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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Hatred in West Texas.



I posted the following in Rainbow: Lubbock, the online newsletter I created for the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community in Lubbock, Texas. Visit DuaneSimolke.Com to find Rainbow: Lubbock and a variety of other resources, as well as information about my writing.


Monday, January 12, 7 AM. I hesitate about listing an anti-gay event here, especially since the organizer of the event constantly manipulates gays into giving him free publicity. And no, I won’t give a link to his website, driving more traffic there. Instead of depressing yourself by reading his site, please empower yourself with some of the resources at DuaneSimolke.Com.


However, I wanted to urge my readers to exercise restraint and wisdom at the arrival of Fred Phelps and his followers to Lubbock. They plan to protest the Buddy Holly Center's display of Elton John's eyeglasses, as well as the efforts of Lubbock’s Gay/Straight Alliance, GAP Youth. They also might target Texas Tech University and various gay-friendly churches. If gays and their allies arrive at the protests screaming and ranting at Phelps, he and much of Lubbock’s media will only succeed in making gays look like aggressors, lunatics, and threats to free speech.


Phelps is, of course, famous for picketing the funerals of gay-equality advocates and of people who died of AIDS-related complications, as well as for creating a monument that celebrates Matthew Sheperd’s supposed passage into Hell.

Some gay activists in other communities have responded to these protests in positive ways, such as telethons in which participants donate a set amount of money to gay causes for each protester Phelps brings. Some Lubbockites plan to make donations to SPARC (South Plains AIDS Resource Center) in Phelps’s name.
Other positive responses could include an informational meeting about gays or a prayer vigil; local media might cover such events, in relation to the Phelps protests.


Screaming and ranting at someone who lives to scream and rant will accomplish nothing. Letting him spew out his venom will push sensible people away from his anti-gay views, once they get a good listen.


Please also read about the PBS-sponsored programs Not in Our Town.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

“By killing yourself, intentionally or through unsafe sex, you call yourself worthless and expendable. How can you think of a human being that way? Quit punishing yourself for the bigotry in society. Refuse to help the cause of homophobia. Take care of yourself. Learn to love yourself and protect yourself. See yourself and your partner as worth protecting. Treat safer sex as an act of defiance and gay pride, a statement about your love for yourself, a statement about the value of your life. Treat living each day as a tear in the fabric of bigotry.”

From “Not Worth Dying Over,” an essay in my book Holding Me Together. Copyright 1999 Duane Simolke. Paul Harris quotes that passage in his book From Our Own Lips: The Book of GLBT Quotations. (GLBT stands for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.)

Dann Hazel used “Reactions to Homophobia,” another of my works from Holding Me Together, as a resource for his book Witness: Gay and Lesbian Clergy Report from the Front.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Ex-Gay

Book review: Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth by Wayne R. Besen

Despite years of hearing, reading, and writing about this topic, I can’t think of a better ex-gay resource than Wayne R. Besen’s book Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. Besen not only gives an accessible and easy-to-follow history of the sham’s path of destruction but also makes it clear why so many gays and nongays choose to believe its obvious lies. He also exposes the many people who profit monetarily, politically, or even sexually from ensnaring more ex-gay followers.

Still, Besen also shows how most of the people who become involved with or lead these ministries probably mean well. More importantly, he shows how gays and their allies can expose these hurtful groups, which rely heavily on wild semantics, shaky statistics, pseudo psychology, and highly questionable science, all the while trying to appear Bible-based.

Besen also shows how gays can make their communities less vulnerable to ex-gay groups, while warning those communities about insidious new tactics that the increasingly media-savvy ex-gay leaders use to lure parents into forcing children to join the ex-gay circus. For groups that keep claiming that all of their members come there voluntarily, they certainly keep taking advantage of parental pressuring and other fears of rejection!

Best of all, Besen offers resources and alternatives for people who might want to join these groups. He even defends, to my satisfaction, his undercover efforts to capture all of the information that appears in this sometimes shocking but always fascinating volume. I suggest Besen’s study for all gays, all of their allies, and anyone who thinks the ex-gay movement needs support or more recruits.

I wrote about the ex-gay movement and various other gay-related topics extensively in works that appear in my collection Holding Me Together: Essays and Poems. I use a fictional character to explore ex-gay issues in “Mirrors: A Blackmail Letter,” a story that appears in my book The Acorn Stories; that character reappears in “Fat Diary,” a more light-hearted story I wrote for an anthology, The Acorn Gathering.

I also suggest Ronald L. Donaghe’s scathing fictional treatment of the ex-gay movement, The Salvation Mongers, as well as the disturbing documentary One Nation Under God and—for some needed levity on the topic—the silly yet likable comedy But I’m A Cheerleader.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Bareback

Gay Men, HIV, Barebacking, and Safe Sex


Please visit The Body, the most comprehensive AIDS and HIV resource on the internet. It includes information, Q&A, support, communities, and more, with areas devoted to the health of gay men.

This poem deals bluntly with unprotected sex among gay men. "Bareback" is from my book Holding Me Together, which also includes some of my most popular essays (such as "Reactions to Homophobia" and "Not Worth Dying Over"). The HIV-infection rate has been rising again in the US, despite all we know about how to stop its spread.

Bareback, by Duane Simolke

Louder, louder, the music pulsing
harder. Lights flashing, faster.
Young male bodies grinding harder
on the crowded dance floor,
in the ecstasy of ecstasy.
Heat, sweat, eyes, hands,
another night, pulsing faster
than crystal shooting
through your veins
harder than a stranger
in a hurry, in a daze.
Simply in. He says it’s better
without.

And you think it can’t happen to you,
but if it did, the new magic pills
would make it go away,
but this time it pulses faster
than crystal shooting
through your veins,

faster than insurance running out,
faster than parents walking away,
faster than friends dying off,
faster than a virus mutating,
faster than another cure failing,

faster than the thirty seconds
he wouldn’t take
to open a package
and slide on a condom.

But all that happens off stage.
With perfect hair and perfect clothes,
we live in the safety of the dance floor.

Make up a name,
and tell me, do you ride
skin to skin?



Some related books or DVD.
(This is not a “select” or “official” list—just a sampling.)

Books.
The Crisis of Desire: AIDS and the Fate of Gay Brotherhood
My Own Country: A Doctor's Story
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
Holding Me Together
Latino Gay Men and HIV: Culture, Sexuality, and Risk Behavior
Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces
On the Down Low: A Journey Into the Lives of "Straight" Black Men Who Sleep With Men
DVD.
Making the Man: A Young Man's Guide to Safer Gay Sex
Jeffrey
It's My Party
And the Band Played On
Longtime Companion
Alive & Kicking

Bareback also appears in my eBook Selected Poems.

Entry updated 7/6/13.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education (ALCASE).

I recently mentioned here that November is Diabetes Awareness Month. It is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

The Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education (ALCASE).

I recently mentioned here that November is American Diabetes Month (see the American Diabetes Association website for details about that). It is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

The Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education (ALCASE) identifies itself as “the only not-for-profit organization dedicated solely to helping those living with lung cancer improve the quality of their lives through advocacy, support, and education.”

Please visit their website to find out how you can protect yourself against the most common form of cancer, and how you can help raise awareness. The site also includes an online petition to help convince Congress and the President to better fund lung cancer research, education, and support. Please do yourself the favor of learning more about this dangerous disease and how you can help fight it.

Suggested reading: Lung Cancer: Myths, Facts, Choices--and Hope by Claudia Henschke, Peggy McCarthy, and Sarah Wernick. Peggy McCarthy founded ALCASE and is a long-time advocate of increased lung cancer awareness. She contacted me recently about this important issue, and I will have more information about it in some of my future blog entries.

