la_fields: (Sparks)
One of my short stories was well-met in this review of His Seed: An Arboretum of Erotica:

One of the most creative pieces, and the only one that doesn’t imagine plant-based sex is L.A. Fields’s “King of Fruits,” which sees Perry, who lost his sense of smell and taste in college, in a heated affair with Art. Part of their foreplay consists of Art describing in gory detail the taste, smell, and texture of the most disgusting foods Perry can find for Art to consume. Century eggs. Corn smut. The meat of the story concerns a durian fruit, and I’ll just stop there.

Enjoy some inside baseball in that review on how Lethe Press books come to be (I'm working on another project right now that also started as a goaded dare), and please note how weirdly proud I am that even in a plant-sex anthology, I'm still the weird one for not taking it so literally! Good for me. 
la_fields: (Booze Time)
Hear me argue for the better drunk in An Earful of Queer’s special segment, Dueling Dandies!

An Earful of Queer is a new monthly LGBTQ fiction podcast; each episode comes with an interview in front, and a cage match in the back!

First up for interview is my own dear publisher Steve Berman, and then it’s the debut episode of Dueling Dandies: the Talented Tipplers edition!


**********
 
 

That's me defending The Lost Weekend’s Charles Jackson against my MFA buddy and her pick of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman: who was the better drunk, and who would win in a literal cage match? Listen to find out!
la_fields: (Sparks)
Homo Superiors is a Lambda Literary Awards finalist for Gay Mystery!

Three years ago, My Dear Watson was a finalist for Gay Romance, now I've got another chance with another book in another category (you can see Homo Superiors, based on the Leopold and Loeb crime, was still in progress back then).

Congrats are in order for my fellow Lethe Press finalists, and for our publisher, Steve Berman!



Homo Superiors is a #LambdaLiterary Award finalist for #Gay #Mystery--the true mystery is: will my claustrophobic #Chicago #crime book hold up as a mystery?
la_fields: (Sparks)
The Dropout, The Worker
Since I quit that PhD program at UT Dallas (and I still spit on the memory of it quite bitterly), I've been hard at work. First up were the on-the-ground concerns of sudden, full-time working life:

- It took 4 hours of public transit each day to commute to my new job. That lasted for eight months until my lease was up and I had the cash on hand to move to the other side of the city (where I now happily commute about ten minutes a day, on a bike with a basket).
- During those eight months, I was ghostwriting over $3,500 of smut (at one cent per word) to help pay off my remaining student loan debts, start a retirement account, and fund my move. I'm still trying to get the 2016 max into my retirement account before tax day, but I can do the last of it on my salary alone.
- After moving to a better location (that's being built up even as I sit here, with a corner gas station about to open), I asked for a raise based on the copywriting I do at work, and I received one. I'm also getting a bonus for over 15 hours of transcription work I did last year--during which time, remember, I was also ghostwriting a novel a month. There were a couple of tendinitis flare-ups, but every bit of this work has been worthier of my time than teaching at UTD’s grad program, because it compensates me enough to let me provide for my financial future, rewards me for doing extra work, and continues to provide me with health insurance.

The Worker, The Learner
That's all good, but I must miss learning, right? Hmm. When I ask people why they don't balk at the treatment they receive from grad programs like mine, they pretty defensively insist that they love learning, so much, and maybe they care more about learning than money, unlike me. Oh, please; let's examine that:

- That 4 hours a day on the bus (cut down to 2 hours after I got enough money to take Lyfts in the morning, so I could sleep a normal human amount of hours) meant I had a lot of trapped time on my hands. Right around then, my publisher asked me if I was willing to do an annotation of America's first gay novel, Joseph and His Friend (1870), and I said yes. The artistic life has the same rules as improv: the only correct response is, "Yes, and..."
- So I spent that time on the bus reading the letters of Bayard Taylor, Fitz-Greene Halleck, and Walt Whitman, among others; their biographies, their associations, and their works, discovering all the stories behind the story that is America's first gay novel.
- Then last week I took some vacation time and spent 9 days in my apartment sorting, citing, and compiling the connections. The structure of the project is basically little strings of history, personal anecdote, and secret curiosities to go along with each chapter of the book itself (the manuscript of which I had to clean up line by line to match the original). We’re looking for some gayish American pastoral cover art now.

