In his secret life is a finalist for a Lambda award in the bisexual fiction category

 

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Very shocked to say Davinder made it to the lammys.

In the bi fiction category too.

The most amazing thing is the company the book is in. I`m really overwhelmed to see the other finalists’ names right there with In his secret life…

I love Allen and Davinder! They took me there. Those characters are the reason the book made it this far.

Today is mom’s birthday. She would have been sixty-two years old if leukemia had not killed her. I believe this is her way of telling me to keep writing.

Those who follow me a little know I have had bad reviews for my last two books, but hey, I`m still here and still writing and hoping to woe you again.

Thanks to all of you on here who still buy and read books that are queer or gay or bi…written by guys or girls, straight or queer. As a bi woman, to be a finalist in the bi fiction category is EXTRA fucking special. I’ll tell you that much.

Now all I need is a bus ticket to New York:-)

This love ain’t finished yet

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When Derek left Nick, he promised himself he’d never look back.

But almost a year has passed since then, and though Derek has found a new home, a new job, and new meaning to his life, his scars won’t heal, and Nick’s name is still written inside his purple heart.

All around him, everything and everyone is moving on, but Derek remains the same―a grown man with the heart of an eleven-year-old boy.

Until Nick does something that changes everything. Nick’s silent, but desperate cry for Derek, forces Derek to finally awaken to his own truth…  It’s time for him to rise up and out of the ashes. It’s time for Derek to claim back the man that was, still is, and always will be, his one and only true love.

Release date: December 2013

60 000 words, 1.99$

Loneliness in red and blue

“Only 28% of bisexuals have come out because of stereotypes in the straight and gay communities that they’re sex-crazed or incapable of monogamy, a new study shows.”

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“The stereotypes, the biases, the invisibility, the lack of inclusion: These might be considered the top four reasons that many individuals who would otherwise readily identify as bisexual decide to maintain a distance from the label.”

“When someone asks a bisexual person if their sexual orientation is a choice, they are often wondering, “Could you be heterosexual or gay if you just tried hard enough?”

 

 

 

My new obsession with Jean Genet

Better late than never, they say.

Why am I just discovering this man’s work? Seriously, this is an important question. I’m a very curious girl by nature–always trying to deepened my thoughts and broadened my suburban-white-girl-franco-catholic horizons,  but sometimes, no matter how much I seek out knowledge and am willing to question everything I was taught, I still miss out on some incredibly important passages or people in history.

Especially if they’re queer. Or women. Or not white.

Because, those other subjects aren’t so easy to come by or find, even with the internet. You need to know what you’re looking for to find it online. What I’m trying to say is, everything I’ve ever discovered about people like me, has been accidental. Almost like a fluke. That doesn’t feel very safe or comforting. By safe, I mean, it doesn’t feel like I can trust what’s in front of my eyes. I have to put my face real close to the mainstream/straight/white guy/ veil in order to see on the other side.

For the femininity and queerness and ethnicity of the world to reveal itself to me…

I love David Bowie. Big surprise, right? :-) I used to sing to his song Jean Genie all the time, as a teenager. I loved the lyrics. I wanted to know what David meant. I wanted to know who this person was he was singing about…There was something in that song that connected with me. Something resonated with me. But this is before the internet and search engines. I didn’t know anything about David Bowie’s personal life and couldn’t put things together. Couldn’t connect the queer dots.

It’s lonely growing up when your friends fantasize about Corey Hart, while you secretly fall in love with Boy George and wonder what’s wrong with you.

Back to Jean Genie. Or Jean Genet, as I found out this week. Twenty years later, I’m finally putting the pieces together. David Bowie wrote that song with Genet in mind, and when I looked up Jean Genet’s work, something inside me leaped. Like if you found out, that for the last years, every time you turned on the radio, your favorite song had just ended. You never got to listen to it, yet it was always playing for you if you could have just tuned in earlier.

I watched Un chant D’Amour this week, a controversial little film made in the 50s , by Genet, about two prisoners in joining cells, sharing a wall, and much more than that. I won’t say more about it…It’s beautiful and erotic.

Genet wrote Querelle a Brest and a movie was made of it. It stars Brad Davis, and here’s another Ha-ah moment for me: for a long time, my favorite movie was Midnight Express. There was something about that character which again resonated with me. I never saw Brad Davis again, until this week, when I watched Querelle. Turns out, he was bi and married and passed away from an AIDS related illness in his forties. Again, that made my little brain reel.

