Sam

July 17, 2014

 

 

 

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This is Sam.  He’s a real, honest to goodness fire fighter.  Of course he’s also a total hunk.  He agreed to pose for me in his fire fighting gear.  If anyone is writing a book that features a fireman, I think Sam would be perfect for the cover of the book. Like Jack in You Can’t Go Home Again, Sam has had a whole lot of crap thrown at him in his short life and he’s built some pretty serious walls to protect himself and his heart. But when you begin to peel away the layers, you find that the guy inside is a beautiful human being.

Ideas

July 17, 2014

I had dinner one night in May with Elizabeth North.  The woman is brilliant and every time I get to spend time with her I come away overwhelmed by how fast and how far her mind is going — and about how patient she is in listening to people.

Anyway, at the most recent dinner, Elizabeth and I were talking about a book I wrote that apparently started slower than it should have.  I told a lot of backstory that I thought was important, but Elizabeth told me that you have to grab the readers in the first 5 pages to get them to keep reading. And of course, she’s right.

With You Can’t Go Home Again, I’ve followed Elizabeth’s advice (even before she gave it) and I’ve created three strong characters and an action packed opening (and I think a pretty good story through the rest of the book). She agreed that this one certainly grabbed attention and held it. And just to let you know, I took the other manuscript back and rewrote it to fix the things she told me needed fixing.  I’m happy to tell you that it’s now entering the editorial process and with any luck later this year you’ll be able to read Mano’s Story.  If you read Little Squirrels, you might remember the character, Mano, who appears in the last third of the book.  A lot of people found his presence to be odd or strange.  Well, I’m happy to tell you that in this next book you’ll be able to see who Mano is, what makes him tick, and read about his quest for love.  He has to kiss a lot of frogs along the way to find his prince, but yes, he does find his prince.

Home

July 17, 2014

“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

– Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz

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“You’re a Man in Black.  You can’t go home again – ever.”

– K, Men in Black

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And then, if you want to get really philosophical about the progression of life:

“Everything flows.”

“Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.”

“All entities move and nothing remains still.”

“Everything changes and nothing remains still … and … you cannot step twice into the same stream.”

“We both step and do not step in the same rivers.  We are and are not.”

 

Do you have any favorite quotes or poems or songs about home and trying to go back home again?  I’ve love to hear them.

What Does It Mean That You Can’t Go Home Again?

July 17, 2014

What does it mean that you can’t go home again?  The phrase was coined by Thomas Wolfe in his 1940 novel by the same name.  His novel tells the story of a fledging author who writes a book that becomes a national bestseller.  He bases his story on his small hometown and the people he knew there from when he was growing up.  But when he returns home for a visit he finds that everyone there is unhappy with the way he portrayed them. I mean seriously unhappy.  Beyond unhappy. He gets hate mail, threats, even death threats.

Near the end of the book, his main character tells us:

“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

The phrase is now part of American speech and I guess its come to mean that once you’ve left home and moved to the faster life in the big city, life back in the country just isn’t what you remember it to be.  Things are smaller. People are different.  The old home town is more confining.  And attempts to relive youthful memories usually fail.

A few months ago I went back to my old home town to visit my mother.  While there I saw someone I went to high school with.  And he looked OLD.  I mean, seriously old. It made me gasp and wonderful, is that what I look like?  Please, God, don’t let me look as old as him! I’m pleased to report that when I look in my own personal mirror I’m still holding at the 24 year old that I feel like inside.

And in terms of this book, what I mean by the use of this phrase is that the three main characters of the story, Jack, Devin, and Marie, all are hit in the first pages of the book with a massive, devastating loss that causes each of them major grief.  For Jack, the loss is his work partner, a rookie cop he’d been charged with training.  For Devin it is the loss of his best friend and beloved brother.  And for Marie, it is the loss of her husband.

All three characters are left alone and grieving. The home they had, the home they knew, is gone, wiped away in the flash of a gunshot. The story I’ve written tells the tale of the three of them coming together to create a new home because while you might not be able to go back to the security of a prior home, of the home of your youth, you can create a new one, which is what these three characters do in this book.

Sale at Dreamspinner

July 17, 2014

In case you haven’t heard about it, Dreamspinner has launched a Christmas in July celebration.  All holiday stories at 25% off all month.  Everything else is 20% off from July 16-22.

So my book, You Can’t Go Home Again, which is normally $6.99 for the ebook is now $5.59 and the paperback, which is normally $14.99 is now on sale for $11.99, as are other books by my friends.  I am delighted beyond words to have a book coming out the same day as the gifted friend, Jeff Erno.  His next Dumb Jock book comes out tomorrow as well. I can’t wait to read it.

