Monday, March 28, 2011

More Will and Jay stories from Alan Barker

Hi everyone, Alan Barker has sent me three more Will and Jay stories. Hope you all enjoy these as much as I do.


"Hello Carlo, I've heard you've been some great getting ideas from your cousins who work on the canals in Venice," commented a slightly jealous Jay, "I bet you looked awesome in your straw hat and striped T-shirt sailing your gondola under the Bridge of Sighs in that warm Italian sunshine."

"Sorry my friend, it was only a holiday and I'd look a bit odd wearing that on my boat," apologised Carlo, "seeing my 'gondola' is a working barge on the Panama Canal!"

Bar Med

"Phew, on a hot day like this Will I'm glad I text you earlier to say cool off l'eau naturale and we'd laze around at your Mama Mia-type beach bar in our seaside garden," sweltered Jay," so where are the bottles and why have you got all your kit off?"

"They're still in the kitchen Jay, but I'm sorry," laughed Will, "I misread your text and thought we were going to cool off 'au naturel' so I got plenty of your favourite sunscreen ready!"

and finally

Eating In

As Will's senses tried to identify the fragrances of fresh herbs drifting towards him from the flat, Jay his partner greeted him with, "For some-one whose heart is still in Italia after that awesome holiday, the menu tonight is bruschetta, fritto mista, tiramisu, your favourite wine from Frascati...let me fill your glass and a little grappa to finish with."

Over the clinking of glasses Will chuckled, "Cheers Jay, a Roma therapy is exactly what I need just now, sorry for the pun mate."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Indigo Weekend Continues

This weekend I’m host author Indigo Skye as she celebrates the release of her debut erotica novel, Her Captive Muse. I’m featuring an excerpt from her novel below, and yesterday’s post is an interview with the author. So check it out. Also, Indigo is having a contest to win copies of her new book. You can check out to enter below.

Welcome Indigo. I certainly hope your blog tour is a success and I’d like to thank you for stopping by my blog for the weekend. So let’s get to the juicy stuff:

Book Blurb
When Brendan Delaney answered an ad for an artist's model, he was looking for an easy way to earn some extra cash. But Morgan Roan wanted more than just a model. Soon, Brendan finds himself caught in a web of deception and desire, lust and betrayal—her captive muse. What price pleasure?

Book Excerpt
It was almost midnight when he turned up the long driveway to Morgan's house. Every light in the place was on—and she wasn't alone.

He eyed the big, black Hummer parked in the driveway.

Only an asshole would drive a vehicle like that—a rich asshole. Brendan parked his motorcycle under a juniper tree and pocketed his keys. He walked up to the door of the studio, nervous as hell. When he heard Morgan's laughter, Brendan smiled. He raised his fist to knock.

But then he heard an unwelcome sound—another man's laughter joined with hers. Brendan froze with his fist an inch from the door. He had a queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. He moved along the side of the house and peered in the window. He had to catch a glimpse of the competition so he'd know what he was up against.

He saw Morgan Roan at her easel, dressed in her blue kimono. Her hair was all mussed and she was laughing hard. Her mirth painted hectic color on her pale cheeks. She had a big, reckless smile on her face. The recipient of this wild smile was a nude young man with curly, black hair and olive skin.

Brendan could only see him from behind. He had long, well-muscled legs and broad shoulders. Brendan stood at the window for a long moment, jealous and horny. He couldn't shake that elevator-with-cut-cables feeling in his guts. His blood boiled. His heart was beating too hard, too fast. He considered his options. He could turn tail and walk away, or he could knock on that door.

Brendan's heart made the decision for him. He walked up to the door and knocked. Their laughter stopped on a dime.

"Who's there?" Sharp, surprised annoyance underlined her words.

Brendan knocked again. Pretended he hadn't heard a thing. The door swung open and light spilled out. He blinked, momentarily blinded.

"Brendan! What a surprise." She smiled a slow smile. "Did you forget something?"

He lost his cool and blurted out, "Who the fuck is that guy?" Before she could answer, he regained his composure and said, "You know what? Doesn't matter. I'm outta here. Have a nice life." He turned to go. He ached all over. His heart was the worst—felt like the fucker was trying to implode in his chest. He couldn't wait to get high—and then get higher.

"No, no! It's perfect." Morgan laughed and reached for his arm. "Come in." She gave him a little kiss on the earlobe and whispered, "Don't be a brat. If you can be a good boy, you can stay." She nipped at his neck and gave his ass a little swat.

"What the hell is this guy doing here?" Brendan kept his voice low so he wouldn't be overheard.

"I was feeling inspired. You weren't here. I wanted to work—I had to work—so I called Paolo. We've been at it all day."

"Yes we have," Paolo said with a lusty laugh. Morgan graced her new little boy-toy with a smile.

Brendan knew they'd been fucking. The knowledge shamed him and pissed him off, but he kept his mouth shut. He didn't want to get into a confrontation with her in front of a stranger. That was a no-win situation.

He kept his cool this time. He sat down in a chair near the easel and let Morgan pour him a glass of wine. She gave him a long, slow, smoky kiss. Brendan watched Paolo over her shoulder for a reaction, but the impassive young man held his pose. Paolo was handsome in a lean and mournful way—large, dark eyes and a thoughtful look on his face.

"Let's take a break." Morgan beckoned to her model. "We can finish up later. Come say hello."

Paolo sat up and reached for his clothes. He didn't use the dressing room, just dressed right there. Brendan glanced up at Morgan. She stood over him wearing a satisfied smile.

"I knew you'd be back." She leaned down to give him a kiss. He kissed her back and slid a possessive hand around her waist. He pulled her down into his lap and kissed her hard.

"I missed you." It was true. Just being this close to her turned him on. His cock grew hard in response to her giddy presence on his lap.

"What took you so long?" She ran her long fingers through his hair and pouted a little.

"I'm a busy man." He didn't want to tell her the truth—he spent the day nodding off in a park. "I'm here now," he said. "Send your little friend home in his Hummer and let's fuck."

"I can't send him home now. We're right in the middle of something. Stay—you can watch me work." She persuaded him with teasing kisses. "I'll be done in an hour, and we can go to bed."

Paolo—now fully dressed—joined them. "'Allo." He nodded to Brendan as Morgan went to pour more wine.

"Hey." Brendan shook Paolo's hand and gave him a hard look.

Paolo didn't seem to notice. He took a glass of wine from Morgan and gave her a kiss. He nuzzled into her moon-silk hair in a tender way that suggested a long, affectionate history between them.

Brendan felt sick. A hot snake of jealousy coiled in his guts, ready to strike. He knew he couldn't react. To do so would be to lose face. He had no claim on Morgan. Nobody did—not even Paolo. He shrugged, pretending he didn't care, playing hard to get . . . and it worked. He turned toward the easel to sneak a peek at her newest creation.

