Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Milestone...55

     So… here I sit, slightly groggy, only a partial cup of coffee down, and I start this. What to write about this week. Um… well… I haven’t the slightest idea. I guess it’s going to be a fly by the seat of my pants… shorts this morning. 
     Let’s get started… but another cup of coffee is in order first…

     This week I hit a milestone: I became a speed limit, hit the double-nickel, in other words, I turned fifty-five. Ugh… There wasn’t a big party or a lot of hoopla. To be honest, I slept through most of it, thanks to an early morning massage that I received as a birthday present from TAT, (The Aussie Tart) Oh, I do miss getting a regular massage. I really do need to remedy that. Anyway, it was a pretty average day over all. Trust me when I say, I was perfectly okay with that.
     But there was something niggling me, in the back of my mind, something that was bothering me. It took me a while to figure it out because… well I’m not very bright sometimes. I was depressed, but why? It wasn’t that I turned fifty-five. Pfft… I’m an old fart now and I’m okay with that. So… what was it?
     It hit me last night while at happy hour. I know I’ve mentioned this weekly event before, but I’ll touch on it again. There is a fairly vibrant gay community here and a lot of men gather on Friday for happy hour. Yes, there are some men close to my age there, but for the most part, they are older than I am. I have to admit, that kind of makes me smile to think I’m a younin’ there.
     Anyway… It finally dawned on me why I was feeling the way I was: remorse. Now I’ve heard of it before. Could empathize with it, recognized it in others but never actually felt it. It was survivor's remorse. I lived through one of the biggest health crises’ this country, the world had ever seen.
     It was political. It was dirty. It was argued that the men, the gay men who were dying left, right and center, deserved what they got because they were perverts, vile creatures in the eyes of God. It was God’s way of cleansing the earth of such abominations. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was God’s way of punishing the wicked sodomites!
     However, this was the first time that I’ve actually felt guilty for surviving, and living through the nightmare that took so many of my friends and some colleagues. How did I escape it? Why was I not one of the first to go? Trust me; I was out there having just as much fun as everyone else, if not more than some. So how was I so lucky to have made it? It isn’t as if I was some great artist. I’m really not all that smart or funny, or good looking or… anything really special. I was just an average guy trying to make his way in the world, who happened to be gay. So why? Why me?
     I once knew this guy, an acquaintance, a friend of a friend of a friend, who really had a bad case survivor’s remorse. He felt it was a punishment to be left behind. I thought he was being a little dramatic at the time. Okay, he was pretty crackers in my opinion. He was one of those people who was gloom and doom all the time. I personally never felt that way and still don’t. Do I? Was it a punishment to be allowed to live when so many other talented, smart, funny, gifted men were cut down in the prime of their lives?
     The simple answer is no. I’d never felt I was being punished for not dying such a horrendous death. Do I now? Hmm… Was that what was bothering me? I don’t think so. I think what I’m really feeling is loneliness. A loss of all the friends I knew who are no longer here. Is that what was bothering me? Sort of I think. It was also the feeling of lost youth, of having so many good times with those friends, those lighthearted times. It’s the loss of staying up dancing all night. It’s the loss of the T-dances on Sundays. It’s the loss of going out, carousing with them. It’s the loss of the laughter that we all shared. That was the remorse I was/am feeling.
     Yeah, yeah… I know I’m going to hear ‘But you’re not that old!’ Pfft… in gay years you might has well be invisible. Well unless you’re one of those hunky gym-daddies, which is so not me and that still won’t alleviate the loss I feel. No, I may not seem that old in general society and in general I don’t feel that old. I just wish someone would tell my poor beat-up old body that! LOL
“Mary, crawl off that cross, someone needs the wood!”
“Miss Self Pity, table for one!”
“Honey, would you please come out of the pity pool? You’re all shriveled up.”
     Okay, I didn’t just write all that for any kind of sympathy, or oh poor, poor Max. No, I think it was my way of paying tribute to some of the fabulous gay men I was fortunate to call friends and in my way, letting them know that they are missed but not forgotten. No, it was me remembering, subconsciously, those who I loved and wish could have been here for my birthday. I know without a doubt that they’d have given me total shit for being a speed limit. There would have been old fart jokes from start to finish. Yeah, yeah, yeah… bite me you bitches. I made it!
     I am a proud gay man. I’ve lived through one of the most horrendous, catastrophic health events know to mankind and I survived. I still laugh, cry and feel. I have people who I love and who love me. I love the feel of the sun on my face and the dirt under my fingernails. I have a life and I intend to live it!
     So, this tired ol’ nag is gonna trot his ass around the track at least one more time. I’m gonna throw my tits to the wind and dare anyone to tell me not to. Damnit, I’ve earned the right to say ‘fuck you’ to anyone who wants to try and put me down. Don’t tread on me. Oh wait, there’s a snake involved in that, isn’t there? Okay… might not go that far then. I hate snakes. Alrighty then… I will survive. There. ‘Nough said.

