New Release: September’s Always Gorgeous

 

Septembers_Always_Gorgeous_400x600“Now that I think about it, you don’t see very many people doing this in November,” I say, rubbing my hands together. I take a sip of my hot chocolate and adjust my scarf.

“Whatever. It’s a gorgeous day.” Esau says. He looks perfectly comfortable in his T-shirt, even if he has muscled up a bit in the chest since it probably fit him just right.

He’s right: for November, it is a gorgeous day. Blue sky and sunshine, the leaves skittering across the sidewalk glittering gold and red. But the sunshine is thin, the blue sky is brittle. It’s a gorgeous day for a hike or a bike ride, anything that gets the blood flowing more than standing around pretending to know how to paint.

The botanic gardens are not at their most lush this time of year. Nothing’s green, nothing’s pink; nothing’s blooming or bursting, nothing’s full or fecund. But we both live close—me just a couple blocks to the east, him a mile or so south—and with my membership, we can rove the grounds anytime we want for nothing.

The painting was his idea. “You know how people do. We should set up easels, paint the flowers.”

“What flowers? It’s November.”

“Paint the koi, then. Branches? Come on, it’ll be fun. There’s beauty in every season.”

“Is that a crack about my age?”

“Oh phew, that was a close one. For a minute there I thought we were going to have to endure an entire conversation without obsessing over age. Nice save.”

“Sorry.”

“You’re not exactly November, babe, I hate to break it to you. Mid-September, maybe, and September’s always gorgeous.”

*

When Drew Schilling wakes up with a world-class hangover, he’s not especially proud of himself. He’s almost forty-five years old—really, by now he should know better. He certainly knows better than to bring home a hook-up like Esau Wallenberg. His friendly face, his super-hero physique—charming qualities that appeal to Drew, naturally. In a guy old enough to rent a car. This kid’s barely eighteen. Once they’re out of bed, Drew just wants to send Esau home and forget the whole mortifying incident.

But Esau thinks he’s in love. He’s even talking marriage, but what the heck do we know when we’re eighteen? The kid’s got his whole life ahead of him. And Drew’s got some life left ahead of him, too, thank you very much.

He just needs to figure out a way to undo a huge mistake so he doesn’t have to live it without Esau.

Part of JMS Books’ “Love Wins” series, September’s Always Gorgeous is out today. It’s even 20% off at JMS Books dot com.

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Thanks, JMS Books!

 

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New Release: Long Haul (The Mile High Club: Book 2)

On the day the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage, Tanner Bradac doesn’t even have a boyfriend, so you can imagine his surprise when he and his buddy Clark get carried away by the celebratory spirit of the day and wind up lawfully wedded husbands. The wedding may have been a light-hearted lark, but Tanner and Clark are willing to give marriage a go. After all, how hard can it be?

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And it’s no wonder we use the rainbow flag to signify this community, [Tanner] thought as he and Clark dipped into the flow with people of every stripe. Yuppie couples in khakis, hippie families in bare feet; young men in glittery tutus sporting fairy wings flittered around leather-jacket lesbians, hopeful faces of every age and nation laughing with friends, hugging strangers, and throwing confetti. Probably there were protesters, too—there was always somebody with an axe to grind when the pursuit of happiness was center stage—but Tanner didn’t see any. They certainly didn’t register. This was not a parade that was going to be called on account of any amount of rain, not today, and unless the One Man, One Woman crowd was going to start whacking people with their protest signs, notice would not be paid.”

The idea to give Tanner and Clark a not-so-gentle shove down the road to lawfully wedded what-have-we-done? came to me on the day the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Straight people have been legally leaping before they look at least since Nevada became a state, and I figure the Obergfell ruling leveled the playing field where rash relationship decisions are concerned. I knew I wanted this second book to focus on Tanner and Clark, but I also wanted to keep it around 20,000 words, and when I took my first crack at their story in April, they were still just friends by 19,500. I tried to sex-scene them into falling in love, and the ensuing night in a divey 50’s diner-themed hotel room was even kinda hot, but it felt tacked on—my loyal beta readers never agree on anything, but they all agreed on this. When SCOTUS handed Tanner and Clark the chance to get married, my problem was solved—at last, an opportunity to plunk them down in the middle of a relationship, whether they were in love or not.

I wrote this story before The Kentucky County Clerk Who Shall Not Be Named, lest it prolong her fifteen minutes, was the only person in the world Facebook seemed able to share posts about. This story’s not really about social acceptance of or opposition to same-sex marriage, but rather about how two young people try to tape the map together when the roads they’ve been traveling along merge without warning into one. And as the Kentucky debacle devolves into another Westboro photo op in the race—exceptionally competitive this year, or is it just me?—to be crowned the Most Appalling American of 2015, it occurs to me that that’s rather the point of this story, like so many queer romances before it: no matter how “firmly held” someone you’ve never heard of’s opposition to it may be, love barrels along. Some days it marches, head held high, other days it straggles resentfully; it clatters and clangs to the top of the really steep hills, then zooms along the straightaways, top down, scarf a-flutter. Love doesn’t even ask permission of the people it’s messing with—it can hardly be bothered to scoff in the general direction of any busybody third party with the temerity to think she gets a say. Let people be opposed; let people picket; let people (pointlessly, in this instance, as it’s been legal there for 10 years) move to Canada—Tanner and Clark will still have to figure their shit out. Marriage isn’t about what reactionary elements of society approve or disapprove, and neither is this story—it’s about two dudes jumping off a bridge just to see if love will catch them. Which may well make them seem crazier than a Kentucky county clerk, but hopefully more fun to read about.

haul-250Our friends at Eyes on Books have very helpfully organized a mini blog tour to herald this story’s release. For exclusive excerpts, author interviews, and your chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, tag along!