Of course, I will also have more book reviews, and updates on my writing projects as well. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 10, 2003

This past weekend, I signed copies of my Texas fiction collection The Acorn Stories at the 2003 Texas Book Festival. I enjoyed meeting readers and writers from all over the state, as well as meeting with a representative from iUniverse. Austin and the areas around it are absolutely beautiful, and I suggest visiting! I was also pleased to see The Acorn Stories receive more publicity!

The Acorn Stories Table of Contents

"Acorn": When we arrive at the fictional West Texas town of Acorn, the narrative keeps shifting between Regina and Dirk, who both seek control over their relationship.

"Flip, Turn": A different scene from the narrator's amusing but unproductive life comes to him every time he turns to swim in the opposite direction.

"Keeping A Secret": A little boy wants to shield his mother and his little brother from a dangerous situation.

"Survival": A young teacher clashes with his school's emphasis of uniformity over diversity and sports over academics.

"Paying The Rent": In this politically incorrect tale, an inarticulate young man hopes to marry a rich woman so he can pay the rent, but he finds her repulsive.

"Morgana Le Fay": A widow finds her new romance disrupted by her Siamese cat's strange behavior.

"Your Daughter": Gretchen's approach to raising a daughter and maintaining a marriage requires ignoring problems and carefully orchestrating conversations.

"Knock": A father sees his daughter abandon her Mexican heritage, and he now fears other types of abandonment.

"Come With Me": The conflictive influence of her overbearing sister and her supportive husband forces Becky to re-evaluate her ambitions.

"Dead Enough": Farcical look at English departments, tabloid TV, the publishing industry, and America's superstar culture.

"Mae": Standing by her husband's grave, an elderly woman looks back at the joys and challenges of marriage and motherhood.

"Timothy Fast": In this satirical retelling of the Faustian myth, a Jewish businessman finds himself pulled into small-town politics.

"Mirrors: A Blackmail Letter": The owner of an art gallery becomes the target of a "family values" witch-hunt, spear-headed by Acorn's closeted mayor.

"Echoes": A time of unexpected changes for Becky and her husband.

"Oak": Julie Briggs can only talk to her mother by leaving messages on her answering machine, but she refuses to give up her voice.

"Acorn Pie": An unusual weekend in the life of an unusual town.

Monday, November 03, 2003

I’ll be in Austin this weekend. If you’re there, please look for The Acorn Stories: Second Edition in the iUniverse display (Book Fair Booth #413), at the Texas Book Festival. Press Release.

From First Lady Laura Bush, honorary chairperson of the Texas Book Festival: “The Texas Book Festival’s mission is twofold. We have a wonderful annual event that gives everyone an opportunity to experience the great range of literary talent that Texas offers, while making a valuable contribution to public library collections across the state. These grants are making a significant difference.”

Some of the other writers at the book fair: Dave Barry, Elmer Kelton, Amy Tan, Kinky Friedman, Joe Bob Briggs, Walt McDonald, Molly Ivins, and former Texas Governor Ann Richards.

***

About the The Acorn Stories: Second Edition…

I polished some of the dialogue and descriptions, while keeping the characters and situations exactly the same. The formatting looks better, without the teasers at the beginning of each chapter, and with a better overall look for the text. My publisher, iUniverse, chose the second edition as part of their new “Editor’s Choice” series, which they promote more aggressively.

The first edition ended with a brief bio and just a list of my other books. This one ends with a longer biography/bibliography that includes a paragraph each for my other books. Also, the second edition is out in both paperback and hardcover, making it my first book available in hardcover!

The Acorn Stories: Second Edition, Paperback

The Acorn Stories: Second Edition, Hardcover

***

I’m happy to report that the publicity for that second edition is also bringing more attention to the spin-off The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that some people seem to worry that The Acorn Gathering is some depressing book about cancer and won’t appeal to my usual readers. Actually, it has the same emotional range as the books I wrote alone. The themes, settings, and topics also vary. Some of the stories deal, in part, with cancer, but others present characters in situations such as finding love, losing weight, or helping people in need.

The subtitle Writers Uniting Against Cancer comes from the fact that this unusual collection raises money for the American Cancer Society. I found five amazing writers to contribute short fiction, and I wrote four of the stories. All of our royalties from The Acorn Gathering are going to the American Cancer Society.

I’m excited about both Acorn books finding new readers and want to thank those of you who have already been supportive of my work!

***

The Acorn Gathering Table of Contents

Preface

Part One: Acorn, Texas

Finding Acorns In Winter. By Duane Simolke.
The Seedling. By Jan Chandler.
Fat Diary. By Duane Simolke.
Again. By Duane Simolke.
Lynching. By Huda Orfali.

Part Two: Beyond Acorn

Nachos Are Green And Ducks Appear To Be Blue At Town Pump In Cut Bank, Montana. By Bill Wetzel.
As I Lay Dying. By Huda Orfali.
The Flamenco Painter. By Shawna Chandler.
The 23rd Of August. By Timothy Morris Taylor.
A Morning By the River. By Bill Wetzel.
Dancing With the Angels. By Huda Orfali.
Gun. By Jan Chandler.

Part Three: Still Beginning

The Last Few And the First Few. By Duane Simolke.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

November is American Diabetes Month!

Please visit Government Relations & Advocacy at the American Diabetes Association website to find out how you can help. Or just visit that site to learn how to better cope with diabetes. Since over 16 million Americans now face diabetes, it affects most of us, directly or indirectly. With the current trend of obesity, that number might grow much higher.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Book review: SS Mann Hunt by William Maltese

William Maltese, best known for hugely popular gay novels like Summer Sweat, When Summer Comes, and the Stud Draqual Mystery Series, offers a gay adventure novel, SS Mann Hunt.

Actually, this first-person narrative seamlessly combines adventure, romance, and erotica. The erotica takes over at times, and even some of the narrator’s descriptions of physical surroundings become intensely sexual.

With Brad Lexly and Kurt Mann searching a South American jungle to learn what happened to their fathers, they constantly encounter danger, and have constant encounters with each other. Some might call it pulp fiction, but from an inventive author who can turn phrases in brilliant ways and keep readers turning pages.

Adding to the tension, it looks like Kurt’s father—the renowned scientist Sebastian S. Mann—might have been a Nazi war criminal. Twists and turns occur often, but Maltese holds off on the biggest revelations until late in the novel.

Maltese’s life sounds like an adventure, so it’s no surprise that he excels at writing adventure. Besides authoring over a hundred novels under various names, he has served in the U.S. Army, traveled the globe, and worked with a vast array of publishers. Book lovers will doubtlessly keep hearing his name(s) during talks of many different genres, and I look forward to discovering more of his writing.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I just finished reading Dragonworld by Bryon Preiss and Michael Reaves. It was much darker and more complex than I expected, but still an exciting read. I loved how the authors showed different sides finding ways to blame each other for a tragedy. I also loved the intricate mythology and recommend this book for any fantasy fans!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Gay writer websites, Acorn.

Issue 10 of Ronald L. Donaghe’s newsletter The Independent Gay Writer includes reviews and information about The Acorn Stories and The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer. See Page 9.

Visit the discussion boards at QueerWriters.Com to talk about topics of interest to gay readers or writers.

And please visit my new bookstore at the StoneWall Society Network ArtMall, to read about or discuss my books.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Secrets and Scandals in West Texas


Part 1

Lawsuit seeks to let gay student club meet

Bruce Garrett Cartoon

Superintendent Who Blocked Gay Group Was Having Affair on School Property

E-mails doomed Lubbock superintendent

Secrets and Scandals in West Texas
Part 2


House OKs release of Tulia drug-bust prisoners

Constables face probe into possible illegal use of funds

Former Market Lubbock Inc. Employee Under Fire


Secrets and Scandals in West Texas
Part 3: A press release about one of my books.