     Okay, this is running a bit longer than usual but I did want to share something with everyone. This made my day and actually made me a bit weepy.
A Bear in Paris – A French Review
      Rhett Beaumont arrived in Paris to make the dream of a lifetime, this should have been done in joy but it is with a heavy heart the memories of the past that puts his first look at the city. It is immediately amazed when he discovered Paris, its boulevards, this special ambiance of the capital of love, of glamor and romance.
     After a quick installation, stay a month can finally begin. At the street corner, pastries irresistibly attracted. However, when his eye catches a completely different kind of sweetness that would be enjoyed with relish, this is a new world that awaits him!
     To my surprise, this story has literally snapped up, it is very refreshing. I loved the character of Rhett. Outside it is beautiful, intelligent and tender with a cracked past, he is finally ready to conquer, discover, explore and live his dream.We will follow the whole time wonder.
     Descriptive emerge elegantly Parisian charm, I was enrolled in a trip to the heart of the story. It almost would feel the vibrations of the city to our reading and the wonder of Rhett each discovery of a new place to visit, the most tempting specialties as each other. It eats everything around it, drinking at every moment of every detail.
     His morning routine was already very nice, pastries to die for, the smile of sexy pastry chef and player chewable.
     Luke is charming, pleasant to the sight, direct and enterprising so that he gets to overwhelm the American of his deep gaze. It is also on the defensive, not knowing whether he can be trusted again.
     All crescendo rises like a heartbeat accelerating with emotions. This romance is languorous, simple and tasty. The story takes its time, it is a pleasure to follow these two wounded beings groping bruised face their doubts and pain of an experience but do not let down!
     The authors make a beautiful tribute to the city of Paris, I felt the attraction they have for it to through their words so enthusiasts. This is why it makes this moment so unique, special and exciting. They reveal extreme delicacy with a splendid history, euphoric and fulfilled.
     Your feathers Max and KC Wells combined are very pleasant. A delight for the senses. A sumptuous alchemy of letters, a bookish escape that will transport you and delight you fully.
     The end ... Oh the end is simply magical, beautiful and radiant.
     This book is a sweet romantic jewel to be enjoyed without moderation!
     Thank you Karine for such this review. A Bear in Paris is being published in English, French and Italian. All proceeds to go help LGBT youth. Your purchase price of only $2.99 will help young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth get off the streets and get the help they need. You get a pretty good story for that price and help kids at the same time. I’d say that is a win-win situation. Why don’t you go, get the story, have a good read and feel good about the Karma Coins you’re collecting.

     Thanks, y’all. I think that is about all I have for this week.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Ramble and Grrr...

     So… Here I sit wondering what I should write about this week. The quick answer is: I have no clue. Here goes me flying by the seat of my pants once again.
     Ramble, ramble, ramble…

     I found a new cookbook that I really must have. There is no doubt that this one will find a home on the coffee table it looks so good. I can’t wait to see all the recipes. More than likely I have a variation of most of them, but who cares when the book looks as nice as this one! Who doesn’t need a good ginger cookie recipe and a fine looking ginger man to go with it? Anyway, if you have a gay friend or a gay friendly hostess, this might be the perfect gift for them.

