Monday, February 28, 2011

Dreamspinner Press publishes a new edition of Island Song by Alan Chin

Dreamspinner Press has recently released a second edition of my debut novel, Island Song, a novel previously published by Zumaya Publications.

This new edition has been rewritten—converting it from present tense into past tense, tightening up the prose, and has been given a different ending (the one I had originally intended.) I’m very jazzed about this new release. I believe it is far superior to the original.

For those of you who were frustrated about not finding Island Song in the ebook format you desire, fear not. You can find this new release in all formats at:

The blurb:
After watching his lover’s long and painful slide into death, there is no peace for Garrett Davidson. Grief eats at him. In a desperate bid to survive, he flees to a secluded Hawaiian refuge. There he intends to write a memoir about his relationship with Marc, hoping the process will bring closure, restore his sanity, and kick-start a career in writing. 

He meets a captivating island native, Songoree, who offers promises of enlightenment and spiritual healing—but Garrett can only achieve it by abandoning his personal history. Can Garrett endure an excruciating journey that will tear him to pieces, wreak havoc among his friends, and break his despairing heart? Is it possible to attain fulfillment, even love, by surrendering everything you cherish? To survive, Garrett must find the answers.

Garrett slept through the night undisturbed until light bled through the open window. With the growing light came the dream. Within the universe surrounded by his skull, he relived an experience that he and Marc had had several years earlier while scuba diving off the coast of Baja, Mexico.

They swam in a blue-green world thirty feet below the surface in the Sea of Cortez. Garrett loved to swim facing up so he could watch their bubbles float away, mingling together as they raced to the surface. It seemed magical.

The freedom of weightlessness brought a joy so intense it was agonizing.

They darted around the hull of a sunken freighter like sea otters until a giant manta ray glided up from beneath them, serene and graceful. The manta spanned fifteen feet across, dark gray on top and virgin white on the underside. It flew up to and around them, performing a slow-motion ballet.

Caught in a vise of fear and awe, Garrett’s hair prickled while an electric charge ran from his brain to his testicles. He had never been that close to any creature so large or so incredibly beautiful.

Marc, the bold one, kicked his legs and glided to the ray’s back. He grabbed hold with both hands near the eyes and began to soar away, riding the ray like a magic carpet. Garrett struggled to catch them and soon both divers rode the creature, performing unimaginable acrobatics.

The giant saucer winged its way into a school of squid, thousands of glistening milky bodies with flowing tails. The vision was electrifying. Garrett knew that he would never again experience such magnificence until death took him, and in the water, as on his bed, he smiled, grateful for the experience being given to him.

He ascended, floating on the edge of consciousness. His hand reached for his crotch and he began to rub. This part of the dream always reminded him of gliding in an ocean of semen, the squid looked so similar to sperm weaving their way to the one destination that would make them whole and fulfilled. The image never failed to excite him.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Will & Jay stories continue

Thanks to another email from Alan Barker, I am pleased to offer another set of Will & Jay two-sentence stories. Enjoy!

The Ice Melts

The following night Will once again sat opposite Jay, who in the stillness of the rooftop terrace above Stefano's restaurant, forgot the number of sugar cubes which were filling his caffe latte as he remembered the many happy memories from the past.

Will carefully took out a special gift from out of his shoulder bag, slowly drank the last of his espresso and moving hesitantly towards his partner was overjoyed by Jay's reaction; a beaming smile as he unwrapped Will's please-forgive-me luxury box of cappuccino flavoured Italian chocolates and a black mask.

All steamed up!

"Well Will, can I take this mask off now to see this hot hunk called Daniel you said last night I would get all steamed up about," asked Jay his partner, " and where is this Giovanni who is even better looking?"

"I know you like surprises," said a delighted Will as he received a big hug from Jay, " so I've organised a cab ride in 'Daniel', a vintage engine, that hot hunk of steaming metal over there, followed by dinner in 'Giovanni' that very handsome Italian built Pullman Car and I really am sorry about last week mate.

