c’mon release me, c’mon relieve me

why is ian curtis here? because i fucking said so

why is ian curtis here? because i fucking said so

Lawd, it’s been too long since I’ve made an entry so I’m gonna, in spite of my downed inhibitions. I just preached about downed inhibitions to two people tonight, so guess I better step up and take myself down, too.

I’m always blahblah going on about ~shit~ that is occupying my mind, and that’s what I’m hesitant to put down in print because it all sounds so incredibly twattish and self indulgent (as dicks and twats are by nature) but underneath it’s really just me, my crazy mind trying to figure out things and make sense of the maze we’re all winding our way through. So….

I’m reading Franny and Zooey again. One of my favourite books, because it’s about deconstructing spirituality to find the divine. The divinity in the mundane.

I’m not a religious person, I’m not a spiritual person, but I am someone who appreciates the origins of the divine. People don’t like to examine their religions, their gods, because to examine is to deconstruct, to pull apart. And when you’ve done that, the individual pieces are just parts, little springs and gears and cogs that individually mean very little. The mystery is solved, the divinity is gone. But maybe not. Maybe what you have left in all of these pieces is the true breathless beauty of simplicity. And when you see that, it’s an ecstatic moment. It’s sad, and it’s funny, and it scares the shit out of you. It’s the irony that lingers. Divine fucking irony that shoulders you with a burden that’s yours to carry for the rest of your life.

Religion is about comfort. Spirituality is about superiority. And pulling apart is about creating a mess. You can’t ever put the pieces back together in the original form.

What this little tome all comes down to is that, ah Buddy, ah Buddy, the fat lady is christ himself. Forget divinity, forget apotheosis and theology, just concentrate on the fat lady and shining our shoes for her. She can’t see them, but she knows. She knows. And that is the essence of giving ourselves over to the selflessness of self actualization. That’s what it is, Buddy. That’s it. And that’s what I’m striving for in my own reckless and flawed way. That’s the core of it. I’m a fucking idiot reaching for the selflessness of self actualization.

I’m going to shine those fucking shoes, Buddy.

my novel murmur out october 11

murmur coverI have a release date for Murmur, October 11, and a beautiful cover courtesy of the lovely Anna Reith – there are links to her blogs in the sidebar.

This is book one of my Secrets of the Senses series. I call it metaphysical fiction. The book isn’t sex-centric like my erotica, though this excerpt contains one little getting-to-know-you scene. It’s really a story about Aonghas, a gifted guy with a skewed view of himself, and pretty much everything else. He works to change that, sometimes with success, sometimes not. As gifted as he is, he’s far from perfect. That’s what I love about him.

I’ll be talking more about Murmur as the release date approaches.

Excerpt from Murmur, Chapter 3

Fog on the moors is beautiful. In that ethereal atmosphere, one can believe himself to be floating in a cloud; the limited sight, the vaporous essence creates a world within a world, at once exciting and playful, and foreboding. On one such evening I walked through the low scrub, careful of my footing, cloaked within the fog and feeling myself to be a phantom traversing an otherworldly landscape. The sky grew darker, the fog thickened with the approach of night. I gave up sight, and navigated relying on other means, other senses—my knowledge of the terrain, my instincts. It was a thrilling experience that brought to full attention all of my being, and I walked with bold confidence.

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sandwiches are not on the menu

Michelangelo's Night sculpture

Michelangelo’s Night sculpture

As much as some people are bothered by women authoring books featuring gay male characters, I’m bothered by the continual analysis of it by everyone, gay and straight, male and female. Would there be the same reaction to a painting of two men done by a female artist? I’m thinking not.

Fiction featuring female protagonists has been authored by men since the beginning of story telling. Men write about women, women write about men—there’s little questioning of this in heterosexual literature. It’s the element of sexuality between subject and author that causes the friction (pun acknowledged, but beside the point), and along with that, the dismissive air that some of these theories take on. “Oh, the little lady wants to be a man!” A woman writing about the engagement of physical features she doesn’t have is wish fulfilment. Or that it’s about fantasies of being with two men. The fear of sandwich subterfuge, and the whole Freudian theory of penis envy that one could bash on about forever. Penis good, vag bad, whatever. Sounds like an intentionally restrictive viewpoint to me. I’ve found that very, very few female authors are interested in making sandwiches, they just want to make art.

