What Ingredients Should Go Into Your Novel?

I once made the above pie chart after seeing a humorous pie chart on Haruki Murakami's novels.  And to be sure, many the above ingredients are clear and present in many of my books. So there is some truth there.  In the end, the "brand" of your writing appeals or doesn't appeal to a reader because of the ingredients in the cake you're baking.

Some people like very sweet cakes (German Chocolate is one of my favorite). They expect the coconut, the pecans, the frosting, the simple chocolate cake layers.  Leave out an ingredient and the eater is disappointed, just as a reader who likes a certain genre is disappointed if some trademark elements are left out of the story.

One reason I bring up this subject is because I'm starting to work on a new novel.  Some of the ingredients include:  sleep, slumber parties, Japanese fables about dream monsters, the purpose of insomnia.  Well one of my favorite writers is about to release a speculative novel which has some overlap…

And then there were 5. A Buddhist nite in the Windy City.

Tonight I went to my Buddhist meeting.  I was kind of sleepy and hadn't had a chance to eat dinner yet. To be honest, I was grumpy.  I wasn't totally looking forward to going, but I agreed to be the MC and I know that so many times I go to these meetings -- I leave feeling so much happier and glad that I went.

James and I entered Anne's place.  Anne announced:  "It might just be the three of us." Some members had moved out of the area, or were working late.  James noted that he brought his harmonica and he could play for us later if we had time.  We decided to do our evening prayers and chant, and then decide.

During our chanting, we heard some folks come through the front door.  I could see Frances and
another person, who I thought was a regular.  As we were finishing our chant, I looked at the woman closer and didn't recognize her.  "Is she your guest?" I asked Frances.  Frances nodded.  So now we had ingredients for a complete meeting!

We went a…

How Big Is The Circle of Your Friends?

Do you ever think about the circles of your friends? How the circles shrink and grow and morph over time? I do. 
How consciously do you work to expand your those ever-important circles?

So I was talking to a Luther, a male friend, about how I find myself in mid-life with mostly female friends.  I'm a gay man. Nothing wrong with any of that. They're great friends. And many of my female friends are single women in the arts -- so we have things in common.  

But I used to have a larger collection of male friends. Many of them were gay. What happened?  Well, the AIDS crisis took some of those who should rightfully be living beside me today. So there's that. Some others found life partners. And of course any friendship can end with time. Someone moves away. Someone stops keeping the ball rolling on their end. Arguments happen that can't be resolved. And that special chemistry between friends can one day disappear for no reason. You are no longer necessary to each other. Things …

To impeach or not to impeach

The above headline ran in the Independent.
It inspired me to write the following Facebook post:

If we don't do it now, history will judge us and ask, "What were Americans thinking when they let this monster dismantle our beautiful country.  Were they asleep at the wheel?  Did they turn away in jaded indifference?  WTF, did they do nothing to stop him?"  The other two branches -- congress and judicial -- are charged with keeping the president in check.  Do your jobs!  Demonstrations are powerful, signing online petitions is fine.  But getting rid of his unbalanced megalomaniac will take congress and judiciary and the masses working together.  Let's aim for A DAY WITHOUT TRUMP.  And work our way up to 4 years without Trump.

And if nothing else, let's get that special investigation rolling to get to the bottom of Trump's ties to Russia, etc. This is a house not meant to not stand.

Let's hear it for romance

In my life I have had my heart stolen at least three times, each theft lasting less than six months. A lifetime lived in those six months of connection, beauty and loss. 1. Martin Z. -- I met Martin at an event for gay asians, though he was Latino. He was playing pool late that night. He was losing. We started talking and he suggested we grab midnight brunch across the street. He worked with fine metals and had tiny splinters of iron in his hands too small to be removed. He lived downtown and I lived north. One night he dared me to jump in a cab and spend the night. I did exactly that. He was surprised. The next morning, he called in late to work so he could make me pancakes. They were the best pancakes. One night it was raining and he called me from a payphone. "I'm one block away from you. Can I come over?" I said yes. He was drenched and started to take off his wet clothes. I offered him a bathrobe to which he responded, "I'm not shy." I remember that n…

April 9, 2016 -- What's new?

I've decided to put new and evolving info about my books and web design and life in this handy blog page, rather than in the body of my home page.  It's easier to maintain and may encourage me to blog with greater frequency.

NOVELS -- My first novel The Prospect of My Arrival is on Amazon.  It is being shopped around Hollywood as a possible movie or TV project.  My second novel The Hope Store is complete and I want to start shopping it to publishers open to unagented writers.  My third novel Every Time We Say Goodbye is being developed as we speak.

WEB DESIGN -- I'm thinking I might do a Spring Sale for those interested in having me design their websites. Contact me if you're interested.  Samples of my work are on this site.

CUDDLING: GROUP & PRIVATE -- As some of you know the Cuddle Movement has been growing for over a decade.  I started my own meetup group "Cuddle Adventures for Gay Men" about half a year ago and that's going well.  I also became a ce…

Some new services...

Recently I was asked by three different people if I could provide various services and what would I charge.  I didn't know what to say at the time. ​ -- An entrepreneur asked what I would charge for 3 hours of marketing assistance for his new business venture. ​ -- A woman wanted to give a holiday gift to her sister who had finished her memoir.  She was curious what I would charge for my professional feedback on the manuscript. ​ -- A counselor and energy worker offered to pay me to give feedback on how to make his existing website more compelling and effective. ​ ​ Since there is a need, I thought I would expand the services I provide: ​ ​ WEBSITE FEEDBACK FOR EXISTING WEBSITES NEEDING REFRESHING OR A MAKEOVER: $25 an hour.   (Will post Before & After photos on my site.)