Morgan pushed Paolo away and turned her attention to Brendan again. "I've missed you, sweet."

Paolo looked offended at this treatment and sulked into his wine glass.

Morgan led Brendan back to the chair and curled up in his lap, playing with his hair. "My bed was so empty without you."

He closed his eyes, breathed her in. She smelled of cedar and smoky-sweet opium. She shifted and spread her legs a little. Now Brendan could smell her freshly fucked cunt and Paolo's cologne.

"What about me? I was here," Paolo said, pouting a little.

"It's a big bed." Morgan grinned.

Paolo laughed in a knowing, man-of-the-world way Brendan found annoying. Brendan wished he could laugh like that—wished he could know what Paolo knew.

Paolo finished his wine in one quick swallow. He got to his feet. "I'm ready whenever you are," he said. The statement sounded like a challenge. He began to unbutton his shirt.
For one horrible moment, Brendan froze.

I'm not ready for this shit.

"Fabulous," Morgan said. She got up from his lap and went to her easel. "You can wait for me upstairs, lamb. We'll be up as soon as we're done here," Morgan said.

"We? You can do what you want—but I'm not fucking him. Your little boy-toy's not getting anywhere near me. I'm straight, remember?"

"Lighten up." A wild, eldritch blue glow lit her witchy eyes. "There are no labels here—only pleasure."

For a chance to win, just answer this question in the comments section below. “What’s your favorite position?” Be sure to include your email address so I can get in touch! I’ll announce the winner next week on Indigo Skye: Ink and Art. Good luck!

Buy Link for Her Captive Muse-
Buy Link for Uniform Behavior-

Author Bio:
Indigo Skye is a writer and photographer living in the American Southwest. Her first novel, Her Captive Muse, was released by Noble Romance Publishers in January. Her work has been widely published online. Last fall, her short story “True Confession” was published in the anthology Uniform Behavior. A full list of her published works is available on her blog, Indigo Skye: Ink and Art-

Contact Information for Indigo Skye-
Buy Links for Her Captive Muse-

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Indigo Skye Weekend on this Blog

This weekend I’m host author Indigo Skye as she celebrates the release of her debut erotica novel, Her Captive Muse.

I’m featuring an interview with Indigo (below) and tomorrow I will be posting an excerpt of her new release. So check it out and stay tuned. Also, Indigo is having a contest to win a copy of her new book. You can check out how to enter below.

Welcome Indigo. I certainly hope your blog tour is a success and I’d like to thank you for stopping by my blog for the weekend. So let’s get to the grilling:

Q: When did you start writing and how many novels have you published?

A: I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a kid. Since I could pick up a crayon and scribble my name, I always wanted to be a writer- nothing else will satisfy my soul. I’ve had a million day jobs- but they’re just that, day jobs. Writing is my passion.

I’m celebrating the release of my first novel, Her Captive Muse, with a fabulous blog tour. Her Captive Muse was released in January by Noble Romance Publishers, as part of their steamy new Erotica line. Last fall, my short story “True Confession” was published in the erotica anthology, Uniform Behavior. I’ve got some hot new projects in the works, and I’m hosting lots of contests and giveaways for my blog tour. Visit my blog for details at

Q: Was there someone in your family, a teacher, or perhaps a favorite book, that inspired you to begin writing?

A: When I was a kid, there was scarcely a time when I didn’t have my nose in a book. I’d climb the tree in our front yard and read all afternoon, imagining my own endings for favorite stories. In elementary school, I was lucky enough to have an excellent librarian. She was a fantastic story-teller who really made books come alive- she did different voices, or dressed in costume. On Halloween, she’d decorate the library with plastic rats and fake spider-webs and dress up as a witch, and scare us out of our wits with a spooky ghost story. It’s one of my favorite memories of school.

As a girl, I always enjoyed faerie tales most, and that’s still true of my tastes today. I love Alice Hoffman’s work. I think she is absolutely brilliant. Her sense of the magic in everyday life really resonates with me.

Q: Who are the authors who most influence you today?

A: Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende, Janet Fitch, Mary Karr, The Brothers Grimm, Melissa Banks, Helen Fielding, Anais Nin… I could go on for days, and still not name all my favorites.

Q: Do you need to be in a specific place or atmosphere before the words flow? How many hours a day/week do you write?

A: I love to write in bed, but truly I can write anywhere, anytime. I prefer to write my first drafts in longhand- I’m old school. I usually work online for a few hours each morning, updating my blog and networking on Twitter. Follow my tweets here for up-to-the-minute news on all things Indigo…
I’m a night owl, so I do a lot of work on new creative projects after dark. My Muses keep antisocial hours. I usually write for a few hours each night in bed, unless I’m otherwise occupied!

Q: What’s the strangest source of inspiration you’ve found for a story?

A: I often find my inspiration in dreams. Sometimes I will dream an entire plot, a little mind-movie just for me. Characters appear in my mind, fully fleshed out and ready to make trouble. They surprise me by falling in love, robbing a bank, shooting up heroin in a park. I try to jot down my dreams upon waking, and recommend other writers do the same. You never know when inspiration will strike, so it’s best to be prepared. I carry a notebook in my purse at all times, so I’ll be ready for a visit from my Muses anytime.

Q: What is your inspiration behind writing hot erotica stories?

A: I’ve always been blessed with a dirty mind, and I have a very active imagination. My recent stint as a Phone-Sex Goddess has provided me with a lot of hot material for erotic stories. Some very sexy guys shared their wildest fantasies with me during those calls, and I’m currently penning a tell-all book about my experiences called Dialing with Sticky Fingers: Confessions of a Phone-Sex Goddess.

Q: Your debut book, Her Captive Muse, has garnered several excellent reviews. Can you tell us about it?

A: It’s always fabulous to hear from my fans! Getting a good review always makes my day. Her Captive Muse isn’t your typical romance-novel fare, and I think that’s why people have responded so well.

My characters break all the rules. Brendan Delaney, my leading man, is nobody’s knight in shining armor. He’s an anti-hero: a junkie, a street kid with a knack for finding trouble and making bad decisions. He’s not the type to ride in on a white charger and rescue a damsel in distress- in fact, he’ll be lucky if he can save himself!

Q: Does all your writing fall into a particular genre, or do you write in multiple genres?

A: I write erotica, poetry, nonfiction, humor, literary fiction, articles and interviews- anything that inspires me at a given moment. I try not to limit myself- I find it stifles my creative work when I try to define it.

Q: So, if you don’t mind sharing, would you tell us about your latest work in progress?