That sinking feeling

"Oh Jay, please steer your lifeboat over here," shouted a terrified Will to his cabin mate ash could feel himself sinking slowly up to his chin in water, " and I'll do my best to grab on to your hands."

"Oh Will," called the calming voice of Jay as he pulled him over the side and wrapped him in a warm blanket, "I've warned you before about staying up until the early hours to watch 'Titanic' and then falling asleep in the bath!"

Thank you, Alan.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

March Literary Events: A Different Light Bookstore

Saturday, March 5 @ 3pm

My Uncle's Wedding
We're very excited to announce the official book launch party and signing event for My Uncle's Wedding! Come and meet author Eric Ross and illustrator Tracy K Greene in person and get an autographed copy of the progressive children's book, a must have for all families wanting to discuss same-sex marriage with their kids.
Facebook RSVP:

Saturday, March 12 @ 4pm

Really?!?: A Memoir By A Man Who's Not Quite Famous Enough
The memoir by "Extra" international TV personality, Marc Freden, takes on such lauded institutions as Hollywood, Catholicism, the British Monarchy and fame while exploring his personal vulnerability in dealing with homosexuality, depression, molestation and relationships.
Facebook RSVP:

Saturday, March 19 @ 1pm

Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side with David Bowie
Following her appearance at TRANNYSHACK, Angie Bowie, former wife of David Bowie, will be at A Different Light for a more intimate discussion of her influential part in the Bowie universe. She has written about it in her book, Backstage Passes, which she will be signing at the event.
Facebook RSVP:

All events are free and open to the public.
For more info, contact:
Oscar Raymundo
Events Coordinator

A Different Light
489 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA 94114

(415) 431 0891

Short Story Review: A Woman Like the Sea By Anne Brooke

Reviewed by Victor J. Banis
Published by Untreed Reads

When an author pens a novel, it’s pretty much up to him to tell the reader what he wants the reader to know. In a short story, however, the author must seduce the reader into becoming a participant in the process. The short story allows only so many words, so many lines. It becomes the reader’s role to read between the lines, to fill in the blanks from what the author has given him.

There are few authors who illustrate this point more effectively than Anne Brooke, and perhaps nowhere better than in this brief, nearly perfect story. Sometime in the past, the woman telling the story, a good but not great artist who painted the sea, met another woman and they loved. Now her love is gone, and the narrator waits by the ocean for her to return.

That’s it. But within the bare framework of this tale, beneath the surface of its elegant phrases, its impeccable rhythms, its haunting familiarity, lies an ocean of feeling, of suggestion and unfathomable menace. The author gives us a breathtaking palette of shadings, of sounds and scents—but it is up to the reader to provide the nuance, the feel of it, the sense. These come from our own deep fathoms, borne on the tide of our love, our hate, our loss. Because the author is wise enough to know that we have them too.

The sea is a mystery—as the author puts it, “a primeval force like anger or fear or love.” Ultimately we must all of us stand at the shore of those deep emotions and remember—and wait.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review: The Immortals by Victor J. Banis

Reviewed by Alan Chin
Published by Amber Quill Press, LLC
Pages: 29

Jason was quite surprised when Peter took a fancy to him and immediately wanted them to move in together. Not only was Peter far better looking and successful than the men Jason dated, but he expressed feelings of true love. Jason didn’t consider himself a catch. He was rather ordinary looking and, because he was a student, had no income. None of that mattered to Peter, who had the looks and income to keep them both happy.

They set up house together and everything was going great until a fantastic career opportunity opened up for Peter in Los Angeles. Against Jason’s better judgment, the lovers moved to L.A., and temporarily moved into Peter’s father’s house until they could find a place of their own.

Peter’s father, Alders, had been widowed for several years. He was a man eaten by loneliness, and he welcomed the young men into his house. At first Jason couldn’t fathom how this ugly little man could have fathered such a handsome, desirable son, but over time, Jason began to peek beneath Alders’ unpleasant facade, and caught glimpses of a complex and intriguing man. Alders seemed to have that richly stimulating personality that his son totally lacked. Father and son were indeed opposites. And there lay the rub. As the days progressed, Peter’s image began to tarnish.