Just released in a second edition, Duane Simolke’s collection The Acorn Stories involves secrets and scandals in the fictional West Texas town of Acorn. With a tone that ranges from light-hearted humor to barbed satire to sweet romance to devastating tragedy, The Acorn Stories offers a frank and sometimes troubling view of West Texas life. From a brilliant artist who can’t stay focused on everyday tasks to a closeted gay mayor who strikes out against his one-night stand, these characters get under the skin of readers everywhere.

Some people take exception to the sometimes scurrilous events Simolke chronicles in this collection of interrelated tales. However, Simolke points out that public scandals happen fairly often in West Texas (many of them involving elected officials), though they quickly find their way under the proverbial rug.

In the book’s concluding story, “Acorn Pie,” the eccentric businesswoman Aragon Carson sums up that sentiment while discussing her family background: “Those are all very ordinary events: life, death, reproduction. You probably expect to hear about those, but not much else. Now there’s lots of things that you’d think only go on in big cities, but think again. Those things just happen more quietly here.”

For the book’s second edition, Simolke found ways to polish up the language even more, adding more description and dialogue where needed. The other major differences are that the book is now available in hardcover—instead of just paperback—and that bookstores will receive a deeper discount that they can pass along to their readers. Starting in late October, Bookstores and libraries can order The Acorn Stories through Ingram Books or Baker & Taylor, while readers can order it at most local or online bookstore.

Simolke also edited and co-wrote the spin-off The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer, donating royalties to the American Cancer Society, a charity he trusts and admires. That second Acorn collection starts with characters and settings from The Acorn Stories, then introduces new characters and settings, concluding by bringing one of Acorn’s characters across America, the country that Acorn encapsulates.

With a major in English, Simolke graduated from Belmont University (B.A., 1989), Hardin-Simmons University (M.A., 1991), and Texas Tech University (Ph.D., 1996). Stein, Gender, Isolation, and Industrialism: New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio was his doctoral dissertation at Tech.

He also wrote Holding Me Together: Essays and Poems and the science fiction epic Degranon. Readers can visit DuaneSimolke.Com to learn more about the author and his books, and to find related resources.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Bookshelf.

I’ve just finished reading Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn, one of the Xanth novels by Piers Anthony. The action and the puns are relentless; Anthony ends by giving credit to the many readers who suggested those puns.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The largest publisher of print-on-demand books, iUniverse, just released a second edition of my book The Acorn Stories, as part of the iUniverse Editor’s Choice series. That new series features books that iUniverse sees as especially marketable and worthy of extra attention.

Friday, September 12, 2003

The following is a press release about one of my upcoming appearances.

Out in Writing

(Lubbock, Texas) Using resources from
StoneWall Society and The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's National Coming Out Project, Duane Simolke will lead a discussion on lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) books and writers.

This event will occur in Lubbock, Texas, on Tuesday, November 18, 7 PM, as part of a PFLAG-Lubbock meeting. PFLAG-Lubbock meets at St. John's United Methodist Church, 15th Street & University Avenue, across the street from Texas Tech University. Contact: 806-799-5466. It is part of the international PFLAG Federation. PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays) provides advocacy, support, and education.

Simolke, author of The Acorn Stories and Degranon, will start by discussing his own experiences as an openly gay author. Then he will branch into other books and authors that he finds helpful in dealing with coming out and other LGBT issues.

Next, attendees will break into four smaller groups, each lead by at least one person who frequently reads LGBT-friendly books. They will discuss other books that interest them, in relation to the theme “Out in Writing.” The event will conclude with the results of these small group discussions, and with a brief/question answer session.

Simolke plans not to promote any official list of LGBT books, but rather to promote an overall awareness of LGBT books and the themes they explore, especially in relation to coming out and being out. He encourages attendees to bring pens and paper, so they can write down the names of authors and works discussed at the meeting.

Majoring in English, Simolke received degrees from Belmont University (B.A., 1989), Hardin-Simmons University (M.A., 1991), and Texas Tech University (Ph.D., 1996). Stein, Gender, Isolation, and Industrialism: New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio was his doctoral dissertation at Tech. StoneWall Society gave him Pride in the Arts literary awards for his books The Acorn Stories, Degranon, and Holding Me Together.

Duane Simolke also edited and co-wrote the spin-off The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer, with all author and editor royalties going to cancer research. Simolke’s publisher, iUniverse, is releasing a revised second edition of The Acorn Stories as part of its Editor’s Choice series, in the fall of 2003.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Now reading: Dragonworld, Crewel Lye.

I was reading Dragonworld by Bryon Preiss and Michael Reaves, and loving it! However, it’s an illustrated hardcover, and I needed something small and light-hearted that I could carry around in my back pocket for casual reading. I knew to turn to one of my all-time favorite authors: Piers Anthony. Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn, one of the Xanth novels, delivers the kind of tongue-in-cheek fantasy that only Piers Anthony can offer! Great reading! But when I finish this one, I’ll return to the intriguing epic Dragonworld.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Press release about award Degranon just received!

Simolke Wins Another Pride in the Arts Award



Texas-based author Duane Simolke has received his third Pride in the Arts literary award from StoneWall Society (http://www.stonewallsociety.com/), a resource for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered artists. Simolke received the 2003 Imagination Award as author of the science fiction thriller Degranon.


Simolke was also honored recently by the LGBT resource website Antny’s Place (http://antnysplace.org). He was the Poet of the Month there for both June and July of 2003.


Born in New Orleans on May 28, 1965, Simolke now lives in Lubbock, Texas. Majoring in English, he studied at Belmont University (B.A., 1989), Hardin-Simmons University (M.A., 1991), and Texas Tech University (Ph.D., 1996). He has always loved books and movies, especially science fiction and fantasy.

Simolke wrote the earliest drafts of Degranon during the 1980s, then revised it for its eventual release in 2002. Before Degranon’s publication, Simolke wrote and released three non-genre books: The Acorn Stories; New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio; and Holding Me Together: Essays and Poems.


Degranon was his first novel, and first work of science fiction. The Acorn Stories and Holding Me Together: Essays and Poems both received StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts awards in 2002.


While revising Degranon, Simolke edited and co-wrote The Acorn Gathering. That mainstream fiction anthology is a spin-off from The Acorn Stories, with all author and editor royalties going to fund cancer research.


The alternate universe Simolke created for Degranon features characters that his readers might think of as Native American, African American, Latino, Asian, or gay. In fact, white characters receive only passing references, while gays seem idealized.


Simolke stops short of calling Degranon a “gay novel,” since he wrote the book for a general audience, and since the main characters are heterosexual. However, he uses some of those non-gay characters to explore gay themes, as well as wider themes of diversity, freedom, and violence.


Though primarily a high-concept adventure, Degranon challenges every reader’s views, perceptions, and prejudices. Everyone who reads it will find it disturbing at times, exciting at times, and ultimately optimistic. In fact, many people will interpret certain scenes, characters, and events in differing ways.


The prolific author already has the next decade or so planned out in terms of his books. He is co-writing a fantasy novel, polishing a second edition of The Acorn Stories, and developing ideas for two Degranon sequels.


Readers can visit http://DuaneSimolke.Com to learn more about Simolke and his award-winning books, or to find a variety of writing resources and LGBT resources. His site also includes Rainbow: Lubbock, a frequently updated online guide that he created in August 1997 for other gays in the West Texas city that he calls home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

More about StarGate SG-1

In February, I wrote here that I love the TV series Stargate SG-1, but not quite as much as Babylon 5 or Star Trek: The Next Generation. After seeing the first few episodes of SG-1’s seventh season, I really think it’s now as good as those science fiction classics!