A: I am thrilled to the recent resurgence of fey literature and art. I love the art of Brian Froud, Jessica Galbreth, and Amy Brown, and find faerie tales very inspiring. Some of my favorite writers like Isabel Allende and Alice Hoffman do a wonderful job of incorporating magical realism into their work.

Right now, I’m writing a dark erotic faerie tale of my own, entitled The Blackthorn Key- it’s still a work-in-progress, but I think it’s shaping up into something exciting. I’ve taken some of the traditional elements of fairy tales and turned them on their head, creating a strong and active heroine, Liesl, who is sure to engage readers. Unlike other fairy-tale princesses, like Snow White, Cinderella and Rapunzel, she isn’t content to wait for Prince Charming to rescue her. She’s determined to find happily ever after on her own terms.

Q: Out of all the stories you’ve written, which is your favorite and why?

A: I have a special place in my heart for my short story “Cherry-Boy,” the story of a young man’s first time. This is the first short story I ever published. It made me feel like a real writer to see my byline. I love the characters, and it’s very sexy in a sweet and innocent way. I’ve always fantasized about deflowering a hot young stud- this story let me explore that fantasy to my heart’s delight.

Q: Name a book or movie written by someone else that you wish you had written, and why that one?

A: I wish I had written A Spy in the House of Love, by Anaïs Nin. It’s a brilliant, edgy book of erotic short fiction that never fails to deliver. I also wish I’d written the Stanley Kubrick film, Eyes Wide Shut. It’s so sexy and depraved, dark and dreamy- right up my alley.

Q: If you could offer one tidbit of advice for new writers, what would it be?

A: Don’t take rejection letters and bad reviews personally. Learn what you can, then burn the offending pages in effigy and go write another story.

Q: Do you own a Nook, Kindle or IPAD? How do you feel about the growing trend of ebooks?

A: I don’t own one yet, but I’m shopping around. I’m excited about the new opportunities ebooks present for emerging authors. I like the idea behind it, but I’m a Luddite at heart- nothing will ever replace my worn-to-pieces copy of a favorite novel, coffee-stained and creased, dog-eared and rippled from being dropped in the bathtub. The feel and smell of a book, the sensual experience of turning each new page, will never be equaled by a mere machine.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

A: Is “hot sex” a hobby? Laughing.
I also enjoy watching the stars, exploring Anasazi ruins, drumming, dancing, and hiking in the mountains with my dog.

Q: Had you not become an accomplished writer, what other occupation would you have most liked to tackle?

A: Rock star.

Q: Do you enjoy writing, I mean, do you find it fun?

A: I love it. It’s the best job in the world. I can go to work in my pajamas, if I want- or nothing at all! I write all my first drafts by hand, so I can work anywhere- on a mountaintop or beside a raging river, in bed or on the beach- even in the tub!

Q: What, more than anything else, fills you with rage?

A: Crimes against words- censorship, plagiarism, and piracy- enrage me.

Q: Can you tell us something about the place you call home?

A: Home is where my art is. I live in the American Southwest, surrounded by vast mountains and mysterious deserts. No matter where I travel, this place will always hold an important place in my heart. It has inspired my work for years.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: Thank you so much for hosting me, Alan. I enjoyed your insightful and probing questions. I really appreciate this opportunity to share my work with your readers. To show my gratitude, I’ll be giving away a copy of my e-book, Her Captive Muse, to one lucky commenter on this site.

For a chance to win, just answer this question in the comments section below. “What’s your favorite position?” Be sure to include your email address so I can get in touch! I’ll announce the winner next week on Indigo Skye: Ink and Art. Good luck!

Buy Link for Her Captive Muse-
Buy Link for Uniform Behavior-

Author Bio:
Indigo Skye is a writer and photographer living in the American Southwest. Her first novel, Her Captive Muse, was released by Noble Romance Publishers in January. Her work has been widely published online. Last fall, her short story “True Confession” was published in the anthology Uniform Behavior. A full list of her published works is available on her blog, Indigo Skye: Ink and Art-

Contact Information for Indigo Skye-
Buy Links for Her Captive Muse-

Book Blurb-
When Brendan Delaney answered an ad for an artist's model, he was looking for an easy way to earn some extra cash. But Morgan Roan wanted more than just a model. Soon, Brendan finds himself caught in a web of deception and desire, lust and betrayal—her captive muse. What price pleasure?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive by Vanessa Libertad Garcia.

Reviewed by Alan Chin
Publisher: Fiat Libertad Co.
Pages 60

This slim book (about 60 pages) is a collection of twenty-three vignettes. Most of these pieces are poems, some are micro-stories, and others seem to be simply ramblings and gibberish. Each entry illustrates a few moments or hours in some person’s rather miserable life.

It took me almost half the book to begin liking the images that popped out at me like a Warhol painting. These are a gritty and unapologizing glimpse of the underbelly of a society gone mad. These characters are desperate, disenchanted, alcoholic, drug addicted, and some are suicidal. Yet, woven within this fabric of stark wretchedness is a glimmering hope for finding love, or a successful job, or simply being able to pay the bills or show up for work on time. It is a reminder that even so close to the gutter, there is always hope, that we strive to be good. That seems to be the human condition, striving against the overwhelming tide.

This book is not for everyone. No one here is finding love, or even comfort. Yet there is a certain honesty to the characters who struggle to find meaning in a world that is moving too fast for them. They are filled with raw tormenting emotions, but seem to lack self-pity. They accept their sexuality, yet can’t seem to navigate to a place of comfort with it. Reading this book was like watching a drunken bag lady passed out on a doorstep; I wanted to look away, but found myself fascinated by the descriptions thrown at me.

Let me leave you with some of my favorite images:

“Celebrities. Human beings turned deities by a society of sleep walking spectators. From the alarm to the car to the office to happy hour and back home to a bottle of wine and TIVO. Bought images engulfing us in a web of stories passed off as convictions that turn religion. So forms the pattern of an American mind”

“it was gonna be a fun night. It was Wednesday and I was unemployed. Last 20 bucks in the bank, but it doesn’t matter because life will work out. Life is working out. I should go work out. Life’s not the problem, I a . . . FUN! We gonna have fun tonight, baby! I should be reading a book about Georgia O’Keeffe and how much she liked pussy. Pussy inspired her success, maybe I’ll be cultured after that book. Really cultured, not half cultured the way being raised in LA makes--- Tonight is going to be fun, I can feel it.”

And my personal favorite:

“Today, November 4th, 2008, dawns a different morning.

The North American continent, excluding Canada, Mexico, and the others, decides the 44th president of The United States. Conservative Republican John McCain vs. Middle of the Road Democrat Barack Obama. The marketing cam- paigns of a Hard Knocks Nam’ Vet and a Charismatic Black Idealist duke it out for the top spot in this nation’s hierarchy. Traditional Values climb in the ring with the Eve of Change.

