#WorldIPDay #AmericaCreates

I’m participating in the #AmericaCreates campaign in celebration of World IP Day. World IP Day was created to raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property rights, which are invaluable to sustaining the work of artists, authors, musicians, inventors and many other innovators.

You may have to blow up the photo to read my list. It was easy for me to pick out favorites in most of the categories, but it’s always hard to pick just one of my favorite songs (I chose one by REM, which is my very favorite American rock band). Also tough to choose my favorite invention, so I went with something less serious, and more tasty.

Check out the photos and videos streaming through Twitter today!

ipphoto

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Come out to the Rainbow Book Fair

I’ll be participating in the Rainbow Book Fair again this year. The Fair is happening on Saturday, April 9th 12:00 – 6:00 PM at John Jay College. It’s a great event for seeing what’s happening in the world of LGBT literature. Click here to see the line-up of authors from Bold Strokes Books. 

For me, there’s nothing like being part of a community of folks who love LGBT literature. It’s kind of like a Pride parade for authors, publishers and readers, and like my first Pride parade, which, as a random by-the-by, was back in 1991 in Toronto, I remember fondly my first Rainbow Book Fair in 2013.

I was doing early promotion of The Seventh Pleiade, did one of my first public readings, handed out bookmarks to advertise my book, and talked with many dozens of people who stopped by my publisher’s table. That day, I felt like I was really an author, and I think as authors we need those kind of experiences, stepping out of our sequestered lives in front of a computer.

This year, I’ll be reading from Banished Sons of Poseidon at 5:30 PM, and I’ll be at and around the exhibit table for Bold Strokes Books. Drop on by and say hello. 🙂

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

LGBT Crime Fiction: A Mystery Writers of America Panel

MWA-NY Event promo graphic

If you’re in the New York City area, I hope you will come out for the Mystery Writers of America-NY Chapter’s February 3rd event where I’ll be speaking with three other authors about the status of LGBT crime, mystery and thriller fiction.

Moderated by author Ann Aptaker (Criminal Gold, Tarnished Gold), the panel will address the challenges of ‘crossover’ from LGBT-niche to mainstream readers. Is there a way out of the LGBT ghetto? Does there need to be? How do LGBT authors themselves respond to books with hetero sex and romance storylines?

Purchase tickets here and join the Facebook page!

 

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Giving Thanks to Family, Friends, and Fans

happy holidays

About seven years ago, I took up writing seriously. I was nearing forty, and you could say it was a bit of a midlife crisis. That may sound young for a midlife crisis, but taken literally, you’re a pretty optimistic fellow to call a major lifestyle change in your late forties or fifties a midlife crisis. With all of the bad habits I’ve subjected my body to over the years, I’ll be quite glad to reach my seventies.

I think of it as a midlife crisis in the sense that it had started hitting me hard that I had always loved writing fiction, but I had never made the time for it. Since college, through a combination of practicality and a healthy beat-down in creative writing classes, writing became my dream deferred. That’s not to say that I regret making a career as a social worker, but I felt like a big part of who I am had been left unventured. In Eriksonian terms, I was caught in that quandary of stagnation versus generativity, which brings to bear the big questions about meaningfulness and what kind of artifact of your life will be around after you’re gone.

To most of the people around me, my decision to ‘come out’ as a writer came as a surprise. I had been a social worker and an educator for over a dozen years, taking up the cause of LGBT youth. I’ll always be proud of that work and consider myself privileged to have made a career out of service to my community. Still, there was an entirely different creative side of me that I needed to explore.

I started working on a novel, joined a writer’s critique group, attended workshops and conferences, and read books about plot and structure and writing craft. I took the leap into submitting my work for publication, and in 2009, I placed my first short story in a literary journal. I followed up with that at a pretty brisk pace with more short story publications and now three books in print and two more coming out next year.

This writing thing of mine is more than a passing phase. It hasn’t brought me fame or fortune, but I keep at it because I love putting words on the page and I know this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. I also know that I couldn’t do it without the incredible support of my family and friends and the readers who have taken the time to let me know that they enjoyed what I wrote.

