Tag Archives: sexual orientation

It is with a Heavy Heart that I Bid a Sad Adieu

I came up with the title of my novel, The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor, early on in its development and I have grown to love it as I have any other part of my existence, such as my left pinkie finger, my crooked nose, my restless and weary soul. However, after seven years since the book’s publishing, and despite the fond things that have been said and written about the story (and a few not-so fond things), I’m afraid it’s time for me to admit that my beloved title and book cover have failed in their efforts to attract new and varied readers.

The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor

Well, regardless whether it’s the fault of the title and cover or not, it had become glaringly evident to me a long while ago that some serious shaking up with the book was needed. It took me a while, but it has finally come time for the shaking to begin.

My rationale for changing the title – and the book cover, as well – is based upon a gut feeling I’ve had since not too long after the book was published: They were both too navy-centric in their words and imagery, which I suspect have turned off many readers who don’t prefer the military genre, a genre which I have never identified this book to be. I’ve always classified it as literary fiction and a psychological suspense novel.

While the story is certainly set within a military environment – a laid-up warship homeported out of Yokosuka, Japan – its story is not necessarily a military one. It, like most stories written from and of the soul, is a universal story. It is a story about our prejudices, our stereotypes, our identity. The stuff all humans struggle with frequently, regardless the setting they happen to be in.

As it is, the old title and the old book cover essentially scream to prospective readers that this is a military-centric book, and only that.

That being said, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the new title and the new cover for my old novel.

INSIDE THE SKIN BOOK COVER

The new title, Inside the Skin, which is also the title of the story’s second chapter, is derived from the saying inside the skin of the ship, which is navy-speak for simply being or going inside the ship. But seeing how the story’s focus is on one’s identity and sexual orientation, the saying also makes a good metaphor for those themes, as well. We are who we are on the inside, regardless how anyone else wants to label us. As many of us know, one of the main aspects, and sometimes the hardest, of our journey through life is trying to find comfort within our own skin.

As for the book cover, I chose the image firstly because I think it looks cool. I also like how the chain link imagery speaks to the theme of the book – we are trapped within who we are whether we like it or not. It also reminds me of how sometimes it felt like being in a prison when out to sea for long periods of time. The amazing image used for the book cover comes courtesy of Ricardo Gomez Angel of UNSPLASH.COM. If you’d like, you can see it in its original form here. The font, “GOOD TIMES REGULAR,” is courtesy of Raymond Larabie of 1001FONTS.COM and can be seen here.

There is still some work for me to do – new ISBNs, updating the front matter, et cetera – so it will take several days before I begin to initiate the updates to all the various distributors, so you still have some time to get you a copy of the print edition with the old cover.

Hey, never know. It may be worth some money some day…

Fingers crossed.

I guess I should add that I’ve made the ebook version permanently free everywhere (at least for the indefinite future). You can find links to all the various retailers on its About page.

Anyway, regardless whether or not you think the new title intriguing or the new book cover snazzy, I hope you find the story enjoyable because that is what matters most to me.

GET YOUR FREE COPY!
 
 

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Why does it seem stars from my generation* have such a hard time staying alive?

What gives, yo?

I mean, life’s a bitch and all but come on Gen Xers, don’t let all that depressing music from the Nineties go to your head…

Or your heart.

Man**…

I tell ya, last year we lost such notable Gen Xers as Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell*** and, before them, Scott Weiland a couple years ago, not to mention all those Gen Xer stars we lost early in their prime: Kurt Cobain, Tupac, Biggie, Layne Staley, Shannon Hoon, Bradley Nowell, and god knows how many others I’ve failed to mention.

And now this year we continue the tragic Gen X endings with the tragic death of Dolores O’Riordan.

By the time my generation gets in its natural zone of death, it seems all the stars from it will be long gone with no big names left for me to pay tribute.

But, as is evident by Delores’ recent passing, it’s painfully obvious the premature dying off of famous Gen Xers will continue unabated and I sincerely would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to the life of Dolores, for hers was a unique and beautiful voice that defined my generation*.

Sadly, like the death of Scott Weiland, I kind of saw it coming
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INSIDE THE SKIN

A Story For the Misaligned, Sailor Or Otherwise

[UPDATE: The title of this novel has been changed to INSIDE THE SKIN]


 
From the Dedication Page:

This book is dedicated to anyone — regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender and all its breathless facets, sexual orientation, non-sexual orientation, sexual non-orientation, spirituality or lack thereof, religion or lack thereof, nationality or lack thereof, political affiliation or lack thereof, occupation or lack thereof, education or lack thereof, good looks or lack thereof, height, weight, shoe size, or any other ways we have identified and implemented as means to compare and contrast and separate and segregate and relegate and rank ourselves as humans — who has ever once regretted his or her or their identity.

This book, then, is for us, all of us.

You can learn more here.

 
 

Hey Author, let’s make a deal (condensed version)

Sometimes the mojo magic gets to workin’ in me and gets me going on a post and before I know it that post is a mile long…

Such is the painfully apparent case with the original “Hey Author, let’s make a deal” post.

Yeah…I went to read over it again this morning, before my coffee had a chance to bake in…not good.