All this connections…It makes you feel less lonely in the world, I suppose.

Why did it take me twenty years to discover Genet? Because, unlike Ridley Scott or Micheal Bay, or whoever else making movies out there, he was a queer man and somewhat of an underground artist. Yet, he was important man, and very much an activist. I should have been told about him at some point during my education. High School or Cegep, Drama, something, people. Please.

Why do queer people have to work so fucking hard to find these things out? I want my queer culture on a silver platter.

Then again, maybe not. Maybe it’s better this way. Maybe this connecting the dots things is what keeps me searching, learning, and questioning.

But more importantly, it keeps me dreaming too.

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Mr. Lonely

I picked up a Liepke reproduction at a thrift shop and after hanging up and staring at it for minutes with pure satisfaction, I checked up on the artist online and found treasure after treasure.

Sometimes, it only takes a song or a picture to get my imagination going…This guy has a story in my mind, and I’m going to write it. :-)Image

Papademos!

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I had the chance to hear Basil read at the Bar Fly this week and really loved his presence on stage. His book, MountRoyal, is stirring up a lot of attention. He’s definitely an author to watch out for in the next year.

Montreal, late eighties, and Johnny is hooked on junk. 
In the “Open city”, he struggles to feed his habit alongside a cast of characters which act a bit like a fucked up Greek chorus, and all is pretty tolerable until Tony, their main pusher gets “relieved of his duties” for fronting too many times and coming up short, and good ol’ Johnny is handed a pager by The Man and steps into Tony’s shoes.

Thus begins a downward spiral for our hero, as he runs from whore, to girlfriend, to potential lover, to mama’s boys, to paranoid conspiracy theorist transsexual, to dominatrix, to pretty boy gigolos, trying to keep everybody satisfied and high, and accomplishing this marvelous feet while keeping his own habit on the level. 

These adventures of the damned take place in the claustrophobic neighborhood around the Main, in spots like La Cabane, The Bar Fly, The Bifteck, les Foufs, and around old Griffintown and the Milton district. For a Montrealer who still hangs around some of these places, it was simply fantastic to read about these iconic spots in all of their eighties’ glory. 

The writing is reminiscent of Henry Miller and has all of Burroughs wonderful wit and darkness, but the cool thing about Papademos’ narrator, is that he isn’t a writer or an artist, and so, there isn’t a sense of an outsider looking into the peephole. We are in the room with these people and someone is looking at us. Not the other way around.
Adding to this, is the tone of the novel, which begins with a sort of frenzied despair, and slowly releases into a more melancholic, almost contemplative mood.

The novel ends with the Montreal Massacre, and I loved the way nothing but a few sentences were enough to give me chills.

Now, what about the MountRoyal in all this?

The Mountain is a character is this book. It acts as a temptress, a mother, a sister-in-arms, a vixen, a teacher, and for some, it is the Grim Reaper, come to claim her dues.

The language is sharp, the prose is at times richly poetic, the insights are great and right-on, and there is of course, just enough controversy and sex to quickened the blood.

It depicts a time when Montreal was indeed, an open city, when there was a sense of freedom here…
It really is a snapshot of a time and place worth remembering and this novel should and will take its place in the ranks of those important novels, alongside those books which chronicle the underbelly of cities. 

Those books that show us the stained panties under the million dollar dress.

Montreal, my purple city.

Our mayor has been arrested…

Funny how I really can’t make myself care about Montreal’s downward spiral into the gutter. It’s dirty, it’s crooked, it’s falling apart. Yeah, so? I have a feeling things aren’t rosier in other cities–they just don’t have a commission looking into their closets. 

And for people like me, it doesn’t really matter anymore who runs the show. I still have to pay for my bus pass, even when the metro breaks almost every other day, and I still have to pay my rent increase every year because my landlord tells me she’s struggling with inflation (how about selling the cottage house and not building that extension to your already gigantic house, hm?) and I still have to put up with Hydro upping the bill every year, but wait Péladeau will take care of that, right? I still have to pay for car repairs on my old car because of how bad the roads are here  (which by the way technically my car is so old they want to make it illegal for me to drive it). Still have to find a decent school to send my kids too that won’t cost me a kidney.

But you know, I can deal with that. What really PISSES me off is the price of wine here. Damn, as Oscar Wilde said, “work is the curse of the drinking classes”. 

Let us at least have a cheap bottle of wine readily available when we desire it.