The Learner, The Lover
Out of this annotation research, the big winner was Walt Whitman. He was the best guy. I read his poetry as an undergraduate and still don't particularly like it--not that it isn't good, it's just not at all to my taste; I'm more for post-modernism, or at least structure and brevity, I still like rhymes, can't seem to cure that, etc. I like Whitman's phrases though ("I am large, I contain multitudes" or "dash me with amorous wet, I can repay you") and I love his intentions and meanings, so basically I love him, the man, way more than his work (though the two are completely intertwined, I get that). His thoughts and asides, his boys, his volunteer work in Civil War hospitals for the wounded (which he was criticized for because it was "unmanly" to nurse if he was healthy enough to fight, according to some). I'm so glad I had a real reason to find out about him.

I know more about American history now, the Civil War, the presidents of the time (Lincoln was a sweetheart too) than I ever picked up in a school. I can assure you that if I had stayed in that PhD program, I never would have had time to do a project as large as this. "Uh, but isn't that what a dissertation is?" Shut your educated-fool mouth: poverty trumps study. If you don't have enough money for food, housing, or health care, you don't have enough time to think about anything else. If a professor tells you otherwise, it's because they need you to stay stupid and studying what will not actually help your circumstances, because their tenure is funded by your underpaid labor or your overpriced tuition. That's true, the advisors at UT Dallas know it is true, they are either too powerless or too unconcerned to change it, and I won't contribute to an evil machine if I can help it. One of my brief cohort-mates from the PhD program quit the teaching part of it (because “I am worth more than poverty-level wages and participation in this institutional nonsense"), got two part-time jobs, but... still pays to attend graduate classes? She says she couldn't be happier. Yes, she could be! Like if she went to a better school! She's barely above an anti-union scab in my eyes, but if she thinks she's happy propping up the place that pays her fellows so horribly, I still don't see how I'm the one who's wrong (because I'm not).

I love learning, I'll work very hard for very little money (my publisher offered me $250 plus royalties for the annotation, and it's taken more than a year of work), but for a school to give me a stipend below the poverty line, forbid outside work, and offer no health care or summer assistance, that is so outrageous you could call it abuse. To take copious amounts of money from students domestic and foreign and provide them with inexperienced TAs as their only instructors in mandatory courses (with almost no guidance and certainly no real consequence for inadequacy) is disgusting, and a failure of a school. My friend who completed a PhD at UT Austin was quick to point out that all the all the information I got out of the Walt Whitman Archive is associated with UT Austin, so I can't be too mad at the University overall (haha, yes I can!), but she also made twice what I was paid for doing considerably less grunt work than they demand from grad students at UT Dallas. She never would have put up with such treatment herself.

The Poetry of it All
I did find some bits of poetry I liked (outside of Whitman's phrases) while reading for this project. This excerpt from Wordsworth leads off "On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake" by Fitz-Greene Halleck, the inspiration of Joseph and His Friend:

“The good die first,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust,
Burn to the socket.”
- Wordsworth.

Whoa, yeah? And this excerpt of Byron, that leads off another gay novel of the time (discussed before on my LiveJournal), which I brought up in the annotation to make sure women aren’t left out of the conversation for a book where a wife is everyone’s worst problem. At the top of A Marriage Below Zero:

"I seek no sympathies, nor need;
The thorns which I have reaped are of the tree
I planted,—they have torn me.—and I bleed:
I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed."
- Byron.

You see what I mean about rhymes? I’m a sucker for them.

