October 28, 2013
October 28, 2013
Theo asked me about what I might be doing internationally so I decided to share a sneak peek into my future with all of you! Early next year, I’ll be travelling with a group of doctors and health care professionals to Tanzania, Africa. They’re a great bunch and this will represent their sixth trip. The subspecialties represented include infectious disease, plastic surgery, general surgery, orthopedic surgery and anesthesia. Because their itinerary includes providing medical care to children in remote orphanages, not having a pediatrician in attendance has historically represented significant challenge. This year, I’ve decided to accompany them. I look forward to having the opportunity to “give back” and suspect that my clinical skills will really be put to the test. We will be carrying all our medical supplies with us and won’t have the luxury of any sophisticated diagnostic equipment. With little exception, it will only be me, my bare hands and a stethoscope. I have no doubt that it will be a life altering experience and that I will return a changed person with an even greater appreciation for the wonderful life I have.
October 28, 2013
What are some of your favorite charities and what inspires you to donate to them?
October 28, 2013
This might be a good time to pitch the fact that all the royalties from my book are going to be donated to the HOMELESS YOUTH PROJECT at the LA GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER.
I have been indescribably fortunate in my life and believe that good karma is best when shared. Because I never expected that my book would amount to anything more than a stack of wrinkled papers in the back of my closet, to me, getting it published represents a twist of good fortune. I want to play my good fortune forward. When someone purchases a copy of my book, they are not only lending their support to my dream of becoming an author but they are also contributing to improving the lives of homeless gay teens.
For me, it was kind of an easy choice. I have been committed to the work done at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center for more than two decades. When I was a pediatric resident, one of my mentors was the medical director at the center. During that time, I began volunteering in one of the clinics that offered services to adolescents. It is estimated that of all the nation’s homeless youth, forty percent of them identify themselves as being either gay or lesbian. It’s a staggering statistic. I have devoted my professional career to the health and well-being of children and adolescents. When I decided that I wanted to see the royalties from my book go towards supporting a good cause, it was a natural decision for me to again turn to the center. I appreciate their commitment to meeting the needs of a population that remains near and dear to my heart; high risk gay youth whose future might be made better just by being given a chance.
Not that getting this information should result in your singular motivation to buy my book but I hope you take it into consideration. Sometimes, being successful in life comes down to nothing more than being given a chance!
Here’s a link to give you an idea of what some of the great work they do is!!
October 28, 2013
I recently attended the Gay Romance Literature Conference in Atlanta. It was a blast on many levels but one of the things I most enjoyed was having the opportunity to meet some of the Dreamspinner authors whom I’ve admired for years. Just sitting down and chatting with them was amazing. It enabled me to ask them from where they drew their ideas for new stories and what inspired them to write. Of course, when they heard that my first book was slated to be released the week after, they turned the question around. What inspired me to write?
It’s hard to say exactly when I first felt inspired. Writing a book has always been one of the things on my bucket list. When I hit fifty and was forced to acknowledge that my life was approaching the downhill slide, I thought why not start? And so, with a burst of enthusiasm, I began the project despite having no clue what I was going to write about. The progress was initially sure and steady and then, at about the forth chapter, I suddenly found myself thinking; “Shit, four chapters down, probably twenty-two more to go.” I wasn’t sure that I had twenty-two pages left in me much less whole chapters. Worse, I still hadn’t even begun to work out a storyline. Things came to a screeching stand still.
What occurred over the subsequent months was surprising. Despite trying desperately to give up the idea of writing a book, I somehow couldn’t shake it. Somewhere, in the deep recesses of my mind, the whole story started coming together. My novel is a work of fiction but it ends up describing issues that are exceedingly important to me. Because in my real life I’m a pediatrician, I’m extremely passionate about providing health care to children in a compassionate and loving manner. In addition, I’m a gay man who grew up in a small community and really struggled with accepting who I really was. Somehow, the combination of those two life experiences found a voice that evolved into a story.
October 28, 2013
A lot of people have asked me how, as a pediatrician, I happened to write M/M fiction.
Ironically, I’m not sure I started out intending to write MM fiction. When I decided to write a book, the only solid piece of advice I was given was to “write what you know.” As a result, the book was initially a description of some of the experiences I had during my years as a pediatric resident. But, in the process of beginning to write, I remembered with absolute clarity that two things were actually occurring simultaneously during that period of my life. Certainly I was working to try to become a competent doctor but I was also falling in love for the first time. Though the story is indisputably a work of fiction, once I began writing about my early life in medicine, it was impossible not to also include something about my first foray into a meaningful relationship. The experience of falling in love for the first time was too momentously important. What happened was sort of unexpected. I ended up writing a gay romance novel. The story continues to contain a strong medical element but I think the human element ultimately ends up taking center stage. As a consequence, the book is probably much better than it otherwise might have been. At least I hope your readers will think so!
How about any of you? Do you remember the first time you feel in love? Did having a relationship impact on your job? Did you have to keep it a secret? Was that fact that you were constantly smiling from ear to ear a dead giveaway?
October 28, 2013
A White Coat is my Closet tells the story of Zack Sheldon who is in his last year of a pediatric residency program. He’s smart, hardworking, compassionate and well-liked by his colleagues. His life would be perfect were he not to be burdened by feeling forced to keep the fact that he is gay a secret. He’s out to a few select friends but is adamant that no one in the hospital know the truth. Having grown up in a small town where he was taught that being gay was shameful, he is shackled by feelings of low self-esteem and is intimidated by the overt homophobia perpetrated by some the physicians who supervise him. Determined to succeed professionally, his grueling work schedule somewhat compensates for his loneliness and fortunately, he derives tremendous satisfaction from taking care of the children who become his patients. Regrettably however, he has pretty much resigned himself to being eternally single.