Scifi fans who didn’t like SG-1 in the past might give it another try. Current season episodes air Friday nights, on the SciFi Channel. Earlier episodes air Monday nights on SciFi, as well as various times and channels in syndication.

It’s rare for a show to keep getting better over time, but this one accomplishes that rare feat, year after year! SciFi has already ordered an eighth season, which will put it behind only the X-Files as the longest-running science fiction series ever! Plans are already underway for an SG-1 movie, and for an SG-1 spin-off series.

If you like StarGate SG-1, you might also enjoy my science fiction novel Degranon; it involves doorways through space and time and how those doorways cause various lives to intersect in dangerous ways!

Monday, July 21, 2003

More gay websites.

The new website www.DontAmend.com, started by some of the founders of StopDrLaura.com, is an effort to stop politicians from adding anti-gay language to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Click here to read my Showcase page at The Gay Read, a UK site for learning about gay books and writers.

QueerWriters.Com, online resources for Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans readers, includes my profile under “Authors.” (The site is frame-based.)

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Book Review: All Over Him by Ronald L. Donaghe.

While the first two books in The Continuing Journals of Will Barnett focused on young gay love in an anti-gay setting, this longer, more complex installment uses that relationship to explore the difficulties of lasting gay relationships and the challenges of a growing gay civil rights movement. Setting the book in Austin and San Francisco during the 1970s gives author Ronald L. Donaghe many opportunities to examine those changing times, while still keeping the focus on Will and Lance.

The young lovers now find themselves split between those two cities, because of college and life-long ambitions. As with any long-distance relationship, theirs becomes tested in many ways. However, unlike their heterosexual counterparts, they lack role models for their relationship, since even Will’s beloved Uncle Sean has not maintained the lasting love he sought.

This book’s epilog closes the journals out for now, with Donaghe giving some clever winks and nods to his many loyal readers. We know we can expect at least one more visit with Will and Lance, and that we can expect many more unforgettable characters from the ever-creative mind of Ronald L. Donaghe.

(Note: I wrote an earlier review of this book; that review appears on its back cover. I also wrote the preface to the second book in this series: Lance.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Webpage, book

Here’s something that might raise some eyebrows: Why Can’t Our Son Be Gay?

On a totally unrelated note, I’m now reading Dragonworld by Bryon Preiss and Michael Reaves.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Book Review: Stealing Some Time, Book III: Journey’s End by Mark Kendrick.

Mark Kendrick brings his Stealing Some Time trilogy to an exciting and romantic conclusion with Book III: Journey’s End. Fortunately, Kendrick plans to write more gay science fiction novels.

With Book I, we met Kallen Deshara, a young hero in a dark, homophobic future. With Book II, Kallen’s time-traveling mission into the past brought him together with Aaric Utzman, a handsome young man who quickly stole his heart.

Book III winds up the trilogy with an even deeper romance between Kallen and Aaric, and with much more adventure. Mark Kendrick explores the possibilities of time travel, while also exploring the possibilities of gay love. Even though Chapter 24 of this book resolves the conflicts, Kendrick adds a touching Epilogue that will give readers an even greater sense of closure and satisfaction.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

I’m now reading Stealing Some Time, Book III: Journey’s End by Mark Kendrick. I’ll post a review soon. I hope everyone is having a great July 4th Weekend!

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Book review: Stealing Some Time, Books I and II by Mark Kendrick


The action of this romantic science fiction thriller takes place in two different centuries: the 25th century, plagued by homophobia and unquestioned propaganda, and the 19th century, a time of discovery and superstition.

After Technical Sergeant Kallen Deshara keeps finding gay sexual partners in a military that supposedly has no gays, he finally falls in love. Unfortunately, he does so during a mission that takes him into the past. The object of his affection had also been seeking a life-long, romantic bond with another man.

Kendrick keeps the scientific explanations in the narrative short but believable, focusing instead on intrigue, character development, and relationships. The pace never slows, and the book’s time travel premise sneaks shockingly but somehow naturally into the already complex lives of the characters. Yes, it seems impossible in terms of what they know, but they were already starting to learn that much of what they supposedly “knew” isn’t reality at all.

Appearing together in a single volume, Books I and II of the Stealing Some Time trilogy will take readers out of reality as well. I look forward to reading Book III to see how it all turns out!

Friday, June 20, 2003

2003 StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts

I received two 2002 StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts awards.

This year, I’ve been nominated for two more of my writing projects. Degranon is a science fiction novel that explores diversity, fanaticism, and family. The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer is a fiction anthology I edited and co-wrote, with all royalties going to cancer research.

Voting ends midnight 7-18-03, one vote per email address, with results announced 7-25-03 at StoneWall Society. According to SWS, “All votes corresponding to bounce or non-existent email addresses are deleted.”

See StoneWall Society for details. Or go directly to these SWS pages.

Meet The Nominees!

Place Your Vote Here!

Also from StoneWall Society, support GLBT radio! Keep "THIS WAY OUT" on the air. The live online auction to support "THIS WAY OUT" includes signed copies of Degranon. Various writers, singers, comedians, etc. also donated their work. THIS WAY OUT Auction at Alternabid

Monday, June 16, 2003

StoneWall Society


The following is from StoneWall Society, a resource for promoting Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered expression in the arts. I donated three signed copies of my science fiction novel Degranon for the auction.


StoneWall Society GLBT Online Pride Celebration 6-15-03 through 7-15-03

Opens with the auction to benefit "THIS WAY OUT". Sponsored by Alternabid and StoneWall Society our goal is to raise funds to assist in keeping this valuable GLBT resource alive and on air. New items will be added daily all through the month of June 2003. If you would like to donate funds directly to "THIS WAY OUT" please visit their website at: http://www.thiswayout.org/. To donate items for the auction contact sysop@stonewallsociety.com or visit the website at http://www.stonewallsociety.com.
Many thanks to Alternabid!!!!

SWS Pride In The Arts Music Awards

Meet the Nominees!!!

Literary Award Nominees will be announced Tuesday 6-17-03 and
Visual Art Nominees will be announced Thursday 6-19-03
New sections opening daily for the Pride Celebration!!!!

Watch for the opening of StoneWall Society Network During Our Pride Celebration!!!!!
A new means of bringing our community and the world closer....

Pride feedback due in August. If you have not completed this year's survey to improve the Pride event experience, do it here.

Congratulations to OutMusic and all OutMusic Nominees and Recipients.
See the 2003 Recipients!

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson

In Stein, Gender, Isolation, & Industrialism: New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio, I consider Gertrude Stein, gender roles, gay subtext, the machine in the garden, feelings of isolation, and attempts at communication, as they all relate to Sherwood Anderson's masterpiece. You can order it through most bookstores. Libraries can order it through the distributor Ingram Books; the ISBN is 158348338.


From CHAPTER II

ANDERSON AND STEIN: SYMBIOSIS


As I begin to reevaluate the place of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio in the development of American fiction, I first want to look at Anderson's symbiotic relationship with Gertrude Stein, a relationship most Stein devotees will know about through her The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, in which Stein pretends to write as her lover, Alice. Anyone interested in Stein or Anderson should also read Sherwood Anderson/Gertrude Stein, edited by Ray Lewis White. This book features chronological excerpts from their letters to each other and from their published comments about each other.