The Artist
I went to a good school once, it was my original alma mater, the New College of Florida, and that's where I got all my research skills (I even got to return to topics from my undergrad thesis with Joseph, just like a real dissertation--Oscar Wilde's name as a code word for homosexuality; Whitman's name worked the same way, and did it first). However, since then (including my MFA, the private after-school program where I taught in South Korea, and my PhD program entirely) it's been nothing but people going through the motions and putting in the minimums to get money from the students and then get out. My way out of that fiasco mentally was the fact that I consider myself an artist first before an academic, and I took my lessons from the examples of artists, poets in fact (though I'm a prose-writer almost exclusively): A.E. Housman got kicked out of school for having a crisis on the day of his exams? No matter, he got a job and did scholarship out of school until they took him back anyway. T.S. Eliot got a job in a bank so that his literal fortunes would stay stable enough to stay out of the way of his real work. Walt Whitman held a university education against men, this is from Intimate with Walt: Selections of Whitman's Conversations With Horace Traubel, edited by Gary Schmidgall:

When Traubel tells Whitman he worked for four years in a printer’s shop, Whitman naturally applauds, this being his own employment history: "Good! good! that’s better than so many years at the university: there is an indispensable something gathered from such an experience: it lasts out life. After all the best things escape, skip, the universities.”

I have escaped the universities! Sweet are the uses of adversity! universities! Same difference! From this project has already come another research book that I'll be doing with one of my MFA cohort-mates, the improv one ("yes, and," remember?), and from that project we have material for a recurring podcast segment that we'll record later this month, and from there who knows what else will come up? I have one last planned book to finished before I turn 30 (the final installment of my young adult Disorder Series, and I just turned 29, so the deadline is on), and after that I'm free to work as I please, go where I please, do what I please, because I've got a job that respects me, and money enough to enjoy my life. I can do work on the side that gives me artistic and academic purpose because I have the means for it. I even had the means to buy scans of an unpublished Charles Jackson manuscript out of the archives at Dartmouth, for nothing more than the pleasure of learning everything I can about him. I've got a lot more work to do, and while it's a tragedy that this kind of dedication and zeal for learning found no means of support in a PhD program, it's not my tragedy anymore, and that's still nice every day.
la_fields: (L.A. Fields)
While reading and researching for an upcoming project, I came across Alan Dale's (pseudonym) 1889 book A Marriage Below Zero (so old it's free to read online). Two things struck me right away: this plot sounds an awful lot like my own My Dear Watson, and despite the dismissal of the book as anti-gay melodrama, it's actually a very amusing read. Keep in mind a quote by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) as we go on: There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

It reminded me that My Dear Watson has gotten that same sort of criticism, and that one reviewer went so far as to say, "I couldn’t, in the end, give My Dear Watson five stars, purely because of the discomfort it caused me." This is something I disagree with many of my critics about, that if a book makes them happy it must be good, and if it doesn't make them happy, whether or not it's well-written, it simply can't be that good. I'm not the first author to have this gripe, here it is explained by William S. Burroughs in an essay called "A Review of the Reviewers":

Critics constantly complain that writers are lacking in standards, yet they themselves seem to have no standards other than personal prejudice for literary criticism. To use an analogy: suppose the Michelin Inspectors were equally devoid of consensual criteria for judging food. Here is one inspector... "food superlative, service impeccable, kitchen spotless", and another about the same restaurant ... "food abominable, service atrocious, kitchen filthy." Another inspector strips an Italian restaurant of its stars because he doesn’t like Italian cooking. Another would close a restaurant because he disapproves of the chef’s private life or the political opinions of the proprietor or complains that the chicken on his plate is not roast beef.

Admittedly it is more difficult to set up standards for literary criticisms but such standards do exist. Matthew Arnold set up three criteria for criticism: 1. What is the writer trying to do? 2. How well does he succeed in doing it? Certainly no one can be justly condemned for not doing what he does not intend to do. 3. Does the work exhibit "high seriousness"? That is, does it touch on basic issues of good and evil, life and death and the human condition.


To illustrate this point further, I happen to have a side job ghostwriting smut fluff for money, because it's a sad fact that the less I ask readers to think, the more I'm rewarded. I started ghostwriting while attending a PhD program and teaching a Rhetoric 101 class, trying to keep my head above poverty (I quit after one semester of that abuse). I wrote a story set in Victorian London (with vampires and werewolves and male pregnancy, oh my!), a historical time I know pretty well, since I've written both a fifty page scholarly thesis on queer coded language in the literature of the time, and My Dear Watson, which came from the same research. One of the reviewers for the smut story said, "Are you kidding me? The first paragraph reads like a grade school book report, and it gets worse from there. This author needs an editor or maybe a college English class." With what authority did that person write? Absolutely none. I was the professor, and this arrogant person reading silly porn with their free time told me to go take an English class. There are writers who adhere to a 'the customer is always right' mindset, and they are not good writers, they can't be; those writers work in customer service, and that's the opposite of telling the truth.

