Got a Light?

IcebergWell, I’m having way more fun with NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge than I had with the Short Story Challenge earlier this year, which gave me the boot after Round One. I’ve made it to the Final Round of the Flash Fiction one, and submitted my last 990-word story to the judges over the weekend. Rambling writer that I am, I’m surprised to have made it quite this far in a contest that’s all about getting to the point, but actually the ruthless editing (“Aww, what a sweet thing to say…” Delete!) has been kind of fun.

The assigned genre for this final round was Open, meaning any old genre you want, which I saw first as a blessing, in that it wasn’t “Ghost Story” or “Spaghetti Western”, but then saw as a curse, in that it gave me no direction to go in with the no-help-at-all location prompt — An Iceberg — but have ultimately decided to embrace as a blessing because now I don’t have to categorize the story I ended up with. The assigned item was A Lighter, and it eventually set the scene. Participating writers are encouraged to “interpret your genre, location, and object assignment in uniquely creative ways…” so I’ll either get big points or get disqualified for this one. We’ll find out which in January! Herewith my final entry in this year’s challenge: 

Got a Light?

Of course I knew she was a dude. Just cuz I’m not gay doesn’t mean I have no sense of adventure. She had legs for days and a butt you could eat breakfast off of. I figured if I took her home and fucked her, when we were finished she could flip me over and fuck me right back, and you don’t hit that jackpot every day. That’s what we all loved about the Iceberg: you never knew what was gonna happen, but if you kept your wallet handy and your wits about you, you were guaranteed a wild time.

So named because its street-level frosted-glass cocktail lounge façade revealed nothing of the depravity that hulked beneath as you descended the depths from one sub-basement to the next, the Iceberg was the hottest club in Saint Paul. And it was on the Right Wing’s shit list from opening day. Board it up, burn it down—they didn’t care how they were delivered from its scourge, but Wouldn’t somebody think of the children?! Meanwhile, the queers? The fornicators? The sinners-for-sport? We lined up to get in, to hit the spray-painted stairs and see how low we could go.

I had purple hair, tight abs in a tight T-shirt; I got in no sweat. Clomped down the stairs, blew past the first landing—hometown DJs, go-go dancers, big whoop. The second basement got more interesting. Here the hustlers and the gay-for-pay porn stars took off their shirts and licked their lips, enticed daddies and chubs to pop for a beer or a blow job while the drag queens with the highest hair in the Midwest lip-synched Katy Perry until she would have been sick of the sound of her own voice, had she managed to flirt herself past a bouncer. That’s where I saw her: strong freckled shoulders in a sequined tube top, seven feet tall in platforms, whipping that ponytail around the stage like a propeller, she was as white as any Minnesota blizzard I’d ever shoveled my way out of and called herself Vinda Lou Curry. So she got points for creativity on top of the Perfect Ten her body demanded. When I saw her duck up the stairs after her number, I didn’t think about it, I just followed. She cut between two bars to the back door. I bummed a quick cigarette from some underage twink as he scampered by, hung it from my lip, pushed into the alley. She had a fan club; I elbowed in. “Got a light?” Continue reading

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New Release: The Sugar Shack

If I haven’t already written here about how the discovery of queer fiction written by queer people rocked my teenage world and changed my young gay life, I probably should. And then I moved to San Francisco, which had a gay bookstore — it’s a miracle I was able to cover my rent.

Would you like cheese with that Danish?

Would you like cheese with that Danish?

One of my first finds at that gay bookstore was a book of “Fairy Tales” (get it?), which depicted two men in codpieces on the cover with a castle in the background and was subtitled, “Traditional Stories Retold for Gay Men.” Not every story in it is a masterpiece, but it is a lovingly curated collection, and for a guy like me who was waiting for his prince to come along (Harry Windsor? Felipe Bourbon? That rascally Frederik of Denmark? Each Charming in his own way, and I wasn’t trying to be picky…), it was reassuring to know that being cursed by evil queens and kissing frogs was all part of the process for us, too. Also, modern retellings of fairy tales have enjoyed something of a resurgence these days, and never let it be said that I’m afraid to jump on a bandwagon.

The_Sugar_Shack_400x600As it revolves around two of my passions, namely free food and fat guys, Hansel and Gretel has always been my fave. I’ve long wanted to write my Big Gay Version of it, especially as one modern rewrite after another has ignored Hansel’s heroic appetite, but how do you “gay up” a story about a brother and sister of which the main themes are cannibalism and child labor? By highlighting the edifying bonds of love within the families that we choose for ourselves and making the witch a chubby chaser drag queen, it turns out. Or at least that’s how I did it. The Sugar Shack is the resulting story. I wasn’t sure I had the guts to write it, and for a while I didn’t have the guts to submit it, but JMS Books believed in it — and put a really hot cover on it — so I’m happy to tell you it’s available as an eBook, starting today!

