Yearly Archives: 2017

13Feb/17

The Ire in my Fire

The ire in my fire

For years – since I started writing – I had railed against people like Jeff Sessions, like Jerry Falwell, about the intentions of the right.
For years I’d talked about The Koch Brothers, the ambitions of the religious, etc.
I grew up in that stuff.
People like to call me angry, they like to point at how cutting my words can be, but I can guarantee you – I didn’t get this way on my own.
I grew up in that world. I know those people. I know the way they think and I was subjected to them and their beliefs. I paid for it in flesh.
While I am encouraged by people standing up, I am discouraged by those who are suddenly aware of the world at the moment – after people like me had been jumping up and down trying to warn you of what was coming.
The religious right isn’t looking for a government that is what you’re familiar with. They are trying to set up the kingdom of God on earth or creating an environment that would bring about that. They don’t believe in democracy. They want a biblical monarchist system.
This is what’s so dangerous about our version of religious extremism.
There has been talking about fear of A Caliphate from radical Islam being set up here but understand these people want to set up the same thing, here.
And we’ve seen a world – in history – where great religions and politics were combined – it was called the dark ages for a reason.
Furthermore, something my husband brought up – is the superficiality of our political awareness. All we do is reiterate into the void the same thing that is being pushed around by media outlets. No one is bothering to learn how the system works, or, they would stop about what CNN wrote and start talking about the issues bubbling under the surface no one is willing to talk about. And that is the realignment of political groups into opposing parties. The U.A.W and the AFL-CIO didn’t do as much when it come to gay rights as say, Google, Apple, these massive corporations that those on the left disparage.
The UAW and the AFL-CIO is interested in protectionism – while the liberal elite is interested in Globalism and the free-flowing exchange of ideas.
Those that work for these unions are usually poor, religious, working class people who at the end of the work week – expect a paycheck that equally balances out the amount of work they’re doing.
That’s why the blue wall, fell. Donald Trump promised them that their jobs would be in place. It’s easy to say – well, they have to get better jobs or go back to school. When a massive voting bloc just flipped you the bird and said, “no. We’re not.”
Texas told my husband’s company that they can fire him if their religious stance is offended by his presence. His company, a massive corporation, said ‘no, we have nondiscriminatory policies and we won’t be doing that.”
All of this simply results in political exasperation because no one feels at home, anymore, in their respective parties. Because the parties no longer represent the interests of its people.
All we’re doing is muddying the water so that no one can identify the problems in government – so they can change it.
Right now, with our globalist ambitions feeding into the free-flowing exchange of ideas – all we have is a bunch of shouting that does nothing but make the situation more opaque than what it needs to be.
So all people do is blame the government for not being what it was never intended to be and the keys to the kingdom are handed over to a tyrant who says he can fix all our problems. That’s exactly what happened in Rome.
That;s what makes me angry. That’s what sets me on fire and puts the bite into my speech. Is that someone stood here shouting – watch what you’re doing and no one paid any attention. People were dismissed as angry.
It is that superficiality that allows the aforementioned to make political gains because there exists so much confusion no one knows who to vote for or who they should be aligned with.

F.E. Feeley Jr

03Feb/17

Arshad Ahsanuddin

February 3, 2017

It gives us great pleasure to announce Arshad Ahsanuddin as the guest on episode 096: Write to Let the Demons Out

This week Arshad Ahsanuddin joins the show to talk about his two series Pact Arcanum and Interscission, how his background led to his stories, gay romance themes in science-fiction/fantasy, and the joys of managing all the self-publishing tasks.

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Bio:

Arshad is a hematopathologist living in Canada. The irony of a physician who specializes in blood disease creating a series of vampire novels has been remarked upon by roughly every person he has ever met.

He’s always been fascinated by the creative arts, and has dabbled in various media from poetry to prose, film photography to digital design. The idea for the Pact Arcanum Saga has been kicking around in his head for over ten years. Why vampires? Because Joss Whedon made them popular back then, just like Stephanie Meyer has now. The story was a product of its times, and he created it purely for fun, never intending to write it down.

