TL:DR because I don’t trust other fiction.

I toddled down a rabbit hole this morning.  I say toddled because I got myself out so quickly instead of losing 2 hours to doomscrolling.

I was following a series of increasingly strident flags declaring that THIS  is “the great gay American novel.”  And I mean, I like great novels and gay people and am interested in America and anyone who has the nerve to lift the curtain.  But like I always do, I started by reading the worst reviews. That’s where the gold is, the truth, the ick, or in some cases “this was too horny for me and had too many queer characters” in which case it’s a one-click buy. But sometimes it’s:


That’s a one-click read, that review. If it inspires such vitriol then either it’s a masterpiece or a steaming turd.

Ah.  The latter.

Because I’m absolutely not a little bit sorry, but The Great Gay American Novel is not allowed to be a goddamn Kill-Your-Gays trope.  Not a fucking chance.

We’ve heard those stories. They’re called queer history.  Despair, isolation, mental illness, and often the only defence is to destroy all human feeling in your soul so you don’t have to cope with the fact that if everyone knew you for who you are, they wouldn’t just hate you, they would want you dead.


Boooooooorrrrrrrring because it’s horrible and spiritually deadening and it still happens in real life all the time and so we don’t need a 700 page novel about a loser who spends the whole book being awful to everyone and experiencing zero emotional growth but he just happens to be a gay man in a book about gay men so that makes it THE GREAT GAY AMERICAN NOVEL. It just feels like more trauma porn: look, here’s a walking, talking tragedy, let’s zoom in closer on all his faults. Now closer. NOW CLOSER. 

Look, I haven’t read this book and under no circumstances will I ever read it (ok, a million dollars but I get half in advance.) I am basing my opinions on one review and the blurb of the book. And an interview in which the author said they didn’t believe in psychology and that people who were broken should essentially just stay broken.

That’s when I realized I’d *never* read the book, nor probably anything else this author has written. The way to help someone who is broken is to see them, hear them, love them, help them. “I see your pain.  Your pain is real.  Pain ends.  I trust you. I believe you.” You don’t shrug and then take character notes.  I refuse to read 700 pages about someone who refuses to grow, who gets no help, and whose main characteristic is being an irredeemable piece of shit.  Just sounds like a novel about straight people.

*and write

Disorderly Conduct

scrabble letters arranged on a plain white surface to spell the words "life will not wait"

I told WordPress to notify me twice a week that it was time to post something.  I began immediately to resent this, and have ignored several notifications.  This is me all over. It doesn’t matter if an event is in a calendar, on a chart, in my phone, in an email.  As soon as I’m told to do something I’m not already happily doing, my RSD and defiance disorder go on high alert and I start deliberately, some might say belligerently, ignoring the notifications.

Which is why I have yet to discover an author business planning system that sticks.  No matter how carefully I craft my quarterly plan, my weekly schedule, I just don’t do the dang work.  I’m so good at ignoring important things that I started asking myself if I have Asperger’s.  I so often refuse to do what’s best, even when it’s obviously what’s needed and would be really easy to do, though I genuinely do like myself, in a compassionate, c’mere you dumb-ass kinda way.

I think and think and think and in truth I probably just spend too much time alone.  I can overthink anything, which can be good when you’re doing big vision work, and much less helpful when you’re trying to pick a task and stick with it until you can call it done. 

Because I have so many things to do, it’s a struggle to prioritize.  Everything feels like a priority, and I don’t want to spend all my time planning, but I’m not achieving much with the time I have so maybe what I really need is to get the heck over myself, sit down and do the work *I know* needs to get done, and let the rest fall into place.

The place where I get all of it right is just over the horizon. I have a flat tire and I’m fucking hungry, but if I can get this wheel back on, I can start rolling again and get to where I want to be.

Do you use a planner? Google calendar or similar? What works for you?

Throwing Darts

they sold the lot on Main St where they never built that high-rise 

but good luck building anything in this economy 

the air is too hot

the scent of cigarettes boiling off the other passengers

as I wonder what’s the point of poetry 

what can we make from words?

what words 

still let themselves be made into anything?

I told her I only read poetry 

that reading a whole book

takes years

the feelings stacked one atop the next

gravy over cake

no differences between sorrow and a theorized joy beyond the writer’s means

a poem is a mouthful 

a minute’s grace

a massacre in millimeters

the barest bruise

a slap in the face 




if only all truths were so easily digested 

instead of sticking in your gut

dragging you along with them 

to end up inside out 

yet in writing poetry 

we feel that same laceration

spilling ourselves

spoiling the calm completion of a blank page

for nothing more than one vain moment’s proof

that we existed


Common sense

Daily writing prompt
Describe something you learned in high school.

“High school?  Shit, I’ve been trying to forget it.  All I learned is that everyone’s so steeped in their own BS by the time they get there that most of us don’t learn a thing. Sure, it’s good for kids to be taught not just science and math but how to read, how to think, how to get to know other people. But the way most high schools are run, they’re not much better than jail.  Just a way to keep kids off the streets so old people feel safe walking about and adults don’t have anyone coming after their jobs.  I mean, if everyone really gave a shit about kids, they’d pass some gun laws.”


You know the feeling that someone is standing nearby watching you? What if they were doing that not to make you afraid but because they love you?

I generally like all my characters. If I’m going to spent fifty thousand words or more with someone I have to like them, right?

Then there’s a few who get inside your heart and never leave…

But that’s the thing with love: it’s not always up to us.  Sometimes love comes out of nowhere and takes over.  Makes you want to take chances.  Do things you never thought you could.

And yes, romantic love does this, but so does true friendship.  So can mentorship when given with a pure heart, in the spirit of service.  So does love for yourself.