The quality of what women are producing naturally comes into play. People may automatically assume that a woman writing about men cannot do so from a convincing perspective. There are some artists who do have trouble expressing outside of their personal perspectives, absolutely. That’s more a question of choice, empathy or talent rather than inherent ability. Michelangelo’s sculpture of Night is little more than two malformed lumps representing breasts, slapped onto a male form. He wasn’t an admirer of the female form in his personal life, and from his art it seems that he didn’t identify with the feminine apart from Madonnas and angels. Fair enough. But that doesn’t mean there’s no purpose or merit in what he created. We all know that Michelangelo was entirely capable of sculpting realistic breasts and curves. The fact that he chose not to was just that – a choice, and perhaps there is a specific intention behind it.

It’s what I’ve been saying all along about words as art. Art – all art – is storytelling, whether through painting or sculpture or dance or novels or whathaveyou. It’s not a matter of ownership, it’s a matter of artistic ability. Either you like or dislike the end product, that’s a matter of aesthetics. And there’s nothing wrong with having an immediate reaction to what we’re seeing, it’s part of the process. But the next step is to move beyond that initial judgement and say okay, what’s in here for me? There’s a sliding scale between two extremes, and in coming to a conclusion, there’s always thought about underlying themes and motivations—or there should be, because of course they exist. There’s little point in creating if there’s no motivation behind it.

It’s also a two way street: there’s the artist and there’s the audience, and each has their own opinions and motivations, and the ability to discover something more by engaging. That is the purpose of art. But here’s something we as an entire culture need to address in order to focus on the aesthetics – letting go of sexual paranoia, the taboo of the body. Sex and sexuality in all its variations should be alright to play with. It’s called exploration, and it’s something we need to do more of. We might discover some new things, like the natural mutability of sexuality, and that maybe we have risen to a level of intelligence that allows us to pull down the barriers and cross the borders we’ve constructed. Art helps us to do that, if we let it.

In my second novel I identify art and the role it plays in self exploration like this: “The exposure of all ills, the onslaught to anarchism, to advancement: artistic enterprise. Sounds quite lofty doesn’t it? Perhaps, perhaps not. …Repulsion breeds the exquisite, is it not true?”

I think it’s true. We can acknowledge the creator without being dismissive of the creation. Let there be advancement in the wake of repulsion.

murmur becoming echo

ode to joy - immortal beloved

ode to joy – immortal beloved

I have a novel coming out in the fall. No, it’s not an erotic novel, but it is a very sensual story. In fact, sensuality is a key characteristic. It’s the first book in a series of five I have planned. The third in the series is the one I’m working on now, it’s my wayward child.

Murmur did not give me difficulties. It came pouring out so quickly, I could hardly keep up with the flow. I’d easily write for 18 hours at a time, and be ready for more. I began it as soon as I had finished writing a book I had started years and years ago.

That first book was the birth of the concept, and I’ll get into what inspired that one at a later time. I began it as a stand alone story, but saw about ¾ of the way through that I could easily expand the initial concept into a series. In fact, it was the only thing to do. Murmur came soon after, and when I had finished, I realized that it made more sense for it to be the first book in the series. So the first book I wrote became second, and Murmur took over first position. Follow?

I’ll reveal more as it gets closer to the release date, I just wanted to offer a bit of a touchstone for my Third Book rants.

book three, you are kicking my ass

Narcissus PompeiiVery, very ironic, since I thought you would be the easy one. No rules, no holding back, flowing like absinthe. Ha. You’re the Green Fairy of late stages, when the effects are hard won, puzzling and painful. Quite fitting, since a drop has never passed my lips. Kicking my ass at the conclusion before I’ve even begun.

You are an intoxicant. I’m craving you, but when I have you it’s all confusion and stupor. I want more, I’m desperate for you even when you’re making me ache. Hurts to be with you, hurts to be without you.

Am I raving? Yes. I’m a lunatic with this one, and it’s only right that I should be. This one has taken on some enigmatic concepts, along with very intense transcendence. In short, I don’t know what I’m doing. But I kind of like it.

This book is all about transcending. Transcending all boundaries, all definitions, labels, concepts of what is beauty and what is broken. This is about the void, chaos and confusion, and the sound of echoes through time.

I’m not quite ready to talk about the series as a whole, so I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense. But it does make sense, it is exactly as it should be. I’m doing exactly what I want, I’m getting the words I want, everything is falling in place just as I wish, only it’s taking for-e-ver, piece by excruciating piece. Now, I’m thinking and I’m hoping that the difficulty is all mine. I hope those who read it will enjoy the playful irony of it all.

