The ’90s to Now w/ Ken Harrison

November 29, 2017

90s to now


Linear Park may not be the first time my fiction has been in print, but it feels like the first time. This is probably due to the fact that my last published book was in 2002, a collection of erotic short stories titled Ten Thick Inches. It was my third published short story collection, the other two being Daddy’s Boys in 1998, and Young, Hung & Ready for Action in 2001. Here it is, fifteen years later, and I have that same sense of pride and wonderment that I had when I published my first book. Although the feelings may be the same, the publishing process has changed quite a bit.


Back in 1998 you had to send out notices well before your title was released asking for interviews and reviews in physical newspapers and magazines. You also had to call bookstores and ask if you could have a promotional event. It took a lot of time and effort to coordinate all of it. The list of newspapers and bookstores was like gold, so you kept it close and safe.

My most memorable event was at an independent bookstore in Sacramento, CA called The Open Book. It was held in the coffee shop, which was on a raised level overlooking the bookstore. I was promoting Ten Thick Inches at the time and read the last story in the collection. As I read, people shopping stopped and listened, and some of them came into the coffee shop and sat. Of all the events I’d done, that will always be my favorite.

When I self-published Ten Thick Inches to raise funds to begin Seventh Window and to move into publishing, I had no idea how much was about to change. I then published two books by MJ Pearson, The Price of Temptation and Discreet Young Gentleman, both of which sold well and gave me a sense of pride.

In 2007, while I was working with NL Gassert on The Protector, my five-year relationship had fallen apart due to my partner’s heavy drinking and my refusal to see the problems staring me in the face. My own issues with alcoholism were beginning to show, but I was too wrapped up in anxiety, depression and fear to notice.

By the time The Protector came out in 2008, I was renting a room from a friend and working on promoting it the old fashion way. It was all I knew, and I was working on auto-pilot. Not only that, but I had cases of books in storage and print sales were on the decline.

By 2010 I had taught myself how to code an e-book using HTML and CSS. I’d also learned enough Photoshop to save money on book covers by designing them myself. But it was too late. While I was stewing in a dark place, publishing changed, and I was too far behind to catch up.

Despite some successes with titles by Xavier Axelson, Drake Braxton and Brian Centrone, I still couldn’t compete. Other presses had rightfully staked their claim in the market while I was still getting my footing in the new business structure. My drinking was also getting worse, bringing back memories of my failed five-year relationship. I was alone, scared, lost and drinking more often with each passing day. How long would it be until it all fell apart?

In March of 2015 I had had enough and took the first step to sobriety. While in recovery I met a tall, dark and handsome man named Randon. We became friends, texting, hanging out and talking about our lives and our past. One of the first things he said to me was, “I can’t be friends with you if you’re going to drink.” I liked his blatant honesty.

By the summer of 2015, Randon and I began talking on the phone and texting every day. By August I brought him to Colt State Park, where we talked about how much we loved Karen Black and the film, Burnt Offerings. It was at that point when we realized we were more than friends.

In December of 2015, I decided to close the publishing company and become what I called a regular person. It was a difficult decision, one that broke my heart. I had spent years trying to keep the company afloat and felt as if I was letting myself down and the authors I’d worked with. Randon was there to listen and remind me of the success I’d had with publishing, and let me know that I wasn’t a loser. I sure felt like one.

For the next year and half, Randon was concerned about me. He felt that I seemed lost, like I didn’t know what do with myself. Although he was concerned, he didn’t push or make a big deal out of it.

In August 2016, Randon moved in with me. Getting him situated and comfortable kept me occupied, but I was still searching for a project to make me feel fulfilled. Randon mentioned writing something, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to that. Although Randon insisted that my closing the publishing company didn’t mean I failed, in my mind it did. The last thing I wanted to do was go back to it.

And then the seed of a story using Linear Park as a backdrop planted itself in my mind, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to write it. It wasn’t until I was looking for something to read and went to the Dreamspinner web site that I thought about writing again. I don’t know what made me look at the Publish with Us section, but I did. And there it was, a call for submissions for a line of books called States of Love. And yes, under the list of unclaimed states was Rhode Island. Although I told myself not to bother, all I could think about was Linear Park.

I didn’t tell Randon about the story. I wrote the first draft in short bursts when he was sleeping, I tend to be an early riser. A couple of times he woke up to the sound of me frantically slamming at the keyboard, but he never said anything. He hadn’t mentioned it until I was done with the first draft and told him about the submission guidelines for States of Love. He was thrilled.

I composed the query letter, read it to Randon and had him by my side when I sent it off. When they wanted to see the story, Randon was there when I emailed it. It was an exciting time and I felt the need to remind Randon that they may not accept it. All he said was, “They’ll take it. It’s good.”

Dreamspinner did accept Linear Park, which gave me a sense of pride I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Also, while going through the editing process, Randon and I were married. It was a small ceremony in City Hall, quiet and simple. The way we wanted it. We refinanced the house to put his name on the deed and are now making plans to renovate portions of it. We’re supporting each other and building a life together.


And now Linear Park is out, Randon is by my side; I’m working on another book, and living a sober life. Everything has come around, back to where it all started. It’s as if I have a second chance at life.  Who says dreams can’t come true?


Check out Linear Park today!





Sean and Nick’s life together was a fairy tale: childhood friends who became lovers, high school sweethearts who married after college, both handsome professionals. Sean always enjoyed a few drinks, but after the death of his father, his alcoholism spiraled out of control… and it cost him everything.

When Sean loses his job and becomes too surly and unreasonable to live with, Nick has little choice but to end the relationship. Sean can’t blame Nick for giving up—not after the arguments and the lies—but he longs for the happiness and love they shared before he spoiled everything. He resolves to get sober and win back his husband. But even if he wins his battle with alcoholism, will it be too late to save his marriage?

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.


Author Bio:

Back in the nineties, Ken Harrison wrote erotic short stories for several gay skin magazines and published three short story collections (Daddy’s Boys; Young, Hung and Ready for Action; and Ten Thick Inches). He stopped writing in 2001 to start a small press, Seventh Window Publications, and worked with several great authors and artists. He closed Seventh Window Publications in December 2015. After a year and a half away, he realized that publishing was a big part of his life and went back to writing.

When he isn’t writing, he enjoys cooking, web design, blowing bubbles in the park, dressing up in costumes, and entertaining. Halloween is his favorite holiday and his house is a popular stop for the neighborhood kids. He believes that the only thing better than telling a good story is watching people enjoy his food.

Ken lives in Rhode Island with his husband, who is an avid reader.

Twitter: @Ken_Harrison

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