The Month Formerly Known as “November”

NaNo 2013 FB CoverNational Novel Writing Month is again upon us!  My most favoritest month of the year is only a week away.  Where once boring old November heralded little more than grocery store pyramids of canned pumpkin and the beginning of Holiday travel mayhem, since my introduction to NaNoWriMo it has been reborn as thirty coffee-soaked days of work shirking, writing like mad, and Art for Art’s Sake.  This year will see the production of my eighth NaNo masterpiece, so I sort of have my pacing down, and I take a lot of vacation from my airplane gig, so I have more time in my month than most people, but 50,000 words in 30 days is still a challenge.  An ambitious yet achievable goal which every November 3rd I know for a fact I will trounce, and every November 17th seems impossibly, sadistically unreachable.  The hilarious highs, the finger-paralyzing lows, the character whose name you keep changing — it’s all part of the process, and the need to push, pull, or drag a story across the 50K finish line before midnight on the 30th smashes the limits of my creativity like nothing I’ve tried before or since.  Because they’re 50,000 words of Awesome?  No.  In many cases, quite the contrary.  But they’re 50,000 words I didn’t have on October 31st.  They’re words I can render into beauty or comedy or bird cage liner, and they breathe life into characters whose stories no one else was going to tell — whether anyone else reads them or not.

I’m already in love with this year’s characters, who I hope will love each other; if nothing else, we’ll have a Vespa-riding grandma to fall back on.  My blurb on the NaNo website reads thusly:

Santa Fe attorney Danny Hanrahan is the King of the Easy and Obvious Choice, and falling for sexy Ashok Rai is a no-brainer. Embracing Ashok’s alter ego, drag diva Raima Reason, is more challenging; 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 make-up. 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.

"Love has reasons which Reason cannot understand." - Blaise Pascal

“Love has reasons which Reason cannot understand.” – Blaise Pascal

 

This year I revisited a Year One trick of inspiration and designed a cover for my book.  I’ve put pictures of guys that look like my characters around my desk, and I’ve been watching drag shows with a more critical eye of late, figuring if I can’t get a book out of what my husband’s intro to the drag scene has brought into our lives in the last year, then I might as well skip it.  And in case I’m not geeked up enough the night before National Novel Writing Month starts, this year my latest novel, Crazy Like Fox, which itself began life in November, is celebrating its print release.  Watching a NaNo novel make good (such as I did last year when Kiss Me, Straight was released in November, too) is sure-fire inspiration to write to the finish, whatever the cost to logic and grammar, and it is my hope that this year’s novel will one day have a crack at the world, too.  But first I have to stay home from work, slip into my jammies, put Sheena Easton on Pandora, and write like no one is watching, because the one book you can be sure no one will ever read is the one you don’t get around to writing.

Want to write a novel of your very own?  You’ve even got a week to plan!  Sign up at nanowrimo.org 

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Crazy_Like_Fox_400x600Want a print copy of Crazy Like Fox?  Get it at JMS Books for the introductory price of $12.00 starting October 31st!

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Equal Rights Blog Hop: My Two Cents

equalrightbloghop

Click here to hop on!


“What Being a Member of the GLBT Community Means to Me”

I’m a rule-breaker.  Sort of.  Actually, in my non-writing job, I’m more of a rule enforcer.  Fasten your seat belt, turn off your phone — I’m a real stickler.  Unless you’re cute, in which case I can usually be counted on to let most stuff slide.  (Do fasten your seat belt, though, for Heaven’s sake; it’s summertime and the bumps get crazy.  You won’t be so cute when the airplane floor and ceiling are finished with you.)  The rules I sometimes break are more like Life Rules.  You know, the ones They try so hard to enforce: like, you have to a. look a certain way or b. sleep with a certain gender or c. eat more broccoli.  Um, a. no I don’t, b. ok, I do, but it’s not the one I’m supposed to, and c. gross.

