#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:

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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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Some exciting news for 2015

Post-holiday greetings, Happy New Year and a belated MLK Day salute.

Editing has gotten the better of me for the past month or so. I’ve been holed up in my home office, working (fairly) assiduously to get my novel Poseidon and Cleito into shape. Besides a little bit of Facebook-ing and GoodRead-ing, social media has been off the diet.

But I am stepping out of my dark, secluded writing lair to announce that the follow up to The Seventh Pleiade is working its way through production and on the schedule to be released by Bold Strokes Books on October 13th of this year!

And here’s the cover art and the back cover blurb!!

BanishedSonsOfPoseidon_5x8After escaping from a flood that buried the above ground in seawater, a fractured group of boys from Atlantis squabble over the way ahead and their trust of an underground race of men who give them shelter. For sixteen-year-old Dam, whose world was toppling before the tragedy, it’s a strange, new second chance. There are wonders in the underworld and a foreign warrior Hanhau who is eager for friendship despite Dam’s dishonorable past.

But a rift among his countrymen threatens to send their settlement into chaos. Peace between the evacuees and Hanhau’s tribe depends on the sharing of a precious relic that glows with arcane energy. When danger emerges from the shadowed back country, Dam must undertake a desperate mission. It’s the only hope for the Atlanteans to make it home to the surface. It’s the only way to save Hanhau and his people.

 

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays

I will be traveling the next few days to visit mom and dad and old friends in my hometown Buffalo, New York.

A parting gift for me: my Goodreads Werecat giveaway ended last night, and the book is headed off to a winner in Romania! I wasn’t counting on that extra postage, but I’m excited that Werecat is headed overseas, perhaps appropriately to the Transylvania region. :)

Thanks so much for a terrific year. You supported the release of The Glaring (Werecat, Book 2) in March, The Fugitive (Werecat, Book 3) in November, and just recently the special edition paperback The Trilogy.

Through the year there have been blog hops, and I’ve had the chance to write for some awesome sites like The Good Men Project, GayYA and Dear Teen Me. Of course, the big project has been finishing my manuscript for the follow-up to The Seventh Pleiade. That is almost done and will be coming out in late 2015!

Wishing you a safe, peaceful, dreamy holiday!

xoxo Andrew

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