Published work, thoughts, rants and scribbles from George Seaton, a writer of sorts…

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Moving

As of November 14th, 2010, I’ve moved my author blog to George Seaton – Author.

Recent updates on my new blog include the release of “The Cow and Other Colorado Tales,” from Untreed Reads.

My Work in Progress, “Finding Deaglan.”

And, the upcoming releases of my Christmas-themed shorts, “Just for Christmas,” and “Another Fine Christmas,” from Untreed Reads.

“Honorable Silence” released by MLR Press

MLR Press has announced the release of “Honorable Silence,” storytelling from four authors–Maura Anderson, William Maltese, George Seaton, and Lex Valentine (cover art by Michael Breyette)–relating to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and, in my case, a snippet of one gay man’s service in the U. S. Army two decades prior to the implementation of DADT.

My story, “The Loss of Innocence Store,” includes my Author’s Note: “Although DADT was instituted in 1993, the unconscionable ban on gays/lesbians in the American military predates DADT and, in fact, reaches back to the American Revolution. This story, “The Loss of Innocence Store,” provides a small window into a gay man’s experience in the U.S. Army, circa 1972-1974. Discrimination against gays/lesbians serving in the American military did not begin with DADT. Hopefully it will end with the dissolution of this onerous, absurd policy.”

Unfortunately, with the political route of progressives from the U.S. House of Representatives, and the seeming lack of courage from the White House to aggressively pursue an end to DADT, the wait for the cessation of this despicable policy may not be forthcoming for quite some time.

My thanks to Laura Baumbach, Kris Jacen and the other good folks at MLR for publishing this anthology.

P.S. Probably an unnecessary caveat here: The storytelling is exclusively M/M; no W/W experiences, histories are recounted. I cannot presume to know if the lesbian experience in the American military mirrors that of gay men. Suspect it’s very similar.

“Honorable Silence” – DADT Anthology from MLR Press

My short, “The Loss of Innocence Store,” will be included in this upcoming DADT anthology from MLR Press. Laura Baumbach, owner/publisher of MLR Press (besides being a prolific, award-winning author) provides, via “Fiction With Friction,” an opportunity to donate to an NYU student who is undertaking a film project centered on DADT.

My short, “The Loss of Innocence Store,” predates DADT. It is important, however, to remember that the institutionalized ban on openly gays/lesbians serving in the American military, did not begin with DADT. In fact, while DADT acknowledges the reality that gays/lesbians do serve in the military, prior to DADT the exclusionary policy was absolute…no room for even the opportunity to not tell, or, from the other side, to not ask.

“The Loss of Innocence Store,” will take the reader to a Vietnam era environment, beginning in Fort Polk, Louisiana with boot camp, then on to Norfolk, Virginia where the protagonist develops a sense of himself amongst all the detritus of his past, with the ultimate conclusion that being a Soldier is a singular honor, regardless of his sexuality.

Oh, the humanity…

The passion to write is, for writers, overpowering; an obsession sated only by putting one word after another in such a way that there emerges a kind of inevitability to the flow that, when finished, incites the birds to sing, the sun to shine, the kittens to purr, the dogs… You get the point. I suppose, though, it is in perfecting that inevitability where the rub occurs.

I, as all writers, have written a perfect sentence ten-thousand times. Probably more. Yet, upon a reread, after the morning coffee, after sitting down to review what was created the day, or even the hour before; yes, that perfect sentence that I knew was there, that I knew was absolutely invincible, and  would surely contribute to the Pulitzer I knew would be forthcoming; well, that perfect sentence is found to be less than perfect. In some cases that perfect sentence is found to stink. Badly.  Where the hell did that inevitability thing  go?

We trudge on. We make our little adjustments. We wonder how we could have been so self-satisfied with our creation yesterday, only to find that today what we thought was the essence of creative genius at work on a Tuesday, becomes slush on a Wednesday. Such is part of the writer’s life.

Most of us do eventually finish something. That short story finally comes together–all five-thousand words just where they ought to be. The kinks in the novella are finally smoothed over, ironed out. After six, seven, ten months that love/hate relationship we’ve had with that novel becomes a somewhat sad, somewhat happy farewell soiree over a glass of Chardonnay, a single cigarette–a la King’s Misery–as we submit the ms to our publisher…a letting go that mirrors, perhaps, a parent realizing they’ve done all they could for their child; that that child is now hopefully able to stand on her/his own two feet.

