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April 2011


my (our) books

Fool for Love When You Don't See Me

Someone Like You I'm Your Man

He's The One It Had To Be You

The Mammoth Book of New Gay Erotica Best Gay Erotica 2007

Best Gay Love Stories: New York City Best Gay Love Stories 2005

Three Fortunes In One Cookie The Deal


If you have any of the above books and would like them signed, mail them to:

P.O. Box 131845, Houston, TX., 77219.

Please include three dollars for return postage.

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Warning: This blog may contain homosexuals which in the states of California and Maine have been alleged to destroy the sanctity of marriage. Read at your own risk.


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AIDS foundation houston

bering omega community services

frannie peabody center

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Previous 10

May. 14th, 2009

i know there's something going on

I think I neglected to ever mention that Becky and I are going to New Orleans today to attend Saints & Sinners. I just assume that everyone who reads me also reads Becky's LJ, and certainly she's mentioned it, but I suppose that's not always the case. If you feel misinformed, you're in fairly good company, because I didn't even tell Rex. He's been glued to my side all morning, however, obviously aware that something's going on. The laundry! The luggage! The grabbing of shoes and packing shirts that will never see the light of day! That puppy was taken to a boarding facility!

Yes, Maverick is still here and he's being boarded at Happy Tails while we're gone. I dropped him off last night and, ever since then, Rex has been set to Perma-Nap. Every time I see him he's curled up in a little ball, resting his eyes. If I move, he leaps up to follow, but then falls into a heap on the floor wherever stop for more than fifteen seconds. Someone's not exactly a youngster anymore. And he wants me to know that he's my one and only dog. That could very well be true. We'll see.

I wish I could take Rex with us. I always hate leaving him behind. If more of you would buy Fool For Love and foist it upon your friends and relatives, then maybe Becky and I would be best-selling writer/editors and could justify having the sort of eccentric behavior that allows one to bring a caustic kangaroo dog on speed with them wherever they go. Until then, Rex will have to stay home and darn socks, or trade stocks, or something.

At Saints & Sinners, Becky and I are hosting a Fool For Love reading. Some of our contributors will be there and will read from their stories. I forget which day this is happening. Tomorrow? Saturday? Sunday? One of those days, for sure. I could look it up, I suppose, but I can't be bothered right now. I'm too busy wondering what I've forgotten to pack. We're driving to New Orleans and last night Becky asked when I thought I'd wake up today. I hoped that I'd sleep in and wake up around 9 AM. (Whoever thought that one day I'd consider that hour of the day as sleeping in? Not me!) I "slept in" until 7:30 this morning. A whole half-hour. Woohoo! I didn't get much sleep last night, because I was anxious and running through every what-might-happen-if-my-lung-collapses-while-in-New Orleans scenario in my head until very, very late. I've been doing this nightly all week, so I'm damn tired today. Which probably means that I've packed twenty pair of underwear and one shirt for four days.

Jan. 26th, 2009


I'm at a loss at the moment, because I don't have a cute How I Met Jeffrey Ricker story to introduce this interview. I haven't met the man yet, and I can't remember how I initially became aware of him. Was it in comments on Rob Byrnes' blog? Perhaps. Was it word of mouth, while talking with another writer about other writers we know? Maybe. Did he contact us first? I wish I was better organized, and maybe I could confirm or deny that supposition.

In any case, it doesn't matter much. Something compelled us to send Jeffrey Ricker an email and ask him to submit a story for Fool For Love, and I'm glad we did, because Jeffrey is a good storyteller. And not only is he a good storyteller, but he's a professional. The story he submitted was compelling. It was well edited. It was formatted to industry standard. It was sent on time. It was accompanied by a polite and respectful email. Everything about Jeffrey and his story was an editor's wet dream come true.