As always, Mr. Banis has drawn a set of noteworthy characters to enjoy. They are delightfully complex, as is the situation they find themselves in. I particularly relished Alders, with whom I wholly identified with. I felt he was painted by a master artist.

I could almost call this a coming-of-age tale, except that the protagonist was already of age. In this short but potent story, however, Jason comes to a definite maturity, a realization of what kind of foundation a satisfying relationship is built on. And once the light illuminates in his head, he has the courage to change his life in a most appropriate way.

The ending is not exactly what I define as happily ever after, but it is by all means a satisfying one. The author leads his characters, as well as the reader, down a path to where no other ending would gratify the reader, which is the mark of a gifted writer.

I can highly recommend this story to all readers.

For more info about his story/author go to

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coming Home by Alan Barker - a love poem to a soldier

The following is a poem that fellow writer, Alan Barker, wrote to his close friend who was serving in the Middle East. Enjoy.


29 days,
I know what you need.
Life's in a haze,
I know what you need.
Strike of the days
And letter by letter
You'll begin to feel better.

19 days,
Comfort and friendship
I know what you need.
Hours into days slip,
I know what you need.
Soon the coin will flip,
When you've read my letter
You'll feel even better.

9 days,
True love never dies,
You know what you need.
Look forward to the highs,
You know what you need.
When laughter replaces sighs
Just the two of us together
A little older and much wiser.

Home,you're home,
See,those days have flown,
Now you see what I mean,
You'll never be alone
You know what I mean.
Our love has grown,
Separate and together
A soulmate and his soldier.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A new review of Butterfly's Child

Hi everyone,

I received a wonderfully in-depth, 4 star review of Butterfly's Child from Michel 'n Jeff reviews site.

In part they said: This is a story that examines the definition of family and home, promoting the belief that stability, love, and consistency matter far more to a child than who comprises that family....


...Did I mention this book tackles some incredibly serious issues? Well, it does, which might serve as a caution to some readers to consider them before reading. Otherwise, I would say that Alan Chin has done a commendable job of creating a gripping and enlightening story, one worth experiencing.

I hope you take a moment to read the entire review at:

alan chin

Another Trio of mini-stories from Alan Barker

Alan Barker was kind enough to send me more two-sentence stories, and I'm very pleased to share them. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Here are the three Will and Jay stories where things go a little wrong, but there is a happy ending to follow.

Cold Comfort

"Jay,I'm double-booked for my art class to-night, so go and really impress those guys who draw a line here and a line there and as it's your first time, I'll text Gino to look after you," reassured Will.

"Ah, you must be Jay," greeted Gino the tutor," thanks for standing in for your partner Will on such a cold night, you'll soon warm up in front of the radiator, but once you've undressed make sure you wear that extra thick dressing gown."

Hidden Depths

"I should never have asked Jay to stand in for me at your art class Gino and I need to apologise to him right now, but I don't know where he's hiding."

"Will, my friend, he did his best, once he got over the shock of what he had to do," replied an anxious Gino,"we even covered his embarrassment with a basket of fruit, but he was so upset I said he could stay with papa...sorry I mean Stefano and offered him our spare room above the restaurant for a while."

'Perhaps, perhaps perhaps'

Jay sat opposite Will in the stillness of the moonlit terrace on the roof of Stefano's restaurant and forgot the grains of sugar that fell into his caffe latte like too many sweet dreams from the past.

Will gathered the crumbs of his panini into a pile: sipped the last of his espresso twice and left, realising that Jay had failed to hear Doris Day whispering 'Perhaps, perhap, perhaps' through Will's ever hopeful,but troubled thoughts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Defining Your Audience

I recently read an article on that man-on-man novels were becoming very hot, sales wise that is. The reason is because straight, married women are now the genre’s top fans, and they are buying in droves. The article when on to pontificate on why women are thronging to MM romance novels, but I don’t think anyone really knows for sure.