Here – this is a good representation of where I’m going with this, what I’m doing and the reason behind it all. Hey look at me, all sharing and everything. Another side effect of the drug that is Echo.

The three descend the stairs to the café below, and once seated, Aequus begs to try the absinthe. Around them people talk of everything all at once. Their voices are at discord: no rhythm, no melody. A rush of white noise. 

A carafe of water and three glasses of the yellow-green liqueur are requested by Amadeo, and these are brought to their table along with a china bowl of glittering sugar lumps, and three pretty little silver spoons, pricked and ornamented. The twins watch as Amadeo places a spoon across each glass, a lump of sugar centred in each spoon. He methodically trickles water over the arrangement until the liquids louche, and passes a glass to each. “Enjoy,” he says. “Don’t expect too much—it’s merely drunkenness, until you develop an acuity for it. But that takes experience.”

“Like the first time getting high.” Caprice smiles and plays with her spoon, tapping it against the glass, the table top.

Amadeo puts his hand over hers, gently silencing. The room echoes with the clink of spoons against glass, of cutlery against china accompanying the drone of conversation, but Caprice’s rhythm is a dissonance amongst the din. Incongruous. They’re not meant to be here. “Getting high?” he says. “No, not like high. Like drink. A lot of drink, a pretty colour, fascinating taste….” He takes a long swallow that begins with lips softly coated, the tongue, the palate suffused in warm bite and florid bursts: coco and citrus; the back of the throat, the slide into earth and jade. It flows through him, the pleasure. He knows how to coax passion from the milky depths. The twins watch, fascinated, aroused. “This is absinthe, children. Not a hypnotic, an experience. It’s the experience that enthrals—what you ask of it, what it allows. It’s the consent that gives one the impression of transcendence.”

Aequus tries to mimic Amadeo’s limpid sensuality. He coughs up the herbs, licks the spatters fromabsinthe his lips. “I guess it’s not consenting to me, yet,” he jokes.

“It’s condescending,” Caprice laughs. “You’re like a baby sucking at a bottle, it’s not mother’s milk!” But she must force down her own mouthful, inelegantly hiding her shuddering swallow, Adam’s apple bobbing like a tackled lure.

“Nor is it an emetic, but it has been treated as both,” Amadeo says. “Alright—what are you doing here?” He rolls the glass between his palms, lifts it again to his lips.

“We’re tracing the origin of us,” says Aequus. “The true origin—us before us. If anyone should know, it must be you.”

Amadeo laughs. “Oh I know; I’m there when it happens, I know. But babies, you don’t need then what you have now. It’s like the absinthe—the consent to transcendence.”

Aequus thinks about this for a moment. “Theirs, or ours?”

“Both.”

Caprice pushes away her glass, reaches across the table for Amadeo’s hand. “Uncle, isn’t it like the origin of you? You then into you now. It is similar, yes?”

“No, baby.” Amadeo reaches for Aequus, and holds both of their hands in his. “A body? Yes. All that is me held in one form, all that is me that cannot be held.” He smiles at them, a doting, familial look. “You are flesh and blood. You came into this world as all humans do—tiny, wet, crying in the shock of vicissitude. But the pain we experience, that is much the same. The pain of singularity, when you are in fact multifaceted little jewels.

Aequus studies the foggy liquid in his glass, inhaling its scent and taking cautious licks around the rim. “Do you think we can’t bear it? We will. If it helps us to know, we will.”

An unsteady silence, and Amadeo speaks again. “I’m not worried that you can’t bear it. I’m worried that you can.

“That boy upstairs—it’s not that he doesn’t see; it’s that he does. He sees what all else are blind to. He lives in agony, he lives trying to create a world within a world, without the constructs to do so. Everything he does in attempt to create sense, it falls apart over and over and over. But you; you have always lived outside the bounds, you were born into this chaos. You want to pull the world in with you. Very clever, babies. You may yet find a way.

I don’t know why I’m sharing. For one thing, it’s a pretty safe bet, since no one reads this. Maybe I just want to send a little echo across the waves, perhaps dole out a bit intoxication along the way.

coming soon: stories for boys anthology

I have a collection of nine shorts on the way, titled Stories for Boys. In anticipation of the book’s release, I’m going to talk about some of them here, beginning with Jude the Unsure.