Unfortunately, as Jeffrey reminded me in the following interview, we rejected his first submission. But, because he was such a professional and a good writer, Becky and I had no trouble getting in touch with another editor who was editing an anthology more suitable for Jeffrey's story and submitted it on his behalf along with a glowing recommendation. Then, we asked Jeffrey to try again. Luckily for us, he did. His second submission, a story titled "At the End of the Leash," suited our needs perfectly and we were pleased to accept it.

While attending the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival one year I sat in the audience for a panel discussion titled "It's a Business, People," a class reminding people that writing is a business and how to treat it accordingly. At the end of our interview, Jeffrey told me that he'll be attending Saints and Sinners this year. I'm looking forward to finally meeting him in person when I'm there. Because he's a good writer who's easy to work with and fun to talk to, I'll have no problem grabbing him if he's nearby and introducing him to everyone I know, saying, "Work with this guy. He's great!"

Timothy J. Lambert: First "Dakota" and now "At The End Of The Leash." I know you're working on a novel. Is it about a dog?

Jeffrey Ricker: There's a dog in it, but it's not about a dog. And let's hope the book actually isn't a dog, either. I've got a couple ideas in the "I'll get to this later" file that have to do with dogs, and one of them may or may not be a book. I don't know. They're waiting patiently for now. I love cats just as much as I love dogs, but for some reason I find them harder to write about.

TJL: You're also a journalist. Which do you prefer writing, articles, personal essay, memoir, or fiction?

JR: Definitely fiction. One of the main reasons I didn't become a working journalist is because I hate reporting. Loathe, loathe, loathe it with a hot, fiery passion. I love to interview people, though, when I'm interested in them or in what they do, but covering a city council meeting? Please, never again. Also, trying to get people to talk to you when they would rather give themselves a root canal is not a pleasant experience for either party.

TJL: What comes to you first when you're starting to write fiction, a character, a plot, the setting, or...?Or what? Click here for more with Jeffrey Ricker.Collapse )


Fool For Love: New Gay Fiction, which includes "At the End of the Leash" by Jeffrey Ricker, will be published in January 2009--any day now!--by Cleis Press. Click here to order it from

Previous fools for love:

Josh Helmin

Joel Derfner

Trebor Healey

Rob Byrnes

Felice Picano

Brandon M. Long

Shawn Anniston

Mark G. Harris

David Puterbaugh

Jan. 21st, 2009

international bright young thing

Much to my mother's chagrin, I'm one of those stubborn sorts who, if you tell me I have to do something, will do the exact opposite. Because of this characteristic, I haven't seen a lot of popular movies, jumped on the Amy Winehouse bandwagon, or cleaned my room in years. Nor did I get hooked on the blog Josh & Josh Are Rich And Famous until months after the fact when Becky told me how much she enjoyed tuning in to their adventures and suggested I do the same.

"They're cute."

"Uh huh."

"They live in Minneapolis and are planning on moving to Manhattan."

"Uh huh."

"I like their point of view. They have a unique voice."

"Uh huh."

"I'll send you the link, in case you feel like checking it out."


Weeks later, I found the link again and realized I wouldn't have to get out of my chair to view it. Why not? I clicked, went back to their first post, and was immediately sucked in. Becky was right, as she so often is, about their unique voice and interesting point of view. I followed their move to Manhattan with interest and was reminded of when I'd made a similar journey years earlier when I was around their age.

Over time, one of the Joshes, Josh Helmin, revealed his aspiration to be a writer. Becky and I filed that fact away in our brains and recalled the info later when we were looking for contributors to Fool For Love: New Gay Fiction.

Timothy J. Lambert: I killed a lot of brain cells in the 1990s. Remind me of how you came to be in our anthology.

Josh Helmin: Well, good sir, if I remember correctly, I believe the whole adventure started when you and Becky began reading the blog that I write with my best friend and something you saw there gave you an inkling that perhaps I might be an eligible authorial candidate for your anthology. The rest, as they say, is history.

TJL: Were you surprised that we contacted you for a story?