Anderson apparently came to love Stein through some of her portraits and through her 1909 book Three Lives. Stein generated considerable controversy with Lives, a controversy she would sustain with her subsequent works. In writing about the critical reactions to her prose, she sounds as frustrated as Anderson often felt, and much of what she says about her frustration could apply to Anderson, who appears prominently and constantly in literary anthologies and literary history books, yet continues to receive the label "marginal.” Stein says the newspapers claim "that my writing is appalling but they always quote it and what is more, they quote it correctly, and those they say they admire they do not quote" (Alice 70). The newspapers, however, reflected the general public, who found Stein's work fascinating and repulsive.


My book The Acorn Stories contains some obvious nods to Anderson, Stein, Faulkner, Hurston, Swift, and Kafka, but it's still quite original.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Lesbian Mothers.

The following press release is from an old friend that I met at Belmont University.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

# # #

Dunham Media Group, www.geocities.com/dunhammediagroup, has been commissioned by Star of Hope Outreach Ministries International to produce a video that will continue the story of Sandra Schuster and Madeleine Issacson. The women were the first, openly lesbian, mothers to win custody of their six children, from the Supreme Court of the State of Washington.

Their story was originally produced for video in the early-1970’s, and the video was used in their 10-year court case as evidence of a successful family. Since then, over the past 30 years, the video has been incorporated into college curriculum on campuses nationwide to generate open discussion of several aspects of society, from lesbian relationships and legal aspects of family court, to sociological and psychological studies and spiritual lifestyles.

The project’s goal is to not only continue the story of where the couple and their children are today, but also to reach out to other Gay and Lesbian people to encourage and support them in their efforts to become stable members of society. “The Gay and Lesbian people are portrayed in such a negative light in the mainstream media”, says Sandra Schuster, Star of Hope Founder and subject of the original film. “It is the perfect time for the Gay and Lesbian people with moral character to join together and notify the world that we are here, that we can live positive, upstanding lifestyles, and can even be a vocal presence in a Christian ministry. It is possible to be a Christian, a Gay or Lesbian person, and a positive, contributing member of American society. There is hope for our community.”

The project is slated for launch in August 2003, and is expected to reach Gay and Lesbian People around the country. The original focus of distribution will be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area through video sales, TV distribution to public access and local independent channels, and special screenings. Distribution is expected to grow to include distribution to major markets nationwide.

Lori Dunham, owner of Dunham Media Group and the project’s director, is continuing to accept applications from media-minded individuals looking for an internship opportunity that will provide them with industry experience. Many internship positions are still available to junior or senior level college students enrolled in Communications studies, or to recent graduates in the Radio/TV/Film, Communications, Journalism, Advertising/Marketing or Public Relations programs.

For more information, please contact Lori Dunham at lori_dunham@earthlink.net.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Poet of the Month!



I am the June 2003 poet of the month at Antny’s Place!

Site’s description: “Antny's Place is dedicated to serving as a free resource for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) community. Hopefully you will find this site to be both informative and fun, but most of all, through this site, you can always be assured that you are not alone.”

My review of the site: Antny's Place provides news, views, and creative expressions that involve the GLBT community. It’s a fun place to visit, and the webmaster encourages interaction from members. Membership is free, as is every part of the site.

Please visit Antny’s Place now and click on the Poet of the Month link!

Monday, May 26, 2003

  • Happy Memorial Day to America’s returning soldiers, and to the ones still away!

  • Peace sometimes looks more hopeful for Israel and Palestine. I hope it happens soon. It doesn’t matter who gets credit, as long as the killing stops!

  • Click here to read visit GayLinkNews.com and read a press release about my politically charged scifi novel Degranon.

  • My birthday is Wednesday, May 28. I’ll be 38! I was just 20something, a few days ago! Well, it seems that way!

  • I’ll return next week with a book or website review.
  • Tuesday, May 20, 2003

    (Lubbock, Texas) I’m currently reading The Innocent, by Robert Taylor. Taylor is a Texas Tech University alum, and a former U.S. Army captain. He drew from some of his experiences and observations for this novel. Set during the Vietnamese conflict, it involves a U.S. soldier who falls in love with a Vietnamese man. I'm really slow on reading these days, but it’s a good book!

    Wednesday, May 14, 2003

    This poem, from my book Holding Me Together, developed from three influences: (1) a news report about refugee children in South America, (2) the cover of U2’s album War, and (3) a definition of the word “ire.” I originally wrote “Children in the Streets” as a song poem (in 1983), but never could find anyone to put it to music, so I adapted it into the free verse poem that follows.

    Children in the Streets

    Tuesday, May 06, 2003

    Interplanetary News!

    (The United States of America, a large and proud county on Planet Earth.) Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Sitting Bull (Tatanka Yotanka), Tecumseh, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Newt Gingrich, William Bennett, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Randall Terry, Jimmy Swaggart, Charlton Heston, Joseph McCarthy, Roy Cohn, Bill O’Reilly, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Joseph Lieberman, Pat Buchanan, George Will, Bill Kristol…from political office to religious office to popular speaker to entertainer to journalist to some blurring of two or more of those positions, these people are or have been some of the best-known moral leaders in America. In some cases, their lives cancelled out their message; and in some cases, their lives became their message. Either way, most Americans will recognize some of those names as leaders whose words impacted many listeners.

    (The Fourth Circle of Planet Degranon, a planet colonized then abandoned centuries ago by Planet Valchondria.) Gazer followed the Book of Degranon relentlessly. Yes, it meant killing sometimes, even his own parents. But he was a good man, a godly man. He would do what must be done, even while he saw his fellow Degrans killing each over for not all agreeing with the same interpretations of their holy book. His war was righteous. Though his beloved mentor gave him his mission to the home world, he saw it as really being God’s work. God chose Gazer, of course.

    (Valcine, capital city of Planet Valchondria.) The Maintainers say it’s for our own good. We don’t need books. And there are many words we just shouldn’t use, many topics we just shouldn’t discuss. Some ideas are heavy hazard, just as some words are danger speak. So we understand about why their cameras follow us in schools, in hospitals, and throughout much of Valcine. We understand that they worked with the Supreme Science Council to give us a virus that will protect us from illness. We just don’t understand why we can’t discuss the virus’s side-effects. We just don’t understand why the Maintainers won’t help the walkway people, why we can’t discuss God, why the virus fails to protect our grandparents, or why our parents want us to just quietly stare at the programs on our wallscreen. But this Gazer person who has suddenly appeared, offering us hope…and the confidence pills…we find ourselves embracing him.

    Degranon



    In teaching us not to question or think for ourselves, the Maintainers made us easy targets for the Degran invasion. Now, the battle for freedom begins!

    Friday, May 02, 2003

    HIV/AIDS Blogs

    These are some HIV/AIDS-related blogs I found—not just individual entries, but blogs that mostly deal with HIV/AIDS.

    HIV and ME WEBSITES AND THEE. “Hiv got me, in 92 or 93, maybe death was meant for me, but no i didnt give it a chance and took my meds till i was sick in bed ( sometimes ) .”

    The HIVe “A place to share your experiences, fears and hopes about HIV and AIDS.”

    Link and Think “is an observance of World AIDS Day in the personal web publishing communities.”

    Nuzee: Gay.com UK HIV News. Newsrom PlanetOut Partners UK Limited.

    Please read Bareback, from my book Holding Me Together.

    Monday, April 28, 2003

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

    Don’t buy The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers when it comes out in VHS and DVD this summer. As with The Fellowship of the Ring, the theatrical version will come out first, then a version with a lot of restored footage will come out in November. Why don’t they wait and release both versions at the same time, instead of letting people buy one and then find out about the other? I love LOTR, but what a rip off!

    The Two Towers is now one of the all-time biggest box office hits, and will probably perform as well on VHS and DVD. Of course, by the time
    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King comes out on DVD, VHS might no longer exist. We’ll see.