Along with this trend of women readers, is the equally surprising number of straight, married women who are writing gay romance or MM novels. It often seems to me that gay and lesbian writers are now a minority in the lgbt genre. Please don’t take my meaning wrong; I welcome women writers and readers. This trend has given MM romance novels a huge boost over the last five or six years. I’m very grateful. I’ve read the work of several phenomenally talented women writers who are pushing the gay genre in new directions and attracting hoards of new readers.

This trend, however, poses questions for all writers in the lgbt genre: who is my audience, who do I gear my stories to? One of the first things a writer does when s/he approaches a new story is to determine who the intended audience will be. That simple choice will determine how the writer will approach the story—what kind of characters to include, what voice to use, how much sex, how much violence, and even if it should have a happily-ever-after ending or not.

As a reviewer with many lgbt books coming my way for reviews, I’ve seen a change in the last few years, a leaning towards women readers. Not only more romantic situations and fantasy stories, but also more graphic sex, many more sex scenes, more happily-ever-after endings, just to name a few of the more obvious changes. I believe that the genre is changing, quickly, to gear itself to a broader audience, and to become more mainstream. I have no negative issues with this change. A broader readership is great for all, both writers and readers.

Reading this article has given me pause to question my intended readership. When I first began to write seriously with the intent of being published back in 2002, I had a clear picture of who I was writing for and why. Back then I had read very few novels that featured strong gay characters, and the ones that did always had a tragic ending for the gay characters. I wanted to change that. I wanted to give the lgbt community novels with serious, positive, admirable, gay characters, and have them win what they desired in the end. Thus, my audience was the gay community, readers like myself who wanted more positive role models from gay literature.

In analyzing my current feelings on the subject, I’ve come to see that a subtle shift has taken place within my attitude of writing. I still write my novels with serious, positive, admirable, gay characters, and I usually have them win what they desire, or at least what’s best for them, in the end. But I’ve come to understand more clearly who my audience is. I don’t write for straight women, and I no longer write specifically for the lgbt community. What I’ve come to realize is that I now write for myself. My audience is me.

That may sound overly self-centered and selfish, but I like to think it has more to do about maturing as a writer. By writing for myself, I think I set a much higher standard. If the work pleases me, then I hope others will find enjoyment in my stories as well. For me, this attitude insures that my writing stays true for me, for my benchmark of what an Alan Chin story should be, rather than adding more graphic sex or changing the ending to appeal to more readers.

For me, writing was never about making money or selling heaps of books (although I wouldn’t complain if that were the case.) It is all about telling unforgettable stories about unforgettable gay characters. A good friend and colleague, Victor Banis, once said of me, Alan doesn’t choose his stories, his stories choose him. I’ve taken that to mean my stories come from deep in my heart, not my head.

I see nothing wrong with giving your reading public what they have come to expect or desire, but I’m beginning to wonder how many authors write for themselves, capture their stories as they see them, rather than pandering to a particular audience for more sales. I also wonder if we, the glbt community, will lose something important to our culture if our writers begin writing with a different audience in mind. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Dead of Night by Victor J. Banis

Reviewed by Alan Chin
Published by MLR Press
Pages: 215

Newly released from a mental hospital, Calvin Sparrow returns home to resume life in the house he was raised in, which is also the house his parents were brutally murdered in. Calvin’s years or therapy were an attempt to heal him of the traumatic psychological wounds of his being in the house that deadly night, of witnessing the killings. But Calvin has lingering issues.

With the help of his brother, Bobbie, and a maid/cook, Mrs. Hauptman, Calvin begins to take to his new life, living alone in that grand and empty house. On the first full moon, however, Calvin hears sounds, voices from that deadly night so many years ago. He finds himself reliving that night all over again. But then the voices go away, until the next full moon. And each time they come back, they grow stronger and more sinister, and Calvin grows weaker and more desperate to free himself of his past.

I’m not a fan of horror or ghost stories, but I say must have this tale had me hooked from the first few pages. Is it a ghost story, or is it a study of a man’s insanity slowly taking him over? I can’t answer that question. The author skillfully leaves that up to the reader to decide.