JH: Was I surprised? Oh my god, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I was 22, I had just moved to New York City with my best friend, and we were trying to make our way from the bottom up in the creative world, and you and Becky asking for a piece was the first big break that I got as a New Yorker. It was incredible. I remember staying in on Friday nights while my roommates were out painting the town several shades of pink and I'd sit at this unfinished Ikea table in the corner of our awkward New York kitchen and write and write and write. And then "Like No One's Watching" was born.

TJL: Because someone might learn something from our honesty, let's be honest: We rejected the first story you submitted, not because it was bad--on the contrary, it was good--but because it didn't quite gel with the tone of the anthology as a whole. After we said, "Nope. Try again, please," did you make voodoo dolls in our likeness?

JH: Oh wow! So we're truthin' it, huh? Click here for truthiness and more with Josh Helmin.Collapse )

Jan. 19th, 2009

love to hate you

A few years ago, Becky and I shared an office in her house. One night, while we were at our respective computers, supposedly working on one of our novels, she laughed aloud. I thought, Oh, cool. She must be writing something good, and didn't say anything so as not to disturb her genius. Minutes later, she laughed again. And again. And then again. After yet another giggle, I couldn't take it any longer and said, "What's so funny?"

She said, "I'm reading The Search For Love In Manhattan."

"Oh." So much for working. So much for genius. Scratch that. There was genius, but it was Joel Derfner's. I was familiar with his blog. His writing is witty, sardonic, engaging, and very good. I hate him.

So when we had an opportunity to edit an anthology and were compiling a list of writers to contact for stories, of course Joel Derfner's name came up.

"What about Joel Derfner?"

"What about him?"

"He's good. We should ask him for a story."

"Yeah, he is good. I hate him."

"Good. I'll send him an email tomorrow."

The story he sent us, "De Anima," was an extremely well-crafted piece of brilliance. The highest compliment I can pay Joel, as well as his writing, is to say that I continue to hate him.

Timothy J. Lambert: How's the musical coming? Did you get the funds you needed?

Joel Derfner: HA! The problem is that, because unlike other industries theater has not become more and more automated over the years, it has also not gotten less and less expensive. So to mount a show off-Broadway you'd need at the very least $500,000. To do a really excellent production with good publicity you'd need more like $750,000 or even $1,000,000. And since the musical that I'm currently trying to raise money for is a Holocaust show, the fact that Bernie Madoff has left every Jew in New York penniless is turning out to be a real problem.

TJL: Can you compare the rewards or challenges of writing full-length memoir, Swish, with Gay Haiku, or the musical drama about Terezin you're working on?

JD: One of the main differences for me is that, to put it crudely, a book exists in space and a musical exists in time. When Swish was about to come out, I was much more terrified than I am when I have a musical about to open. If you've made a mistake in the musical, then when the curtain comes down at 11:00, the mistake doesn't exist anymore, and you can fix it for the next night or for the next production, and after you've fixed it, there's no evidence left. But with Swish, once the book was printed, any mistake was going to exist forever, because paper exists regardless of what time it is and what position the curtain is in. So even if there was a new edition later on, there would still be proof of my inadequacy in the world until I died. There's a paperback edition of Swish coming out in June, and my editor said I could make some edits if I wanted to. So I sent her a list of 187 fixes I wanted to make. She e-mailed back and she was like, um, I really meant like six or eight. So I've had to learn to be okay with it. Or at least to pretend to be okay with it.

