So, the upcoming Chinese New Year is the Year of the Fire Monkey. For those who don’t know, each year is named after a particular animal and falls only every 12 years.
Looking back on my Monkey years, I was still a baby in Santa Barbara in 1968; I remember 1980 in Ireland as relatively peaceful and prosperous, perhaps because my stepfather had stopped drinking for health reasons & my mother had quit working in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy (my brother was born in March 1981, so this worked!). Then, in 1992, I found an admin job at University of San Francisco which I stayed at for five years. For four of those years, I had a very tolerant, supportive boss. Stability again, if not prosperity! 2004 was a year that I decided to take off and work on my writing. I was in a serious relationship and that summer included a trip to Kauai, which I found absolutely beautiful and transforming. (I wrote about the trip in a personal essay called “Toward the Double Rainbow,” which is free on Barnes and Noble last I checked.)
Talking about free, my novel The Leaving has been free this month on Smashwords, BN, Apple, et al. I will probably let it run free through February, and try to get it price-matched on Amazon (always a challenge!). It will always be special to me because it’s the first novel I ever finished, and it’s the one that delves most realistically into my life in Ireland as an adolescent. It’s been called “deeply felt and expertly crafted,” but as another reviewer pointed out, “no sweetener [is] added.”
New book! I have started writing the sequel to my LGBT romance Elsie Street, which was published last September on Amazon and in December on all platforms. The follow-up will be entitled The Pull of Yesterday. It will be longer than Book One and is sprinkled with more experiences for the MC, Dave, whose world is widening to include multiple overlapping relationships which he must navigate with care. A trip back to Boston for a family emergency gives him new insights into his identity and presents him with a difficult decision.
I’ve taken to heart the precept that author Nat Russo talks about of writing the first draft just for myself. Since I only ever do a couple of drafts, I am expecting this book to perhaps only please me! Other books I’ve written have gained more attention down the line (Time of Grace, for example). But it’s never a guarantee. My job is to make the writing as good and fresh as possible.
If you’d like to be notified when my next book is available, or get advanced notice of promotions, you are welcome to join my low-volume mailing list, located on the menu tab above. (When I get enough names I’ll experiment with a MailChimp newsletter: see, Year of the Monkey again! :))
And of course, RIP to David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glenn Frey. These were sad losses of intensely creative people.