Yes, it is indeed modelled after Thomas Hardy’s novel, Jude the Obscure. Hardy did not write happy stories, but they are compelling. His characters are often dealing with societal restraints that hold them back from their dreams and desires. Hardy’s Jude longs to be a scholar, but he is limited by 19th century low expectations from the working class, and as he enters into his teens, other things *ahem* rise up to distract him. Suddenly he finds himself saddled with a wife he does not love, and a life he never wanted.

He does, however, want his cousin, Sue. They share an attraction that wasn’t considered scandalous for the period, but was rapidly falling out of favour. She marries another man to escape her own desires. In fact, she ends up running from desire altogether, troubled by her feelings about sexuality.

My Jude and his stepbrother, Alexander are struggling with similar obstacles. Their association as family is definitely a hindrance, and Jude is also troubled by his sexuality – he doesn’t seem to know who he is. The difference between Hardy’s Jude and mine is the difference in societal structure from then to now.

In his novels, Hardy pummels institutionalized systems such as marriage, religion, and higher education as the privilege of the upper class, by pummelling his characters, who struggle within these constraints. We’re still feeling a lot of restriction from these same things, but more and more, the structures are being recognized as outdated and oppressive, not just to the marginalized, but across the board.

But they’ve definitely left a mark. Old standards are hard to shake off, and some people will choose to remain confined within them because they see no other way. So how does someone manage to get out from under? That is what Jude and Alexander are confronting.

That is the inspiration, and the underpinnings of the plot. Lucky for me, I’m not held back by moral restrictions on explicit sex in literature, as Hardy was. Jude and Alexander are free to explore their desire for one another as they work their way through and around the obstacles. Hurrah for that!

This is one of my favourite stories I’ve written. I love paying tribute to the things that inspire me, and Thomas Hardy in particular is a novelist who has left a lasting impression with his poignant stories. His work was a great influence in my understanding society as both victimizer and victim of its own self-inflicted rules.

Jude the Unsure:

He hesitated for a moment, then his lips parted against mine, kissing me back. I was in heaven. His was the first male mouth I had ever tasted, and I eagerly took in the experience—the scratch of his stubble on my cheeks and chin, the firm softness of his lips, and the flavor of him, sweetly pungent and sensual and unmistakably masculine. He put his hand on the back of my neck and I was ready to fall onto the bed with him, explore his body with my hands and mouth before I gave myself to him, let him push up inside me and fuck the innocence right out of me. But instead he pulled me away, pulled his lips from mine and slid back, shifting his eyes to the floor.

 

rainbow book reviews blog hop topic: what does writing glbtq literature mean to me

Time to hop to it with Rainbow Book Reviews Blog Hop, August 24-26! I’m looking forward to meeting so many talented people.

From reading everyone else’s blogs, looks like I did the prize thing wrong – typical of me. So include in your comment the name of the first fictional character you fell in love with and I will give away a copy of my ebook short, Revolving Door at random.

Also, I’m having a love/hate relationship with Blogger – mostly hate, because it doesn’t want to take all of my comments. Frustrating, since I’m reading and enjoying all of your blogs. When I get back to a decent connection on Tuesday, I’ll revisit some of the blogs I’ve been having trouble with.

What does writing GLBTQ literature mean to me?

There are many reasons why I’ve chosen to write literature featuring gay characters, from the prurient to the purposeful. Intellectually or aesthetically, what’s not to like about two (or more) beautiful men being beautiful together?

Everything I do is an opportunity to play, and invite others to play along. I first began writing stories involving gay characters to entertain my friends. They weren’t finding the scenarios they wanted to read, so I took their requests and wrote what I call “one offs” – short stories around those themes. I found that I liked it, and was rather good at it. From there I took off on my own, creating characters who are gay, bisexual, and who transcend gender, and providing worlds within worlds to give them the freedom to tell me their stories. Often it does seem like that – my characters guide me and I follow along, capturing their words and actions.

I’ve been fortunate to be part of several communities in which people are open and encouraged to be themselves in whatever respect. I am in great favor of breaking barriers and coloring outside of the lines, and I love people who never hesitate to be who they are and do exactly as they want and need for themselves. I find it inspirational and energizing. The personal freedom in turn opens creative freedom. I am unlimited in what I choose to explore in my writing, and how I choose to express myself.

I write stories with the purpose of entertaining, of course, but also to support and cheer people on to reveal those wonderful, inspirational sides of themselves that I so admire. Hardship and pain involving sexual identity is not my subject. I cannot assume to imagine, much less write about, those very visceral stories and so I leave that to those who can rightfully and artfully express them. For me, it’s about taking subjects and inspirations I respond to, and creating stories around those. My pieces are odes to authors, to literature and art and music I admire, to commonly held metaphors and belief systems – things that I love, things that fascinate me, and that we as a culture experience collectively and as individuals.