Click here for more with Joel Derfner.Collapse )


Fool For Love: New Gay Fiction, which includes "De Anima" by Joel Derfner, will be published in January 2009--any day now!--by Cleis Press. Click here to order it from

Previous fools for love:

Trebor Healey

Rob Byrnes

Felice Picano

Brandon M. Long

Shawn Anniston

Mark G. Harris

David Puterbaugh

Dec. 23rd, 2008

locked in the trunk of a car

On our last day at Saints and Sinners literary festival one year, Becky and I were sitting in the lobby of our hotel while waiting for the valet to retrieve our car. Suddenly, Trebor Healey appeared out of nowhere and sat down with us. It had been like that all weekend; Trebor appearing out of nowhere while we were at a random restaurant to join us for dinner, running into Trebor on sidewalk, attending a poetry reading to find Trebor reading a poem. Each time we saw him we really didn't get to spend a lot of time talking, even though we enjoyed his company and felt he was a kindred spirit. In the hotel lobby we lamented the fact that we were leaving early and hadn't spent as much time getting to know Trebor as we would've liked. My "think before speaking" filter wasn't functioning and I heard myself say, "I think we should throw you in the trunk and take you to Houston." Everyone had a good laugh at that idea and, before we left, Becky and I mentioned that we were about to start editing a romance anthology. We extended an invitation to Trebor to submit a story, and he said he was going to write a love story about a guy being kidnapped and thrown into a trunk. Again, we laughed. Oh, that Trebor. How charming and droll he is! A few months later his story, "Trunk," arrived. It was an epic short story, with New Orleans volunteer workers, religious zealots, drug addicts, and, yes, kidnappers and a trunk. Because he's a fine writer, Trebor managed to romanticize every moment of it.

Timothy J. Lambert: I'll be honest and say that I thought you were kidding when you said you were going to write a love story for our anthology about a guy being kidnapped and thrown into a trunk. When I read your final draft, I was pleasantly surprised. You turned an idle conversation and setting into quite an original tale. Do you often find inspiration in your surroundings like that?

Trebor Healey: Any offhand odd remark is probably what inspires me the most. It opens up an alternative reality that I then dive into.

TJL: Was "Trunk" a fun story to write?

TH: Writing that story was a total blast. I'd been wanting to write about New Orleans for years and the idea of being kidnapped by the guy who offered to throw me in his trunk (I had a huge crush on him) was the key to the whole dilemma and suddenly the soul of New Orleans opened up to me. The preacher on the plane helped too.

Click here for more with Trebor Healey.Collapse )


Fool For Love: New Gay Fiction, which includes "Trunk" by Trebor Healey, will be published in January 2009 by Cleis Press. Click here to pre-order from

Previous fools for love:

Rob Byrnes

Felice Picano

Brandon M. Long

Shawn Anniston

Mark G. Harris

David Puterbaugh

Dec. 12th, 2008

brothers gonna work it out

Because we share a publisher, I often refer to Rob Byrnes as "my Kensington brother." I have an actual brother, but Rob Byrnes and he have nothing in common except for the fact that I don't remember meeting either one of them. Not being able to remember meeting people is a character flaw of mine, which is one of the reasons why I no longer work in retail, but it's a flaw I enjoy and make no attempt to correct. Why? Because not recalling the first time I meet someone makes me feel as though they've always been in my life. When they are someone I enjoy, why bother thinking about what life was like without them?

Rob Byrnes is definitely someone I enjoy. He's witty and charming, which are two adjectives that can also be applied to his writing. As can the words "authentic," "solid," "astute," and "enticingly complex," which have been used in reviews of his books.

In 2006 Rob Byrnes's When The Stars Come Out and Timothy James Beck's Someone Like You were both finalists in the Best Gay Romance category. Many times before the awards ceremony Becky and I said to each other, "If we lose, I hope we lose to Rob." During the ceremony, when our category was announced, Becky turned to me and said, "What if we win? What are we going to say? We haven't prepared anything. Have you thought of anything to say?" I whispered to her, "Don't worry." And there was no reason to worry, because seconds later our self-fulfilling prophecy was fulfilled when it was announced that Rob Byrnes had won our category.

Sour grapes? Us? Of course not. We were honestly thrilled. Even if we lost to someone other than Rob we would've been thrilled, because we genuinely liked everyone in our category. However, Rob is my Kensington brother, so it's nice that the award is in the family. And when we began editing our Fool For Love anthology, of course we called upon our award winning Kensington brother for a story.