This story clearly demonstrates why Victor Banis has become one of my favorite authors. He delves into his characters, pealing back the layers as he ratchets up the tension. As the story anxiety intensifies, more of the character’s deeper psyche is exposed. It’s really quite brilliantly done here.

About halfway through this story, I began to wonder how in the hell it would end. I’m usually very good at anticipating how an author with wrap up all the loose ends and bring a story to a close, but not this time. Not only did Mr. Banis keep me guessing all the way to the thrilling last pages, but he left it up to me to decide how it ended. Without giving any of the story away, I can say that I was both surprised and delighted when I read that last page. It was much more than I had hoped for.

Like all the tales I’ve read from Victor Banis, Dead of Night is a superb story that I can highly recommend to anyone who loves impeccable prose, wonderfully complicated characters, and a delectably teasing plot.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More super short stories from Alan Barker

I'm pleased to post another set of two-sentence short stories from Alan Barker. Hope you all enjoy them as much as I do. If you do, please leave Alan a comment to let him know what you think of his stories.

Vanishing Point

"Hey Jay, Fiona the Scottish landlady of this haunted country inn is quite something isn't she," commented Will investigating the workings of the en-suite shower, "as we arrived very late she knew we'd be tired so was kind enough to bring this tray of coffee and sandwiches to our room."

"Yes, she's tried really hard to make us feel at home and was even cool about us," added Jay,"but while you were having your shower, she didn't use the door to leave the room, she just walked straight through the wall!"

In the swim

"Jay, you should have heard the crowd roar after I completed that charity swim in baggy tracksuit bottoms for Stefano's Restaurant," boasted Will to his partner,"they clapped and shouted when I got out of the pool as if I'd swum the Atlantic."

"You did very well mate, better than I expected and the coins just kept rolling into the collection buckets, when you climbed out and dropped your baggy bottoms," teased Jay," even more so when your baggy swim shorts dropped with them!"

Down Periscope!

As the pips from the echo sounder of the enemy ship above suddenly located their target, in the dim red light of the submarine control room a nervous Will whispered to his fellow shipmate Jay, "And now they're going to start firing all those depth charges at us so we're bound to be hit soon."

"Will, Will," whispered Jay as the sound of explosions grew louder,"you must stop getting so carried away by these very real wartime simulations since this boat has been in a dry dock for the last ten years!"

That's it for now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I have never considered my husband, Herman, a particularly religious or superstitious person, until now. After seventeen years together, he’s finally showing his true colors.

We are currently in Singapore for the Chingay celebrations that mark the end of the Chinese New Year. This is the lunar year of the Rabbit. Herman and I were both born in the year of the Snake.

We read our yearly fortune at the temple a few days ago, and apparently rabbits and snakes, no big surprise, don’t get along. The fortune foretold that this year will be unlucky for snakes, both personally and financially. The fortune suggested we purchase jewelry with some type of amber stone, to protect us from the mountain of bad luck we must climb.

I, as usual, laughed it off. Herman took it very seriously and bought both of us necklaces sporting amber stones. He’s been talking about bad luck every hour since. I certainly hope this fades quickly. I hate the thought of him mentioning bad luck for an entire year.

Chinese superstitions apparently run bone deep.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: YU by Joy Shayne Laughter

Reviewed by Alan Chin
Published by Open Books Press
Pages: 226

Ross Lamos has built a successful career in dealing with Asian art and antiquities. His specialty is jade carvings, and his astonishing gift is his psychic touch, that is, whenever he holds jade, the stone’s yu (its internal chi power) reveals its history to Lamos. He sees visions of what the stones have witnessed.

The story begins when a mysterious woman enters the antique shop where Lamos works, asking him to appraise three carved jade stones. The stones are all from the same period, Han Dynasty, and worth millions on the black market. Lamos has never worked with such exquisitely crafted carvings before. They are the work of a master craftsman. But more than the stones’ value, Lamos is intrigued by their history.

