Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ramble, Ramble, Ramble...

     So… here I sit once again, staring at a blank page, my mind just as blank. Okay, to be honest I’m as sore as an ol’ whore’s butt after a hard Saturday night. That’s alright though, it’s a good kind of sore. I’ve been able to spend a lot of time outside working in the garden, but my mind… still somewhat blank. So guess what? Yep, I’m just gonna ramble on a bit.

     Um… Oh look, a book…
     In case you didn’t know, I did put out a little book this past week. Yep, Christmas Memories 3: Home Sweet Home is out and available from your favorite book retailers. I was a little surprised at how popular the first one was (is) and a little less surprised when Christmas Memories 2 surged forward. I do however get it why people like the Suttons. I mean, who wouldn’t want them as a family. This time… I think the story took a major step forward. I’m not sure if there is going to be any more from this family, but I’ll welcome their return if they decided to pay me a visit. To me, these stories are like being wrapped up in a warm fuzzy blanket. Hope y’all enjoy them.
     Oh wow…
     I was watching TV with TAT (That Aussie Tart) this week. To be honest, I can’t even remember what it was we were watching. What I do remember was the story line, the major plot holes and how ridiculous it all became. I made the comment… “If I put this crap in a book I would be nailed to a cross and then it would be set on fire.” Why? Pfft… Insta-Love to start with. Do you know just how many times I’ve had my big ass raked over the coals for this? But it seems Hallmark can get away with it, no problem. As I’ve said time and time again; a guy will often know within thirty seconds if he is into you or not. Case closed. Not sure why, but it happens. And here’s a news flash for you: It happened to me this past summer. I was totally mesmerized by a man in five minutes. Had he asked me to marry him that night I’d have said yes! Hell, he could ask me today and I’d say the same thing.

     The plot holes were so damned big you could have driven a Peterbilt through ‘em. I’m really careful about those kinds of things, mainly, because they are a pet peeve of mine. I mean, come on, who is writing this stuff and why in the hell is no one checking it? As I told TAT, after giving her the dialogue before it was even spoken, I could write this drivel. And it was just that… total drivel. Grrr…
     Oh hell no…
     I’ve been asked a few times if I took part in Black Friday. Uhhh… NO! You couldn’t pay me enough to get into all that mess. First off, I hate going to any mall. Okay, I take that back. I loved going to the malls in Australia, but they are very different. I mean, they have real honest-to-god butcher shops in theirs! I do love me some bacon. But here, in the States… not a snowballs chance in hell.

     Let me point out… I save a whole lot more money staying my ass home that dragging it out into the madness of Black Friday. Sure, y’all may have saved a lot of money shopping on things… stuff, but my money is still in my pocket, so you tell me who saved more. HA!
     I will admit though, I did do a little online shopping. There were a few deals I’d been waiting for AND what I did get also put some money towards my charity. Yep, I sat here, sipping my coffee, my comfy house shoes on, did my little bit of shopping and didn’t even swear once. I figured I made out like a bandit. So I did spend a little bit, but I saved even more by not having to buy alcohol.
     Let’s talk snow…
     This is for you Mo-Mo: No, I do not like snow. No, I don’t ever want to see snow. The only snow I want to see is on TV or a Hallmark card. Been there done that. I don’t like my feet getting cold or wet. Actually, it becomes really painful to tell the truth. Another reason I moved to sunny Flo-rid-ia. Snow is a baaaaad four letter word. I think hell is actually Siberia. So for those of you who like that nasty wet stuff, more power to ya. Just don’t expect me to get all excited about it. Me, I’ll continue to sit here in my shorts and T-shirt, the doors and windows open, playing in the dirt while you shovel snow. ‘Nuff said.