He had always wanted to write a novel, though, and started with the story that he had played around with in his head for so long. Purely for practice, you understand. It wasn’t until the words were on paper that he realized how complex and detailed the story had grown. The people he showed it to pushed him into adapting it for publication, and here we all are. It has been an enjoyable obsession and a labor of love.

 

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03Feb/17

Book review: ZENITH The Interscission Project: Book 1 by Arshad Ahsanuddin

REVIEW

Here is a man who knows and loves his sci-fi. I’m guessing (and this is a pure guess) that the author has ingested Star Trek and Deep Space Nine and Stargate and any other space-related series on both telly box and the big screen by osmosis since he was out of diapers. Which is why, when I came across phrases like “it became obvious the mobile device was designed to lock out navigation control and retarget the foldspace drive to jump the ship to a specific set of coordinates – that’s if it survived the gravitic torsion of opening a foldspace gateway inside a planetary well,” I could nod my head and say, ‘yeah, that makes total sense.’

Of course, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but the point is that the author knows his subject so well, that it came across in a way that didn’t make me feel like a dumb schmuck for not totally getting it. There were a lot of instances like this. A lot of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff barely concealing a boiling undercurrent of emotions. And this book has a whole lot of it. Corporate intrigue, revenge, complicated love stories. This is as much a drama of human conflictions as well as a rip-roaring, time-warping adventure.

And it is an adventure on the high and stormy seas of deep space, elevating my heart rate when the tension is ratcheted up. Will they make the jump successfully? Will they ever see their loved-ones again? Who is the saboteur who seems determined to destroy the teleport project in its infancy? I found I was speed-reading just to see what was going to happen next – not because I’d had it with the geeky stuff, but because the book was so gripping. There were a few cornpone phrases (“no-one dies tonight” or something like that…) but I love all that gung-ho stuff. It made the characters human and familiar, in deeply unfamiliar surroundings.

And damn it all, if the author didn’t make his characters so likeable, and cunningly gave them great back stories. The brilliant and mysterious twins, Stella and Edward, Marty, the all-American pilot hero, Charles, his equally capable best friend, the slippery CEO, Henry and taut-jawed Trevor. I loved them all because of their vulnerabilities. And the author cleverly built relationship between them with actions was well as words. It wasn’t so much what they said, as what they didn’t say. There wasn’t a wasted word between them.

And finally, the love element, so heartbreaking, so subtly done. The characters’ sexual identity was dealt with then that was it. I didn’t notice the words, “gay” or “queer” or any of those other adjectives throughout the whole book. There was no feeling of “look, LGBT characters and everyones’ okay with it! Isn’t that great! Love is love!” There was no angst about being gay. No issues that I picked up at all. Everyone just got on with it. People were professional, and more concerned about inter-company relationships affecting their job performance rather than who they wanted to sleep with. I only noticed it because most books do seem to be about the issues surrounding being LGBT, or at least touch on them, because to ignore them isn’t right either. I didn’t feel the book was ignoring the issues, but that in this instance, they really didn’t matter. People are being murdered whilst they try to jump through space and time, for God’s sake! Let’s concentrate on that!

This book is the first part of The Interscission Project trilogy, so there are some unanswered questions, hopefully addressed in the next two books. If you want something science-y and genuinely moving, about humans wrestling with the convoluted mysteries of space and time, as well as those of head and heart, I really recommend this.

Please, Harvey Weinstein, pick this up and make it a movie. Put LGBT characters in the major roles, distribute it all over the world and watch your bank balance go interstellar.

It’s a sure thing.

Arshad Ahsanuddin, March 2014
ISBN:
9781927528402
Language:
English
Pages/Words:
245 pages/71k words

BLURB

Grounded after a rescue attempt in Earth orbit goes bad, Commander Martin Atkins of the Confederation Navy is approached by the Interscission Project, a consortium of civilian corporations on the verge of perfecting the technology to travel to another star. Despite his misgivings, the chance to get back in the pilot’s seat is too much to pass up, and he convinces his best friend and crewmate, Charles Davenport, to leave the military temporarily and join him as part of the crew of the Zenith, humanity’s first starship.