Vice Presidential running mate, Joe Biden, sits back, as the other Vice Presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, sends feminism back 5 decades. California debates gay marriage as church goers reflect on the terms “inherent worth” and “equal rights.”

The suffocating economy struggles to release itself from the greedy grip of a Republican Dictatorship dropping to its knees.”

To lean more about this book/author go to

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Interview with Larry Jacobson, author of The Boy Behind The Gate

Several months ago, I reviewed a travel memoir of a gay man who had flown around the world, stopping at a few dozen noteworthy destinations. Shortly after I published my glowing review, I received an email from Larry Jacobson, telling me that if I was impressed by that book, I simply had to read his upcoming book, The Boy Behind The Gate, the memoirs of a gay couple’s six year sail around the globe. Larry boldly told me that his adventures would blow me away.

Well I did read the book, and I was blown away. Sailing the world has long been a dream of mine, and this read fired up my imagination. Still, I walked away with several questions unanswered, so I asked Larry to do an interview with me so I could get my questions answered. The following is the result of that interview. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Q: You spent six years sailing around the world. When did you get the idea for circumnavigating the globe, and how long did it take you to prepare for the trip?

A: Not to sound too cliché, but I had been preparing for this trip nearly all my life. To be specific, since I was 13 years old. That’s when I had the skiing accident that laid me up in a cast for three months from hip to toe. On an even more specific basis, I worked hard in business with the thought at the back of my mind that someday I would go sailing. When we left San Francisco to go cruising, I thought I was going for a couple of years, and didn’t think that was enough to circumnavigate, but as the trip went on, and I found out I liked it, I decided to keep going. I had to sell my house to do that.

Q: Was there someone in your family, a teacher, or perhaps a favorite book, that inspired you to sail and seek adventure?

A: When I was a kid, Robin-Lee-Graham was my hero. He was 16 when he started to sail around the world and it took him five years to complete his journey. I didn’t see why I couldn’t be just like him and sail around the world. My high school history teacher, C.A. Derivas was a great inspiration. He taught me to sail big boats, he taught me the importance of discipline aboard, and he encouraged me to continue sailing.

Q: I know the name of your boat, Julia, has special meaning for you. Can you share that meaning?

A: I wanted a name that represented the strongest person I knew. Someone who had endured the roughest that life could throw at you. I wanted the boat named after the person who has inspired me the most to keep going when things are tough, and from whom I could draw strength when my crew was looking to me to be strong. My mother’s name is Julia, and she is that person.

Q: Can you tell us how your book’s title, The Boy Behind The Gate, relates to sailing around the world?

A: The title came to me after I wrote the book. It comes from when I was a kid growing up in Long Beach, California. Here I think I’ll quote from the book itself: “In the late summer afternoons, I would ride over to the marina where the big boats were docked. The gangways were always locked. I stood behind the gate staring at the yachts, imagining what it would be like to stand at the wheel, to back out of the slip, head up the channel, turn south, and keep going. Even then I didn’t want to be the boy behind the gate. I wanted to be at the helm calling, “Cast off the bow, we’re headed to sea.” Thirty years later on our way out to go cruising, we pulled into Long Beach and ended up docking at the exact same berth I used to stare at from behind the gate. It was an amazing experience to realize I had indeed moved through that gate and was indeed the one standing at the helm.

Q: You claim in your book to be the first gay man to circumnavigating the globe on your own boat, but you were not alone. Can you tell us about the romance that went on during those moonlit nights?

A: I claim in the book to be the first openly gay couple to circumnavigate so I was not alone. My partner Ken Smith sailed with me all the way around the world, my friend Patrik Hendrickson sailed with us the first two years and then re-joined for the Atlantic crossing, and we had a couple of crewmembers when crossing the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. I hate to dash your high hopes of warm, calm, balmy naked evenings. When Ken and I were alone, which was most of the time, we had three-hour watches. That meant I was on watch for three hours while Ken slept and then we changed…every three hours for as long as the passage took. We were lucky we had a meal together once a day, and were usually pretty tired. The boat sapped nearly all of our strength. We were constantly working to keep the boat in good working order, safe, and traveling in the right direction while avoiding bad weather. It was a full time job and honestly, physical romance dropped to the low priority list rather quickly. On the other hand, we bonded closer than ever.

Q: Having read your book, I know there were several times you were in grave danger. Can you describe the point on your trip that you were most frightened?

A: There were many times I was frightened. The time we lost our forestay, the cable that holds up the mast in a big storm on the way to Australia was terrifying. We had lost our autopilot too, and were hand-steering in a storm for 36 hours before we reached our landfall.

Another very big storm in the Red Sea with 55-knot winds and 30-foot waves was incredibly frightening.

I think the one I remember the most though, is leaving the dock on a cold morning, December 7, 2001, headed out under the Golden Gate Bridge headed for places unknown. I didn’t know when, or if I would be returning and I was leaving my entire life behind. That was scary.

Q: What is the hardest part of living aboard ship for so long a time?

A: It’s like camping all the time. Even though we had plenty of space on board, plenty of electricity, food, water, and other needs and wants, it’s still like camping. The gas goes out in the stove, the water needs to be de-salinated, the holding tank needs to be emptied, the food goes bad in the tropical heat quickly. You have a tiny closet for your rolled up t-shirts and shorts, and it’s hot…very hot. Otherwise, it’s fabulous!

Q: Of all the destinations you visited on your voyage, if you had to choose one to live out the rest of your life, which place would it be, and why?

A: San Francisco. We had a short list of other great destinations, but as it turns out, when you sail west, you eventually end up back where you started, and that’s here at the city by the bay. Our list of other places we considered moving consisted of: Auckland, NZ; Sydney, Australia; Phuket, Thailand; Tel Aviv, Israel; Barcelona, Spain; Lausanne, Switzerland; and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Our families are here in California, and though we have friends all over the world now, this is still home.

Q: Your book, The Boy Behind The Gate, has garnered several excellent reviews. Can you tell us about it?

A: It’s a universally inspiring story about a boy who has a dream of sailing around the world. He works hard, plans, and then takes a huge risk to live his dream. Lots of emotion, lots of personal revelation, and very easy for the reader to relate to their own lives. It resonates with a lot of different people.

Q: It took you several years to write and publish The Boy Behind The Gate. Why did it take so long, and what was the most frustrating thing about publishing your own book?

A: It took so long because I started with nearly 2,000 pages of Emails, journal notes, ship’s logs, videos, photos, and souvenirs to sift through. My editors kept saying, “Cut!” and I kept replying, “The world is round, which part do you suggest I cut?!” But cut we did, and now it’s very readable.

