The Case of the Mail Order Bride

Today marks the release of a new novel from my alter ego, Paige Braddock. This book is a novelization of the long-running lesbian comic strip, Jane’s World. This is a humor book, so the tone and voice are quite different from Whiskey Sunrise or The Time Before Now.

I hope you enjoy Jane’s antics as much as I do — or come close! Let me know what you think.

It’s hard to believe that today is June 1st, which means the Jane’s World novel is now available from Bold Strokes Books. There are even advance reviews of the book on their site also. …

Source: Jane’s World, the novel! It’s here!

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Feeling Good About Letting Go

“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.”
— Bryant H. McGill

If any of you follow me on Facebook then you know that I posted earlier in the week about getting stuck on the villain character in my current work in progress. Thanks to everyone who responded and just as an update, in case you were curious, I’m unstuck.

I realized this morning while driving to work that part of getting unstuck was the willingness to let go. The novel that I am currently working on for Bold Strokes Books, Birthright, is a story I first started to think about back in 1997. It’s crazy to think that this concept has been sitting around for that long and I’m just now making it real. Basically, I have this “suitcase of ideas.” And yes, it’s literally a suitcase. In it are story outlines, character drawings, names, imaginary maps and references for all kinds of things. Birthright was in that suitcase. And maybe that’s why I ended up getting stuck.

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My suitcase of ideas.

Sometimes I think if an idea ferments for too long you become too attached to certain aspects of the initial concept. In this case I needed to let some things go. I needed to allow this story to evolve into something new, something better.

Secondary characters are now taking more of a lead role. The villain has a second-in-command. Names have changed and the original intent of the story has expanded. All for the better I think (I hope). I realized that by trying to force the narrative to adhere to my original concept I was holding the story back.

Anyway, I just felt like sharing this. As a writer, and as encouragement for other writers and creators, it feels good to let go. Especially when letting go means allowing the characters to move forward with their story.

Novels, Novellas and The Return to Earth

MV_Book_Covers

One of my blog followers asked about the Return to Earth series. I was unable to respond to the question directly because for some reason the email she left didn’t work, but I’ve gotten this same question a few times, so I thought it might merit a blog post.

The question was about the second title in the series, “The Ground Beneath,” which is only available as an e-book. Since she prefers to read only paperbacks this particular reader wondered if missing this second book would make it impossible to follow the series. The short answer is, no. “The Ground Beneath” is a novella that focuses on one of the secondary characters from the first book. If you read “All Things Rise” and liked Jessica, then you won’t want to miss her story in “The Ground Beneath,” but you won’t be lost reading the rest of the series. “The Time Before Now,” is a prequel to the first book.

And the good news is that the third full installment of the series, “Valley of Fire,” will be out in October. Ava, from the first book gets her chance to find love and she finds it in a very unexpected place.

Valley Of Fire Wallpaper

All books available from Bold Strokes Books!

There’s Something Seriously Wrong in Jackson

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In case you missed it, Mississippi’s legislature passed a so-called religious freedom bill. It was obviously written to allow businesses to deny services to LGBT people. As an article published today by Vox states, Mississippi didn’t even need this bill. The state already offers no protections under the law for LGBT residents.

I’ve been watching from a distance what’s been happening in North Carolina and then Georgia, but yesterday when this thing happened in Mississippi I was so angry. I think this one hit me particularly hard because I spent a large part of my childhood in Mississippi. I’ve also lived in North Carolina and Georgia, but Mississippi is the state I most often find myself defending to individuals who have never been there. And now I’m asking myself why I bother.

Mississippi is a state with so many problems, why are they so focused on this small, already unprotected minority group? There’s something seriously wrong in the Mississippi capitol. I’m not even sure these legislators represent the views of the majority. Maybe they do and maybe I’m just naïve. But I go there all the time. I have childhood friends there, my brother and sister-in-law live there. As an openly gay person, traveling with my wife, I’ve never experienced any abuse by anyone in Mississippi. Ever. I mean, I’ve gotten the sideways look in Walmart, but I think the woman thought I was Ellen and was moments away from asking for my autograph.

But seriously, Mississippi ranks 51st in education, 49th in overall health of its citizens, and it has the highest teen birth rate in the nation. Jackson, the capital, is so unsafe that no one goes downtown. These are big, BIG problems that need to be solved. So I guess we’ll just continue to watch the state spiral into further decline while the legislature focuses on keeping gay couples from ordering a wedding cake, because that really safeguards the quality of life for the citizens of Mississippi.

I was enraged driving home last night. I can’t remember the last time I was so angry. I was thinking, I’m not going to go to Mississippi any more. I’m not going to give the state’s economy my hard-earned travel dollars. My brother can come visit me here in California. My sister-in-law would probably prefer that anyway. We’ve got amazing weather, incredible food, the wine country and good shopping. (Probably because of all the gays.) Sure, California is not immune to stupid government (Proposition 8) and we’ve got our own water crisis to solve. But we don’t seem as stuck as Mississippi. At least we’re moving forward.

As luck would have it, we had tickets last night to see Patty Griffin at the Uptown Theater in Napa, Calif. (Napa, where everyone drinks good wine, is well fed, and happy.) Patty’s performance was stirring and inspiring. And as I rediscovered last night, music is indeed soothing to the soul. Patty Griffin is doing this particular tour in support of a non-profit, non-partisan, group signing people up to vote. So she talked about voting, democracy and our looming election at different moments during the night. She said she’d recently played a show in Alabama and in preparation, read the speech that Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered in Montgomery after the march from Selma. Patty shared this quote from MLK:

“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

I share that same hope. Although, today, I feel we are far from that end.

Here’s the entire speech.

Isn’t that Romantic?

I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day. I spent mine with my love, Evelyn. Here’s the story of how I met my wife.

Women and Words

This year for Valentine’s Day, we here at Women and Words invited some of our friends to tell us about a romantic moment in their lives. And, just for fun, we answered the question as well.

Missouri Vaun

Like my character Royal Duval in Whiskey Sunrise, I’m catastrophically optimistic. Even still, I don’t think I really believed in love at first sight until it happened to me.

It was at a museum event where I first met Evelyn. The encounter was very brief and we only exchanged a few words, but when we shook hands, I had this flash forward moment where I sensed we would be together. I dismissed the feeling as wishful thinking, but then a few weeks later we did meet again. We had the longest first date in history that, among other things, included a drive out to the Pacific coast. I remember standing at…

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