Which brings us back to A Marriage Below Zero. In Pages Passed from Hand to Hand: The Hidden Tradition of Homosexual Literature in English from 1748 to 1914, Mark Lindsey Mitchell and David Leavitt have this to say about Alan Dale's book, and its critics: "Such a criticism [that it's a melodramatic anti-gay novel] is misguided, however, because it equates the author's viewpoint with that of his heroine, whose perspective counts; how often have the Constance Wildes of the world had the chance to tell their stories? A Marriage Below Zero is a cruel book, yet its cruelty is the cruelty of truth." I too have been accused of hating Sherlock Holmes because the character of Mrs. Watson has issues with him (I am not my character). It is unfortunate that in this world of fan service many female readers will be quick to call Mrs. Watson and/or myself a bitch for getting in the way of the gay couple's true love, when that's not at all how the world works. There was no real choice for women of the era, and what about the Constance Wildes, indeed? What about all the women whose one great hope for a comfortable life was to make a happy marriage, who then get abandoned because their husbands were caught in their own impossible circumstances? Why should one minority be blamed for the other, especially now, when there's so much more cognizance about punching up instead of fighting amongst your fellow oppressed?

I do appreciate the reviews that can see the difference, but there's a lot of the human condition in this urge people have, to hate the truth-teller instead of the truth. The same reviewer who called My Dear Watson skillfully researched and "a haunted and ultimately failed love affair," took a star off simply because the truth was too sad to enjoy. For my next historically researched book, the same reviewer doubled down on the opinion that what is cruelly true must be bad to treat fictionally, or to allow impressionable people to read. Based on the true crime case of Leopold and Loeb (1924), my Homo Superiors was knocked down even further to three stars based on this thought process: "The book is intelligent and well crafted. But it celebrates nothing. It teaches us nothing. I hope Fields’ fascination with the unhappiest aspects of homosexuality does not become the hallmark of her writing career. I don’t think I could bear another book like this." The truth is not always celebratory (in fact it is rarely so), and one's feelings should not dictate criticism this way. If one feels hurt, and sick, and disturbed after reading about a pair like Leopold and Loeb, then I must have done an excellent job in portraying them, because that's how they were. Remember the criteria: 1. What is the writer trying to do? 2. How well does he succeed in doing it? 3. Does the work exhibit "high seriousness"? My goal in Homo Superiors was do show how easily two smart boys can become killers (it happens a lot, there's nothing historical about that; it's recursive, happens all the time), and my goal in My Dear Watson was to show how a true love can still fail. It's a tragedy, yes, but how is it fair to grade a tragedian on the scale of 'what makes me happy is good'?

As with A Marriage Below Zero, so it is with me. Alan Dale's first-person female character was written with such amusing sarcasm that at times she felt practically modern (despite her circumstances as a young dupe married to an unhappy gay man). That tone was a true balm for me, who often wondered if my sassy and assertive Mrs. Watson was anachronistic--apparently she was not! You might say, as my unhappy reviewer does, that a historical context makes the difference: the world was bad for gays and women once, and it's relatively better now, so isn't it irresponsible to dwell on sorrows? I don't think so. What world do you live in that you know no self-loathing homosexuals, dismissively ignored women, unhappy marriages of convenience, or horribly mislaid plans made by those who don't have the power to out-smart the system?

The truth is cruel, and I won't be blamed for that; take it up with the world.
la_fields: (Default)
My short story collection Countrycide is $1 in ebook version all week: here.

Homo Superiors is on the radar for another review: here.

Read my books! Some of them, all of them, throw a dart at the stack and choose that way or go with the cheapest, that’s up to you, but get on it.
la_fields: (Nathan Leopold)
Here's another review for Homo Superiors, and it's a good one.