     I swear if I were to ever do a cookbook, I would have to do something like this one, maybe featuring bears. Hmm, I’m thinking I might need models for inspiration. Oh pfft… don’t worry about the hair. After all, when you have a nice hairy man around, there’s never a need for dental floss!
     Oh, I do have some news…
     An old friend of mine and I reconnected a few months back and she’s been reading this blog. She said it sounded just like me and she could hear my voice as if I was in the room to her. I think that is a good thing. I really am just me after all. That’s not the news however. She got with a friend of hers and showed her the blog and they decided that I needed to start doing a podcast. To be honest, I really hate doing public speaking, but this sounds like something that I could do.
     What do y’all think? I personally don’t listen to podcasts so I have no real idea of what goes on with those things. Is it something you good people would be interested in? Are you sure you want me to sit and hear me ramble on? I did come up with a few ideas that might make it more interesting. You tell me. It might be fun.
     What else…
     Oh, I was surfing about the internet reading some news items when I came across something that made me shake my head. It seems that the World Health Organization did a recent study on human sexuality. Okay, nothing so strange there I guess. This article highlighted the fact that a good percentage of people had some type of homosexual experience at some point in their life.
     Well, duh. Didn’t that little tid-bit of information come to life some fifty odd years ago with the Kinsey report? Shocking huh? Okay, not so fast… because that is exactly what I thought until I continued reading.
     It seems that more and more men (and women) between the ages of 18 – 32 are more open to having sex with a same sex partner and still claim to be straight. Can it be that this next generation doesn’t think that homosexuality is taboo? Have we really reached this milestone? I guess only time will tell, but that kinda blows me away. Kinda cool if you ask me.

     Grrr… I’m irritated…
     I often listen to Pandora while writing. Now what I listen to really depends on my mood and what I’m writing. I have a channel set up, is my go-to channel, which is classical piano. This is where I start getting exasperated. Perhaps I’m being picky or maybe even snobbish. But damn-it-all-to-hell, play the whole thing or don’t play it at all.
     I’m referring to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14. There are three movements damn it. I hate it when they only play the first one and then move on. I am sure that most of you know the piece as the Moonlight Sonata. That’s just one movement.
     It’s like sticking your dick in, pumping a few times and then saying “Okay, that’s it. Bye.” No orgasm, no conclusion, just stopped one third of the way, putting your dick away, zipping up and leaving. Now how frustrating is that?

     Okay, it might be that I’m getting older and my OCD is getting more and more pronounced, but I don’t think so, well not this time at least. This is something that has always bothered me. If you’re going to do a job, then do it to completion, not stop before the task is done. Grrr… just… GRRrrrr.
     If you’re at all interested, I’ve included a link so you can hear the entire piece. 

     Of course I’ve been on a huge Chopin kick of late. No surprise to a lot of you out there. He is after all one of my all-time favorite composers. It is also a major part of the book I’m currently working on. The man was pure genius if you ask me, Chopin that is. I think that one of these main characters is also, but time will tell on that one.
     I’m sure I’ve mentioned Garrick Ohlsson before, but I’ll do it again. He is the master of master’s when it comes to Chopin if you ask me. (Are you bored yet?) Not only is he a hunk of a bear, gay, (also married, dang it) but boy can he play. Here, have a listen to my favorite Chopin piece.

     On the writing side…
     I announced the new release of A Bear in Paris, which is no available for pre-order. When I first mentioned it, I said I would talk a bit more about it. I also mentioned that all proceeds to go charity. Those charities are:
The Trevor Project – Here in the US
La Refuge – in France
Arcigay – in Italy
     The proceeds will be split evenly and the book is to be released in English, French and Italian. It is all going to help LGBT youth around the world. There are four parts to this series, all based on the seasons. I was lucky enough to get summer. 

     As one of the French beta readers said, “It is like a love affair with Paris.” That is exactly how I felt when I wrote it. I do love Paris. Of course I also love the French pastries, so that might skew my opinion a little.
     Honestly, I think I could live in Paris for a year and get some really good writing done. I have a huge dislike for most major cities and wouldn’t even consider living in one, but Paris is different. Yeah, I think I could do a year there easily.
     What else… more rambling?
     While in the post office the other day, there was a lady on crutches who was struggling to handle a parcel she was mailing off. It didn’t take any extra time to help her with the heavy glass doors or get the box up to the counter for her. She was most appreciative. I would have been also. It’s hard managing anything while on crutches. I should know. Been there done that a few times now. She thanked me profusely. Yep, that was my good deed for that day. Didn’t cost me a penny and yet I’m sure I gained a few good Karma Coins. Did you do something nice for someone this week? Hmm….?
     Well, I guess that’s all I have for this week. I’m off to buy more mulch!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Yep... More Ramblings...

