Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Bookstore's End: How 'Evil' Are You?

Giovanni's Room, the oldest U.S. LGBT bookstore in America, if not the world, will soon close. And it's our fault.

Giovanni's Room in June 2012
Think about it. We buy books on Amazon.com. I self-published my last two books with them. It proved to be the easiest and most profitable format for self-publishing authors like myself. Expanding our culpability, we use the arrogant Google, whose motto has quite obviously re-punctuated from "Don't be evil," to "Don't. Be evil!" Google the term "Google buses" to catch up on this ongoing San Francisco controversy. Feel guilty? Use Bing.com instead (even though it pales in comparison).

Our smart phones and Apple computers are manufactured by near-slaves in China who will die from the toxins made with these products. I wrote all my novels on Apple computers. I am right now blogging on a Google platform.

We're evil by association. And the last great American gay bookstore is our latest sacrifice.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Arbor and Ardor: Growing Attraction

Having not celebrated the annual Arbor Day this year, I felt I should at least share a mention of it in my new novel Message of Love. Considering that the companion novel, Every Time I Think of You, starts off with an arborous and amorous encounter between the narrator Reid and his boyfriend-to-be Everett, trees not only take on a symbolic aspect, but an oft-repeated literal role in both books.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Action Figures

Sometimes, a version of an author's fictional characters can manifest into his or her real life, which is why I'm glad I don't write about zombies.

Since I started writing about aspects of disability, people who deal with various challenges have become friends and colleagues, and I've become a fan of their art.
Belo Cipriani at El Rio

As with my previous novel, I'd like to mention the terrific writers who blurbed my book, but who also did more. What's interesting is how the people who helped me write my last two books have stepped outside their comfort zones to push their boundaries.

Belo Cipriani is not only an author and educator. He's also a representative for Guide Dogs for the Blind. And he likes to entertain fans at readings.

Here's Belo at a Literary Death Match event a while back:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Points of Inspiration

Back in 2009, I hadn't even thought of writing a pair of novels about two young guys in the early 1980s, one of whom becomes a paraplegic. In fact, I'd seen performances by people who would later become quite inspirational.

Amy Purdy on Dancing With the Stars
The term "inspirational" is a touchy subject for disabled people. That's because for able-bodied people to rarify disabled folks as a form of Hallmark Card-Lassie "overcoming obstacles" hero is diminishing and, well, kind of stupid.

Certainly anyone who accomplishes something extraordinary is an inspiration for those of us who may not, say, ski down a mountain or perform on Dancing With the Stars.

But this isn't about Amy Purdy, the double amputee snowboard athlete and contestant on the show, even though she is fabulous.

Purdy's performances offer some interesting entertaining visibility, but within the Hollywood beauty standards one would expect from such a TV show.