Highly intelligent Noah and Ray are quintessential "frienemies" in this gripping modern day retelling of Leopold and Loeb.

My favorite part of this review is that it realizes the boys are equals; not everyone understands that each part of this duo gives up as much as he demands, but this analysis does. They don't really trust or even like each other that much, yet they depend on each other, desperately. That's the trick to them, yeah.

The fresh, witty albeit perverse dialogue between Noah and Ray keeps the pages turning, and while it's easy to sense their story will undoubtedly end badly, you can't help but wonder what deplorable act they'll come up with next.
la_fields: (Nathan Leopold)
Homo Superiors comes out later this week (final edits are sent to print; it's as pristine as it can be), and in this interview I talk about its inspiration, my long-standing Disorder Series, why I write, what I do for money, and what I'll be working on next.

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] charliecochrane at post



Delighted to have fellow Lethe author LA Fields here today, having my author questions inflicted on her.

What inspired you to start writing?

It was a whim a time or two when I was young, but once I hit about twelve, I found fanfiction and have been writing ever since. I quit fanfiction by age sixteen and started writing original stories, but then again one of my more recent books is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and just because it’s a fancy word doesn’t mean it’s not still fanfiction. The most recent book is a thinly veiled real-person fanfiction at the most basic level: a retelling of the infamous Leopold and Loeb crime. Again, in-depth research doesn’t save it from being fanfic. The writing matures but the drive behind it never does: I like something, I want to spend a year reinventing it, I don’t know where that compulsion comes from, but I don’t fight it; it’s my favorite thing about me.

Do you have another job (paid or otherwise) apart from being an author? If so, how do you juggle your time?

Yeah, right now I’m basically a secretary (I’m A.E. Housman in the Patent Office after getting burned out of school; he failed his final exams, I had to leave a PhD program because it gave me nothing but an abusive poverty stipend, and required more pointless work and endless teaching than would ever pay off with the horrible adjunctification of higher ed). I do some copywriting for this job, I’ll segue myself into better-paying copywriting gigs when I can, but the job I have now has a lot of free time trapped at a computer, so I get in daily writing quotas at my desk.

Right now I also spend three weeks a month ghostwriting smut stories for someone else’s Amazon self-pub penname, and I’ll do that until I’m out of debt from the den of thieves that was grad school. I spend the fourth week of each month writing a chapter of my next book, my eighth. If I factor in the word count of the ghostwriting gig, I’ve written at least two more books, but the filler-foam-peanut writing I do purely for money doesn’t count to me the same way, not for copywriting or ghostwriting. I’ve got these pesky principles about the difference between what is profitable and what is valuable, and I can’t seem to shake those things off.

What did it feel like watching your first book fledge and leave the nest?

I have felt irrationally immortal and superior ever since! It changed me from a wannabe into a writer, and I’ve never felt like a fraud for even a minute since then when it comes to writing fiction. Now that book is ten years old, and it’s like having a diary from childhood that I can unearth and treasure whenever I think something from my past is lost or unrecorded. Nothing is lost because I put it into a book; I love that thing. And I love who I was when I made it: so unaware of what life would bring, but still with the weird power of pattern and prophesy. I knew myself pretty well, I just didn’t know what that would do to me once I got out into the world. That first book was written when I was 18, I plan to finish writing the series before I’m 30, so I can seal up my extreme youth in that time capsule I call The Disorder Series.

Are you character or plot driven? What do you do if one of your characters starts developing at a tangent?

Character driven; I don’t even like plots, I skim them in other books; plots are only devices to reveal and showcase character for me. If a character starts developing weird, I either don’t have my head in the game and I’m not really invested in who or why they are, or they’re right and they’ve just surprised me (which is the best—only Pygmalion and Gepetto know how amazing that feels better than I do). It’s happened to me recently, in fact, with the intended end of The Disorder Series; it’s not going to end like I thought it would when I was a teenager, but then the characters aren’t teenagers anymore either, and they’re also a little disturbed by what’s happened to them, and how they’ve adapted to it. That series has always been about weird adaptation and survival, so it’s fitting.

What inspired this book?