I enjoyed publishing my own book. I couldn’t see myself conforming to the norms of the traditional publishing industry so I started my own company, Buoy Press. When you see the quality of The Boy Behind the Gate, you’ll see that every last detail is done to perfection. From the paper weight and color to the hand-drawn maps, to the color photo selection, and the cover, the book is stunning and would make any big publishing house envious.

Q: I know your book is a stepping-stone into a new career. Can you tell us what lessons your experiences on the high seas has given you to cope with a career change at this point in your life?

A: I am a motivational speaker now and I have a lot to say from my lessons learned at sea. I’ve come up with the 10 Keys to Living Your Unstoppable Life. Looking back, I sorted through the various things I have done in my life that make people think I’ve lived an Unstoppable Life. I’ve turned those into talks, seminars, and videos I’m going to share with my listeners.

Q: Are you planning another book anytime soon?

A: Yes, there are others in the works. The 10 Keys to Living Your Unstoppable Life will most likely be a series of e-books. Then there’s the children’s version of The Boy Behind the Gate, and I’d also like to try my hand at fiction where I can let my mind make a character anything I want. In a non-fiction story, the characters are who they are and you can’t change them.

Q: If you could offer one tidbit of advice for new writers looking to self-publish their story, what would it be?

A: Don’t be daunted by sound of the word, “publishing.” Figure out your reason and method, and go for it. I recently wrote an article about my self-publishing success and it can be seen on my blog.

Q: What, more than anything else, fills you with rage?

A: Intolerance. I find myself quite intolerant of intolerance. Be who you want to be and I’ll be me. Why anyone cares what anyone else does is beyond me.

Q: Can you tell us something about the place you call home?

A: We live in a beautiful top floor apartment overlooking San Francisco Bay, about 100 yards from the marina we originally sailed out of. I wander the docks, meet people, help get them ready for their cruising, and am quite satisfied, knowing I’ve done something as incredible as sailing around the world.

Q: Would you consider sailing the globe again?

A: If I hadn’t done it, then I’d consider it. But, having done it once, as you read in the book, is a really tough, exhausting, challenge. My next challenge is going to be inspiring other people to live their dreams. I like that idea.

Q: Where can readers find your book?

A: Everywhere. My site sells through my distributor, Atlas Books. Just go to: Pretty cool that I got that name for my website I think!

Or, go to here:

Or, barnes &, and many other online bookstores. Since it’s a “real book,” it’s also easily ordered by any bookstore anywhere in the world.

Readers can be added to my mailing list simply by sending me an email at:

Soon, there’ll be a sign-in on my website, but I haven’t got to it yet because of the book publicity. It’s kind of a catch-22 that way!

Thank you so much, Larry, for spending the time to answer these questions, and for sharing your wonderful adventures with all of us. Best of luck with your book and your new career.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Help me raise money for the Red Cross Japanese Disaster Relief Fund

The devastation caused by the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan is a constant reminder of just how fragile life is. Sadly, news reports are that donations to aid the Japanese people affected by these disasters is currently lagging well behind what was donated to aid Haiti and Chile.

To help raise money for the Red Cross Japanese Disaster-Relief Fund, Zumaya Publications has agreed to donate 25% of their profits and 100% of my author royalties for each copy of The Lonely War sold between now and mid-April.

Please help. By purchasing a copy you can help comfort those who have lost everything. And as a bonus, you’ll get to read an award-winning novel that shows an intimate look at the Japanese culture, and is partially set in Kyoto, the spiritual heart of Japan.

You can purchase a print copy here:

You can purchase a ebook copy here:

Description of the story:
Like most war novels, The Lonely War envelops all that is unique to war, the horror of battle, overcoming fear, the cruelty of soldiers, the loyalty and camaraderie of men caught in a desperate situation. Yet, it stands alone in two important ways. First, it is a passionate story about a tender love developing between an officer and an enlisted man, revealing a rare and dignified portrait of a couple struggling to satisfy desire within the confines of the military code of conduct. Even more importantly however, it describes the heart-wrenching measures of how much one man will sacrifice to save the life and reputation of the man he loves.

You can read more about the story at

Thank you for any support you can give.

Alan Chin

Friday, March 18, 2011

More Will and Jay stories from Alan Barker

So a moment or three of sheer escapism, another trio of R & J's stories to enjoy from my dear friend Alan Barker.

First Date

"Happy Valentine's Day Will," toasted Jay as he filled yet another glass with their favourite Frascati wine, "remember our first date at this very table here in Stefano's restaurant four years ago when you wanted to write my cell phone number on a napkin and I just managed to find a pencil in my shoulderbag."

"Too true mate," mused Will, his partner, "and as we walked across this roof top terrace, I turned my head and you gave me a kiss on the cheek, which was cool by me considering I only turned so you could take your pencil which I had tucked behind my ear."

Doctor Strong

As a heavily bandaged Will lay silent and motionless in the hospital bed with tubes and wires attached to a bleeping machine, Jay sitting tearfully beside his bed holding his partner's hand heard Doctor Strong say to Nurse Gentle, "and this very brave soldier will not survive until morning, so as he has served his country well, the least we can do is make him as comfortable as possible in the few hours he has left."

"Cut..." said the director, "that was fine acting both of you, so go to the canteen to recover for half an hour and when you return I think we'll discuss your becoming permanent 'extras' for the rest of the series."

All the world's a stage

"Whoa, these tights are driving me mad mate," said Jay Aka Romeo, "I could have been Julius Caesar in a toga, Macbeth in a kilt, or even Puck dressed in forest greenery for this charity do at the Stage Door Club."

"Shame...and you think you've got problems," scowled Will, "I know I'm your partner, but why do I have to go as Juliet, and I bet she didn't have false boobs constantly dropping down to her waist every time she breathed!"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

23rd Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists

A huge congratulations to all the Lambda Literary Award Finalists

LGBT Anthologies
Best Lesbian Romance, edited by Radclyffe, Cleis Press
Gay Shame, edited by David Halperin, University of Chicago Press
Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, edited by Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman, Seal Press
Kicked Out, edited by Sassafras Lowrey, Homofactus Press
War Diaries, edited by Tisa Bryant & Ernest Hardy, AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Global Forum on MSM & HIV

LGBT Children's/Young Adult
Christian, the Hugging Lion, by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell, illustrated by Amy June Bates, Simon & Schuster
God Loves Hair, by Vivek Shraya, illustrated by Juliana Neufeld, Vivek Shraya
Jumpstart the World, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, Random House Children's Books
Love Drugged, by James Klise, Flux Books
Wildthorn, by Jane Eagland, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