Edward Harlen is a brilliant young engineer, and a key player in the construction of the Zenith to take advantage of the untested technology of foldspace drive. But Edward has his own agenda in joining the project, and a bitterly personal score to settle with his boss, Trevor Sutton, a vendetta of which Trevor is entirely ignorant. But when Edward’s sister Stella enters the picture and manages to secure a position on the project, all of Edward’s careful plotting is upset, and she might spell the downfall not only of his plans for revenge, but of the entire Zenith mission.

The spark of attraction between Edward and Martin is a complication that Edward can’t afford, but of which he can’t let go. For Edward knows the secret at the heart of the Interscission Project, the hidden potential of the technology that in the wrong hands could become the ultimate assassin’s weapon: the ability to rewrite history, not just once, but many times. As an unseen enemy moves to destroy them, and the body count multiplies in their wake, Martin and Edward must choose whether they will allow the possibility of love to challenge their destinies, or will they instead take up arms in a war to control the most ancient and terrible power in the universe.

Time, itself.

27Jan/17

Joe Okonkwo

January 27, 2017

It gives us great pleasure to announce Joe Okonkwo as the guest on episode 095: The Greatest Love of All

This week Joe Okonkwo joins the show to talk about his book Jazz Moon, how he captured historic Harlem and his writing process.

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Bio:

Joe Okonkwo’s debut novel Jazz Moon, set against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance and glittering Jazz Age Paris, was published by Kensington Books in 2016. David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife has called Jazz Moon “A passionate, alive, and original novel about love, race, and jazz in 1920s Harlem and Paris — a moving story of traveling far to find oneself.”

His short stories have appeared in Promethean, Penumbra, Cooper Street, Storychord, LGBTsr.org, Chelsea Station, Shotgun Honey, Best Gay Stories 2015, Best Gay Love Stories 2009, and Keep This Bag Away From Children.

His short story “Cleo” was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize.

Upcoming work will appear in The New Engagement and Gossamer Valentine Stories 2017.

Joe is Prose Editor for Newtown Literary, a journal featuring work by writers from Queens, New York, and Editor of Best Gay Stories 2017 published by Lethe Press.

A cum laude graduate of the University of Houston with a B.A. in theater, Joe made his living in theater for a number of years as an actor, stage manager, director, playwright, and youth theater instructor.

He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from City College of New York.

Joe Okonkwo is represented by the Baldi Literary Agency.

He is a proud resident of the New York City borough of Queens.

 

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20Jan/17

Scott Alexander Hess

January 20, 2017

It gives us great pleasure to announce Scott Alexander Hess as the guest on episode 094: I Know It’s Not a Tweet… But…

This week Scott Alexander Hess joins the show to talk about his writing, reviews, switching between genres and audience reach.

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Bio:

Scott Alexander Hess earned his MFA in creative writing from The New School. He blogs for The Huffington Post and his writing has appeared in Genre Magazine, The Fix, and elsewhere. Hess co-wrote Tom in America, an award winning short film starring Sally Kirkland and Burt Young. His novel The Butcher’s Sons was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Hess now lives in Manhattan, New York with his partner.

 

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13Jan/17

Michael Jensen

January 13, 2017

It gives us great pleasure to announce Michael Jensen as the guest on episode 093: Plans for the Blue Hoodie!

This week Michael Jensen joins the show to talk about his start as a journalist, the evolution of LGBT voices, historical figures in fiction, and self publishing.

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Bio:

Michael Jensen is an author and editor. His books of gay historical fiction include two series, The Drowning World, which is set in 5500 B.C., and The Savage Land, which takes place on the American frontier. Man & Monster, the second book in The Savage Land series, was a Lambda Award Finalist (under the title Firelands).

Michael is also the co-founder of AfterElton.com, which covered pop culture for gay and bisexual men, and eventually became one of the largest and most influential LGBT websites on the internet. In 2006, AfterElton.com was sold to MTV/Viacom in a multimillion dollar deal. As editor, Michael interviewed hundreds of writers, directors, and actors, breaking numerous stories and advancing the issue of LGBT visibility in Hollywood.

Michael lives in Seattle, WA with his husband, writer Brent Hartinger.

 

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06Jan/17

2017 The Year of Personal Inspiration

For Episode 092 SA Collins and Vance Bastian say goodbye to 2016, discuss the impact that some of the lost celebrities had on them, and then welcome in 2017 with a commitment to be inspired!

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