Then, everything begins to change when he one day finds himself sitting next to Sergio, a guy who captivated his attention from the very second he first saw him at the gym weeks before. Zack wouldn’t even allow himself to dream that someone as attractive, outgoing and sexy as Sergio would ever even look at him but through some inexplicable twist of fate, they suddenly find themselves immersed in conversation. A casual afternoon spent laughing by the pool miraculously leads to a first date and before Zack knows it, they seem to be becoming a couple.
Zack finds his world suddenly turned upside down. Part of him is ecstatic to be building a relationship with someone he finds so incredible but falling in love also means having to confront an abundant number of insecurities that he would have preferred to have just left buried. He becomes significantly less comfortable leading a double life and he grows weary of feeling suffocated by his own internal shame. Sergio seems to recognize genuine value in him and Zack wants desperately to feel more deserving of that admiration. But old habits die hard and Zack struggles to learn how to remain true to himself without jeopardizing the professional respect he has worked so hard to obtain. Then, before Zack can decide on the best course of action, circumstances force him to make a decision. He can either continue to hide behind the walls that have historically been both his sanctuary and his prison, or he can step out from behind his white coat and declare to the world who he really is, who he really loves and damn the consequences.
October 28, 2013
October 28, 2013
Good morning everyone! Jake Wells here. My first book, “A White Coat is my Closet”, just hit the shelves last Friday.
It’s 7:30 am here on the west coast, the dogs are walked, I’ve had my coffee, and I’m eager to tell you all a little about it.
I’m a newbie in the forum so I’m going to be looking to some of you for help but I think I have a lot of experience “partying” so I figure that together we can wing it!!
So, let’s begin.
Is this your first time hearing about my book? Anything you want to know? About me?….about the book?……about rising gas prices? (actually, let’s not talk about that last one….I don’t know anything!!)
“A White Coat is My Closet”
Let’s bring it on the screen.
October 27, 2013
Hello, beautiful dreamers!
Anka here, back to talk to you about Steamed Up, DSP’s newest steampunk anthology!
“The Galatea’s Captain” was the first steampunk story I ever completed (and one of my very first completed stories in general, because I’m a total loser). I got a bit experimental with it, so my process, I think, makes for a kooky little anecdote:
Basically, I decided a) I was going to submit a story to the anthology, b) I was going to Google a list of steampunk tropes and include them as many as humanly possible, and c) I’d spice it up with my own individual flavor. It was a fun and challenging experience!
Immediately, I knew that I’d do the lattermost by including lots of characters of color. Most steampunk stories tend to be set in Victorian England, with white English characters, which can make sense, but as a person of color, I wanted a character like me, with various strengths and vulnerabilities, tossed into a setting that intrigued me.
Here’s an excerpt from “The Galatea’s Captain” so you get a quick look at the plot and my protagonist, Kamil, who’s recently lost a limb and commissions the help of a brilliant tinker to fill the emptiness in his life:
The frigid air of Alba, capital city of Camlaan, sends a phantom ache through Kamil Ramses’s bad leg. Despite the chill, a light sheen of sweat begins to mist across his brow when he steps out of the horse-drawn carriage the Duchess of Althea had reserved for them.
Seeing his pinched expression, she hooks his right arm in her left and says, “Oh, Mr. Ramses, please do not tax yourself! I just knew we should have brought along your chair!”
He winces. Ever since his arrival in Camlaan, he’d been sequestered away in the Altheas’ sprawling estate, stuck convalescing in the wooden wheelchair its master had commissioned on his behalf. The cane he now holds, made from ironwood and embellished with gold, is also a gift from the wealthy old couple, but he prefers it immensely. It allows him some autonomy, at least.
“Don’t worry, Your Grace, I’ve become quite accustomed to this by now,” he replies after a moment, smile stilted. If he could, if it would serve to allay her doubts, he would pat her hand.
Instead, he gazes out at the harbor ahead of them. The sea breeze tickles his nose, whipping his long, dark swath of hair around his narrow face in spite of the cord around it. No boats are visible on the water, hidden by the colossal bodies of anchored airships, comprised of various woods and metals, fantastical figureheads carved into their bows. Their colorful sails billow in the wind, blotting out the gray sky above.
Although he misses Siro, his homeland, rather intensely, Kamil admits to himself that Camlaan has many virtues, many incredible, beautiful sights. Perhaps when he recovers, he can pay proper homage to them. If he ever does.
“Shall we continue?” The duchess’s hesitant voice disrupts his reverie.
He flashes her another smile, disarming this time. “Yes, I’m ready now.”
She beams up at him through the netted veil of her hat. Elaborate silvering curls encase her round face, contrasting starkly with the black lace of her gown. Her small hand remains a chaste weight on his arm as she guides him into the heart of the harbor, humming all the while.
“What can you tell me about this Air Pirate Talos?”
So there we have it! An injured philosopher from another land, a “pirate” who ends up not much of a pirate at all, and all of the assorted people who get sucked into their affairs! I hope you’ll read Steamed Up and “The Galatea’s Captain”, and that you enjoy them if you do.
While we’re on the topic, what are some of the things you’d like to see in steampunk that break out of the standard mold of the genre? What settings beside Victorian England? What sort of characters? Did any of the authors in Steamed Up do something in their stories that surprised you? Do tell!
It was a pleasure talking with you all today. Don’t be a stranger! Remember, you can find me, my stories, and links to social networking sites I haunt on the Dreamspinner Press website. Steamed Up is available in ebook and paperback formats.