This new book, Homo Superiors? A pointless murder inspired this one. I got interested in Leopold and Loeb when I was fourteen, the age of their victim, and it’s been an interest I’ve held for more than a decade since. They’re part of the reason I moved to Chicago for a few years, so I could visit the case-related graves in Rosehill Cemetery, and know the place where they lived. By the time I was experienced enough at writing and research to do justice to my obsession with these two killers, the full transcripts of the trial and psych reports were online, and that’s about 4,500 pages of prime source material (without the moral or social slants all the other treatments of the case often bring to the L/L canon).

That infamous case, with so many points of scandal and outrage, has always been treated more for its courtroom spectacle than its origins. The big question with such a senseless ‘thrill kill’ is why. I know why, and that’s the reason I wrote my book. No one else has thought of it quite like I do. For example: I had to dig deep to find out what exactly killed Nathan Leopold’s mother when he was sixteen; that’s not irrelevant when it comes to how a young man’s life takes such a horrifying turn. The best representation so far is John Logan’s Never the Sinner—that play (though I’ve only read it and never seen it performed) does an amazing job of dicing the public and private aspects of the case into a tight story, giving equal time and importance to both sides. My book goes way far in the private direction; I don’t even touch the case or the fallout. My book is about how two boys went from wunderkinds to killers. That’s my fascination, and so that’s where I’ve focused.

If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what book would you write?

I kind of do have that. I have as much time outside of work as I want to spend on writing, and my publishers rarely turn me down. The next idea I’m excited about is a collaboration with my best friend (all we know about it now is that it’ll be a Murder Book of some sort); it would be nice to really invest in something like that, with all the research and refining and revising that I usually do in very minimal, organized amounts when I’m the sole author. What happens to that when I’m working with someone else? I want to find out, and for sure it’ll produce a unique kind of book that I could never accomplish alone.

Is there a classic book you started and simply couldn't finish?

The first book I ever quit was Great Expectations, and I know enough after two decades spent as an English major that it’s a pretty ironic one to ditch. BUT: Dickens was paid by word quantity, and so am I with my ghostwriting gig, so I know good and goddamn well how much of those Dickensian behemoths are filler for the sake of paying bills. I’m okay with Dickens, writer to writer and shill to shill, but I don’t like his work and I won’t try to read any more of it.

What’s your favourite gay romance/other genre book? And why?

I love books with gay characters, but almost never pure romance. I think most fictional romance is boring, happy endings are boring, but I do have an answer: Poppy Z. Brite’s Exquisite Corpse. You want genre, we’ve got horror: there are serial killers targeting gay men; some of those killers are other humans, but one of them is a plague. You want romance, we’ve got that too, kind of: with one couple we have murder husbands the likes of which mere Hannibal fans have barely seen (talk about real-person fanfiction—what if Jeffrey Dahmer and Dennis Nilsen had met? They’d certainly have a lot to talk about), with the other couple you get nothing but the B-side of romance, the passionate aftermath (they’re broken up from page one to done, but the relationship was so intense that neither man is truly out of it; they can’t stop thinking about the other). That’s the kind of romance I like to see: intoxicating, destructive, undeniable. True love! Not at all a guarantee of happy endings, but worth it every time.

What's your next project?

Finish my youthful Disorder Series, then an annotated edition of America’s first gay novel, then the Murder Book collaboration with my friend, and then an existential crisis because I don’t know what comes after that. Probably a break-down or an overdose or a mid-life crisis; I’ll worry about that if/when I actually run out of projects and can’t come up with any more.

Homo Superiors

la_fields: (Nathan Leopold)
The Advance Reading Copies went out, and now the first review is in for Homo Superiors from Windy City Reviews, check it out!

A result of knowing these characters so intimately is that the reader is able to make a few concessions when the boys act up in their teens. Normally in literature, it’s quite a challenge to get a reader to support protagonists who commit crimes, especially as casually as these two do, but Fields woos the reader into the characters’ court quite successfully.

The short version: Those who enjoy a good psychological drama should be satisfied.
la_fields: (Nathan Leopold)
Enter for a chance to win an advanced reading copy of Homo Superiors, a modern retelling of the Leopold and Loeb crime from the author of My Dear Watson, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award!