Timothy J. Lambert: Thanks again for sending "Happy Hour at Cafe Jones" to us.  Your main character in the story, Brian, has met someone on the Internet and is about to go on a blind date.  Is this an example of Write What You Know? Do you have any blind date/Internet hook-up horror stories that you care to share?

Rob Byrnes: True fact: I've made many friends over the Internet, but I've never used it to hook up. I have nothing against that, but I've usually met my dates--in fact and euphemism--the way God intended: in a bar while very, very drunk. But, back to your question, no, I don't think you have to have met someone through the Internet to understand the apprehension Brian feels. Will I recognize him? Will he look like his picture? As someone who has been using the same damn author photo since circa 1922, I think I understand the concept of putting the best face forward.

TJL:Speaking of horror stories, how's Brady?

RB: Awww, you went there. And now Saints and Sinners is going to be ugly next year. Ugly and bloody.

Click here for more with Rob Byrnes.Collapse )


Fool For Love: New Gay Fiction, which includes "Happy Hour at Cafe Jones" by Rob Byrnes, will be published in February 2009 by Cleis Press. Click here to pre-order from

Previous fools for love:

Felice Picano

Brandon M. Long

Shawn Anniston

Mark G. Harris

David Puterbaugh

Dec. 10th, 2008


When I was three years old I learned how to read. One of my earliest memories is my grandfather saying, "There's no way he can read. He's far too young," and then my mother's smug look as I read aloud and proved him wrong. When I was finished, my grandfather said, "There's nothing he can't do now."

When Becky and I signed to edit our anthology, Fool For Love: Men Romancing Men, our editor suggested names of writers we should contact to request submissions. Among those names was Felice Picano. My accomplishments as a writer suddenly seemed less than meager and I thought, I can't contact Felice Picano and ask him for a story. Why would he want to send me a story? Who the hell am I? I voiced these concerns to our editor, who said something like, "All you have to do is ask to reprint one of his stories. Get over yourself and just do it." Then my grandfather's words came back to me. There's nothing he can't do now. I love books. I love well-written books. I wanted our anthology to be exceptional, so, as Felice Picano is an exceptional writer, I wasted no more time and sent him an email which listed a few of my favorite short stories of his and a request to reprint one.

Felice Picano's reply was swift. He was game to be a part of the anthology, but the stories I'd listed had all been recently reprinted. I consulted with Becky and together we combed through the titles in our combined libraries, trying to find a story to reprint. We'd submit titles and, again, he'd reply that they'd been recently reprinted. This happened a few times, but what a wonderful experience. Not only was I communicating with a writer I've admired for years, but I got to revisit his work at the same time.

After much back and forth, I finally felt emboldened to say, "Do you have any unpublished stories that you think might be right for our collection?" Felice Picano immediately replied and said he might. There was a story he'd started, but never finished. Maybe this was the impetus he needed to finish it. I informed him that I was looking forward to reading it, which was quite an understatement. I assumed I'd either read it in another week or two, or perhaps months later in someone else's anthology. Because surely he'd had enough of my amateurish prattling.

Apparently not. He sent me the new story, titled "Gratitude," five hours later, claiming that once he started working on it he couldn't stop, and he hoped that I liked it. Becky and I read the story. "It's perfect. It's wonderful," Becky said. "It is," I agreed. "Felice Picano is going to be in our anthology. I'm so glad I learned how to read."

Timothy J. Lambert: Why do you write? Can you imagine doing anything else?

Felice Picano: I write to read stories no one else is writing. And yes, I can imagine doing something else. I've already been an editor, publisher, journalist, art director, landscaper, gardener and cook.

TJL: Proust said that discovery consists not of seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. We think you still write great stories because you keep new eyes. Do you have any advice for mid-career writers who're struggling with that concept?