I had dinner with an author I greatly admire and he told me about the low cost of living in Thailand. Then I have someone tell me about the low cost of living in South America, and oh, another one tells me about the low cost of living in such and such a place…Then why are they all back here, in good ol’ Montreal?

There must be something in the water. 

Oh wait, there actually was something in the water. We had to boil it for 36 hours a few weeks ago.

What is it about this city? She’s not Paris, and can’t quite match New York, and yet, there’s something about her. Montreal has that “je ne sais quoi” written all over her body. 

She’s queer, that’s what it is. Oh yes. I’d even claim her as being bi. There isn’t a city quite as split as Montreal in North America. And according to the latest studies, bi people have poorer mental and physical health than gay or straight folks. It’s all the purple in our blood, I guess.

When I look around my city streets, I see what neglect has done to her. There’s a sad mixture of indifference and possessiveness here. Like a bi girl at a party where half of the room is gay and the other half, straight. Some want to claim her, some just ignore her.

The francos and anglos here generally want Montreal to pick a side, and at other times, they just look the other way, and corruption seeps into our city’s heart.

I want Montreal to say, “Fuck you, I am what I am. Anglo. Franco. Multi-faced. Open minded. Welcoming. Bohemian. Business. A place to learn and live and party.”

We don’t need another mayor. We need a leader.

For fun, here are my choices:

4-Atticus from To kill a mockingbird. (Compassion and intelligence, anyone?)

3-John Galt from Atlas Shrugged (corruption? Nah, I don’t think so.)

2-Elinor Dashwood from Sense and sensibility (but we’d have to leave all of the festival planning to her sister)

And my number one…The little prince. 

At least, the child understand accountability.

And besides, if we’re all going to be in the gutter, we should be looking up to the stars…

Preferably with a glass of wine. Not cheap, but inexpensive.:-)

 

 

 

 

Give me art. Give me failure.

I’m waiting on an answer from my publisher for the new book…

Meanwhile, I am writing my words every day and planning out the summer. I have a big family and a tiny budget, so hey, I need to get creative most of the time. However, one thing I hope we can pull off, is Québec City’s Music Fest. The line up is impressive and exciting, from Stevie Wonder, to GNR. And I have this “date” with Axl Rose from the time I was sixteen and he came to Montreal and ditched the show. I still remember running through the alleys with my asthmatic little brother, trying to find refuge from the SWAT team. I’d slept on the sidewalk for a night to get those GNR tickets. 

I’m old now, so I’ll just buy them with my credit card online this time around. How times change.

So anyway, plan is, to pack the family in our ol’ beat up 1998 Plymouth and drive to the old city and find some cheap camp site and see as many shows as we can cram in three days. 

It’s going to be a hot summer in Montreal and I plan on making the best of it. There’s going to be a lot of things happening and I intend on making good use of my two legs and hitting the pavement. Being straight is for the winter.

It’s summer time now. The queer in me is aching to get out. :-)

By the way, In his secret life, my new novel is getting really good reviews and I am shocked. I’d blogged about how I thought it would bomb and how people would hate Davinder, the bi man in the book. Turns out, I underestimated my readers and I’m sorry:-( 

So far, people say it’s my best book. See, you can never tell. Shows you how clueless writers can be about what works and what doesn’t. Also tells me I should just keeping writing what I love and be true about it. The rest will come.

But it sure takes a long time. I’ve been giving this career a lot of fuckin’ foreplay and I need to see some satisfaction for a change!

if you detect a little bitterness there…well, you’re right. I was on amazon, looking at my ranking like I do sometimes (sometimes–yeah right), and I saw Dan Brown came out with a new book just about around the time In his secret life came out. It’s called Inferno…I refuse to comment on other writer’s work (if they’re alive and I’m only going to say things like this sucks so bad I wake up at night just to remind myself how much I hate it, or God doesn’t exist, this proves it) and anyway, the book ranks number one and it has already rendered 2500+ reviews.

I’m certain it’s a fine story.

I just wonder what I’d write if I had three years to produce a novel and I could chose to go wherever I desired on the face of the earth to research my work, and had a team of experts willing to double check everything for me, and an agent, a publicist…And MONEY lots and lots of MONEY.

Would that make me a better writer? 

I don’t know…but the best books have often come out of the worst times in an author’ life. When I am stressed out about money and family issues, and sitting there with only two hours to write before I need to tend to real life, and the fucking pressure is on, and I think, “How the fuck am I going to write in this state?” And I stare at my screen, and I wonder why am I still doing this? Am I one book away from making a living out of this? Two books? Five? Never? When do I stop? When do I give up and go work at the pharmacy? 