Right now I’m working on a five book series that I’ve fashioned as a metaphysical adventure. Vampires and werewolves and things of that nature are fun and have their place, but I wanted to develop a series around the metaphysics of the natural world – things that seem fantastical, but are in fact knowable and relatable and subject to mastery in the hands of those who are attuned to their nature. It’s meant to be empowering and inspirational as well as just a fucking good time, playing around with the unexplored and uncovering unique secrets and powers. A metaphor, if you will, for the powerful nature and unique experiences of gay men. They’re very sensual stories, I’m looking forward to sharing them.

I also have the loftier personal mission of blurring the lines between genres. I don’t like labels. Gay lit, romance, fantasy, classic lit – I know I’ve been put off by some of these labels, and I also know I’ve missed out on some really wonderful stories because of it. These are unintentional limitations to the power of the written word to reach across boundaries and invite people to discover new spheres, different ways of thinking, and to gain new passions. I don’t consider what I write to be exclusionary to anyone, and I want to encourage people who haven’t explored so-called gay lit titles to delve in and experience life through my characters.

out now: revolving door by ryal woods at mlr press

Matt is still attached to his former lover through a bond of secrecy and obsession. He wants to break the bonds, Leo works to keep him entrapped.

This is Matt’s account of their latest encounter: his longing for strength to resist Leo, his giving over, and the battle within as they play this longstanding game of wills, from initiation to inevitable conclusion. This time he’ll break the rules, and stop Leo before he can make a quick exit.

Because Matt isn’t so innocent: it’s a double play, they’re both participants. Will breaking the silence be enough to break the spell?

Available at MLR Press, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and other outlets

the bdsm of writer’s block

I’ve been stalled out in my writing, and it’s bothersome. Not just a frustration like a bout of writer’s block, but an unmet need, nearly on the level of basic survival – food, shelter, writing. Even this post is taking effort, and that’s saying something. I can usually prattle on with great ease about absolutely nothing.

I don’t want to bore you, and frankly, myself, with incessant talk about my story (Revolving Door, now available at MLR, on Amazon and at other outlets, ha), but I don’t have much to say about my other work, because other work ain’t happening at the moment.

And I so desperately want to write, and take myself out of this world for a few hours.

I am reading over some stuff I’ve already completed, and that’s been helpful in several ways. It always helps to go back over stuff and find all of those little things that don’t quite work, or are in need of tweaking. I have a piece that’s centered around a subject I know absolutely nothing about. Dangerous, I know. But the story is there, bubbling around in the back of my mind, and I just can’t help myself. I’ll go anywhere literarily. But I found some major fumbles on that one. Stuff that under the circumstances wouldn’t be – or shouldn’t be – said, at least not by someone who knows what the hell they’re doing.

I have another, similar one in the works with the same problem. I’ll just come out with it and tell you that one involves BDSM. Not exactly my area of expertise, and it’s not a good sign when my reaction to some of the pics is ‘eeeoww, what the hell?’ – and maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that, because now you’re going to scoff at me, scoffscoff, if ever it sees the light of day.

There’s a lot you can research and fudge your way through, if properly motivated. I’m always motivated to give my boys, my characters, the best possible roles within my stories.

And I’m anxious to get back to them all, because I’ve left a few in some compromising positions. I’ll hurry back to you as soon as I can, fellas.

P.S. You were going to get a picture of Emily Dickinson because for some reason it came up when I was looking for public domain BDSM pictures. Little tip: there are none. However, my internet connectivity is crap here, and it can’t handle images. You’ll just have to envision a hot BDSM scenario to accompany this rather lukewarm post.

this is my mind on dregs

On a day when I was particularly frustrated by my own limitations and by the temptation to lift words and ideas from others, I lifted this line from Camus:

A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession.

And I started to write my frustration. My mind slipped around to authors who were so talented, they created not only new phrases, but new ways of writing them down. Rimbaud is one of these artists. (Yes, I’m obsessed with Rimbaud. I’m very okay with that.) His work was unique, masterful, and had an influence on many creative movements.

So to make my theft complete, I used his poem, Vowels as a precipice to throw myself off of. I took great liberties with Paul Verlain, made assumptions and cast aspersions. In other words (ha), I made a right mess of things, and ended up here:

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