories, and the judges choose 120 of them for an annual anthology. I've entered the contest before, and have had my entry included in the anthology, but this year I had the good fortune to win first prize!

 

From the anthology foreword:
 
It's hard to tell a story in just 300 words, so it’s only fair that I limit this foreword to exactly 300 words, too.

This year, 312 writers took the challenge, with stories across the queer spectrum. The contest rules are simple. Submit a complete, well-written Clarity-themed 300 word sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror story with LGBTQ+ characters.

 

For our ninth year and eighth anthology, we chose the theme “Clarity.” The interpretations run from an “Aha!” moment to the bubbling laughter of water to a private, life-changing realization. There are …

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Thank you all for subscribing to my website! Today Shaky Shergill in the UK won the scholarship to the August 18-21 First Ten Pages Bootcamp through a random draw supervised by my husband. It feels really good to support another author this way. Onward!

Writers Digest

 

I’m offering a full scholarship to a Writers Digest workshop.

I’ve just signed with a literary agent — again. First time around was pretty disappointing. This time, though, signing with Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary, it already feels very much like entering the dynamic, collaborative business relationship it’s supposed to be. We’re taking action, and I’m elated at the possibilities ahead.

I first made contact with Amy in March through a four-day workshop put on by Writers Digest University, called “First 10 Pages Bootcamp”, where she was one of the instructors.

The workshop, which costs $200 US, seemed to be the next step in my seemingly endless agent querying efforts — after all, if I’d queried dozens and dozens and dozens of agents with my first pages and no one had shown real interest, I had to find out if there was something in those pages …

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Just coming up for air after a wildly eventful two weeks. Not sure what happened astrologically or in some other energies I don’t manage, but it was like a dam broke and washed down my river without doing a stick of damage. Instead, cycles that have been in “pending” mode for months all sprang forward as if the Cosmos had flipped a switch.

Unnerving — and exciting! So here’s the executive summary:

LammyFinalist_Small_Web_v3Wednesday, Mar 4 I learned that my novel The Companion is a finalist in this year’s Lambda Literary Awards. A week later I’m still giddy about it, and probably will be for months to come. For someone who writes gay fiction, this is huge, and would have made a stellar week all on its own. It’s the equivalent of being nominated for an Oscar for us. Bob and I immediately bought tickets to the awards ceremony June 1st …

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For years, I had a quote pinned up on the wall of my workspace attributed to congressional historian Daniel J Boorstin: “The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents, and the oceans was not ignorance, but rather the illusion of knowledge.”

With Mercury about to station retrograde October 4th, this is the ideal time for me to deliberately relax my grip on certainty, check my reality compass and make some room for discovery.

I’d like to share with you something of my respect for disillusionment – the loss of illusion. Discovery is an essential part of any plot, from clues in a murder mystery, to trust (misplaced, real or withheld) in a romance, geographic exploration in an adventure, or finding inner strength in the Hero’s Journey. While the need for profound discovery is always present in our stories, the context for the discovery is infinitely changeable. …

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After a week of dithering about whether it was “the sensible thing to do” (Of course it’s not! It makes hardly any sense at all, financially or logistically.) I’ve decided to attend the LLF-sponsored finalists reading in L.A. on May 15th. I had a big coupon from Southwest Airlines and deccided to splurge. Even if it isn’t the sensible thing to do, it feels right and I’m excited at the prospect of meeting and reading to a completely new audience.

So if you’re in West Hollywood, or feel like driving distance to attend, I’d love to see you there!

It’s on Friday May 15, 7:00 pm at the County of Los Angeles – West Hollywood Branch Public Library, 625 N San Vincente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA, 90069

It feels deliciously extravagant to be flying from one coast to the other to read from The Companion, as if I were …

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Letter to a new Generation of Gate Keepers

I’m writing this letter to you in the fervent hope that you will come to believe something. If you don’t believe it now because it seems too crazy or impractical, I ask that you put the idea aside gently, making room for the possibility of believing it at some time in the future. This idea is the single most important thing that I can give you. When you do believe it, you will see with new eyes and new heart as the world offers unexpected possibilities to you—possibilities invisible to most.

You have been given a great and sacred gift—you are gay. Some peoples called us “Two-Spirited,” and held an honorable place for us in daily life. You might be surprised how many cultures viewed men like us with respect. That, as you well know, has not been the historical experience in …

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Letter to a new Generation of Gate Keepers

I’m writing this letter to you in the fervent hope that you will come to believe something. If you don’t believe it now because it seems too crazy or impractical, I ask that you put the idea aside gently, making room for the possibility of believing it at some time in the future. This idea is the single most important thing that I can give you. When you do believe it, you will see with new eyes and new heart as the world offers unexpected possibilities to you—possibilities invisible to most.

You have been given a great and sacred gift—you are gay. Some peoples called us “Two-Spirited,” and held an honorable place for us in daily life. You might be surprised how many cultures viewed men like us with respect. That, as you well know, has not been the historical experience in …

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In 2009, Arsenal Pulp Press published a collection of essays framed as intergenerational advice to queer youth, called Second Person Queer, edited by the inimitable team of Richard LaBonte and Lawrence Schimel.

I was glad to have an essay in the collection, “Letter to a New Generation of Gate Keepers”, in which I sought to address what I see as the sacred, spiritual gift of same-sex wiring. It was the first time I’d raised these thoughts in public, and they helped clarify my sense of purpose in writing fiction: to explore the power and beauty of same-sex attraction, and the possibility that gay men hold a particular responsibility within the spiritual ecology of humankind.

It would be presumptuous of me to speak on behalf of those wired differently from me — I’m a cisgendered gay man — but I can speak up as one such. I do hope others will …

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