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’.

New Release: “Say Cheese” in Stranded!

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? 

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Hello, and Happy Friday! Today marks the release of the Wayward Ink Publishing anthology Strandedwhich includes my latest short romance, “Say Cheese.”

STRANDED-Final CoverI’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.

Buy Stranded direct from Wayward Ink here, or on Amazon. Buy it today (or anytime this first week) and enter the giveaway to win fabulous prizes!

For a short excerpt from “Say Cheese,” please read on: Continue reading

Puppy Love

Happy 70s Night from Boney M!

Happy 70s Night from Boney M!

Whether I’m muscling in on my husband the drag queen‘s song selection process or crafting short fiction, it is my own opinion that I do some of my best work on Theme Nights. “Seventies Night,” for example, challenges performers to find the exactly right hot pants or caftan-and-kerchief combo, and gives the audience that little extra thrill of satisfaction when a disco ballad strikes a reminiscent chord just so. (Not that very many Denver drag audiences remember the 70s, but you know what I mean…) Similarly, I love to write to a prompt, and the fun of themed anthologies is to discover the hundred different directions a group of writers can take the “same” idea. My latest short story, “Say Cheese,” is part of one such antho, Wayward Ink Publishing‘s Stranded, which comes out October 10th. WIP is a new, independent publisher that aims to publish quality GLBT fiction and romance who first caught my attention with their tagline, “To write is to light a fire, to read is to fan the flames.” If quality queer fiction is your thing, you can subscribe to their quarterly newsletter (on their website or on Facebook) for author interviews, new release announcements, articles, excerpts, and flash fiction like this story here, which appears in this edition. Please enjoy:

Puppy Love

There had been no tragic accident. No lurid murder trial. No heart-wrenching disease trending on social media. He weighed too much. He drank too much. He worked too hard. The only vegetable I ever saw him eat was eggplant parm; the only exercise he ever got he got in bed. Fifty-eight years old, he died from living. There are worse ways to go.

Our thirty-year age difference meant more to most of his family than our nine-year love affair; I could have dragged him through all the red tape onto a plane back to Louisiana, but for what? His first time on the Best Sellers list, our wedding—hell, nine years of birthdays: we’d given them plenty of occasions to flamboyantly boycott. We lived in France, he died in France, he wanted to be buried in France. If his daughter or his ex-wife wanted to throw on a histrionic veil and disdain me graveside for a change of scenery, they could damn well come do that in France, too.

The little town where we had our little house was proud of its big literary star, even if he did write in English. The tiny, tilted church was easily filled. A priest I didn’t know intoned a generic eulogy I didn’t listen to, then led me in leading a flock of looky-loos down the stone steps and up the road to the gates of the cemetery. I walked with my eyes on my shoes, my mind on the dog whistle as I worried it in my pocket.

It had been among the things the nurse had handed across her desk in a marked plastic bag. Here are his things. Would you like to see the body? There’s a “body?” She pursed her lips. I guess they’ve left it up to me to tell you… What I wanted her to tell me was why in hell he had a dog whistle on him in the first place. It’s not like we had a dog. Was there even such a thing as a dog whistle outside of cartoons? I tried to hand it back to her—I don’t think this was his—but she just shrugged. It’s yours now. I blew it, there in the hospital; waited for the pack of barking mongrels to come crashing down the corridor and upset the order in her world the way she’d just laid waste to mine. I blew it a second time, summoned nothing. She raised an eyebrow. Leaving her to worry about “the body,” I took my plastic bag and my new whistle home.

I’d never seen the whistle. It meant nothing to me. What had it been to him? A souvenir? Of a person? A time in his life? Inspiration for a story? Or did it belong to someone else entirely, slipped in with his wallet full of euros and his St Christopher’s medal by accident? What was a dog whistle even for? I huffed away at it for days, and a lack of howling hounds persisted. What else would he whistle at?

Besides boys, obviously. He was whistling at teenage twinks long before I came along. I’d managed to hold his interest long enough to get him to sashay me up the aisle, sure, but he didn’t go blind on our wedding day. He’d aged; so, too, had I grown older. I was still young, still slim, still blond, but I wasn’t still nineteen, and he had a type. We’d go away—New York, Miami, Madrid. We’d shop. We’d go to the theater. We’d go to breakfast, and he’d hate to monopolize my time. Suggest I take the day—and the credit card; always the credit card—and “explore.” In case I wasn’t from Miami, born and raised. But what will you do? Oh, he’d manage.

I knew about these other guys. I’d met a couple of them. Fucked one every once in a while, just so he knew I was paying attention. But he didn’t want an open relationship, and he certainly wasn’t trying to get caught. He wanted to be the smooth operator. He wanted to get away with it. It was a gold card, and I do love to shop.

He’s been dead for three months now. I came up to Paris on the train this morning. My inheritance is elaborate, and there are occasionally papers to sign. I’m having coffee in the Marais before I find my way back to the Gare Montparnasse. I seldom spend the night in Paris, although some of these boys slouching by in their sunglasses and their hip-fitting jeans raise it as an attractive prospect. I smile, thinking of him; I didn’t exactly go blind on our wedding day, either.

I toy with the shiny silver dog whistle, which I’ve worn on a chain around my neck since the funeral. Maybe it was how he got the boys to gather round, even as he spread through late middle age. Perhaps it hits the perfect pitch: the one that sounds like money to a penniless prettyboy. I laugh. At the idea of him abroad in New York and London, choosing from among the eager puppies that come running, tails wagging, when he gives it a noiseless tweet. At the lot of the humorless nurse who got to pass his secret mating call in its plastic bag to the puppy who’d managed to charm him away from his wife. At the vision of every strapping youth in the neighborhood stopping in his tracks and turning to scamper to my table, aroused by the high pitch. Suddenly desperate, if they don’t know why, for me.

Was it a man whistle? All his boys had to come from somewhere. Half expecting it to work, I blow.

I wait.

But it doesn’t bring him back.

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.