rainboysTo be a part of the Queer Community, you have to break a bunch of rules.  If you didn’t disappoint your parents or gross out the (closet-case) jocks at your high school, you need to at least terrify a good many of the small-minded people you pass on the street.  You want into the Queer Community, you’ve probably been designated as “other” by another, more traditional community before you even come looking for us.  And the best part of the Queer Community?  You’re gonna be different here, too.  For all that we are discussed and legislated and marginalized as One Group by what we’ll call the Dominant Paradigm (because it’s pretentious and fun!), we are (ironically?) a community that stretches the term “heterogenous” to its limits.  Not only are we everywhere, but we are everyone.  We are old, we are young; we are fat, we are fit; we are macho men and glittery girls, glittery femme boys and macho butch women; we are one of the few communities that pulls members from every corner of the world.  Every race, every culture, every social strata produces queers, and I love it.  Cast out from — or choosing to reject — more insular communities, we continue to meet challenges within this one.  I am perfectly at home in the queer community, but not always comfortable; my worldview is in constant upheaval: Being Queer can look like that?  Can act like that?  Can have an ass like that?  On the surface, I might have little in common with, say, a transgender Latina lesbian, but it is precisely our differences that link us to this large, loud community, and it is in the mind-bending diversity of All That Is Queer that I find the freedom to be Exactly Me.  Whoever that is.

A (generous and thoughtful) review of my novel Kiss Me, Straight on Amazon remarks that the book “is about the beautiful thing that occurs when we have community in our lives,” and finding a sense of Home in a changing world is a big part of my forthcoming novella Crazy Like Fox.  While many of our ill-wishers would use the threat of separation and isolation to keep questioning Queers toeing the Society line, it is my mission not just as a writer but as a big fat queer in general to inspire people to follow their heart wherever it might take them without fear.  A “community” that wouldn’t want you doesn’t deserve you, but this community will shove over and make room for you.  We won’t make you turn off your phone, but you might wanna buckle up — the ride gets kinda wild.  

(For the Queer Town Abbey Grand Prize Giveaway: My worldview is in constant what?)

Thanks for hopping by!  A lucky commenter (who includes his or her email address) will be chosen at random on July 8th to win a signed copy of my debut novel, Kiss Me, Straight, a JMS Books release.  And don’t forget to click here to keep hopping!

Fifteen Years and I’m Still Serving Time

The Great and Powerful Pearl Bailey’s hilarious song (please listen and enjoy above) is about marriage, of course, but I’ve always had kind of a bad-boyfriend relationship with my airline.  Yesterday, April 4th, marked my fifteenth anniversary of flying, and, except for the part about us having kids together (god forbid), this song is me and my job in a nutshell.

Nobody panic: this is not yet another post about how good things used to be compared to how crappy they are now.  It is a different job than the one I interviewed for, and certainly than the one I envisioned when I started fifteen years ago.  I never thought we’d still be on reserve; I certainly never thought I’d be flying straight domestic; and I actively vowed for the first several years of my career that, come what may, the one certainty in the Universe was that I would never — ever, do you hear me? — be based in Denver.  Like a budget airline, Life takes us to unexpected places. Continue reading

National Novel Writing Month Cometh

Hooray!  It is finally (almost) here: November is National Novel Writing Month, and in a few short weeks (how October does drag…) I’ll take the reigns for my seventh such buckboard wagon thrill ride.  I refer, of course, to the ridiculously ambitious challenge of cranking out a 50,000-word novel in “thirty days and nights of literary abandon.”  NaNoWriMo (for short) is a wild and crazy, caffeine- and internet-fueled combination writing contest/seminar/creativity orgy put on and promoted by the Office of Letters and Light, designed specifically as an opportunity for you to splatter your creative juices over a one-month-sized canvas and see what emerges.  Sure you’ve got a novel inside you somewhere, goes the NaNo logic, but unless you’ve got a goal and a deadline, when are you actually going to sit down and write it?  Probably Never is when, figured Chris Baty, the handsome and hilarious founder of the worldwide phenomenon.  So he sets you a goal — 50,000 words — and he sets you a deadline — thirty days — and then on November First he basically says “Go!” and jumps out of the way, leaving you and the novelist inside you to find your way to the finish line, through plot holes and panic, jitters and genius. Continue reading