Long Haul is available today from JMS Books.

Thanks, JMS Books!

Thanks, JMS Books!

Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

HAHAT 2014The Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia has ended. Thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to commenter H.B., who won a copy of my new book, Love Has Reasons. The hop is over, but homo- and transphobia persist, so I’ll leave my rant against them below for you to enjoy: 

Chocolate LickFull disclosure: I think homophobia is scaredy-cat control-freak bullshit. You don’t know me. What the fuck business is it of yours what me and my husband get up to on the mornings when he just can’t let me sleep past four? (He loved when I was flying international; somehow me being cross-eyed exhausted is a huge turn-on for him.) (I said it was none of your business, I didn’t say I wasn’t gonna tell you all about it anyway.) There’s a tweet (apparently falsely) attributed to Morgan Freeman that used to get passed around with some enthusiasm: “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You are not scared; you are an asshole.”  While I can get behind this quip in spirit (cuz if you actively promote discrimination or bullying or general shit-headishness because Being Gay is Wrong!, you are an asshole, no offense), I take issue with its content.  I think homophobia and transphobia are absolutely driven by fear.  It’s just not me of whom active homophobes are afraid.  If you’re not scared to death of the rainbow-glitter-loving queer pounding on your own closet door and howling for release (ahem), the notion that me going about my gay business is somehow a threat to you or “the children” or “society” should be wholly foreign, if not downright laughable.  I hate to break it to you, but any moth drawn to this flame(r) is a little bit gay already. Everybody loves a chocolate fountain, but you’re not dipping your pound cake in one if you’re not already at the Golden Corral, iyou know what I mean… Continue reading

A Short Excerpt from a Short Love Story

It’s official: Congratulations are in order for the great state of Washington, its fair-minded and non-pea-brained legislators, and for those among its gay residents who went ahead and registered at Target and drew up seating charts with an optimistic eye on just such an occasion.  I am nothing like a gay marriage activist, you understand, but it is always exciting and life-affirming to see a gang of people take a stand against discrimination in any of its perfidious forms.  Happy Valentine’s Day, Gay Washingtonians!

I celebrate the marriages of my queer friends and family, and my boyfriend and I have been planning our wedding almost since our first date, coming up on eight years ago, and if either one of us ever gets his hands on any money, such a happy occasion may actually occur.  But I don’t, as a rule, get worked up over the politics of gay marriage.  It should absolutely be legal, the arguments against it are flimsy, off-topic, and homophobic, and frankly I don’t care who “approves” of my relationship and who doesn’t.  Still, sometimes a fella wants an honest declaration of amour from another fella, state-sanctioned or not, and it is this kind of spiritual marriage that inspired my first-ever short story, “The Wedding Night.”  I was ever-so-proud to have it published, especially among the Best Gay Love Stories of 2009, and a brief excerpt follows:

It’s not like I was the only gay guy in the Greek system at our state university in rural Colorado.  But in a school where most closet doors were six inches thick and made of lead, I was the closest thing to an openly gay guy.  I played baseball and drained my share of kegs and more or less “passed” as hetero, but I never had a girlfriend and it was well known on Frat Row that if your girlfriend was away for the weekend, I was generally available for a beer, a bong, or a burger, and anything else that might help make a solo guy’s Saturday night a little less lonely.  Since my taste in those days ran decidedly towards the type of thick-waisted mouth breather with which Frat Row was crawling (it wasn’t known as Fat Row for nothing), I did little to discourage this reputation, and with my flat belly, round butt, and airtight mouth (I kept plenty of secrets a lot more shocking than “I’m gay.”), I was soon popular.  

And if ever there was a thick-waisted mouth breather, it was Jasper.  We pledged different houses, but during the same semester, and the first night he flew across my radar at a Chi Sig party will forever be remembered as the night I turned gay for good.  I had been having sex with guys since high school, sure, but I was still partly convinced it was a phase, that the right girl might still come along and make straight sex seem fun.  But the first time I ever saw Jasper squat in those hard-working Wrangler jeans and take a 40 through a beer bong, I knew I would never love another.  He was thick in all the right places (and even thicker in the others), with reddish blonde hair, skin, and boots, and walking behind him, as quickly became my favorite pastime, was like watching two bowling balls in a tight denim rock tumbler.  He laughed loud and easily, drank much and lustily, and had a quicker wit than a Simpsons writer.  And, I couldn’t help but notice, he kept one eye on me for the whole party.  I had many propositions that night – I had many propositions most nights in those days – and I did blow Trig Christiansen on the fire escape because he asked so nicely, but there was something about the gleam in Jasper’s eye that told me if I bided my time and hung around, he’d invite me back to his room and it would be worth waiting for.  So I did.  And he did.  And boy, was it.

Hooked?  The book’s available on Amazon (for like $3) and maybe, if the one in your town hasn’t closed yet, at your fave gay bookstore!