     Side Note: I’d rather peel my nuts up off my leather chair than try and pry them away from my tonsils, thank you very much. Just thought I’d throw that out there.
     Let’s talk books…
     I was fortunate to come from a family of readers. My mother, grandmother and sister would read to me most every night. Of course, this is probably why I can’t really listen to audio books. Talk about a sleeping pill. Puts me right out. The side benefit was that when I started reading on my own, I found it easy. I was reading well beyond my grade level which pleased my teachers, but also put them in a bit of a quandary. They didn’t know what to do with me. While I could read on a grade level 3 when I was only five years old, I couldn’t add for shit. Hell, I still can’t. Don’t ask me to balance a checkbook! Numbers escape me. Always have.
     Personally, I think that reading is a way to escape for a little while. Go on a vacation, an adventure; learn about different cultures and people. Who wouldn’t like a mini-vacation? I also think that all kids should have the opportunity to read about people like themselves. I remember as a young man when I stumbled upon Gordon Merrick and then Armistead Maupin. Then it was Felice Picano who took me on a wild mind twisting murder mystery. What do all these authors have in common? They all wrote gay characters. This was a first for me and what an impact it had. This is why I am doing a book drive for the Zebra Coalition. I’m begging for Y/A books so that they will have a library for kids between the ages of 13 and 24. If you are an author, or have a favorite author who writes in this genre, please contact me or have an author contact me. What a great gift this would be for the next generation, don’t you think? So, please take the time to reach out and make this happen.
     Tis the Season…
     With Thanksgiving 2016 now history, it is time to turn our attention to the upcoming holidays. I remember my grandmother during this time of year and how quiet she would become at times. I didn’t understand it so much at the time but I sure do now. She was one of those people who had a heart as big as the whole outdoors. She would fret about those who were less fortunate. I guess I come by it honest, because I often have those thoughts.
     My grandmother raised nine children, a lot of it during the great depression. Even then, she thought of others. She always found a way to give to someone else. It may not have been monetarily, but she always managed to give something.
     I’m going to ask that of you now. As I’ve said before, I’ve adopted the Zebra Coalition as my charity and they have a wishlist on Amazon. (Uh… they kinda messed up, so if you go to their wish list, there is nothing showing, but if you click on their name, it comes up.) Anyway, there isn’t a lot on their list, and most all of it is under $20.00. With a little help, I think we could make this list disappear. Most of the items are to stock their pantry while they have their afternoon “Drop In”. Kids hang out there after school in the afternoons, so a lot of things are snacks and drink type things. Razors and shampoo are also on their list for their emergency shelter program. There are less than twenty items on this list. Let’s see if we can’t make it go away. What’cha say? OH, and if by chance you go and there is nothing, you can always check out their needs list on their website.

     Wow, I got rather chatty with having nothing much to say, so I’ll stick a fork in it and call it done. Have a grrreat week, y’all.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Blast From the Past...

     So… yesterday, while dirt digging, I tried to think of something to blog about today. There are a few things I’d like to pass along to y’all, but I also wanted something funny. I think we all need something to at laugh about now.

     A little story about my friend Alan…
     I’ve known Alan most of my life. He’s been a constant source of fun and entertainment as well as a great support person. He was always there when I needed him, but for now, I want to tell you about a time when I laughed so hard I actually peed my pants.
     Picture it… (I feel like Sofia from the Golden Girls) Atlanta 1981. It was hotter than hades, and the weekend of the Hotlanta Raft race. It was a weekend of hot gay men, hot weather and hot times.
On the River

     Note: This was how Atlanta got the nickname Hotlanta. It was the gay mecca for gay men and there was no hotter place in the country that Hotlanta during raft race weekend.
     Well, Alan being his true fun self, decided that a little MDA would be a good idea to keep things moving along. That was his drug of choice back then. Don’t judge. It was the time of drugs, sex and disco! He and a bunch of friends had gone all out doing their little decorating bit for their raft. Alan was more of the engineer than decorator. He is the one gay man I know who never got past Gay 101. He couldn’t identify a color to save his poor little gay heart. I swear, he couldn’t tell the difference between white and antique cream if his life depended on it. It’s been an ongoing joke for years.
     The big event was Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to work lunch that day, and yes I did try to get out of it. But it was either take off Saturday and do the race or work Sunday, and I knew I’d be in no condition to work the day after the big parties going on, so I suffered and worked Saturday lunch. Oh, and saved myself from having to buy sunscreen.
     Party… Party… Party…
     Back in the ‘80’s, it was party till you dropped or a hot man dropped his pants. Okay, that may have happened, and then you went back to the party afterwards. That is the way Alan saw it, as did so many others. I caught up with him and a few other friends around 2 a.m. at the Cove, a.k.a., the Cave.
     It was a gay bar in Atlanta that never closed. It was one of the few that had been grandfathered in, and on weekends like this one… it was packed to the gills. There were different sections in the massive building. A game room, a more quiet bar area and a huge dance floor. Because Atlanta is so flippin’ hot in the summer, they divided up those section and the doorways were covered in those thick plastic strip curtain type things. You know what I’m talking about: those things that are normally used in front of walk-in coolers when the doors are left open.
     Anyway, Alan, who’d been in town since Friday afternoon, hadn’t slept, which wasn’t that uncommon whenever he was in town. But here he was, early Sunday morning and he was in rare form. Okay, it wasn’t all that rare for him back in those days. To say that he wasn’t sober would be a major understatement. Alan was making his way back in from the outdoor patio… I happen to know what or who he was doing out there, but on his way back to the dance bar, he missed the doorway completely. How he did that I still don’t know, but he did, twice.
No, this isn't Alan.

     Alan missed that doorway be at least two feet. He bounced off the wall and fell on his ass. Being the typical good Southern raised man, he got up, dusted off his rear and adjusted his shirt, had he had one on. It took him a few minutes to realize that he wasn’t wearing one. Hell, the only thing he had on was a pair of daisy duke cutoffs that were so short his nuts were constantly falling out. It was rather funny to watch him push them back up whenever he had to leave wherever we happened to be. It was the look on his face as he struggled to put himself back together that was the icing on the cake. It was even funnier when he attempted to go through the doorway and do the exact same thing all over again. I and a small group of friends from Tennessee stood and watched him do it and laughed our asses off. The second time, when he’d finally gotten himself put together, as much as he could I guess, flipped us the bird and finally got through the door.
     Later that day, sometime after one in the afternoon, post brunch, I saw my friends off to make the four hour drive home to Knoxvegas. It was another epic weekend. Alan was in the backseat of that blue Volvo, already asleep with a thread of drool hanging off his chin and a big smiled plastered on his face. Yep, he’d had another great time in Hotlanta.
Backstreet Atlanta, another Party Central Location

     I have so many good memories of Alan and the rest of my friends from those happy days. Days before AIDS took most of them. How he and I survived is a real miracle. I may have to share more memories of him and our adventures another time.
     Oh yeah…
     Ooops, I almost forgot. Damn, I have a novella coming out this coming week. Duh, sometimes I really am blonde all the way to the white meat. Yep, A Christmas Memory 3: Home Sweet Home, comes out Tuesday, November 22. For those of you who like to visit the Sutton family this time of year won’t be disappointed. They are all back and doing what they do best: be a family. One of the beta readers I use said he thought this was the best one yet. I hope y’all agree.

     What else…
     TAT and I went and did our shopping for Toys for Tots. We each got some fun stuff. I found these great metal trucks for about $10.00. I got two of them. I think they’d be great for boys. I know I loved ‘em when I was a kid. I also got two Frozen Dolls for the girls. I make a point of doing Toys for Tots each year. I know that they stay local and kids deserve to have a decent Christmas, no matter their circumstances. I hope that everyone will participate in this great cause.
     A note here…
     As you know, I have adopted The Zebra Coalition as my local charity. I still try and keep up with Lost n Found in Atlanta, but I live here now, so I feel I should support a local charity. I have visited their facility and met with their Director and Volunteer Coordinator and I’m pleased to say that I think they are doing a great job. They have their fingers in just about every agency in the area that they can count on for support and to help young gay youth find their way.
     What I noticed while I was there was their pitiful little library. I’m trying to take care of that. With the help from Lynn Schmitz, I’ve begun a book drive for YA books to help them along. The director and I also talked about perhaps getting some gay history type books to put in there, but one step at a time. If you are an author who has a YA book, please contact me if you would like to donate. If you are a reader and have a favorite author, please ask them to send some of their work my way. I think that books that are a positive reinforcement to our gay youth are very important.
     The gift of giving…
     While you’re doing your online holiday shopping this year, why not take the time to sign up for the Amazon Smile program. You can choose from many worthy charities and they benefit from every eligible purchase you make. Every little bit helps ya know.
     And while I’m at it…
     If you want to help The Zebra Coalition, you can pick something from their wish list. If you’ve designated them as your prime charity, you may need to click on their name to get the list to come up. I think they may have put their list in the wrong spot, but you can still see what they have listed. There are things there for as little as $10.00 on up, but most under $20.00.
     One of the things that I really like about this program is that they give kids a place to gather and hang out after school. Almost every day of the week they open their doors and these gay youth gather to talk, watch TV, play video games and just basically be kids. It is a safe place for them, which is a major thing in my book. They really do like the snacks and drinks that they have on their wish list.
     Now I need to get my big butt in gear and see if I can’t get a little more writing done before I head out to play in the dirt. I’ve really been on a good writing jag lately and I’d like to keep that momentum going. But before I go… you know what I’m going to say next, don’t you? Yep. Go get you some of them good Karma Coins. Do something nice for someone else today. Sometimes it doesn’t cost a thing!
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

No Words...

     So… I’ve tried since Wednesday to write this week’s blog, but I just can’t seem to get anything written down that isn’t… well, basically depressing. So instead, I give you two of my favorite things!
     Just remember that we all have things in common. Treat each other with kindness and try and do something nice for someone else.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Confession Time... I was a Bad, Bad, Boy!

     So…another week has passed and it has been a busy one for me. There is always so much to get done it seems. Now that TAT is back, it is even more so. But… such is life, I don’t really mind.

     I’m glad to announce that the writing is going really well. So well in fact, that I’m surprising myself. This current WIP is practically writing itself. That’s a big fat yay! I don’t know why I had such a difficult time getting the last Christmas Memories done, but it was a problem child. Not to worry, it is done and it seems to be a good story. I will soon let you know when the publish date is as well as the cover reveal. I have no doubt that it will be another great cover by the talented A.J. Corza.
     Confession time…
     Okay, now I’ve talked about how I hurt my foot and y’all have lived through my bemoaning the use of crutches. I’ve also said how much I wanted to be outside and playing in the dirt. I may have misled y’all just a teeny tiny little bit. Yes, I did hurt my foot. Yeah, I did a pretty good job on it too. And yes, I was on crutches for what seemed like forever. That god-awful Frankenstein boot was in place as well. But… I cheated a bit. I went against the doctor’s advice and went and dug around in the dirt anyway.
     Damn, I hate having to be honest sometimes. Fuck it… I not only played in the dirt I played with power tools too! Yes, that is a jackhammer you see. Guilty as charged.

     There was a project I wanted to get done on the house from the moment that I saw it. Yeah, I know. It could have waited, but I wanted to surprise TAT and I also wanted it done. I’m not always the most patient of souls and when I want something done, I tend to just buckle down and get it done. So… that is what I did. I’ll put the rest of the pictures up on Tumblr if y’all want to really see the entire project. I have to say, I’m really pleased at the finished result. Well, finished up to this point. I have a few more things that I’d like to do, but this is fairly close to the finished project. I’m already planning out what else I want to get done in the yard. I just can’t seem to help myself.

     Back to the writing for a bit…
     I recently had a beta reader tell me that whenever they read one of my stories they got hungry. Uh… sorry? I guess I do tend to write about food but hey… I’m a foodie, what can I say. Cooking and food have been such a big part of my life that I can’t just ignore it. I tend to write what I know, and I know food, so it’s going to go into my writing. So might I suggest that you get one of your favorite snacks ready if you decide to read one of my books. Sorry, but that’s just the way I work.
     Oh… how about this…
     What if I were to put together a little recipe video with one of those hunky chefs? I think I could get behind that… and the chef of course. What’cha think? Don’t know that if that will ever happen, but stranger things have happened. Hmm… makes me think, which might hurt. For all of those who think that is a good idea, please leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do. If I get a big enough response, I’ll go for it. BUT… I gotta get a lot of comments so I can approach someone to get it done. I’ll also take suggestions about what chef you might like to see. So share this post and get those comments in.
Maybe one of these guys?

     What else…

     I’ve been giving out hints about my current work in progress. I can’t help myself. When I get excited about a story, I want to share. I’m awful, I know. Such a tease, but it is fun. I think someone actually called me evil. Yeah, okay… I know. But… yeah, I am. LOL However I think some readers get a kick out of it. I will tell y’all this much… it involves food and music, two things that I really do have a great love of and a little bit of knowledge of. I might put a link up of a performance of music or a recipe or something that pertains to the book. If you pay attention, you’ll learn a lot about what I’m doing at the moment or where the story might be going. So just a bit of a heads up on that. Maybe we’ll make a game of it. Hey, there might even be some free giveaways in the future. Ha! I bet that got your attention.
     Moving right along…
     I did a few things over the week that helped some people out. I got a nice smile from a lady that made my day. It was something to simple and didn’t cost me a thing except a little effort. Did you do something for someone this week? I bet you did.
     The end of the year is fast approaching. It’s time to get as many of those good Karma Coins into your bank as you can! You can do it! I have faith in all of you. So go out and do something wonderful for someone else. It will always come back to you.
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.