the book giveaway contest thingie

In Hot PursuitIn honor of the print release of In Hot Pursuit we’re gonna have a little contest.

IHP is about a man who goes on vacation after a rough couple of years. While on said vacation, sure, he does get involved in a kidnapping plot, but he also meets the man of his dreams. (You can read more about the book here.)

So what’s your dream vacation like? Personally, I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, Florence especially, and I imagine I’d spend lots of time looking at art and pretending to be Dante.

Here’s the dilly: I am giving away one ebook and one autographed paperback.

In the comments of this post, write a sentence or two about what your ideal vacation would be like, assuming money’s no object. Then specify if you would prefer to win an ebook or a shiny new autographed paperback.

I will draw two winners at random around 7pm EST on Monday, June 28. I’ll announce it here and also email the winners, so be sure to put your email in the comment form (only I see it).

So that’s pretty straightforward, right? Good luck!

ETA: Some comments get caught in the moderation queue. I will try to approve them promptly, but will be away from a computer for large swaths of the weekend. So don’t panic if your comment doesn’t show up right away! It may take a few hours!

In Hot Pursuit in print!!

Funny story:

I live in Brooklyn in a 3-story building. There’s a cafe on the first floor, then each floor above it has one apartment. This is relevant, I promise. So, I got an email yesterday indicating that my very own PRINT copies of In Hot Pursuit were on their way to me, set to arrive today. UPS is always tricky around here because a) I have a day job and thus am not home during the day, and b) even if I were, this building has never had a functioning doorbell in the 4 years I’ve lived here. But, I thought, it’s cool, I’ll just leave a note and have the package delivered to the cafe.

Of course, I was halfway to work this morning when I realized I forgot to leave a note. When I got to work, I went to the UPS site to track the package. It went out for delivery at 7:46 am. And I thought, well, I’ll just sit here and hit refresh a lot and see what happens. A whole day went by and nothing changed in the package status.

I came home and saw that there was no yellow note on my door. I went into the cafe and asked if they’d signed for a package for me. Nope, they hadn’t. I felt sad. Would there be no books for me on this day?

Then, lo, as I was turning to leave the cafe and go back to my apartment to pout, a big brown truck pulled up! The UPS guy took his sweet time getting out of the truck, but as he approached the building, I was all, “IsthatmypackageArethosemybooksGimmegimme!” He gave me the, “Lady, you’re crazy!” look, but then I got to sign for my package. I tucked it under my arm and ran up the stairs. And lo:


So here is the book posing with my MacBook, which was mostly just a handy thing to prop the book on, but it’s fitting because that’s the computer on which it was written. Then, the book was feeling like it needed to be with its other book friends, so it posed on one of my bookcases:

I'm on a shelf!

So this is all very exciting. I honestly had no idea if the book would go to print or not, and I am over the moon. I, of course, think that ebooks are totally awesome, and the vast number of book purchases I have made over the last year have been ebooks, and if IHP had been only an ebook, that would have been just great for me as a writer! But there’s something kind of amazing about holding your own book in your hands, the kind of book you can casually flip through, the kind made with dead trees.

Anyhoodle, now you can buy it from Amazon or a bookstore near you. And you can still, of course, buy the ebook (now available in .epub!), and that would also be totally cool with me. 😀

father’s day

My dad and I don’t talk as much as I wish we did, for a lot of complicated reasons. We’ve been in touch more often recently, mostly because my youngest brother has been in and out of the hospital. It’s a shame that we seem to only talk when things are not so good.

My dad is not a big reader. I have more books in my bedroom than he’s got in his whole house, everything confined to two bookcases in the basement. And, even then, my dad’s books are mostly limited to home-improvement reference books and a Time-Life series on Vietnam (with which he is mildly obsessed despite not having served, but he was ROTC in high school and probably would have gone into the army had the decision not coincided with the outbreak of Vietnam and due dates for grad school applications). My stepmother has an uncle who is a prolific published writer, so there’s a shelf of his books, too. But that’s kind of it. And my dad’s stories of having skated through his English classes are the stuff of legend; he’s still kind of proud of the fact that he passed freshman English by flirting with the teacher.

My dad’s real gift is for storytelling. He can spin a yarn like few others can. I’ve heard all of his stories many times, but I’m happy to sit through them again because he enjoys telling them so much. He also makes a point of learning story jokes, and he can keep your interest through a lengthy one and deliver the punchline with aplomb. I think my desire to tell stories must come from that tradition to a degree. (My maternal grandfather also was not much for book-learnin’ but could tell a great story in his Ozarks twang. I used to love to sit and listen to him talk.)