    Sunday, April 27, 2003

    Another science fiction site…

    Look for information about my science fiction thriller Degranon at SFBook.com, and my listing on their science fiction authors page. From the webmaster: “SFBook.com is your Science Fiction book resource on the net. It's the place for news and reviews. You can start your own discussions by posting a story or a review or you can comment on the already existing stories.”

    Tuesday, April 22, 2003

    Bookshelf…

    I’m currently reading Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams. I don’t think it’s as funny as the other Douglas Adams books I’ve read (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; LONG DARK TEA TIME OF THE SOUL). Still, it’s certainly no less imaginative or unusual! I suggest it for anyone who likes offbeat scifi!

    Some of the spring/summer movies I want to see…

    It Runs in the Family Opening Date: April 25, 2003

    X2: X-Men United Opening Date: May 2, 2003

    The Matrix Reloaded Opening Date: May 15, 2003

    Hulk Opening Date: June 20, 2003

    Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines Opening Date: July 2, 2003

    Monday, April 14, 2003

    Some Cancer-Related Blogs.

    Want to learn more about dealing with cancer? Here are some cancer-related blogs that might help with your research, or just provide some comfort.

    Breast Cancer Blogs at JeffSidens.Com. Jeff provides blog entries of his wife’s struggle with breast cancer, and another blog with annotated breast cancer links.

    Breast Cancer Blog. “Blogging research and updates to breast cancer issues.” Constantly updated with links to new stories, found by Research Buzz, “Obsessed with search engines, databases, and various info-piles since 1998.”

    Nuzee.com’s Breast Cancer Blog. Much like the above. The overall site also covers many other research topics (including HIV/AIDS) as well as sports, entertainment, etc.

    Colon Cancer Survivors Blog. “Colon Cancer Survivors journal, for colorectal patients.” Practical advice, within a blog journal format.


    You can help with the fight against cancer (and enjoy some great short stories!) by ordering The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer!

    Tuesday, April 08, 2003

    Book review: Seasons of Grief & Grace: A Sister's Story of AIDS, by Susan Ford Wiltshire.

    I live in Lubbock, Texas, where much of this story takes place, and I happen to know some of the people Dr. Ford mentions. But that was hardly the only reason I wanted to read this compassionate biography. Dr. Ford shows how her brother bravely faced AIDS and the bigotry related to it.

    Despite its subject matter, this book is never depressing. Instead, Dr. Ford captures the inspirational aspects of her brother’s life and how it touched the lives of people around him. I found her poems about his struggle especially touching and hope she’ll share more of those in another book.

    I’ve just added Seasons of Grief and Grace to my newly updated Listmainia list Facing Illness or Disability.

    If you like Seasons…, you might also like my project The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer.

    Monday, April 07, 2003

    John Mudd, publicist for The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer, has been an innovator in using blogs. That isn’t limited to publicity. With John’s growing career in real estate, he is now writing a new blog, as well as a real estate website. Visit now to learn the latest about real estate services, to find a new home, or just to see how John keeps making clever use of blogs! Best wishes to John on these exciting ventures!

    InsideRealEstateJournal.blogspot.com


    Home In Tampa Bay

    Monday, March 31, 2003

    More Texas strangeness…



    If you like my book The Acorn Stories, its spin-off The Acorn Gathering, or the Joe Sears and Jaston Williams play Greater Tuna, you should definitely look for Sordid Lives.

    That irreverent comedy centers around an embarrassing death in a Texas town and involves eccentric characters. It’s quickly becoming a cult classic.

    Amazon recently added more detailed listings of The Acorn Stories and The Acorn Gathering. Please click those links to read more about those books. Be sure to use the Book Information links that will appear in the upper-left corner.

    By the way, I really love my adopted home state of Texas! But it can be funny.

    Monday, March 24, 2003

    Updated! The Return of Innocence: I am co-authoring this fantasy novel with Antoinette Davis. A young woman stumbles into wild adventures and learns that, sometimes, going home is the most dangerous adventure of all! You can read drafts of Chapters One and Two.

    Thursday, March 20, 2003

    I graduated from Belmont University (BA, 89), Hardin-Simmons University (MA, 91), and Texas Tech University (Ph.D., 96), all with a major in English. Recently, the alumni publications of all three institutions included information about The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer!

    Range Rider, the alumni newsmagazine of Hardin-Simmons University mentioned my contributions and those of another HSU alum: Timothy Morris Taylor. Tim and I both started at HSU in 1989. When I was editor of the HSU school paper, The Brand, Tim contributed to a special letters-of-support issue I put together for sending to the troops in the Gulf War. He is a very creative and compassionate person, so I knew to contact him when I started work on my project The Acorn Gathering.

    (One of HSU's most famous alums is Marion Zimmer Bradley, whose fantasy novels include The Mists of Avalon.)

    HubStuff, a new arts/entertainment publication here in Lubbock, Texas, also featured information about The Acorn Gathering in recent issues.


    SFBookcase.com now includes information about my science fiction thriller Degranon. Click here to read the listing, and to learn about other scifi/fantasy books and authors.

    Next week, I’ll have more scifi/fantasy news.

    Monday, March 10, 2003

    More gay books…


    Book review: Desert Sons by Mark Kendrick

    In reading Mark Kendrick's first novel, I often forgot about the plot, not because it didn't interest me, but because Kendrick succeeds so incredibly at bringing readers deep into the minds and hearts of his two main characters: Ryan and Scott. Of course, the various conflicts creep back into the narrative, causing new problems for these believable and complicated teenagers. Both boys are still coming to terms with their sexual orientation, while trying to understand their intense love for each other. Kendrick never shies away from the sexual preoccupation of these teen lovers, but he also never shies away from their fear of prejudice and rejection. Kendrick also writes science fiction, and it will be interesting to see if he can deliver the same character-driven novels in that genre as in this admirable example of gay fiction.

    Book review: Into This World We’re Thrown by Mark Kendrick

    I loved Mark Kendrick's debut novel, Desert Sons. While I’m mostly looking forward to his upcoming time travel trilogy, I was surprised and happy to learn of his plans to first write a sequel to Desert Sons. Though I found the ending of the original completely satisfying, it also left some open possibilities that this book explores.
    While Desert Sons deftly handles the difficult and sometimes dangerous coming out process of young lovers Ryan and Scott, the sequel finds that lingering tensions remain, while new challenges continue to surface. Infidelity, jealousy, town gossip, and buried feelings threaten to destroy their relationship. Worse yet, the threat of violence looms constantly in their lives.
    Fans of Desert Sons will surely cherish this conclusion to its story-lines. However, I also suggest it to fans of gay teen "coming out" movies like Beautiful Thing, Get Real, Boy's Life, and Edge of Seventeen. In fact, Kendrick's first two novels would both make great movies themselves!


    Book review: Murder in Pastel by Colin Dunne
    Colin Dunne cleverly blends a painting's subject with the story of some gay friends and the story of a missing artist (and his missing painting). The resulting tale always intrigues, with a focus on strong dialogue and character development. You don't have to be gay to enjoy this book. Nor do you have to like mystery novels. Just the characters and conflicts that start the novel would have kept my attention, but the added dimension of the murder and the painting made me read quickly to the surprising twists of the novel's closing chapters.

    Book review: The Drowning of Stephan Jones by Bette Greene
    I read this novel several years ago and often think about it. The story is haunting in how it accurately portrays the nature of prejudice. Hate crimes against gays are common and are currently becoming even more common. Novels like this one might help some young people think about the results of hatred and prejudice. Bette Greene deserves all the praise and awards she has received for her books!