LGBT Drama
The Brother/Sister Plays, by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Theatre Communications Group
Lydia, by Octavio Solis, Samuel French, Inc
Oedipus at Palm Springs, by Maureen Angelos, Samuel French, Inc
Slipping, by Daniel Talbott, Dramatists Play Service
With Bated Breath, by Bryden MacDonald, Talonbooks

LGBT Nonfiction
Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community, by Noach Dzmura, North Atlantic Books
Ex-Gay No Way: Survival and Recovery from Religious Abuse, by Jallen Rix, Findhorn Press
Inseparable, by Emma Donoghue, Alfred A. Knopf
King Kong Theory, by Virginia Despentes, The Feminist Press
The Right To Be Out, by Stuart Biegel, University of Minnesota Press

LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror
Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories, by Sandra MacDonald, Lethe Press
Disturbed By Her Song, by Tanith Lee, Lethe Press
Flowers of Edo: A Ghost Story, by Nene Adams, Black Car Publishing
Wilde Stories 2010, edited by Steve Berman, Lethe Press
Wolfsbane Winter, by Jane Fletcher, Bold Strokes Books

LGBT Studies
Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism, by Scott Herring, New York University Press
Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality, by Gayle Salaman, Columbia University Press
Backward Glances: Contemporary Chinese Cultures and the Female Homoerotic Imaginary, by Fran Martin, Duke University Press
Citizen Invert Queer: Lesbianism and War in Early Twentieth-Century Britain, by Deborah Cohler, University of Minnesota Press
Queering the Public Sphere in Mexico and Brazil: Sexual Rights Movements in Emerging Democracies, by Rafael de la Dehesa, Duke University Press

Bisexual Fiction
Fall Asleep Forgetting, by Georgann Packard, The Permanent Press
If You Follow Me, by Malena Watrous, Harper Perennial
Krakow Melt, by Daniel Allen Cox, Arsenal Pulp Press
The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet, by Myrlin Hermes, Harper Perennial
Pride/Prejudice, by Ann Herendeen, Harper Paperback

Bisexual Nonfiction
Border Sexualities, Border Families in Schools, by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Rowman & Littlefield
Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write about Leaving Men for Women, edited by Candace Walsh & Laura Andre, Seal Press
Just Kids, by Patti Smith, Ecco Press
Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead, by Paula Byrne, HarperCollins/It Books
Sal Mineo, by Gregg Michael Michaud, Crown Archetype

Transgender Fiction
Holding Still For as Long as Possible, by Zoe Whittall, House of Anansi Press
Glamazonia: The Uncanny Super-Tranny, by Justin Hall with Diego Gomez, Fred Noland & Jon Macy, Northwest Press
Jumpstart the World, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, Random House Children's Books

Transgender Nonfiction
Assume Nothing, by Rebecca Swan, Soft Skull Press
Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community, by Noach Dzmura, North Atlantic Books
The Color of Sunlight, by Michelle Alexander, CreateSpace
Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman, Seal Press
Just One of the Guys? Transgender Men and the Persistence of Inequality, by Kristin Schilt, University of Chicago Press

Lesbian Debut Fiction
Alcestis, by Katharine Beutner, Soho Press
Fall Asleep Forgetting, by Georgann Packard, The Permanent Press
One More Stop, by Lois Walden, Arcadia Books
The More I Owe You, by Michael Sledge, Counterpoint Press
Sub Rosa, by Amber Dawn, Arsenal Pulp Press

Gay Debut Fiction
Bob the Book, by David Pratt, Chelsea Station Editions
The Palisades, by Tom Schabarum, Cascadia Publishing
Passes Through, by Rob Stephenson, University of Alabama Press/FC2
Probation, by Tom Mendicino, Kensington Books
XOXO Hayden, by Chris Corkum, P.D. Publishing

Lesbian Erotica
Best Lesbian Erotica 2011, edited by Katherine Warnock & selected by Lea DeLaria, Cleis Press
Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Femme/Butch Erotica, edited by Tristan Taormino, Cleis Press
This is How We Do It: A Raw Mix of Lesbian Erotica, edited by D. Alexandria, RedThorn Art

Gay Erotica
Best of the Best Gay Erotica 3, edited by Richard Labonte, Cleis Press
Gay Erotic Tales from Under the Big Top, edited by Jerry Wheeler, Lethe Press
Teleny and Camille, by Jon Macy, Northwest Press
A Twist of Grimm: Erotic Fairy Tales for Gay Men, by William Holden, Lethe Press
Vancouver Nights, by Hank Edwards, Lethe Press

Lesbian Fiction
Big Bang Symphony, by Lucy Jane Bledsoe, University of Wisconsin Press
Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle, by Zelda Lockhart, LaVenson Press
Holding Still For as Long as Possible, by Zoe Whittall, House of Anansi Press
Homeschooling, by Carol Guess, PS Press
Inferno (A Poet's Novel), by Eileen Myles, OR Books

Gay Fiction
By Nightfall, by Michael Cunningham, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Children of the Sun, by Max Schaefer, Soft Skull Press
Consolation, by Jonathan Strong, Pressed Wafer
The Silver Hearted, by David McConnell, Alyson Books
Union Atlantic, by Adam Haslett, Doubleday

Lesbian Memoir
Blood Strangers, by Katherine A. Bricetti, Heyday
Hammer! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life, by Barbara Hammer, The Feminist Press
Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer, by Chely Wright, Pantheon Books
She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological) Motherhood, by Arnie Klempnauer Miller, Beacon Press
Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures, by Julie Marie Wade, Colgate University Press

Gay Memoir
Beyond Normal: The Birth of Gay Pride, by Gale Chester Whittington,
Grant Wood: A Life, by R. Tripp Evans, Alfred A. Knopf
Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Sexual Renegade, by Justin Spring, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham, by Selina Hastings, Random House
She Ain't Heavy, She's My Mother, by Bryan Batt, Harmony Books

Lesbian Mystery
The Cruel Ever After, by Ellen Hart, Minotaur Books/St. Martin's Press
Fever of the Bone, by Val McDermid, HarperCollins
Missing Lynx, by Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou, Bold Strokes Books
Parallel Lies, by Stella Duffy, Bywater Books
Watermark, by J.M. Redmann, Bold Strokes Books

Gay Mystery
Cockeyed, by Richard Stevenson, MLR Press
Echoes, by David Lennon, Blue Spike Publishing
Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers, by I.E. Woodward, iUniverse
Smoke, by Garry Ryan, NeWest Press
Vieux Carre Voodoo, by Greg Herren, Bold Strokes Books

