Thursday, March 28, 2013


As the Supreme Court hearings on the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 are debated online, on radio, and this evening, on one of KRON4's alternative channels, I've been alternating between Facebook and its sea of red equal sign profile images, with hundreds of creative variations.

I just finished a chapter where Reid listens to Everett use his amazing debate skills on another issue relevant to the setting of the sequel, the early 1980s.  I'm wondering if he would have have considered debating gay marriage rights, if they could even imagine this situation, where hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in multiple cities, and the multiple aspects of these lawsuits are beguiling, if not confusing.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


A wheelchair-using BART commuter in the early 1970s
My weekend was full of East Bay arts, all of which ended up being, in some ways, connected. For those of you not in the San Francisco area, East Bay is the Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island of the Bay Area.

Some people in San Francisco may dismiss the East Bay, make "bridge and tunnel" jokes. I ride BART a lot, and while a few unpleasant events have happened to me, none of them were serious. The few very violent events - shootings by criminals and BART police have been covered by other media quite extensively. But personally, I can honestly say that it's a pretty amazingly efficient commuting experience.

One of the things I recently learned while researching the sequel to Every Time I Think of You, a novel that includes a disabled gay main character, is that Bay Area Rapid Transit was one of the first mass transit systems that made platforms and elevators and train cars accessible to wheelchair users.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lady Gaga's Crip Chic

Lady Gaga once again exploits disability as a pose, so I'm going to exploit her. It's been said that the 'virality' of a good blog post includes catchy words that will generate lots of clicks, or in the case of Lady Gaga, random clicks that have nothing to do with anything.

Friday, March 8, 2013

How to Succeed in the Book Business While Really Really Trying

Every now and then I get a request from a fledgling (or even successful) author colleague asking for tips on the book business. To me, that's almost like asking a kid riding a Big Wheel for pointers on competing in the Daytona 500.

They also ask to "pick my brain" which sounds painful. It's not, really. 

But the prerequisite to any such talk is that you read one or several of Dan Poynter's books on self-publishing. It's as useful a handbook as my Wolf Cub Scout books were when I was a kid.

Pretty much everything you need to know is in Poynter's books, from developing a book that sells (if that is your goal) to marketing a "difficult" title that may be limited to a subgenre.

By "subgenre," I mean a book that's a genre within a genre, of course.  Take PINS, for example: gay + sports. While my subsequent three books were produced via Print-On-Demand (POD), PINS was done the old-fashioned way.

It's a long involved tale, some of which I'll be explaining within a few brief minutes at an author panel that's part of Word Week. The Noe Valley Book Festival is like a mini-LitQuake. Panels, readings, and a Saturday gathering of many authors selling and signing their books are part of it. It's mostly for Noe Valley area writers, but I got in because I'm nice.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Reality Shown

"How much of the stories in your books are real?"

That's one of the most frequently asked questions from readers and interviewers. Undoubtedly, other writers are asked the same question. 

Explaining the various aspects of real life and fiction is kind of like dissecting your dinner before you eat it. It's not pretty. When you order coq au vin at a restaurant, you don't want to see the chicken get plucked.

It also makes me wonder. Why do you want to know? Does figuring out what actually happened versus what I made up make the book better, easier to understand? If I wrote a memoir, would you ask which parts were made up? More than a few memoir writers have been called out for using a heavy dose of "creative nonfiction," a valid genre, but one that's gotten a few authors in hot water (James Frey on Oprah being the most notorious example).

But more, the question leads me to be cautious about revealing the true source of my inspiration. It's not unlike the drag term "showing your candy." You know what's down there, but you don't want to see it.