    Book review: Openly Gay, Openly Christian: How the Bible Really Is Gay Friendly by Rev. Samuel Kader
    Rev. Kader has both a deeply analytical mind and a deeply loving spirit. In this well-researched and carefully phrased study, he challenges homophobic readings of the Bible and uses his knowledge of scripture to show the Bible as "gay-friendly." He also uses his experiences to show the results of homophobia within the church and the questionable value of "ex-gay" ministries. This is one of the best books of its kind!
    Kader might overstate (and re-state) some of his points at times, but only because so many hearts are so hardened by arrogance, bigotry, or self-hatred. This book is perfect for anyone who's gay and/or Christian, as well as for the loved ones of gay people.

    Book review: Trysts by Steve Berman
    I had heard of Steve Berman's fiction collection, Trysts, at Amazon.com, and it sounded interesting. Matt Bauer's striking artwork on the cover caught my interest even more. As the words he chose for his title and subtitle suggest, Berman can find something obscure or archaic, then turn it into something wondrous and unpredictable.
    While Berman will certainly appeal to fans of modern horror writers like Clive Barker, his writing seems more like a reshaped, updated, and gay-themed version of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Like those 19th century authors, both of whom helped shape fantastic fiction, Berman can use a few suggestive words, emotions, or images to spawn entire worlds of fear, dread, and awe. But also like those writers, he makes us want to keep exploring the dark forests of the human mind, to see how the experience will affect us.
    Of course, in Berman's case, we mostly find modern landscapes, such as run-down apartment buildings that house demons, spiders, ghosts, and seductive hustlers. Or we find familiar situations that many gays can relate to, such as a young gay man who worries that he might not be as attractive as his gay buddy or the men in one of their favorite magazines.
    These stories aren't always dark. They can be hopeful or erotic, and they're sometimes even funny, though Berman often adds to the intensity by mixing the fearful with those more positive elements. I loved these thirteen stories by Steve Berman, and I hope he won't stop with the 'Triskaidecollection' that introduced me to his work.
    We can now find many writers that bring the 'gay fiction' genre into the sub-genres of science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror. I've barely started exploring the works of such writers, but I consider Trysts a great place to start!


    Book review: Common Sons by Ronald L. Donaghe
    This book will upset people whose childhood included rejection by their parents or their classmates. It will upset people who think everyone should look, think, and act alike. It will even upset people who know the satisfaction of treating everyone with dignity and respect. In other words, this book will disturb countless readers. Why? Because Ronald Donaghe offers such an honest and detailed look at two boys who fall in love with each other in a staunchly anti-gay New Mexico town.
    Despite the novel's many portrayals of negative and even violent responses to the love between Tom and Joel, Donaghe delivers an ultimately inspiring tale of how two people can overcome the obstacles that could deter their happiness and honesty. This book can give hope to the many gays who still fear being themselves, and it can give hope to the many older gays who worry that their young counterparts will always face nothing but hatred and violence. But its appeal isn't limited to gays; nongays might read it to understand people who are different from themselves, or just because they like reading a well-written and exciting novel.

    Book review: The Blind Season by Ronald L. Donaghe

    Ronald L. Donaghe continues his 'Common Threads in the Life' series with a novel that excels both as a family drama and as an action drama. Five years after the events of the novel Common Sons, Donaghe's young lovers Tom and Joel decide to start a family. The struggles they face come from unexpected sources, keeping readers guessing at the next obstacles or solutions. Donaghe delivers what should become a classic of gay literature.

    Book review: Lance by Ronald L. Donaghe
    I was pleased when Ronald L. Donaghe agreed to my suggestion that I write the preface to this novel. Lance is a great follow-up to Uncle Sean, the first book in 'The Continuing Journals of Will Barnett.' It's also a fitting chapter in the career of one of gay fiction's best writers.
    If you liked any of Donaghe's previous novels, you should like this one as well. It brings back the New Mexico landscape, the fears over difference, and the need to remain a part of one's family while remaining true to one's self. As Will enters adulthood, he finds that his love for Lance will continue to complicate his life and his relationship with others. Friends become enemies, and enemies become potential allies. Everything changes as people begin to confront their prejudices and insecurities.
    Like The Salvation Mongers (still my favorite of Donaghe's books) and Uncle Sean, this novel also confronts the abuse that sometimes hides within seemingly ideal homes. All in all, though, Donaghe offers hope to those who will be true to themselves and tolerant of others. You'll find a lot of sex, as well as a lot of evocative descriptions of farm life and nature's beauty. But you'll more likely remember the tender love story and how life's problems and opportunities affect that love.
    Click hereicon to browse that book, including my preface.

    If you like any of the above books, you might like my book Holding Me Together. The table of contents follows.

    Part 1: Reactions to Homophobia, A Long Essay Introduction "Unlike gay people, I don't tell people what my wife and I do in bed." "They can be gay, as long as they hide it." "Gay sex is unnatural." "Hate crimes are just something the homosexuals make up to get special rights." "If a normal guy or a white guy gets beat up, hate crimes laws can't help him. That isn't fair." "We shouldn't have to see gays when we watch TV." "God didn't create Adam and Steve." "The Bible says it's wrong." "But homosexuality isn't just a sin: it's an immoral lifestyle." "The Bible says God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of gays." "The Bible never shows same-gender relationships as equal to that of a man and a woman." "The Bible never contradicts itself; therefore, we must follow what it says about gays." "Accepting gays would require not reading the Bible literally." "I love the sinner, hate the sin." "All Christians condemn homosexuality." "People who agree with homosexuality can't possibly have any morals." "Homosexuals can't be Christians." "Gays can't join fratemities and sororities, because Greck traditions follow the Bible." "I would accept gays, but I believe in family values." "Family members spending time with their gay relatives would suggest that they endorse that lifestyle." "They live that gay lifestyle." "Gays are all liberals." "It's an insult to African Americans to compare being gay to being black." "If there's nothing wrong with it, why's it illegal?" "The parts don't fit." "If we weren't so tolerant of gays, there wouldn't be any." "I wouldn't mind gays if it weren't for them checking me out." "Having gay parents makes children gay." "Gay people should try to be cured." "Homosexuality is a mental illness." "If everyone were gay, we'd stop having children, and die out." "They deserve what happens to them, because they choose to be gay." "Anyone who tolerates gays needs to see The Gay Agenda." "Gays helped cause the Holocaust." "Accepting homosexuality destroyed the Greek and Roman empires." "The following quote shows gays admit that they recruit children." "They recruit." "They just haven't met the right person of the opposite sex yet." "Gays can't adopt, because their children will get teased, and that isn't fair." "Gays can't teach, because they're a threat to children." "Public schools need to quit promoting homosexuality." "Gays can't serve in the military, because that would disrupt efficiency." "I don't have anything against gays; I think they can serve anywhere but the military." "I want to keep gays from athletics because my children see athletes as role modcls." "God sent AIDS to the homosexuals because He loves His children and wants to turn them back to Him." "Gays sleeping around are what cause health-care costs to go up." "We can't allow gay marriages, because tradition and scripture protected heterosexual marriage and reproduction for thousands of years." "Gay relationships mock heterosexual ones, with two people of the same gender pretending to be a man and a woman." "Surveys prove gays are a threat." "Surveys prove there are just a few gays, so why should heterosexuals care about gay rights?" "The average gay man won't live to be 44." "The average gay male has 5000-15,000 different partners per year." "Homosexuals are just a bunch of men dressing up like women." "All the gay men getting AIDS justifies any laws that could discourage homosexuality." Resources for "Reactions to Homophobia" ***

    Part 2: Poems *Chasing Seagulls * Rainbow Editing Children in the Streets * Friday Afternoon Spectrum * Reception * Album *Also *Separated (A Sestina) *Who Does God Hate? *second year *Cross *Songs In Sign Language *Anne Bradstreet *Denial *Elephant On An Opera Stage *Two Rapes *Hero *The Same Lips *Detour *Question * Faces *Forgotten *Sock Poem *Higher Education *Haiku *TV Haiku *Cities Don't Build People *The Gardener *Family *Bareback *Cocoon *Process * The Ex-Me Movement *Storm *Spelunker *The Escape Artist *Pharisee *The Loss *Daughter *Cycle *The John Doe Family *Angels and Razors *Home ***

    Part 3 Short Essays *How "Children in the Streets" Wrote Itself *Adding to the Hurt *Out of the Closet and Into the Community *Not Worth Dying Over *If *Family Reunion *Dear Editor *Siblings: A Note to Young Gay Men *The Bible and Gays (Condensed from parts of "Reactions to Homophobia") *America Today *Violence ***

    Appendix: Should We Follow These Verses?