Lesbian Poetry
The Inquisition Yours, by Jen Currin, Coach House Books
Money for Sunsets, by Elizabeth J. Colen, Steel Toe Books
The Nights Also, by Anna Swanson, Tightrope Books
The Sensual World Re-Emerges, by Eleanor Lerman, Sarabande Books
White Shirt, by Laurie MacFayden, Frontenac House

Gay Poetry
darkacre, by Greg Hewett, Coffee House Press
Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems, by James Schuyler, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Pleasure, by Brian Teare, Ahsahta Press
The Salt Ecstasies: Poems, by James L. White, The Graywolf Poetry Re/View Series
"then, we were still living", by Michael Klein, GenPop Books

Lesbian Romance
Above Temptation, by Karin Kallmaker, Bella Books
Awakening to Sunlight, by Lindsey Stone, Bold Strokes Books
Beacon of Love, by Ann Roberts, Bella Books
River Walker, by Cate Culpepper, Bold Strokes Books
Starting From Scratch, by Georgia Beers, Brisk Press

Gay Romance
Normal Miguel, by Erik Orrantia, Cheyenne Press
Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, by Neil Plakcy, Loose ID
The Road Home, by Michael Thomas Ford, Kensington Books

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Review: First Person Plural by Andrew W.M. Beierle

Reviewed by Alan Chin
Published by Kensington Books
Pages: 322

Owen and Porter Jamison are conjoined twins—one body, two heads, two functioning brains, and definitely two very dissimilar hearts. Growing up, they see themselves as a single entity, but as they near adulthood they metamorphose into completely opposite personalities. Porter is pure jock, outgoing, and charismatic. He compensates for his abnormality by being the best red-blooded, all-American football hero in the town. Owen is cerebral, artistic, and a romantic. He compensates by withdrawing into his own world.

As Porter begins dating a high school cheerleader, Owen becomes painfully aware that he has no interest in girls. As Owen explores his feelings, he admits to himself, and then to Porter, that he is gay, which causes a riff between the brothers, but of course, sharing one body, they can’t very well ignore one another. At first Owen is content to settle for unrequited crushes, but soon finds himself exploring his desires with other gay guys. This, naturally, widens the riff between the brothers and expands Porter’s fear that people will assume he is also gay. To survive, they must somehow learn to give and take, to be supportive as well as take what they need. But when it comes to something as personal as sex, can they do that?

I had a love/hate relationship with this book. On the one hand it is exceedingly well written, the characters are deeply drawn and sympathetic, and the situation is fascinating from the first page. I particularly loved the way the ending brought all the issues together without being overly sentimental. This book has all the elements of a really great, highly emotional drama, yet I constantly struggled with my suspension of belief—the idea that a two-headed boy could be the star quarterback at school and date the cheerleader was too much for my imagination to overcome. And that is only one example. These characters were constantly getting into situations where the rest of the world didn’t seem to notice they were a two-headed body. Had they been two bodies joined at the hip or chest—like the brothers in the movie Twin Falls Idaho—then I could have more easily been absorbed into the story, but as it was I heard a nagging voice all the way through the story, a voice whining: no way!

As hard as that issue was to swallow, I actually had a bigger issue with this tale. Once Owen determines he is gay, this tale becomes a series of coming out vignettes. First Owen tries to hide it from Porter, and has to come out to him. Then to their parents, then to Porter’s girlfriend, then to the girlfriend’s family, then…on and on it goes. I lost count of all the times the brothers attempted to hide Owen’s sexuality and then had to come clean to whoever it was they were hiding from. It didn’t take long to become tedious, and in some cases boring.

Still, those two issues aside, the last third of the books saves the day and I ended up pulling for both brothers. It is a unique plot that pushes all the right buttons at all the right times. I truly enjoyed this story, and I can highly recommend it. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Beierle, who I consider to be an exceptional talent.

To lean more about his author, go to:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Becoming a Catalyst for Change

Yesterday I came across a note on Twitter from a guy who whined about how the world was going to hell in a hand basket because everyone (including himself) was greedy, selfish, self-centered creatures who had no regard for others.

I replied to him suggesting he should live the change he wants to see in other, that he can set the example so others will be inspired to follow. I went on to explain that those words were spoken by Mahatma Gandhi, and it seemed to work for him, as he inspired a nation to stand up for itself, and still inspires men and women a half-century later.

His response to me was: "I know it's cynical but I think this idea of being a catalyst for change is bullshit. Change only happens after major catastrophes and massive social events. But day-to-day, people remain the same selfish, self-centered creatures they've always been. Historically, every good thing we have accomplished, socially speaking, has been the result of something horrible happening. People just don't wake up one day and go, "You know, I'm a real asshole, I think I'm going to start being a good person." Disaster, death, destruction, pain, those are the sparks that induce change in people, like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes. In nature, it is a necessity. Forest fires, brush fires, volcanic eruptions, flooding, all of these seemingly devastating events make way for new-found fertility. We are no different because we are still a part of nature, no matter how many unnatural things we surround ourselves with."

I must say I found his response doubly sad. To think that it takes great pain on a grand scale for anyone to change their attitudes and behavior is, in my view, ludicrous. I have had countless small revelations in my life where I’ve analyzed the results of my behavior and not only saw the need for change, but also made that change. I’ve seen and heard people I respected, and wanted to be like them, so I began to mimic their positive behavior. People the world over do this on a daily basis. In my view, it is only the assholes who refuse to believe that they are assholes that will not change.

I sent him two responses: “If you are not willing to make the changes you deem needed in others, why should anybody else?” and then, “If you become a giving and compassionate person, then there will be at lease one less asshole in the world.”

I can’t wait to get his next reply. lol

Friday, March 11, 2011

Our Whereabouts

I've received several inquiring emails about our whereabouts. For those who know we are traveling in Asia, please know that Herman and I are safe in Thailand. We don't fly to Tokyo for another two weeks.

Not sure how this tragedy will affect the last leg of our journey, but hopefully we will be able to help comfort people in Japan in some small way.

Alan Chin

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Marriage Debate, My $0.02

A few weeks ago on an online chat group I frequent, we had an interesting discussion regarding marriage equality. I was rather surprised when one member, a gay man, spoke up against the need for marriage equality by stating that he and his partner of fifteen years didn’t need a piece of paper to validate their relationship. He seemed to think the issue was one of self-esteem, and “you either have self-esteem or you don’t,” and a marriage certificate won’t change that. He went on to say that marriage is a very personal issue between couples, and he found the whole topic “rather silly.”

This is an interesting issue that I have a little bit of experience with, so I'd like to toss in my two pennies. My partner and I had lived together in a monogamous relationship for fifteen years before we were legally married in California, and I can tell that for us, it made a difference in the way we viewed our relationship that had nothing to do with self-esteem. But more importantly, it had a larger impact on those people around us.