Hansel is an aspiring photographer. His pal Gretel is a Drag Superstar—or will be, she’s convinced, the moment she’s discovered by…anybody. When they stumble upon The Sugar Shack, Gretel gets a gig and Hansel a new admirer in club owner, drag diva Sugar Rush. Hansel could never love a man who looks like a woman, but he eats everything else Sugar puts in front of him—will he eat those words, too?

Buy it here! All JMS Books New Releases are 20% OFF during their first week on the shelf!

For an exclusive excerpt, read on:

Continue reading

Satisfy Your Short Fiction Sweet Tooth in Two Weeks

The_Sugar_Shack_400x600Hansel is an aspiring photographer with a greater passion for the half-naked models he works with than for his art. Gretel is a Drag Superstar—or will be, she’s convinced, the moment she’s discovered by…anybody. One night, out in the tony gay-borhood The Woods, they stumble upon The Sugar Shack, a second-story nightclub they’re both delighted to discover, Gretel for the nightly drag shows of which she’d thrill to be a part, Hansel for the vast free buffet. They meet the club’s owner, local drag legend Sugar Rush, who offers Gretel a spot on stage vacated by a last-minute no-show. When she wows the crowd, Sugar offers Gretel a trial spot on the Sugar Shack’s lineup, and invites Hansel to drop in anytime, and to bring his appetite with him. Gretel is a smash, and jumps at the eventual offer of a permanent gig. Hansel’s a hit, too, at Sugar’s private table upstairs in The Cage, where he lets Sugar flirt with him while he eats everything he can reach. He enjoys the attention almost as much as the loads of free food, but he’s about as gay as they get, and can’t see himself falling for a dude that looks and smells like a chick, even if she is gorgeous. She’s also an inveterate chubby chaser, Gretel points out to him one day, and her apparent mission to fatten Hansel up seems to be proceeding apace. Spending time with Sugar, Hansel’s horizons expand along with his hips, but will he ever see her as more than just his Sugar daddy? Find out when my new sexy short The Sugar Shack comes out from JMS Books in two weeks on November 9th! They don’t call ’em “fairy” tales for nothin’.

Love Has Reasons: Now in Paperback!

Love_Has_Reasons_400x600As you know (or as the name “Mister Stewardess” will tell you), I work in a customer service-intensive job. The epic, childish fight over To Recline or Not To Recline even ascended to the level of national news last week — I certainly understand the impulse to haul off and smack somebody upside the head with a rolled up USA Today or a book. And if you are the type who goes around whacking people with reading material, I’ve got good news: now you can keep my latest novel close at hand for just such an occasion. Love Has Reasons is out in paperback, and you can get your very own copy at JMS Books or Amazon.

Ashok Rai is fit, charming, and dynamite in the sack; for Danny Hanrahan, falling in love with him is a piece of cake.  Embracing his alter-ego, celebrated drag diva Raima Reason, proves to be more of a challenge.  Danny divorced his wife for a reason, and it wasn’t so he could go out and find someone who takes even longer than she did to put on makeup. When Raima’s career looks set to take off, Danny has to decide if he’s along for the ride, or if a boyfriend who’s sometimes a girl is more than he can handle.

 

 

New Release: Love Has Reasons

Love_Has_Reasons_400x600Santa Fe attorney Danny Hanrahan loves life in his adopted hometown.  He’s got a great job, a gorgeous home, he’s tall, he’s handsome, and he drives a nice car.  The only thing he’s missing is someone with whom to share it all, but when his trusty assistant Monica sets him up with her sexy son Ashok, Danny quickly considers the “boyfriend” box checked, too.

Ashok Rai has lived in Santa Fe all his life.  He lives in his parents’ basement and has a secure, routine government job.  Finding little excitement elsewhere, he follows his best friend Erik into the glittery world of drag, and his alter-ego Raima Reason quickly becomes one of Santa Fe’s most celebrated queens.

Ashok is fit, charming, and dynamite in the sack; falling in love with him is a piece of cake.  Embracing Raima, though, proves to be more of a challenge.  Danny divorced his wife for a reason, and it wasn’t so he could go out and find someone who takes even longer than she did to put on makeup. When Raima’s career looks set to take off, Danny has to decide if he’s along for the ride, or if a boyfriend who’s sometimes a girl is more than he can handle.

When my own husband started doing drag almost two years ago (more on that here), I was faced with some unexpected (and, frankly, unwelcome) challenges to feelings about my sexuality, about gender identity expectations, and about What Will People Think? that I had long considered resolved. While this story isn’t “about” us, it was inspired by pieces of the adventure his drag career has taken us on — the good, the bad, and the Whoa That Dress is Ugly.

Like a lot of my stuff, it’s about Love. Which is partly about Sex. It’s about Family, both the one we’re born into and the one we make for ourselves. It’s about crazy-driving grandmas and loudmouth best friends and drag pageants and Frito pie and it’s about the way, as Blaise Pascal said (although not about my book, you understand), “Love Has Reasons that reason cannot understand.”

Get your hands on your very own electronic copy of my latest love story from JMS Books today!

Thanks, JMS Books!

Thanks, JMS Books!