    Saturday, March 08, 2003

    Book review: Uncle Sean by Ronald L. Donaghe

    While much shorter than Ronald L. Donaghe's “Common Threads in the Life” novels, Uncle Sean is certainly no less realistic, thought-provoking, or intriguing. Though told entirely in first person, the narrative actually uses three different voices. The first voice is that of a man who finds the materials and instills in readers a desire to learn the story they hold. Another is of the young man Will Barnett, who realizes that he wants a boyfriend. And the third voice is of Uncle Sean himself, the object of Will's affection. Donaghe uses each voice as a different way of exploring the complexities of same-sex attraction and, more universally, the frustrations of feeling isolated and rejected. The Salvation Mongers remains my favorite of Donaghe's novels, but Uncle Sean is perhaps his most touching novel, and I think countless readers will relate to Will's desire to find someone "pretty" to love forever.

    Tuesday, March 04, 2003

    StoneWall Society (http://www.stonewallsociety.com/) has helped a great deal with promoting my writing and the work of many other lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender artists. You can see what I mean by visiting my StoneWall Society wing.


    Now, SWS needs help from LGBTs everywhere with an important project. I’m forwarding this press release about that project. Please help and/or forward this release to others who can help.

    Be proud!

    Duane Simolke
    http://duanesimolke.com

    March 3, 2003
    PRESS RELEASE
    IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Contact: Len Rogers
    StoneWall Society
    (225) 927-6424
    len@stonewallsociety.com

    Alternabid and StoneWall Society announce March Online Auction to
    benefit “THIS WAY OUT”, the only internationally distributed GLBT public radio program.

    Uniquely the only internationally distributed GLBT radio program,
    “THIS WAY OUT” (www.thiswayout.org), is in danger of leaving the air.

    With the decline of available funding due to the economy and events
    including and since 9-11-01 many non-profit groups are finding it difficult to survive. “THIS WAY OUT” is no exception. Both Alternabid and StoneWall Society feel this is a GLBT resource that must be supported and maintained.

    “One of the reasons for Alternabid to be in existence is to
    provide support to the GLBT community. “THIS WAY OUT” is a valuable
    resource. We must take action to safeguard the security of our community's visibility and resources. Alternabid is waiving all fees so that 100 percent of all funds will go directly to “THIS WAY OUT”, stated Alternabid founder and owner Ronnie Rodriguez.

    StoneWall Society will provide auction promotion/marketing,
    overall coordination and maintenance of items donated, locate and request items for auction, as well as seek additional financial support for “THIS WAY OUT”.

    “The GLBT community is in a visibility and service decline crisis. GLBT Centers as an example have closed in major metropolitan areas due to lack of funding. Resources are disappearing at an alarming rate. It is our responsibility as a community to safeguard our culture and resources. We cannot afford to be lax and wait for someone to pick up this issue. It is time for the community itself to take charge,” stated StoneWall Society's Len Rogers.

    The auction will be held exclusively on Alternabid, (www.alternabid.com) and will start by the 21st of March. According to Rogers, “Items for the auction are still being sought. So if you are looking to do a little spring cleaning put the item to good use and donate to benefit “THIS WAY OUT”. Your donation not only helps safeguard a major GLBT resource but it is tax deductible as well.” You can get detailed information or arrange your donation by contacting
    twoauction@stonewallsociety.com. Items pledged to date include: author
    signed editions of GLBT literature, art by GLBT artists, CD's by GLBT
    artists, Internet services, and collectibles. All donors who wish will
    be listed on the StoneWall Society website section dealing with the
    auction. Links to donor's websites will be included.

    On the air since April 1988, "This Way Out" is the multi-award-winning internationally distributed weekly gay and lesbian radio
    newsmagazine produced by Overnight Productions, Inc. a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. “THIS WAY OUT” currently airs on over 135 community radio stations around the world, who receive it via satellite in the U.S. on the Public Radio Satellite System and Pacifica's KU band, in Australia via the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia's ComRadSat, across Europe on World Radio Network's WRN1, worldwide via the A-INFOS Internet Project at www.radio4all.org, and on audiocassette tape from the producers. Listeners can also hear "This Way Out" online by clicking on the PlanetOut link at ww.thiswayout.org, on short wave via Costa Rica-based global station RFPI (Radio For Peace International) and on audiocassette by individual subscription.

    For more information contact Len at StoneWall Society, (len@stonewallsociety.com) (225) 927-6424.

    Thursday, February 27, 2003

    Tuesday, February 25, 2003

    KC & the Sunshine Band

    My next blog entry will be number 100! Please read that! Meanwhile, I want to share some news, then tell you about a somewhat overlooked CD by one of my favorite groups.

    Amazon.co.UK has posted extended reviews of The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer and my science fiction novel Degranon. Click those links to read about the books and their themes, as well as more information about my writing.

    CD Review: Oh Yeah! by KC & the Sunshine Band. Also available at Amazon.co.UK.

    My responses, one song at a time.

    "Megamix." This eight-minute medley combines some of KCSB's most popular songs. It uses a new recording that flows together, instead of splicing together clips from separate recordings.

    "Somebody Somewhere." Backup singer Maria De Crescenzo steps up to sing this beautiful ballad with KC. Besides the great vocal match, the lyrics will inspire and comfort listeners. This song would make a great dedication!

    "Will You Love Me In The Morning." KC forgets to breathe in his rapid delivery of impassioned lyrics.

    "Hold Me Tight." This dance song would fit perfectly into a collection of club mixes, except that it's already mixed just right!

    "Give It Up." A new version of their 80s hit. I don't like it quite as much as the original, but it comes close enough as an alternate version.

    "Please Don't Go." A scaled-down live version, with just KC and a piano. KC adds an extra love note in the bridge.

    "Coast To Coast." Funky and distinctly 90s dance music, but also distinctly Sunshine Band.

    "I Can't Forget." Another ballad that would make a great dedication. It reflects an enduring relationship, not unlike the one between KC and his fans.

    "Gonna Let It Go." This uptempo ballad deals positively with moving on after a failed relationship.

    "Don't Stop." A surprisingly danceable remake of the Fleetwood Mac classic. The optimistic message makes it an obvious song for KCSB to record.

    "Turn The Music Up." Basic KCSB, spotlighting a jazzy sound with heavy percussion. I would have started the CD with this song (with the medley second), because it's signature KCSB, and because of the title.

    "Desire." Though upbeat and danceable, this track sounds unlike any of the others, often letting the sexy backup vocals take over.

    "High Above The Clouds." Another major departure for the band, this techopop number provides a lovely ending for an enjoyable collection.