So, as the holiday season has us thinking about togetherness and giving, I wanted to thank the many people I have been fortunate enough to come to know as family. You’ve encouraged me, tolerated me during my reclusive, moody periods, and been there to celebrate with me. Thank you, and may 2016 be a stellar year for all of us.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

A Night Celebrating Local Authors and LGBT Spaces

Authors Panel at LGBT Queens Book Night

L to R: Nancy Agabian, Tim Fredrick, Shelley Ettinger, Andrew J. Peters and Rigoberto Gonzalez

Just in case you missed last week’s 2015 LGBT Queens Book Night, here’s a recap.

Sponsored by Newtown Literary Journal and Poets & Writers, the event brought together four local authors to discuss and read from their 2015 releases. The program was moderated by Nancy Agabian, and a nice Q&A took place at the end, ranging from questions about the status of LGBT characters in fantasy to the importance of LGBT-specific (or queer) literary events. More about that later.

As it happened, three of the four of us had participated in Lambda Literary Foundation’s Fellows program. Rigoberto Gonzalez was one of its first faculty. Shelley Ettinger was a fellow at its second annual program, and I was a fellow in 2011. We reminisced and tried to explain to the audience what the experience had meant to us. We each felt that it was one of those rare life-changing moments from which we emerged wiser and stronger. For me, it was an affirmation of my identity not only as a writer but as a queer writer. It gave me the push to get my work out in print.

Queens Pride House hosted the event, which was wonderfully appropriate for a program celebrating the work of local authors. Kew Gardens has been my home since 2001. My husband and I moved into an apartment together in the neighborhood right after our wedding, and we bought the place in 2009.

One thing that we Queens residents are proud of is the tremendous cultural diversity of our borough–the most diverse borough in New York City. Just walking around the block, you have exposure to cultures from around the world. Queens doesn’t have the glam of Manhattan or the hipster vibe of Brooklyn’s trendy neighborhoods. But it has a comfy, down-to-earth feel, and it’s truly a microcosm of the world.

Nancy asked each of us about our take on queer spaces for writers. I can’t say verbatim what my response was, but I know it was enthusiastic. There’s an age-old debate over whether creating queer spaces provides needed validation and support or keeps us segregated from the mainstream. I’ve heard non-queer people say that by closing ourselves off, we deprive them of our experience and point-of-view. That’s something I understand to an extent when I think about the parallel process in other minority communities.

But I don’t think it’s a sufficient argument against creating queer spaces, or spaces just for women or just for other minority groups. It’s based on a false dichotomy. We’re not either in our own community or in the broader community. We’re continuously in that broader community from the time we leave out for work in the morning to the time we come home.

I believe we need our own spaces. For many of us, our lives are full of social, family and professional circles where we exchange and interact with non-queer people, and naturally we grow and change through those experiences. But something special happens when we get together, just as us, unchallenged by real or potential non-queer disapproval. I don’t mean that it’s necessarily more valuable or profound than other spaces that we share with non-queer writers. But it’s a different way of nourishing our souls.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Notes from the Underground

A Wordle or “word cloud” created from Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground, retrieved from acetinc.com

I thought I’d pop my head out of the social media manhole where I’ve been hiding these past few weeks. I’ve never been a wiz at keeping up a dynamic presence here and over at my other haunts like Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. The month of August was particularly sketchy for me since I had deadlines for two projects.

That does make for some exciting news…

via GIPHY

I finished the last round of proofreading, and Banished Sons of Poseidon is in its final stages of production. Advance Review Copies (ARCs) should be available real soon. The book, a sequel to The Seventh Pleiade, releases on October 13, 2015.

And, I completed the manuscript for a farther upcoming release titled The City of Seven Gods. It’s another ancient world-themed novel with less magic and more Game of Thrones-ish drama, not for the kids table at Thanksgiving dinner. The book was picked up by Bold Strokes, and it’s on the production schedule for an April 2016 release.

Other than that, I’ve snuck in some tennis watching (Go Federer, winning a master’s event in Cincinnati!), and beach-going, and weekend barbecues. Of the latter, I have the mosquito bites to prove it. I’m writing this post while scratching away at my ankles. Grrr…

Oh, I also discovered Terry Pratchett! Well, just his books I’m afraid, may he RIP. I sped through Dodger this summer and was blown away. That’s the way books should be written IMHO: ferociously clever, utterly transporting, satisfyingly tragic and triumphant (and with far less adverbs).

So what did you do this summer?

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter