Sunday, June 26, 2011

So Why Do I Write About Gay Kids?

A lot of people ask me why I write about gay people when I'm a straight woman with two daughters who has been happily married to my husband for almost twenty-four years.  The answer is simple:  I love kids.

I've worked with high school students for eleven years now, and it bothers me terribly that there are some kids who are being hurt so badly by other people's opinions that it's easier to commit suicide than to face another day of life.

Fortunately, this hasn't happened in the school where I work, but the feelings are there -- the snide laughs, the looks, the "Oh, that's so gay," comments.  I express myself best by writing, and this novel is my way of doing something about it.

The mission of Prizm Books is:

"Prizm Books is a line of gay and lesbian Young Adult fiction, focused on providing great stories in all genres, from science fiction to historical to contemporary. Our mission is to encourage and publish gay young adult books that focus on the story, rather than on the characters being gay. Todays young readers crave stories they can relate to, stories about their lives. Prizm Books is committed to producing great, positive books that young adults will love, and will want more of!"

I think this makes a lot of sense.  I didn't write Under the Willow as a preachy, "feel good about your gay self" novel -- it's a fantasy story with two main characters who happen to be gay.  But their being gay is integral to the story, and some rather awful things happen to them because of it.  My novel definitely has a dark side, though the ending, of course, is brighter.

I hope that people come away from this novel with a little more acceptance and understanding of each other, and themselves.  But, of course, I really want people to enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Excerpt from Under the Willow

It's a beautiful, sunny, sparkly morning in Vermont, and here is a hummingbird at the feeder just outside my writing window for everyone to enjoy:

Speaking of winged things, I want to share an excerpt from Under the Willow, which is about, well, faeries.  I figured vampires and werewolves have been well covered lately, but nobody has been writing about faeries.  And they are very interesting creatures.  There are two kinds in my novel -- the typical, gossamer, garden type, and their total antithesis -- ones who wear leather and have black wings with jewel-tone highlights.  More like Klingons, actually, in appearance and attitude.  Both are human-sized and have the ability to conceal their wings for short periods of time, hence giving them ability to blend in with humans.

My two kinds of faeries do NOT get along with each other, and both uneasily share a small town in Vermont, full of people who have no idea there is a secret culture living alongside them.  Both kinds of faeries reproduce by "recruiting" humans.  Enter my two heroes, Shane and Cody, high school seniors, gay, falling in love with each other, and falling into the faerie culture at the same time, but, of course, on opposite sides.

This scene takes place after Cody has been injured in an encounter with what he doesn't know is a faerie toward the beginning of the book.  He is in the hospital when Shane comes to visit.

Finally, two hours after Cody had taken his sleeping pill, he lay back, flung his left arm over his eyes, and vowed he’d rip out his IV line and strangle the next bastard who came in. Though he changed his mind, because the next person to appear by his bed was Shane.

So the sleeping pill had worked at last. With a sigh of pleasure, he gazed up at Shane and hoped nobody woke him for a long time. There was no comparison between Shane and the hot nurse. Cody reached out with his nearest hand and slid it underneath the faded denim shirt Shane was wearing untucked over a pair of khakis. As he flattened his palm against the warm skin of the firm stomach, Shane gasped and stepped away.

“Don’t, Cody.”

Right. He’d forgotten in his sleep that Shane wasn’t gay. That was cruel. Shane ought to be gay in his dream, at least. He caught hold of Shane’s shirt.

“I just wanted to make sure you were okay,” Shane said, reaching down and trying to loosen Cody’s grip. Cody wasn’t about to let go. “I’m taking off for a while.”

“Don’t,” Cody said. Meaning both about the shirt and him going away. “I need you.”

Shane looked startled.

“That thing in the woods scared me. You make me feel safe.” Cody knew he would never have said the truth like that if he’d been awake. If this were real.

Shane’s fingers paused for a moment. “Cody, I don’t know what you saw. The thing I saw was different. It wouldn’t have made me crash my bike like that. It was – amazing. I think what you saw was a different sort of the same thing. But I’m just guessing.”

“Maybe you’re braver than I am.”

Shane finally got his shirt free from Cody’s fingers. “No way. Not braver. I’ve seen the insane things you do on the soccer field. I’m more desperate, maybe. More lonely.”

“That’s impossible,” Cody said flatly.

Shane shook his head. “Look, the less you’re involved with me, the better. You’ll be safer without me around.”


“Because I think I’m turning into one of them,” Shane said softly.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I am so excited!
My first published novel, after all these years!
Look at the cover!

And what makes it even more special is that I took the photo, myself, just over a year ago last September while Dennis and I were riding the bike path that used to be a train track up in the Enosburg area.  We came across the ruins of what I realized was an old mill, and I swear, the whole plot of this novel came to me on the spot.  I wrote it in about three months, finishing it in February.  I submitted it, and in early June, it was accepted by Prizm.  A year later (after way more work that I'd ever dreamed) here it is!

This is the original photo I took that day:

Pretty cool, huh?  Yeah, that's Dennis standing there.  The artist (the amazing Alessia Brio) could have kept him in it, given him faerie wings...maybe not.

Anyway, a huge, huge thank you to everyone who helped me with this book and helped keep me sane while I was working on it.

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