That’s all my characters are.  Little bits of myself I set loose in worlds I created. 

That I can feel such love both for and from these unreal avatars of my unconscious is part of the mystery of the human mind.  I’ll take it, though.  Unconditional love? We should all be so lucky.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

I have no idea what to say

Hugely enticing, right? Relax, I’m just conducting another experiment on you.

Two years and a bit into this blog (which surpasses every other attempt I’ve ever made at journaling both privately and publicly) I have given it a Facebook page. A little test, to see if I can trick the machine into giving me some joy.

Attention in: attention out.

Don’t follow me unless you really want to. I don’t expect to post anything other than, er, these posts. The experiment part? To see what kind of noise I can make by posting *inside* Facebook. The machine doesn’t want you to leave. It doesn’t want you to mention (i.e. link to) the outside world. The more you post its own output, the more it rewards you.

A dangerous game, but only if you can’t step back.

I’m betting my life on next to nothing. Writing as a career is often terrifying. It’s all on me. I must, if I’m serious, use every weapon at my disposal to defend myself, to stake my claim. To get noticed.

And then to be unforgettable.




# OF DAYS TO GO: 134

TOTAL WORDS WRITTEN:  934,411 (of 1,000,000 = 93% OF MY GOAL)


A lot of benchmarks are not useful because they achieve a specific practical goal but because they make you feel better.  This is true in writing as much as anywhere else.  A few weeks ago I thought it would be fun to set a goal of writing a million words by the middle of 2023.  That’s not lifetime, not spotty rough drafts, but fully formed pieces of writing I’ve completed in the last three years. 

I had about 110k to go to reach this, and I was feeling confident.  That’s only two novels, and I have two novels in the planning stages which shouldn’t take more than a few months to bring together (to all the writers who never seem to do any writing: another world is possible.) 

Then I found out that WordPress logs your word-count.  And that I’d written 52k words for this blog over the last three years.

You better believe I counted that.

So now the total stands at a thrilling 934,411 words written (and most of them published) since the start of the pandemic. If I wanted to show off, I’d dip back into 2015 and pull the numbers on the two standalone novels and the five part contemporary series I completed while tending the reception desk at one of the country’s biggest real estate brokerages.  Thanks, Joey.  I couldn’t have gotten this far without you.

So I’m editing this book, see…

and the word count keeps goes down.

which is why I don’t track daily word count.  What matters is the books.  The end result. 

don’t muck around and seek the unattainable goal of perfection, but don’t deprive your writing of the time it needs to be excellent.

excellence and perfection aren’t the same. 

set a standard and keep meeting it. 

that’s all you gotta do.

The Player of Games

I did it. I played the game. I did the tricks, I sat up, I begged. I scheduled my posts. I groomed my hashtags. I added IDs for the visually impaired.

I featured an image. I added a quote. I cross-posted. I rained content.

I should have just had a nap, because I’m exhausted. And I got nothing.

And I wondered in my delirium if maybe if posts weren’t suppressed and artists had reach and fans saw all your content and we didn’t have to pay for even the barest shred of eyeball time that maybe we would all be making money and wouldn’t mind paying.

Twenty bucks says this gets more views than any of my carefully curated content. This Luddite mumbling, this petty little whinge. Better feature an image, keep the variables constant.

And prepare for nothing.

(In the meanwhile, read my previous post, it’s nice and long and has a bit about KJ Charles.)

Representation matters (so don’t f*** it up)

For the first time in my writing life I paid someone to critique a manuscript. It took a week for me to get up the nerve to read the report, because folks, this book is my baby. In a way no book has ever been. There’s something about my main character that won’t let me go. The editor had a similar reaction. In fact, they said some of the nicest things I’ve ever heard about something I wrote. More importantly, they got it: the point, the vibe, the Universal Tropes driving the story.

That being said, the book is not perfect. It may in fact be deeply flawed. Nothing I can’t redeem, and absolutely worth the effort to do so because I want this book to SHINE. If my character Izzy resonates with other readers the way he did with someone I paid to be professionally mean to me, then this might be my first major success. It can’t be held back by a mediocre subplot, wishy-washy supporting characters, and accidental queerbaiting.

That last criticism hurt. With surgical precision, because it was true. For those who haven’t heard the term or perhaps don’t know the meaning, in modern media analysis queerbaiting means to present a character as if they are queer, but never allow them to be openly queer. Worse is when the queer-coded character turns out to be straight. For example Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory: would you have been at all surprised if he had been gay? You know, like Jim Parsons, the actor who played him?

That’s a good indication why queerbaiting is a problem. We see so few queer characters in popular media whose queerness is both present in the story and…not the plot of the story. Because not every story with queer characters needs to be a painful coming out story. Not every Trans character has to struggle with body dysmorphia. We don’t all get rejected by our families. And more to the point, most of the time we aren’t thinking about our orientation. It’s just a fact about us, like the color of our hair and eyes, or whether or not we can stand the taste of coriander. But by not letting characters be openly queer, it traps queer people in this shadow realm of not properly existing in the public consciousness.

Some might argue that the queer agenda is taking up too much air these days. As much as I can speak for the LGBTI+ community at large, we certainly didn’t plan to become ammunition in the culture wars. But the cats are out of the bags, we are out of the shadows, and that’s simply the way of things now.

Which is a lot of words to say, I fucked up. I did myself what I decry in others’ work. Telford seems gay. Possibly asexual. So why did I bend over backwards to make him kiss a girl? Honestly, it was nothing more than carelessness. I am so dialed in on my main character Izzy that I just kind of did whatever for poor Telford. He deserves better. And Izzy deserves my best.

More posts to come on this process, I’m sure. It’s the longest book I’ve ever written and I think it’s going to change my life. If I get it right…