Hansel 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’.
Sitcom sensation Felix Medrano is America’s Sweetheart. When he throws a star-studded surprise party for his sweetheart, beanpole barkeep Grover Shepherd, it’s a smash, save for one detail: Shep is a no-show. Felix plans to propose, but with no Shep, can he still get a Yes?
I’m new to Wayward Ink, who are themselves sort of new as a brand to the world of publishing. When I saw the call for submissions for Stranded, I was immediately intrigued, and made a series of laborious efforts to turn the theme on its ear. “Stranded how?,” several of my scribbled notes demand. Would I maroon one lover from another metaphorically, like by making one of them straight or married or can’t-take-a-hint? Would the separation merely be physical, as from a desert island or the wrong side of a lava flow, or should their obstacle be insurmountable, like time travel or the variably discernible line between fact and fiction? Oh, how I wanted to be artsy and brave…
Then one day, as I strolled through one — watching people scratch and claw and bargain and beg their way onto an airplane, any airplane — I realized: the only time I ever truly feel adrift, as in irretrievably removed from my life and my friends and my sanity — really and truly Stranded — is when I’m sitting around an airport on standby with no prospects and no viable plan for getting out. And so I played with that idea, and with this character called Shep, and with ways he might get stuck. But I wanted him to really feel stuck, so I tried to write him a quality romantic partner of the kind that one might badly miss while cooling one’s heels in the Houston airport, and by the time Shep started noticing Felix I was practically head over heels for the guy myself.
“Say Cheese” is the story, told partly through pictures, of how they met, how they fell in love, and how fate and a crazy best friend and a low fare airline seem determined to keep them apart. I love it. I’m thrilled to be a part of this anthology, in the company of warm, supportive, well-regarded writers, and I hope you’ll check it out and love it, too.
For a short excerpt from “Say Cheese,” please read on: Continue reading
As 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.
Among the highlights of my writing career was last year’s release of my very first Christmas story. It was fun to write, turned out to be a pretty good story, and gave me an excuse to peruse endless photos of hot guys with handsomely wrapped packages, if you catch my drift, wink wink, nudge nudge. It didn’t exactly sell like gangbusters, but I love it, and am in the airline-napkin-note-scribbling stages of making the Holiday Story an annual tradition.
Titles are hard. Holiday titles are harder. You want to capture the Christmas/Hanukah/Yule Spirit in three or four words, justify the half-naked Santa on the cover, and somehow tie in at least a reference to the actual story, and Jingle Bell Jock, while obviously awesome, is annoyingly already taken. Following a conversation with my orange-pop-loving nephew about its popularity (or ubiquity, at least) in Latin America, I lit upon the genius idea of setting my next Christmas Story in Mexico and calling it Fanta Baby. Which, as you see, would pretty much be the best idea ever — evoking, as it does, both Father Christmas and That Bad Eartha — if it wasn’t for all those pesky laws about trademarks. My husband pointed them out: You’d have to get permission from Coca Cola. Surely not, I said. For Fanta? I mean, for A Diet Coke Christmas, I can see. Or even for Go Tell It on the Mountain, Dew. But surely Fanta, in its role as cultural shorthand for “orange pop,” falls into some kind of Oh, Go Ahead category? The people who make us capitalize Kleenex and Jetway insist it does not.
So here I am, back at the drawing board, trying to cook up that Perfect Title around which to construct a winter romance. My friend who lives in LA enjoys taking what he terms “sweater-based” vacations in the winter; might he not also enjoy a sweater-based love story, Fleece Navidad? (Can you tell I worked a San Juan turn yesterday and have Latin America-as-setting on my mind?) In addition to being overly-suggestive and just kind of long, Chet’s Nuts Roasting on an Open Fire seems ho-hum and predictable. O, Little Town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania calls for entirely too much firsthand knowledge of a place I’ve never been; as hot as a dude in a green t-shirt can be, as a title, Green Sleeves is a total snooze; Frosty the Blow Man would have to be all about cocaine, which risks plopping us right back at square one as it relates to infringing uses of the word “Coke.” Because you might otherwise want to read a gay romance about a drug dealer named Frosty. See? Hard.
I guess I’ll just have to go about this the old fashioned way: actually write a story, then shop for the title that fits it just right. Or let I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus just write itself…
Santa 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!