That sucker’s so long it makes the Great Wall of China look like the Just Above Average Wall of China…

It’s so long it looks like I’m getting nothing but sympathy “Likes” on it. You know those kind of “Likes”…if I “Like” it, maybe it will then just go away…

Yeah…I understand.

But what I’m trying to do with the post is important to me so I’m compelled to shorten things up a bit so you can actually finish reading something of mine in at least one sitting.

So, to reiterate what I reiterated way too many times in the original post but what you probably managed not to read anyway, here are the key points of what is so important to me and what I would like us both to do:


Your tasks:
1. Like this or/and the original post
2. Follow this website
3. Subscribe to my newsletter (this is key…I know, everyone hates to do this but please do)
4. Purchase my short story LEAVE
5. Write a smokin’ hot review for it


My tasks:
1. Finish reading and reviewing HANDS OF EVIL
2. Pick the best smokin’ hot review of LEAVE
3. Ensure author of smokin’ hot review meets all eligibility requirements
4. Purchase a book or story of author of chosen smokin’ hot review
5. Read the author’s book
6. Review the author’s book
7. Publish the review of author’s book here
8. Publish the review of author’s book at Amazon
9. Publish the review of author’s book at Goodreads
10. Publish my review of author’s book, the author’s review of my short story, and an accompanying author profile, in my newsletter (<–click to subscribe).

(Since newsletters are probably the best way to engage with your readers, I strongly encourage all of you to fire one up, as well. If you do, let me know. I’d be happy to subscribe. (: )


That’s the crux of it…short and to the point.

Just like the original.

. . . .

Um, excuse me, before you go. . .

I know, I know. . .

But before you go, I’d like to say something real quick about my short story LEAVE…and this applies to all my stories, including my book The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor, with a navy setting.

I am always receiving feedback from readers of my so-called “navy stories” that initially the readers were hesitant to read them because, let’s face it, who really cares about what’s going on in the navy. Aren’t they the kind of stories that only a certain kind of people, sailor people perhaps, would only want to read?

My answer to that is, sure these are stories with a navy setting, but they aren’t necessarily about just navy things.

Because all this is so fundamental to who I am, I have been planning to discuss all this much more in depth later, but in my About page I mention that I consider myself a Human Relations kind of guy. I believe I am qualified to say that because I spent a good chunk of my life studying humans…

I spent three months at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute for some hardcore Diversity and EO training.

I was then certified as a Navy Equal Opportunity Advisor, where I worked daily managing EO issues and providing EO and Diversity training all throughout the navy’s Western Pacific operating area.

And, I have a masters degree in Human Relations (go figure).

So my “navy stories” are mostly about what most stories are about — humans and how we relate with each other. Which is often, not so well.

And these stories specifically put a special emphasis on those difficult relationships…relationships dealing with sexual orientation and race and gender issues and our perceptions and stereotypes of them and the harassment and harm we sometimes inflict on each over them.

So yeah, these stories, most of which you can read online for free right here, are navy stories in the sense that that is where they are set. . .

But it was my intent and my hope that they be stories that transcend way beyond just the navy and right into the heart of all of us.

 
 

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The Extreme Costs of Extremities

Yes, as a nation, we love our freedom.

I love my freedom.

Freedom is so completely fundamental to the essence of who we are, of who I am, that I cannot even begin to imagine living in a country where I couldn’t speak my mind, or where I couldn’t dress the way I wanted to dress, or where I couldn’t love whomever I wanted to love regardless of his or her race, religion, sex, gender, height, blood type, shoe size, whatever, or where I couldn’t worship the God(s) I wanted to worship.

I simply cannot imagine living a life without the freedom to live exactly as who I want to be, not as just who I am born to be.

In my view, to maintain our freedom means we have to be able to tolerate a lot of ignorant bullshit, even if it’s as ignorant and disgusting as that of the Westboro Baptist Church.

The Supreme Court agrees with me.

If tolerating the non-violent, First Amendment-sanctioned views and expressions of the Westboro Baptist Church, or the KKK, or the Nation of Islam, or any other hate group is the price we have to pay for our uncompromised freedom, then it must be paid.

It’s worth every penny.

There are higher prices to pay.

People around the world are paying them on a daily basis.

Shahbaz Bhatti just paid the highest price anyone could pay.

Shahbaz Bhatti was the only Christian minister of parliament in Pakistan.

He recently was assasinated by muslim extremists because of his faith.

Muslim extremists hate freedom even more than Westboro Baptist Church extremists do.

As far as I know, no Westboro Baptist Church extremist has murdered over his or her extremist views.

They have stayed with the boundaries that our Rule of Law has set.

As messy and distasteful as the Rule of Law sometimes is, Americans should be ever so thankful to live in a country that abides by it.

Many countries don’t.

Pakistan is trying to but it’s a difficult and dangerous struggle for them.

MP Bhatti lost his life over this struggle.

He was a very courageous man.

He knew that his life was in constant danger because of his beliefs.

He testifies as such in this video.

It is a very powerful testimony of faith and courage.

 

Shahbaz Bhatti did not shy away from the struggle for freedom.

He embraced it.

He embraced it because he understood how rare and valuable freedom is.

He was even willing to pay the ultimate price for it.

And sadly, he ultimately did.

~~~~

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