Take My Hand

TakeMyHand_lowres

“Take my hand.” A simple request with the power to change everything.

Artist Clay Cahill retreats to her hometown of Pine Cone, Georgia, when she’s betrayed by a woman she thought cared and the pressure of the New York City art world becomes too much. Setting paints aside, she takes a job at her grandfather’s garage seeking the restorative comfort of small town life where women are sweet and life flows as slow as molasses.

Manhattan art gallery owner River Hemsworth is preparing for a show when she’s informed her aunt has bequeathed her a local gallery in Pine Cone, a place where the idea of fashion is anything with a Carhart label. En route to review inventory and unload the property quickly, River wrecks and Clay comes to her rescue.

If River can convince Clay to start painting again, she may be able to pull off the show that will make her career and quench the desires she never expected to feel again.

Welcome to part one of the sweet, romantic adventures of Pine Cone, Georgia. I was super excited to write this trilogy with two of my favorite authors: VK Powell and D. Jackson Leigh

Trilogy wallpaper

 

Getting started

Isn’t that the hardest part sometimes? Just sitting down and putting the first lines on paper. I can’t seem to move forward until I get a first paragraph that I feel good about and the very first line needs to feel just right. I’ve realized that many of my books begin with taking a first step, crossing a threshold, which is usually a signal that things for the main character are about to change.

For my newest work in progress, Spencer’s Cove, there is no first step. There’s a cat, who has no concept of how much he weighs (18 lbs.) and a mystery to be solved… oh, and a painfully shy heiress.

Now, back to work on that first chapter.

Spencers Cove LOW res

Provincetown schedule, see you there!

IMG_7336Here I am, in one of my signature plaid shirts, in front of Recovering Hearts preparing for a signing in 2015. This year, I’m aspiring to wear solids, but I might not pull it off.

Okay, so it was summer for like a minute, and then I blinked… and now it’s October. Which means… Women’s Week in Provincetown, Mass!

My first visit to this charming coastal village was in 2015 and I’m excited to be back this year to meet up with old friends and a few new ones. I’m doing a quick post here to share my signing and reading schedule:

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12TH:

2:00-3:00 PM @ GABRIEL’S: I’ll be moderating a panel titled “Out of This World.” Panelists include: CJ Birch, Jane C. Esther, M. Ullrich, Ali Vali, Brey Willows, and Barbara Ann Wright.

5:00-7:00 PM @ HARBOR LOUNGE / 102 BRADFORD STREET: Bold Strokes Books Meet ‘n’ Greet. All are welcome to attend.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13TH:

10:00-11:00 AM @ LIBRARY: Author Q&A: Genre, What Genre? Moderated by Melissa Brayden. Panelists include: Missouri Vaun (aka: me), Jean Copeland, Jackie D, M. Ullrich, Ali Vali, and Barbara Ann Wright.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14TH:

2:00-3:00 PM @ LIBRARY: Pivotal Moments, moderated by I. Beacham. Panelists include: Radclyffe, Missouri Vaun, Mickey Brent, Robyn Nyx, Aurora Rey, and Emily Smith.

3:45-4:15 PM @ RECOVERING HEARTS: I’ll be there signing books with Radclyffe, Aurora Rey, Mickey Brent, Robyn Nyx, and Emily Smith.

For more information about all these great authors check out the Bold Strokes Books website.

 

 

In a Perfect World

I’ve really struggled this week with my feelings about what happened in Orlando. This whole event felt extra personal because I lived in Orlando during my twenties. Pulse, and other gay clubs, were where I came out. My time in Orlando represents my passage to adulthood in many ways.

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Orlando, circa 1989: At a lakeside picnic with a close friend.

Alexander Chee, writing in the New Republic this week said, “We have always known that the protection we feel in a queer club is illusory.”

That statement finally got to the heart of what I’ve been feeling. When I was twenty-six, gay clubs offered a new world order. I spent all week being closeted for work, family and neighbors. But on Saturday night at the club, finally, freedom. It was as if the community in the club was some utopia where everyone was accepted as fully themselves. To anyone who isn’t gay this probably sounds very strange because you get to be yourself all day every day. But I’m sure those of you who are gay can relate to this. Especially if you came out in the era before Ellen and “Modern Family.” And even still, in some parts of the country where it isn’t safe to be out, gay clubs offer the only respite from the rest of life.

To be victimized, killed, in possibly the one place you feel safe is horrific.

And for those who were wounded, whose families didn’t know until they got a call from the hospital, I feel for them. To be forced out before you’re ready or before you’ve come to terms with it yourself is tough to get through. Not just tough, in some states, impossible. In Florida LGBT citizens don’t have even the most basic protections under the law. You can lose your job just for being gay. The lack of protection leaves LGBT individuals vulnerable. And all these mean-spirited laws camouflaged behind some fear of gender-specific restrooms and who gets to use them are basically throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire of hate targeting the LGBT community.

I’m sick of it. And all the stupid memes about bathrooms and Trump and assault weapons… none of it is funny anymore. If it ever was in the first place.

Democrats, Republicans, even conservatives, have offered prayers to the families of the victims and to the victims themselves. Enough. To the people in positions to actually affect policy changes I say spend a little more time reading the book you’re always hiding behind. Prayer without action is useless.

“Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  — James 2:17

If we as a democratic nation cannot protect those among us who are the most vulnerable minorities, then what does that say about us? We are certainly not the nation we arrogantly profess to be to the rest of the world.

 

The Moment When Everything Changes

Wedding Day

It’s hard to believe that only days after writing the previous blog post about coming out in the Deep South we’d be celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide. I woke this morning on the West Coast to texts and emails from friends on the East Coast sharing the news.

After a celebratory dance, in the kitchen with my wife, in our pajamas, I had two thoughts. The first was that we’d be able to move back to Georgia if we wanted to at some point in the future because I wouldn’t have to worry about my wife not being protected by the law, or our relationship. Now they both are. And then the second thought was that for youngsters in the future, everything would be different.

Future generations of kids won’t have to hide their feelings or feel lesser than others for who they love. They’ll be able to marry and create a family with the person they fall in love with, regardless of gender. Discrimination against gay people will be something they read about in history books. As decades pass it’ll sound as strange to them as racial segregation now sounds to us.

The passage of marriage equality is a great legacy for our generation to leave to the next. We send the message that “love truly is the greatest unseen force in in the universe.” That love has the power to ultimately triumph over bigotry, dogma and even politics.

In an interview about my first book, All Things Rise, I said that I imagined a time when being gay is as unquestioned and un-judged as is having blue eyes. That some might call it fantasy or science fiction, but that I’d like to think it’s the future.

I’m celebrating today because the future is now.

President Obama commemorated today’s historic Supreme Court ruling with a quote from Robert Kennedy. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s a great call to action for any injustice:

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Love won!