Points of interest: true crime, Chicago, homosexuality, abnormal psychology, fictionalized and updated historical events, and one of the boys was an ornithologist, so there's quite a bit of twitter about birds too.

Here's the book jacket's copy:

Two college seniors: Noah, frail like the hollow-boned birds he enjoys watching, caged by his intellect, and by his sense that the only boy as smart as himself is his best friend; Ray who has spent years aping leading men so that his every gesture is suave, but who has become bored with petty cheats and tricks, and now, during summer break in Chicago, needs something momentous to occupy himself.

Noah’s text says, I’ve found some candidates for murder. Ray chuckles and knows that Noah sent the message to cheer him. Both boys realize they stand apart from others their age. One lacks social graces, the other has perfected being charming. Both are too willing to embark on a true challenge of their superiority but neither realizes what such a crime will do because no matter how they see themselves, how they need one another, they still possess the same emotions of H. sapiens.
la_fields: (L.A. Fields)
Repression's author copies have arrived!

I got them in the mail a day after this review of My Dear Watson, highlight: "It's like taking a tour of a familiar city, with a guide who points out little architectural details you never noticed, while spinning a story of the secret scandals the history books omit."

Meanwhile my next book, Homo Superiors, is safely with my editor and some blurb and review people, so it's a good day for fiction.
la_fields: (Nathan Leopold)


The Leopold and Loeb book, Homo Superiors, is up for pre-order, go get it!

Coming Spring of 2016: a modern day retelling of the Leopold & Loeb story from the author of My Dear Watson, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award!

Two college seniors: Noah, frail like the hollow-boned birds he enjoys watching, caged by his intellect, and by his sense that the only boy as smart as himself is his best friend; Ray who has spent years aping leading men so that his every gesture is suave, but who has become bored with petty cheats and tricks, and now, during summer break in Chicago, needs something momentous to occupy himself.

Noah’s text says, I’ve found some candidates for murder. Ray chuckles and knows that Noah sent the message to cheer him. Both boys realize they stand apart from others their age. One lacks social graces, the other has perfected being charming. Both are too willing to embark on a true challenge of their superiority but neither realizes what such a crime will do because no matter how they see themselves, how they need one another, they still possess the same emotions of H. sapiens.
la_fields: (Sparks)
I didn't win the Lambda Award, but I did have this trip:

Day 1 - Philadelphia
- All travel was efficient and timely.
- Cheesesteaks with [livejournal.com profile] mroctober, talked about books and boys.
- Got to hang out with an old college friend and do my favorite thing: bitch and complain. So freeing, so invigorating. We covered romantic exploits, job searches, loneliness and moving, TV shows.
- We also walked around the Philadelphia gayborhood where she lives. Gayborhood is so gay the street signs have rainbows:
2014-06-01 19.56.20


Day 2 - Lambda Awards
- I was the youngest person in every group I talked to, but I adapted. I've got parents and grandparents, you wanna talk about baby names? The '70s? I got you, I can do that. I am now under the impression that gay people never look older than 55.
- Lots of speeches about the gay community and queer spaces highlighted that I still feel a little like an interloper--I'm bisexual, but I haven't been involved with another woman since undergrad (where anyone can be bisexual, so are you really?). And of course all my gay characters are men. Suspicious.
- I don't like the designation M/M. It seems to apply only to women who write romance about gay dudes, and it rankles my feminism to know that a lot of people would include me in that category. I recognize it as a distinct category that plenty of authors are happy to participate in, I just don't think that's what I'm doing, and I don't want it applied to me. Most of my books are actually about unhappy families, addiction, and anxiety/depression. I take the perspective of gay men because it's a world I'm almost entirely excluded from, so it interests me. In my personal life I've got women all day, every day. It's a total clam festival over here.
- This is the book that beat me for the Gay Romance award: Into This River I Drown. That's okay though, because I've since decided my book is more of a Mad Men-esque contemplation of success and substance abuse and existential fatigue anyway.
- My bones only felt melting-cold for a second when I didn't win, then I went back to the hotel to assure my audio copy of My Dear Watson that, you know, such is the pursuit of fame, and that now we at least have the privilege of feeling misunderstood.
2014-06-02 19.35.37

