My FLAMECON Photoessay

Central Hall at FLAMECON

I arrived at FLAMECON not sure what to expect. The Grand Prospect Hall, a catering hall in Brooklyn that was built in 1892 as a showplace for wealthy Park Slope residents, was transformed into a multi-room convention center.

Gay Geeks of NYC

The first people I met were this cute couple from Gay Geeks of NYC who organize gaymer events at the LGBT community center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Girls as cats

Browsing around, I was not surprised to see Golden Girls artwork. Though I’ve never seen them turned into cats.

I took a selfie with a guy dressed up as Green Lantern. That was a popular costume for guys and girls.

I took a selfie with a guy dressed up as Green Lantern. That was a popular costume for guys and girls.

YA Panel

I attended a YA Panel with (l to r) David Levithan, Sara Farizan and Adam Silvera. The room was overfilled, and it was nice to see lots of young people in attendance.

The Freaky, Fantastical Four

This was the table for the Freaky, Fantastical Four (l to r): David Swatling, Daniel W. Kelly, Tom Cardamone, and me. I was happy that I sold six books.

This was some artwork that caught my eye.

This was some artwork that caught my eye.

MASSIVE

As did this booth: MASSIVE artwork by Gengoroh Tagame and Jiraiya.

All in all, it was a fantastic day, and I even took a photo with the FLAMECON mascot.

All in all, it was a fantastic day, and I even took a photo with the FLAMECON mascot.

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FLAME CON and the Freaky, Fantastical Four

FLAME CONIt’s been a little while since I’ve been on-the-road peddling my writerly wares, and I’m happy to announce that I’ll be out with pride at the inaugural FLAME CON.

Presented by Geeks Out, FLAME CON is a one-day expo representing: “all corners of LGBTQ geek fandom.” There was some buzz about this first-ever east coast con at last year’s BENT CON in Los Angeles. Based on the programming they put together — an impressive list of of artists and writers including young adult authors David Levithan and Sara Farizan — it should be a great event.

And it’s taking place at the famously kitschy Grand Prospect Hall…

Gotta love homespun commercials for catering halls. I don’t think there’s anyone in New York City who hasn’t tried an impersonation of that last line. :)

I’ll be at an exhibitor booth as part of the Freaky, Fantastical Four. Haven’t heard of us? I imagine you are not alone. We are four gay authors who have joined forces to represent queer genre fiction.  The FLAME CON website is preventing me from lassoing our banner over here, but you can scroll down the exhibitors page to see us in our noirish glory.

Separately, we are speculative fiction author Tom Cardamone, horror/erotica author Daniel W. Kelly, and mystery author David Swatling. I’m standing in for fantasy and young adult fiction.

Together, we are Freaky and Fantastical.

So come on out to Brooklyn on June 13th. Tickets are a mere 20 bucks. Get your autographed copy of Werecat: The Trilogy or The Seventh Pleiade. Take a selfie with a Danaerys Targaryen impersonator (I predict there will be a few). :)

Geeks Out Presents FLAME CON

 

 

 

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#HAHABT: Some thoughts on activism past and present, and writing diverse portrayals

Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia

[Edited 5/25: Thanks so much for visiting my blog during the Hop! My giveaway has ended and the winner is: H.B.! Check your e-mail. :)]

The Hop Against Homophobia and Bi- and Transphobia is on!

I’m taking part by writing a short blog post and sharing the list of participating writers/bloggers who you should visit. Each of us hosts a giveaway. Drop a comment below, and you’ll be entered to win my recent release Werecat: The Trilogy.

#HAHABT is a weeklong event (May 17th – May 24th) created by writers to join forces for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. I’ve been participating since I found out about it in 2013.

A writer-led campaign to advance social justice for LGBTs? Yes, please!

I caught the social justice bug at student protests against Cornell University’s investments in Apartheid-era South Africa. I remember the rush of my first demonstration. As individuals, we had no influence on the university’s financial practices, let alone the situation in South Africa. Together, we were strong and filled with belief.

I joined Take Back the Night marches to eliminate violence against women. In the early 90s, I demonstrated to protest the first Gulf War. When I came out as gay, I marched to protest gay-bashings, religious condemnation, and government inaction on the AIDS crisis.