In those moments, I write my best. I write from a place of hunger and hope and mostly, I write from that place that can’t take the daily minutia anymore and needs to escape–needs to forget. And see, that’s when I actually do forget and forgetting is the best way to write. You’re not thinking about ranking and branding and readers and royalty checks and reviews and expectations…you’re thinking about nothing. The characters are thinking now.

So, if I was in Florence, had all the money I needed, and loads of time to write a book…I’d get drunk every day, make new friends every evening, and forget why I was there in the first place. 

If I had money and time, I’d probably write like shit and never sell a book in my life.

All right, so, the key to my success as an artist is commercial failure. :-)

Hm…I’m going to go check my sales ranking again.

 

 

Dream a little dream of me.

I realize I haven’t blogged here in almost a year!

Well, here I am, and here you are, and how are you?

How was the last half of 2012 and first half of 2013 for you?

I’m very superstitious and neurotic about the length of my life. I always have this sick feeling I’ll die young and so on December 21st, I was in a hotel room in Florida and very sick with the flu and sort of delirious on a knock-off NyQuil I bought and ingested like maple  syrup, and anyway, I woke up around midnight, and had a powerful moment, which was like: “Oh my God, I’m so tired of being this fucking scared all the time.” 

I went back to sleep and dreamed of the end of the world. I have lucid dreams, (I just find out about that this year, I thought everyone dreamed like this) and this means that a lot of the time I’m not sure if I’m awake or not. Some nights or mornings, I have to do certain things in a certain order to make sure I am indeed, awake. I’ve battled demons all around my apartment in the last years. I’ve been nearly driven mad by these dreams. I’ve battled immense spiritual beings in the last years, always in this waking dream that seems to be attached to my brain like an actual tumor. But there’s nothing wrong with my brain.

Except that I have so much imagination and I am hypersensitive and it creates such a deep night around my head when I sleep. The night is a door. A porthole. 

I also suffer from sleep paralysis and for anyone who knows what that is like, you understand what kind of fears and panic this can bring. But I have worked on it for a long time and I’m actually trying to use these moments to go deeper into my mind and psyche.

Okay…Why am I telling you all this? 

Sometimes people ask why I became a writer…

I didn’t become a writer. I was born unhappy with reality. And didn’t have the means to become much of anything else. This is a cheap way to do the things I long and dream of.

So much so, that the ghosts and demons of everything I have to repress and compromise every day to make it here, in 2013, come out and play with me at night. 

If I don’t sit down at a computer six hours a day and write, I’m fucked, people.:-)

But as grim as this seems, I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t want to tone the magic down. Wouldn’t want to cut out the noise out of my nights. 

I mean, when are we really awake? 

I think I’m awake when I’m making love. Or on the dance floor on Saturday nights. Or listening to music. Or maybe cooking, yeah. 

But when I’m writing, I am asleep in the arms of the world.

And you? When do you feel lucid and awake? 

 

Young hearts

I read somewhere that you must do something that scares you everyday.

To me, that would be touching a pigeon or having a conversation with Linda Blair in her full The Exorcist make-up.

But I don’t think that’s what the author meant.

I suppose what he or she meant was, every day we need to push ourselves to step out of our comfort zone. Whatever that zone is. And in doing so, we quicken our heart and make it young again, if only for a moment.

When I was a kid, I took immense pleasure in trying new things. As a matter a fact, childhood is pretty much a long string of new things. That’s what makes it so intensely beautiful. We grow up and older, and new things are slowly replaced by familiar things, and though that’s quite all right, once in awhile, the child inside peeks out through our eyes and sighs, “Boring.”

That’s when you have to indulge her a little.

I was very afraid of going to London on my own, stepping up on stage to read in front of strangers. So much so that a few days before the event, I almost called it off.

But the little girl in me wanted to see about something…

The train trip went very well. Debra and her wife Karen were fantastic, warm, and so welcoming. I met readers there and shook their hands and took the time to speak with them. Sky Gilbert and Allison Wearing made me laugh and think sideways. They are both talented and lively. I read my work and connected with the audience.

I survived.

:-)

On the train ride back, I thought about the little girl who sometimes peers through my eyes and looks at this great big terrifying world…

What does she see in it?

Maybe she still sees possibilities. Happiness to be had. Maybe she allows herself to feel hope and excitement about the future.

Maybe she even believes in it.

Hm. Maybe.

I closed my eyes and listened to the -thump-thump-thumping of the train…