One by one, he holds the stones, and they tell three connecting stories of a forbidden love in China’s Imperial Court during the Han Dynasty. Within this unfolding tale, Lamos comes to realize that both he and this mysterious woman, in their former lives, played a part in this unfolding drama.

Each stone presents a piece of the puzzle that tells of a love between a prince and his father’s concubine, and the poet caught up in the middle of a deadly game of intrigue. But which former life did Lamos play? He will do anything to find out.

This story is so smart and so polished that I found it nearly impossible to believe that it is Joy Shayne Laughter’s debut novel. It is one of the most delightful books I’ve read in several years. I truly loved every scene, every page, every character.

Each character is richly drawn and complex, as are the relationships between the characters, both in contemporary times and ancient past. Interlaced with the three views of the past, are Lamos’s own tribulations with his career and gay love life. The author delicately weaves the past and present stories together, enticing the reader into this mystery, giving only glimpses of the whole, until it all comes together in a shocking and unpredictable ending. It left me stunned.

Joy Shayne Laughter has, with this one novel, risen to the top of my favorite authors list. Her delectable prose carries the reader along in an enchanting dream. She has demonstrated the power to captivate me with wonderfully unique characters, effortlessly drawing me into their drama, and then crushing my senses with an overwhelming love story.

My only complaint with this novel is that I have to wait until the author’s next release in order to enjoy more of her superb talent. For anyone who relishes romance novels or mysteries, this is a must read. Brava!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dick Smart’s Top Picks for 2010

Match Maker was listed among Dick Smart’s top five romance novels for 2010, alongside:

Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story by Ruth Sims
Mexican Heat by Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon,
Normal Miguel by Erik Orrantia,
and Suspicious Diagnosis by Jardonn Smith.

Dick Smart writes the “Book Lovers” review column for the romance genre, so this is a pretty big deal. And I have to say I’m thrilled to be listed with these talented writers. I’ve reviewed two of these books myself and can say they were also at the top of my best-of-2010 list.

You can read more about it at:

There will be an audio post of this article live via stream from at 7-8pm PST on 2/7.

Congratulations to Ruth, Erik, Laura, Josh, and Jardonn.

alan chin

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another Trio of mini-stories from Alan Barker

Alan Barker was kind enough to send me more two-sentence stories, and I'm very pleased to share them. Enjoy!

Woe be Tide

"Jay, no full moon to-night," moaned Will finally removing his boxers in the semi-darkness and falling headlong over his partner in their scramble to get to the top of the dunes, " and now sand is hiding in places I wouldn't want you to find."

"Well you said skinny dipping would be good for our souls,replied Jay now shivering in the ankle deep water of a low tide, "and you're quite right, it will do wonders for our souls, the soles of our feet!"

"Well Jay, relaxing in this large Victorian bath, with you at the other end, flickering nightlights drifting towards me and Andrea Bocelli serenading us is totally awesome," chuckled Will his partner as he sent his plastic ducks the other way.

"Well Will, it would be awesome, if we weren't on display in the front window of Stefano's restaurant for at least another three hours, with his warm minestrone soup washing around our chests," added Jay, "but at least our effort will have raised a lot for his local charity.

and finally:

Bedtime Story
Jay impatiently walked over to the king-sized bed where Will, his partner had dozed off once again and gently shaking his snoring mate whispered in his ear, "Come on Sleeping Beauty, it's mid-afternoon, you've got to get up and it's no good stretching and yawning because you're so comfortable you don't want to move."

Rolling slowly to the edge of the mattress and sleepily putting on his trainers, Will replied,"Sorry mate, I was dreaming of something really romantic, but you know what I'm like whenever we visit furniture showrooms."

Hope you enjoyed this trio.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What I’m Reading

While on the road I’ve managed to find some time to read a few special books that I thought I’d share. If you’ve been following the this blog, you know I’ve read and reviewed two fine books recently: Tricks by Rick Reed and Baby Doll by Mykola Dementiuk. You can read the reviews below.