My dad was sick a lot when I was a kid with a chronic illness that has, against all odds, largely gone into remission now that he’s in his sixties. My youngest brother, as it happens, has been diagnosed with the same illness, but I imagine it must offer him some comfort to have Dad around to commiserate with.

I’m grateful that my dad is still around to tell stories. It worries me sometimes that he fudges the details now, mixing up who was involved in the story, but we forgive him some senility and make jokes about his age. I think he finds his inability to recall some details frustrating. But then, when I spoke with him this afternoon, he sounded great, happy and preparing for a busy summer.

I spent a few hours in my favorite neighborhood cafe this afternoon, plugging away at my current WIP. A number of men came in with their kids for lemonade or iced tea (it’s a hot one in New York today). The staff at the cafe was quick to offer all the dads a happy day, which I thought was sweet. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of young families, and it’s not in any way unusual to see men wheeling around strollers.

sports and things

By some amazing coincidence, Jessewave had a post up yesterday about the lack of m/m novels about sports. I may have mentioned, I have been similarly bemoaning this lack. It seems like a natural combination, men and sports. Well, and also, I like sports.

My brother and I half-heartedly collected baseball cards as kids. Or, more likely, my brother collected them and, as with a lot of his toys, I sort of borrowed and looked at them. (Our toys were largely gender segregated, and I have no idea why. I mean, I liked Barbies, but I also liked action figures and Legos and baseball cards, you know?) As a kid, I was a Mets fan, if only because basically everyone who was a kid in the greater New York metropolitan area in the 80s was a Mets fan. (Also, it’s kind of a rule of living in New York: regardless of whether you follow a sport, you are required to declare a team loyalty. Mets or Yankees? Jets or Giants? And so on.) Then, when I was 12 or 13, my parents took me to my first real major league baseball game: Orioles at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees lost, but it didn’t matter: I was hooked.

It’s hard to articulate what I love about baseball exactly. I love all of it. I love the history, the legends. I love the statistics and math. I love how superstitious the players are, how insane the fans are. I love the players (and, okay, I like some players look in their uniforms). I like just sitting in the stadium, soaking it up, sipping a beer.

I missed out on baseball last summer, so I didn’t actually make it to the new Yankee Stadium (which opened last year) until last night. My friend J accompanied me to a game—he’s a foul, loathsome, evil Red Sox fan, but he’s also one of my favorite people to argue the sport with, so he’s good company. He reminded me that the last time he’d been on Yankee territory was ten years ago, when we went to a Yankees-Sox game that got rained out. Anyway, the new stadium is gorgeous. All the photos in this post are ones I took last night.

I’ve started to write a baseball romance. It’s very early stages yet, I’ve got a loose outline and the first scene written, but that’s kind of it. I feel like this is my mission now, though. I mean, baseball! Romance! What more could you want?

COMPLETELY UNRELATED: Did you guys see this great essay by a gay 15 year old who is trying to get more GLBT books in libraries? If you haven’t, you should read it, it’s really good.

And speaking of books, there are about a million I want to read right now. And things I want to write. I should get cracking!

brooklyn pride

Yesterday was Brooklyn’s gay pride festival. Conveniently, it happens in my neighborhood. It’s a much smaller scale production than the big New York Pride parade, but there is a street fair and a night parade. I had to be somewhere else last night, so I missed the parade, but my friend M and I walked over to check out the street fair. I took a few photos. You can click on them to see larger versions.

BP Street Fair
The street fair kind of looks like every New York street fair you’ve ever been to, but with more rainbows and activism.

More rainbows!

Park Entrance
These balloons were at the 15th Street entrance to Prospect Park.

Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
We stopped and got ice cream from the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. The truck can often be found near Union Square in Manhattan during the summer, if you happen to be in the city. I heartily recommend the Salty Pimp—that’s vanilla soft serve drizzled with dulce de leche, sea salt (!), and dipped in chocolate. You would think salt would be kinda weird on ice cream, but you’d be wrong; it’s actually delicious.

Parrot Man
I’ve seen this guy in the pink gown at every parade I’ve ever been to in Brooklyn. I call him the Parrot Man, because he’s always accompanied by that parrot on top of the other guy’s head.

Finally, we stopped to listen to some live music on the stage inside the park.