     So…What’s been going on? Yeah, I know this is a few days late, but honestly, I’ve really been busy. I’ll try and do better. Promise.

     Ugh… it is has been a busy last few weeks. As some of you may know, the Aussie Tart (TAT) and I have been working on a major house renovation, with the help of Studly-Do-Right. It has been a long process, but I think we did a pretty good job. I have some photos, but they are not complete, so I’ll post some on FB and perhaps Instagram later on.
     Sadly, I’ve gotten very little writing done and I’m anxious to get back to this work in progress. It’s one that I started over 2 years ago and ended up setting it aside for a bit. I sometimes do that if I get stuck or if something else comes up. Unlike the last book I worked on, it is not quite as heavy.
     Funny thing is, after I read through what I’d written I was… well horrified, if I’m to be totally honest with myself. It was pretty bad. It sometimes amazes me how much I’ve grown as a writer. I’m sure my poor editor will be happy that I scraped the whole thing and started over. Yep, I ditched everything I’d written and started over. That was hard to do since I was about halfway done with the thing. Oh well, I’d rather do that than put out that kind of crap.

     I recently received an email asking if I was planning on continuing the Memory series. The simple answer is yes. Well, at least one more about the Sutton family. I do like the story and feel it has at least one more installment. After that I have something in mind that is a spin off from their story. I’ll keep that as a surprise for later.
     Now I have a question for y’all…
     If you’ve read the Memory series, do you prefer the small installments or would you rather have a full length book? I’m pretty good either way, so I’ll let you, the readers decide.
     Speaking of writing…
     Y’all wouldn’t believe how many how many story lines I’ve got jotted down. I had an idea not long ago and went to write it down before I forgot it. Damn, I have about twelve full length book ideas sitting there waiting to be written. I guess I should get busy, huh?
     What else…
     Yesterday we were driving home from the other house… at 8:00 p.m. (Yeah, another long ass day), and we drove past downtown. Now, you need to understand that downtown here is about two square blocks. Yeah, it is a tiny little town. But they were having the monthly Friday night street party. They often have a live band, arts and crafts, small businesses have booths set up and there is all kinds of food.
     The place was packed. The lake was off in the distance, the sun was just setting and it was so nice to see so many people out. There were lots of families, young people, and retirees, just a mixed bag of people. It was nice to see.

     One of the reasons why I like this little town is they are always doing something. The last Saturday of the month they have what they call a Classic Drive In. It’s basically every classic car enthusiast showing off their old cars. I just love that. So many cool ol’ cars. They always have a good turnout. If I were to win the lottery I’d participate. Yeah, I’ve always wanted a classic Cadillac Biarritz. That has always been my dream car. Not sure why. Just something that I’ve always liked.
     I’m starting to ramble…

     In a few weeks I’m going to be 55. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d live this long. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, with the AIDS epidemic killing off most of my friends, I just assumed that I’d be one of those statistics. Well, I’ve made it this far so I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. Initially, I’d planned to go to New York City for Fleet Week. That’s something I’d always wanted to do but since I’d was just there, I’ll forgo that. Besides I don’t think my poor feet could do another NYC visit. I have no plans for the upcoming event. To me, it’s just another day.
     OH! I almost forgot…
     I have a new release coming out. Don’t know if you’ve heard about it or not, but A Bear in Paris is up for pre-order on Amazon. It’s just a novella, but I did love writing it. Did I mention that it was for charity? I was so honored to be asked to participate in this project. Go get yours now. It will be available May 24th.
     The idea is that pairs of authors were to write a story together with the theme being the four seasons in Paris. Since I loved my week in Paris two years ago, I had no problem with the subject matter. There really is something magical about the City of Lights. I can’t wait to return. Of course, I plan to eat as many French pastries as I can! I got summer, so it was easy for me.
     All proceeds go to help LGBT youth in France, Italy and the US. All are stellar charities that do a lot of good. I hope that everyone will run off and get a copy. It will help many young people. Here is the buy link.

     That brings me to ask… Have you done something for someone else this week? I have a feeling that y’all did, I know I did. As I often say, it doesn’t have to be much. It might not even have cost you a penny. Sometimes just a smile, a quick hello is all it takes.
     That’s all I got for this week. Go forth and conquer y’all.
     Have a good week.

Now... go read a book. ;-)