Day 3 - Manhattan
- Everything in Manhattan was about two feet too close to me the entire time I was there. I may like other parts of New York City (I wouldn't know), but Manhattan did very little to please me.
- I spent the day in Central Park, MoMA, and in a Starbucks.
- Modern art tires me out, I waste too much mental energy wondering if each piece is just an Emperor's New Clothes trick being played on me by some ironic asshole.
- I sat down in Central Park because my feet were on fire, some guy sidled up next to me to say hey, I got right the fuck back up and kept moving (you're a shark honey, sharks must move to live).
- Spent a pleasant beginning of the day with Sacchi Green (who won a Lammy for the Wild Girls, Wild Nights anthology), but afterwards hit some bad luck: rush hour and rain meant it took more than an hour to find a cab to the airport, flight was delayed by the storm, not enough free outlets in the airport to properly do homework for the next day, etc.
- Chicago let me fly to NYC with this keychain, but New York would not let me fly back with it. I mean it is a tiny knife, and I don't want knives on planes, but *whine* and stuff. I usually remember to take it off, and I'm surprised it wasn't confiscated at O'Hare (dropping the ball, O'Hare).
2014-06-03 15.09.11

Meanwhile
- I have a month to figure out if I'm going to renew my lease. Right now it looks like probably yes, and if I get a job that demands I move, I will find a replacement for myself.
- Big giant multi-step applications for which I am making endless telescoping lists.
- All this and homework and reading at Printer's Row and blisters on my feet the whole time.
- I just got off the phone with a recruiter for teaching in Korea--feel like I totally nailed that, so it's a real option.
- I want to write chapter three of my novel but when, oh but when? I get to show Chapter Two to my Fiction Seminar class and my thesis adviser this summer, even though it's not my thesis material.
la_fields: (Sparks)
Next To Nothing by Keith Banner--I bought one, so did this prick, you should too. I'm so gay for Keith Banner's writing, his clean and loving portrayal of real, crappy, wonderful life. One of his short stories made it into the library near my house when I was sixteen and made the whole place worth building. His writing is 1/3 of the reason I'm a writer today (right up there with Poppy Z. Brite books and Harry Potter fanfiction). Part of me hopes I never meet him because I think he's so cool and I don't want to know for real that he is just some guy from Ohio that I'm allowed to talk to. A greater part of me wants to meet him so he can sign all his books that I own with XOs and hearts and inside jokes because we're besties now that I introduced him to my publisher. That's something I shouldn't have had to do since he had an agent, but he got dropped because he was clearly casting pearls before swine, but this isn't about how many people don't deserve Keith Banner's work--it's about how I wanted it, how I got it, and how you can get it too.

I also got The Midnight Disease because we read some of it in one of my classes, and I liked it, so I'm going to invest in it.

I also started reading another faculty book (assigned by a different member of the faculty). I'll do a big post about faculty books I've read as soon as they can't take back my degree.

It's cool that this exists for My Dear Watson and you are probably jealous of me (just admit it):



If someone out there really wants to give the audiobook another bitchy low-star rating, make sure you put the low stars on me and not on the voiceover performance by Melissa Hearne, which is lovely.

Dys. Cover

Jun. 13th, 2013 08:53 pm
la_fields: (L.A. Fields)
Coming out this year, the sequel to Maladaptation in The Disorder Series: Dysfunction.

dys. cover

Description of Dysfunction, by L.A. Fields:

Recent runaway Marley Kurtz is back home in Florida after a long road trip. He and his boyfriend Jesse get jobs, move into a loft above a mechanic’s garage, and start living the good life. They don’t stay free for long however; Marley is eventually pressured into reuniting with the family that sent him away. Far from being disowned, Marley soon finds himself pulled in too many directions at once.

Along with his sister, Lindsay, and his boss’s new foster son, Tristan, Marley must figure out what kind of family he’ll choose to call his own. Will it be the parents who raised and abandoned him, or the friends and adults in his life who have proven they really care? It should be an easy decision, but letting go is never easy.

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