Who Am I?

July 17, 2014

Someone asked me who I am.  I wish I knew.  For years I’ve been exploring, trying to figure out what I want to do or be when I grow up.  Since I’m no spring chicken I guess I better hurry up and figure this out soon. When I look in the mirror I see an older person, which always surprises me because inside I don’t see myself that way.

One Sunday thirty years ago I met the love of my life.  We just celebrated our 30th anniversary.  When marriage became legal here in Washington, DC, we were in line immediately to get our license. We had to hunt to find someone who was willing to marry us because so many denominations put their ministers on trial if they break the rules and marry a same-sex couple. But we found not only one but two who were willing to go against the rules, so we were married in our living room in front of a small group of friends four years ago.  It gives me great pleasure to see the number of states that are making same-sex marriage legal growing as quickly and robustly as it is.

Since I’ve been searching for who I am, I’ve traveled a lot.  Over the years I have visited 46 of the 50 US states and 29 countries. The world is full of so much to see and I want to see as much of it as possible. I told someone I had just met recently that I had been to 29 countries, but she topped that when she told me she had been to 98 countries. Her goal in life is to visit all 189 countries in the world.  She’s certainly a lot closer than I am, but she’s more able to afford to travel than I am.

My daytime job is as senior staff of a small association located in downtown Washington, DC where I do a wide variety of jobs.  We are located about 2 blocks from the White House so I get to see motorcades whisking big wigs around town all the time.

News

July 17, 2014

I’m back. CNN is reporting another Malaysia 777 has apparently crashed somewhere over Ukraine/Russia.  And worse yet, they’re saying that the plane might have been shot down by a surface to air missile.  Hitting something traveling at 33,000 feet at a speed just over 500 mph would seem to me would take some sophistication. Regardless of what happened, I feel so bad for the families of all the nearly 300 people who were on board. The 777 is one of my favorite airplanes for long haul travel so its too bad this plane has been targeted like this.

Eye Candy

July 17, 2014

We interrupt this program to share some serious eye candy with you.  Throughout my time with you today I’ll share with you photos of some of the models I’ve worked with over the last two years. For example, this is Aleks, one of my favorites.

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Isn’t he adorable?  I want to put him on a book cover.  That face, that body.  They just scream out “Put me on a cover”! On top of that he’s a total sweetheart and playful too. For example:

_18A9799 (2) R (Aleks with Red Rose in Teeth)

 

What do you think?  Should Aleks be on a book cover?

Marie

July 17, 2014

In my book to be released tomorrow, You Can’t Go Home Again, the bold female character is Marie, Kevin’s wife. When Jack’s rookie partner, Kevin, is killed in their undercover operation gone bad, Jack insists that he has to be the one to inform Kevin’s family.  Jack doesn’t want some nameless/faceless person going to inform his family.

The only problem is that Jack doesn’t know who Kevin’s family is, or even if he has one.  Jack lived his life very segmented.  When he was at work, there was absolutely nothing personal that was discussed or even acknowledged.  And when he was home, there was nothing about work that intruded. In Jack’s world the two spheres just did not overlap.

Jack had his reasons for doing this.  Early on, he’d tried to live his life openly, letting his coworkers know that he was gay.  But that blew up in Jack’s face – big time.  For years Jack had suffered taunts, been the brunt of jokes, and had coworkers whispering about him and informing all the new guys to steer clear of him in the showers because he was gay and they knew what that meant.  So Jack kept everyone at work at arm’s length.

But Jack is tough.  He gave back as good as he got.  he earned the respect of some of his co-workers, but the whole thing had taught him to be reserved, to share little of who he was or what his life was like.  In other words, Jack put up some serious walls to keep himself safe and to keep others out.

Jack’s walls were only strengthened when his long-term boyfriend announced that he was leaving Jack because he couldn’t live with a cop.  He couldn’t handle the idea that at any minute someone could come to the door and tell him that Jack had been killed in a hail of gun fire on an assignment gone bad

So Jack built even stronger walls, not just around himself, but especially around his heart. And that is why Jack doesn’t know anything about his rookie work partner, Kevin.  He didn’t know Kevin was married, but once he finds out that he was, Jack sets out to meet her and give her the news personally.  When he gets there he finds that Kevin was married to Marie, one tough cookie who can hold her own in a fight, verbal or physical, all by herself.

 

 

Work

July 17, 2014

I need to take a short break.  My job thinks it can intrude on the rest of my life.  I know! Can you believe it? I’ll be quick and take care of them so I can dash right back here to be with you.  I’ve drafted a couple more posts that are ready to roll and will keep you occupied while I deal with work briefly.