Tugging at Your Heart Strings

Disney Wonder cruise ship sails under the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to the Port of San Francisco

As you may have learned in my previous post, I got Romance for a genre in the latest round of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge, which is kind of my thing. Our assigned object was a map, our assigned location was a tugboat, and we had 48 hours to write a 1,000-word story; I was like, I got this, and I cranked out what follows. I was pretty happy with the way I worked the map into the story, but as I was snipping my first draft down to size (and rushing the ending), I realized that the tugboat was more “this thing that exists” than any kind of true “location,” so I went back to the drawing board. The second story was a smash (in my own mind — results for this round are a week or so away yet), but I kind of like these guys — if you’ve read my stuff, you know this isn’t my first redheaded Romeo — so I’m sharing their story just because, as the guy who wrote it for them, I feel like it’s kind of my job. Enjoy what my “Documents” file calls

Tugboat Romance A

“A tug?”

“Yes, Captain.”

“What do you mean, ‘they’re sending a tug?’ I’ve docked this beast in Mazatlan a hundred times. I was here last week.”

“Yes, Captain. I remember. Welcome back. Order of the Port Authority, I’m afraid. Please standby; the tug’s on its way.”

Annoying. Andreas wasn’t the Captain of the Cavalcade, but he was the Second Mate, which often seemed to be a euphemism for Jackass Who Steers the Boat Into Port When the Captain’s Too Drunk to Do It. They did keep calling him Captain; maybe that’s why they were sending the tug.

There was nothing for it but to wait. He was dying to drop anchor and get back to sulking in his room, but there was plenty of time for that. There was no question Keith was the man of his dreams. The question that did nag, of course, was, Then why did you sail away from him, you fool? Continue reading

Advertisements

On the Topic of Being Proud

forsaleJune is once again upon us, and Pride is busting out all over.  This weekend, Denver celebrates its annual Pride Fest, and this year, now that I suddenly find myself shacked up with something of a local celebrity in Denver’s queer community, we have splashier plans than usual.  It is well known to regular readers of Mister S that I love being Proud, and it is my mission as an artist to encourage You to be Proud, too, wherever your particular, unique brand of Awesomeness may dwell.  At this stage in my life, being Proud is easy and fun, and, in my fervor to see everyone around me fling loose whatever shackles are standing between them and their own brand of Pride, I often gloss over the early steps in my own journey, some of which were steeper than I would necessarily prefer to highlight.  I will tell anyone who asks (and people ask all the time) that I have “always” known that I was gay.  And it’s true: as far back as I can remember, deep into little kid-dom, I always knew I was “different,” even before I fully understood what that meant.  But “knowing” that I was different and digging deep enough to find the courage to allow my difference to manifest itself were two very distinct processes.  Knowing it was easy; going to my first Coalition to End Homophobia meeting in college and saying with a straight face (ha ha) that I was there as an “ally” rather than as an actual Queer was excruciating.

It was only a few nights later that the ridiculous way claiming not to be gay made me feel prompted to come out to my New Best Friend, who took most of the wind out my sails (and cemented a lifelong friendship) by saying, “Me, too.”  “But, you can’t be a lesbian,” she still teases me for saying.  “Aren’t they all mean?”  Ever a trooper, she embarked on a long (and, I’m sure, unrewarding) career of prying open my eyes, mind, and heart on myriad issues of tolerance by trying to help me open my heart to tolerating my damn self.  Having enjoyed a certain Queer Rebirth at Long Beach Pride at the end of our freshman year, she returned to campus with a brilliant evangelical plan: she would take me to Pride and let the healing begin.  Stranded in the Inland Empire, with something of a Pride Emergency on her hands, it was determined that waiting until the large summer festivals was too much time wasted, and so we set out for Pomona Pride.  The Tiniest Pride Ever, at least in 1991, it didn’t stretch to the outer limits of its small municipal host park. Its main feature was a lanky S&M enthusiast cavorting clumsily across the one stage in leopard-print Dove shorts, snapping his riding crop and preaching to his wide-eyed audience (of two) that Love is the True Handcuff, and none of the attendees were of the Water Polo-Playing Frat Boy variety over whom I spent so much of my free time pining, so I didn’t quite see the point.  Was I supposed to be “proud” to be like that guy with the riding crop?  I wasn’t lanky, I could dance, thank you very much, and I wasn’t about to be caught dead out in a pair of Dove shorts; my friend says she could actually see me pulling my closet door shut again as we drove away. Continue reading

New Release: Kiss Me, Straight

Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney—these exciting cities are standard fare in the life of flight attendant Todd Eisenbraun, and he chases a romance with sexy-but-straight Josh through them all.

Back home in San Francisco, a new neighbor in his apartment building has a huge crush on Todd.  His friends—Katie, a flight attendant-turned-small appliance repairwoman, and Marzipan Q. Thespian, a man-dangling local philanthropist—think Todd should at least give Chris a shot.  Sure, he’s fat, but he’s also handsome, a hilarious playwright, and a great cook—what’s not to love?

Todd and Chris become quick friends, but Todd’s idea of the perfect man is skinny and straight, and Chris is decidedly neither.  Josh may have a fiancée and a teenaged son, but Todd just knows he’s “the One.”

But if Josh is straight, the road to love is not.  Todd is bombarded by his own internalized homophobia, body image issues, exotic locales, the glamorous world of sewing machine repair, and a community theater musical salute to the life of Judy Garland.  When will he realize he’s been looking way too hard for something he may have already found?

Find out in Kiss Me, Straight, my debut novel, new today!

Buy Kiss Me, Straight for your e-reader at JMS Books

Buy Kiss Me, Straight in paperback and for your Kindle at Amazon.com

Like Kiss Me, Straight on Facebook

Enter (between now and the end of December) to Win Kiss Me, Straight on Goodreads

Meet Todd and his friends in an excerpt… right here! Continue reading