FP: Proust was great, but it's not eyes and sights for me these days so much as--voices. I've found myself opened up to voices like some big old FM receiver and they are now coming to me unbidden with their stories. Four in the past two years have either come to me in night dreams or day dreams and have been quite insistent that I tell their stories. "Gratitude" was one such "voice." "Gift," to be published in Van Gogh's Ear's Spring 2009 edition, is another.

Click here for more with Felice Picano.Collapse )


Fool For Love: New Gay Fiction, which includes "Gratitude" by Felice Picano, will be published in February 2009 by Cleis Press. Click here to pre-order from

Previous fools for love:

Brandon M. Long

Shawn Anniston

Mark G. Harris

David Puterbaugh

Nov. 24th, 2008

the waiting

I sent our latest Timothy James Beck book ideas to our editor today via email. As soon as I clicked the Send button I was transported back to high school and felt as though I'd slipped one of those stupid I like you. Do you like me? notes into someone's locker. Our editor replied back fairly quickly and said, "I got it. I'll get back to you in a week or so." Luckily, I never got that reply in high school.

Oct. 27th, 2008

stranger than fiction

I did a blog search on "Timothy James Beck" to see what the kids are saying about us these days and found this entry on Jessica's Well where the reader almost threw When You Don't See Me away because Nick thought something that this reader felt was a slight against Republicans. Seems a little dramatic to me. But I'm glad the blogger kept reading and found something amusing enough to excerpt--without permission, but who cares? It's publicity--on Jessica's Well. What troubles me, however, is that this person appears to assume that characters, in this case protagonists, always reflect the views and feelings of their writers, and vice versa. If that were the case, I think the vast majority of horror and science fiction writers would be working from prisons and/or mental institutions, romance writers wouldn't have time to write, and crime/espionage writers would be employed by the government. I think this is a reader who would find reading more enjoyable if he or she would remember that fiction isn't reality.

Oct. 9th, 2008

a red letter day

We get a lot of email from Timothy James Beck readers, which is nice. We strive to answer every email that we receive and not send a "form" reply in return. I don't say this to explain how wonderful we are, but offer it as an introduction to how Brandon M. Long came to be included in our Fool For Love anthology, because Brandon was a TJB reader who happened to write a few years ago and tell us that he enjoyed reading He's The One. I wrote back to inform him there was another book, It Had To Be You, that was published before HTO, and suggested he might enjoy it, too. Months later, Brandon wrote again and started his email with something like "You might not remember me, but..." and said he'd read ITHBY and enjoyed it, too. Well, of course I remembered him and said as much. This went on, back and forth, over the years. Whenever we published a book, a few months later we'd get a nice email from Brandon. As time went on our correspondence bordered on the personal and one day Brandon admitted that he himself had thoughts about writing. Becky and I had just signed contracts for our anthology, so I brazenly replied and said, "Then this is your lucky day. Write a short story for me that says something about romance between men." I was wrong, though. It was both Becky's and my lucky day and not Brandon's, because the story he later sent to us, a workplace romance titled "A View" was good.


Timothy J. Lambert: It's taken a long time for Fool For Love to be published. Did you ever think, Is this thing for real? Timothy must be pulling my leg. If you did, I couldn't blame you for thinking that.


Brandon M. Long: It has been a long time, but it never occurred to me that the delays were anything other than the normal course of things. At the risk of sounding whiny, very few things just go off without a hitch for me. Why should this have been any different? I just figured that if it was meant to be, everything would work itself out, and if not…well, I already spent my check on a nice blender.

Click here for more with Brandon Long.Collapse )


Do you have questions for Brandon M. Long? Post them in the comments, and I'll try to get him to answer. Fool For Love: New Gay Fiction, which includes "A View" by Brandon M. Long, will be published in February 2009 by Cleis Press. Click here to pre-order from


Previous fools for love:

Shawn Anniston

Mark G. Harris

David Puterbaugh

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