Activism has changed in the digital age. We take to Twitter, Facebook and online petitions instead of taking it to the steps of City Hall or stopping traffic on Main Street. An important, recent exception is the “Black Spring” to protest police brutality, which has called for traditional strategies of civil disobedience. But generally we communicate and organize in different ways.

I miss the real-life camaraderie and the homespun feel of old school social action. One of my fondest memories is when a group of friends was so energized to counter-protest a “pro-life” group targeting Planned Parenthood that we had an all-night party painting signs, talking politics, and of course tossing back a sizeable quantity of beer.

But a good case can made that technology has made activism more effective. Taking for instance the reaction to the state of Indiana’s regressive legislation to sanction religious bigotry, social media can be a powerful platform for change. The flood of memes (#boycottindiana) with personal testimonials on Facebook and Twitter created a tidal wave of social pressure. That nationwide phenomenon had impact on corporations and elected officials that I don’t believe would have happened through local demonstrations alone.

As a fantasy author, I don’t very often write explicitly about homophobia or transphobia in a modern context. I do think a lot about how fairly I portray sexuality, gender and “race.” One of my current manuscripts features a lesbian character for example who happens to look physically male and to express herself in a “masculine” way, and I puzzled for some time about what that would say to readers since she is the only lesbian in the story.

We need more diverse portrayals of LGBTs in books. I don’t claim to be the authority on how to do that well in every instance though my gut feeling is that it’s a good thing when writers question what we write and ask people who are representative of the characters we’re writing about for feedback.

I’ll stop there and look forward to your comments. Feel free to fill your red, plastic Dixie cup from my virtual keg while you’re here. Leave your e-mail address if you would like to enter a drawing for an e-copy of my latest book Werecat: The Trilogy. I will pick a winner through random.com on May 25th 12:00 AM EST.

And don’t forget to click below to check out some of the 100+ writers/bloggers who are participating in #HAHABT this year:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://www.simply-linked.com/listwidget.aspx?l=644125FF-AACF-4A13-A08A-696A562D8FB3” ></script>

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The Seventh Pleiade sequel is moving forward

I have some BIG news forthcoming that I can’t wait to share. But lest you worry that my writer’s den is growing moss and cobwebs, I wanted to share that I spent the better part of the month working with editor Jerry Wheeler on a final draft of Banished Sons of Poseidon, the sequel to The Seventh Pleiade.

The manuscript now moves on for proofreading, then the front matter and back matter will get added and the cover will be finalized. It’s all on track for release on October 14, 2015!

Jerry was a huge help. The story is leaner and meaner, and he helped me tame my sometimes quirky vocabulary that can go off the rails from time to time. Banished Sons of Poseidon is up on Goodreads for adding to your to-read shelf. It’s also listed at a number of online retailers like Amazon for pre-order if you really want to get your copy early. :)

 

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Werecat: The Trilogy Giveaway at LibraryThing!

WerecatTrilogyFinalRETAILCover700x1066pRGB96dpiFrom March 24th through April 7th, members of LibraryThing can enter to win an autographed copy of Werecat: The Trilogy.

Do you know about LibraryThing? It’s an online reader community similar to Goodreads where you can organize your virtual bookshelf, chat about your favorite authors and titles, and join groups with reading challenges and group reads. LibraryThing also has a Member Giveaway program that allows you to participate in raffles for new and recent releases provided by publishers and authors.

I have suggested that the winner kindly post an honest rating/review of Werecat: The Trilogy on the site and places like Amazon and Goodreads. Of course, that’s not necessary to enter or to win, but it helps tremendously to spread the word about the book.

LibraryThing members can enter my giveaway here.

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Buffalo Gay Men’s Book Club to Read The Seventh Pleiade

Gay Men's Book Club

It’s a great honor for me that the Buffalo Gay Men’s Book Club has chosen to read and discuss The Seventh Pleiade. This bit of buzz is extra special since I grew up in Buffalo and hold my hometown close to my heart.

If you’re in the Western New York area, you might want to check these guys out. You can find the group on Facebook and Goodreads. They rotate meetings around coffee shops in Buffalo and Amherst. They also post information about the group at the Pride Center of Western New York.

They’ll be reading The Seventh Pleiade starting February 20th and discussing the book on Thursday, March 19th at Panera Bread in Williamsville (5311 Main Street). I’ll be hanging around their boards on Goodreads to say hi and answer questions. Stop by and say hello!

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