My husband, Herman, comes from a large and very close Chinese family, and he and I attended every family event—birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays—for fifteen years. But a few weeks after our wedding (which was a small affair with neither family invited) his sister came up to me, gave me a warm hug, and said, "Welcome to the family!" I was shocked. My first thought was: what the hell do you call the last fifteen years?! but then I realized that to Herman's entire family, our relationship wasn't valid until we were legally 'married'.

So in my experience, marriage is important, if only for how society views gay relationships.

And this idea that we call it civil unions for gays and marriage for straights doesn't fly with me. That is like the bigots in the south during the 30's and 40's saying, "What's wrong with having white and black drinking fountains, it's all the same water?" Again, it comes down to how society views us, and how we view ourselves. Gay people have been second-class citizens for too long now. It's time for equality.

As a colleague pointed out, a society that won't grant us marriage, will never respect our rights on any other level.

This is not an issue about "personal feelings" or "self-esteem." This is about civil rights. There are over a thousand federal and state laws that are applied differently if one is married vs. if one is single. Laws that determine hospital visiting rights, child custody, property rights, health benefits rights, Social Security rights, federal and state taxes. The list goes on and on.

As one example, and it's only one I could mention, my partner and I paid over $2,500 more in federal taxes last year than if the federal government would have recognized our legal marriage.

I don't find that personal, and I sure as hell don't find it silly. It's discrimination pure and simple. I'm paying a bundle more every year because I'm not allowed the same civil rights as straight couples.

The good news is, I firmly believe, this country is on the precipice of change. The hearts and minds—even in the bible belt—are shifting. These last few years have seen titanic changes in hate crimes legislation and the repeal of DADT. Same-sex marriage is inevitable, and I believe that it will be here soon.

Whether people choose to enter into marriage once it becomes available will, of course, be a personal choice, but the fact that the next generation will grow up in a country where society, through its laws, recognize their feelings as being equal to everybody will make an important difference in how they view themselves and their relationships. Making sure that our institutions and government sends the message that all people are fundamentally equal is, in my opinion, essential.

A fellow writer summed it up beautifully: In today’s America, there should not be a need for this conversation.

I’d like to wrap up this soapbox discourse by recounting two important racial marriage court cases:

In 1947, Andrea Perez and Sylvester Davis applied for a marriage license in Los Angeles. The county clerk refused because she was white and he was black. The couple sued. The California Supreme Court sided with Perez and Davis in a 4-3 ruling. Justice Roger Traynor, author of the majority opinion, called marriage to the person of one's choice a "fundamental right."

Then in 1967, Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, unanimously declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional nationwide.

In the last year of her life, Mildred Loving was quoted as saying: "Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the "wrong kind of person" for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people's religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people's civil rights.
I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More Will and Jay stories from Alan Barker

I'm so pleased to post more of Alan Barker's two sentence stories. So here, again, are the troubled twosome.


"There I was in this long queue," moaned Will to his partner Jay," when your friend Max told me to place everything on the conveyor belt, make sure I declared all my goods and what I thought was a bit much mate, insisted that I take off my shoes and belt."

"I'm sorry Will," apologised Jay, "it's taking Max a little time to adjust from being on airport security to working on a supermarket checkout, you're lucky he didn't threaten you with a strip search!"

Hole in One

"Jay, I know, it's a charity match, but I hope you didn't strike the ball so hard it rebounded off the windmill like last year," enquired Will his partner phoning him from the clubhouse as he waited tensely for a result.

"I drove the ball though the tunnel, over the bridge and down the helter-skelter in three,"an exstatic Jay replied, "so get that champagne ready mate to welcome Jay, the new Champion of the Crazy Golf Course."

and finally,

Water proof

"I thoroughly enjoyed that swim although the water was a little cold," said Will as he slowly wandered up the crowded beach to where his partner Jay lay sunbathing," and I'm sure some of those guys were staring at me because my white designer swim shorts really show off my lovely tan."

"Yes they do," chuckled Jay quickly wrapping a beach towel around him, "trouble is mate, some shorts like yours become transparent when wet, so I wonder if it was only your tan they were staring at."

Monday, March 7, 2011

I’m Living Island Song

Today I was answering an interview question regarding the re-release of my debut novel, Island Song, when it occurred to me that I’m currently living the lifestyle I wrote about a half-dozen years ago. I was blown away, and very pleased.

In the book, Garrett Davidson rents a secluded beach shack on Hawaii’s Big Island to write a novel. I describe his daily life as rising with the sun, taking a morning dip in the sea, then working on his novel until lunch. His noon meal is seafood noodle soup, and then he spends the day snorkeling the reef. He walks into town for dinner (usually a bloody burger and fries), then walks back to his shack and reads until bedtime.

That is almost exactly the schedule I’ve had here in Phuket, Thailand for the last month. The only difference between Garrett and me is he had a sexy, young surfer stud to keep him company, and I have my wonderful husband of eighteen years. I think I got the better end of that deal.

It was a bit of a shock when I realized I was living in reality what my mind had created. I keep expecting the local kahuna to show up here and teach me to achieve enlightenment. Hey, if everything else is the same, why not?

The bad news is, if this trend continues, I’ll soon find myself starving to death in a brutal POW camp as I begin to live out my second book, The Lonely War. And if I survive that I’ll be shot in the back when I live through Match Maker.

You know, this could make a great storyline for a novel: Author forced to live all the hardships he creates for his characters. I like it. I really like it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Review: My Uncle’s Wedding By Eric Ross, Illustrated by Tracy Greene

Reviewed by Alan Chin
Published by CreateSpace (Feburary 2011)
Pages: 19

When an author pens a manuscript, the first thing s/he needs to do is determine the intended audience. In a children’s story, I suspect it becomes rather difficult to adjust the language to a particular age range. Knowing little about children, I can only guess that this book targets children from ages three to six, and in my opinion, does so masterfully well.

It is the charming story of the preparations for, and the ceremony of, a marriage of two loving men, as seen through the young eyes of Andy, the nephew of one of the men getting married. From Uncle Mike’s announcement that he plans to marry Steve, this story steps through each stage—ordering flowers, food, a cake, a new suit for Andy, and the ceremony itself—with simple prose and delightful illustrations.

Of course, this story is intended to do more that entertain, it also educates. It subtly illustrates to impressionable minds that there is no difference between same-sex weddings and hetrosexual weddings, and there is joy to be shared by everyone involved.

That’s it. Within the bare framework of this tale, beneath the surface of its colorful illustrations and simple phrases, lies a loving message of equality, a suggestion of acceptance. It is a parent’s responsibility to teach their children tolerance of all people, and I have yet to find a better tool to begin that lesson than My Uncle’s Wedding.

For more information about his book, go to