I’ve also recently finished a mystery called YU by Joy Shayne Laughter. You gotta love this authors name, but take it from me, her book is one of the most delightful reads I’ve had in years. Witty, intelligent, emotional – I loved it, and plan to read it again soon. Part of the story is contemporary, and part is a love story told in flashbacks to ancient China. It is not a gay story, although the protagonist is a very sweet, gay guy. I’ll post a review in the next few days.

I’m currently reading Victor Banis’s Dead Of Night. I’m not a fan of horror or ghost stories, but I must say this story has me hooked. I save it to read after I’ve crawled into bed, and only read twenty to thirty pages per night to stretch it out. I’m enjoying every page. Victor’s superb prose really brings this story to life.

I’ve just started First Person Plural by Andrew W.M. Beierle. It’s a bit early to tell how good it is, but I must say the author has hooked me with a fantastic premise: conjoined twins, two bothers sharing the same body – one body, two heads, opposite personalities for each brother. It’s a very unique angle on relationships.

alan chin

Book Review: Baby Doll by Mykola Dementiuk

Reviewed by Alan Chin
Published by Synergy Press
Pages: 56

A fourteen-year-old boy growing up in New York City discovers that, after a flirtation with a middle-aged woman, his sexual longings are surging and beginning to consume his life. He soon meets a man in a public restroom at the East River Park, and they have sex.

A few days later, after the boy has tried everything to find this man again, the boy ends up following another man home. This new man introduces the boy to cross-dressing, and also to unprotected sex. As the boy returns to the man’s apartment daily, his appetite for cross-dressing blossoms into something utterly consuming, something more enthralling than sex with this dumpy, older man.

Just when it looks like they will fall into a younger/older relationship that will continue on, the older man pushes the relationship in a different, darker direction.

This tale delves far deeper than an adolescent’s sexual experimentation with cross-dressing and sex. It peels back the layers of a brash teenager as he discovers new wonders about the world of sex and about himself. The reader feels his desires and yearning to be pretty, to be wanted and admired; feels the thrill of slipping on sexy silk undies, and walking in heels; and also feels the pain of an abusive relationship as payment for the prospect of continuing to dress up. The author has done a splendid job of getting into a boy’s head and making the reader live his life.

The story is sensual, and perhaps heartbreaking. It has dark underpinnings as well as the joys of discovery. It not only delves into cross-dressing, but also cross-generational relationships, and ideas about what’s masculine vs. what’s feminine.

Beneath these characters and themes, is the author’s superb writing that seamlessly presents the story and draws the reader into this seedy world. This is by no means a feel-good story. It hit me in the pit of my stomach, rather like watching a fatal car crash and not being able to turn away. It is a bold and courageous work that I can highly recommend.

For more info, go to

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Smack Dab open mic

Smack Dab open mic
hosted by Kirk Read and Larry-bob Roberts

8pm, open mic signup starts at 7:30
Wednesday February 16

At Magnet, your neighborhood queer health center, 4122 18th Street between Castro and Collingwood.

Featuring Sam Sax

Sam Sax is a queer, jewish, cissy-gendered performance poet, who recently just started running the new poetry mission and a writer's workshop at the Berkeley Slam.
A representative of the 2010 San Francisco Poetry Slam team he has performed or facilitated workshops at a variety of queer [youth] performance spaces, smryc, about face, Homo-a-go-go, University of Texas Austin, University of Tuscon, as well as numerous poetry slams, open mics, and university shows. He toured the United States and Canada for a little under a year. Now he does the occasional writing/poetry workshop with lyrical minded and is currently working on his first manuscript, hella gay notes from underground.

Smack Dab is all ages, all genders, all the time.

If you'd like to perform at the open mic, please bring five minutes of whatever you want to share. Musicians, one song. Prose writers: that's about two and a half double spaced pages of prose. We’re the friendliest open mic you’ll find but we pay attention to time so that nobody accumulates further open mic-related PTSD.

Presented by Army of Lovers, a project of the Queer Cultural Center with support from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Foundation, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Horizons Foundation, TheatreBayArea and the California Arts Council