If we’re lucky (and/or quite talented) our publisher says, “Yes,” and we go through the edits, the cover design, the anticipation, the interminable wait to see our perfect creation made whole: The book (yes, something to hold in our hands), and the electronic edition that those with a bent for luminous words from plastic wizardry find preferable to the death of trees. Oh, and it becomes a satisfying moment. So satisfying.

But, of course, the writer’s task is not finished. Unless we are stabled with a publisher who coddles their writers as attendants to kings, our most onerous tasks are ahead of us.

The hype. Firstly, we must announce the birth, the ascension of our perfect creation from the publisher. We blog about it. We provide BSP (blatant self promotion) snippets to all the online writers’ groups we happen to subscribe to. We, of course, graciously respond to any WOO-HOOs from the members of those groups. Concomitantly we study our list of online reviewers for books in our genre, and quite methodically, quite purposefully send off our emails (reviewer’s copy of our perfect creation, .pdf attached) to those sites or individuals who may have an interest. We know  good reviews sell books and, after all, we do want to sell our books because, for some of us, book sales equate to steak on the table rather than Hamburger Helper. (Oh, we tire of Hamburger Helper!) And on and on it goes.

No rest for the weary. The wicked? No, most of us don’t have time for wicked. Indeed, we’ve already begun the next project, the next perfect creation.

Eventually the reviews appear. Good ones. Not so good ones. Goofy ones. Ones that bring your fingertips to your head, scratching, as you wonder, Where the hell did that come from? Did they read the book? Didn’t  they see the perfection of our creation?

***

I am an introvert. Shy. Happy left alone. Uncomfortable in crowds. Although, in my past life–from which liberation came some seven years ago–I necessarily played the part of  the hard-assed administrator, responsible for a goodly number of subordinates, and the expenditure of a shit-load of money that wasn’t mine. I did well for myself within my adamantine shell where, at times, I outmuthered the endless supply of obtuse SOBs who happened to darken my door. (Maybe you’ve guessed. Yes, I was a bureaucrat. The SOBs were, yes, politicians.) I admit I was playing the role required of me all those years ago. Inside, though, I was a writer yearning to get out of the particular hell that–I understood, and understood quite well–paid the mortgage, put food on the table. I wanted to drop the facade. I wanted to be…me.

Having related this little slice of my life, my conundrum, my dilemma as a writer is not with the writing; it is in being something that I’m not.

I abhor hype. I detest the persistent, nagging, oppressive necessity to sell myself, my writing. I watch in awe–Yes! Awe!–those writers most prolific in the genre within I’ve been published, and wonder how in hell they can produce all that hype, all that unashamed breast-beating, all those blog posts, interviews, Face Book blips. How? How do they do it? (Gathering 2,000 friends on FB, and then ignoring most of them.) Some of them have answered that question with an offhand explanation that they manage their time well. God bless them! But still…

I could easily wrap myself up in some self-serving notion that I’d rather spend my time with my stories; that I just can’t share my creative juices with the necessity to market myself; that, ultimately, my writing will speak for itself. But reality nags. Reality begs the question: If you want to be a successful writer–read Sales!–then you know what you have to do whether you like it or not. Period.

The inevitability I seek in my writing does, sadly, metamorphose into another quite strident inevitability: Sell your books. You know how to do it. You’ve seen how the others do it. Now…just…do…it!

Oh, the humanity…       

I actually have a fan!

All the way from Courtenay, BC (Old Wolf Lake in the background), I received a very kind note on my “About” page from a fan, Robert, who later provided a few pics showing him reading my novel, “Big Diehl – The Road Home.” Very, very nice gesture. My first fan! Or, at least, my first piece of fan mail. A satisfying thing…for any writer’s ego. Irrefutable visual evidence that at least someone–besides my partner–is reading what I’ve written.

Thank you, Robert.

Michael Breyette’s “Illustrated Men” (My short, “Metamorhphosis” included) – Genisis of the story…

The art of Michael Breyette is exquisite, titillating; mirroring the lives, the truths of gay men in a most honest, revealing (oh, quite revealing!) celebration of color, form, storytelling implicit in each picture. It is art that expresses, through the beauty of the male form, the full gamut of human emotion; joy, sadness, yearning, companionship, sharing.

Some time ago, Michael wondered how writers–published or not–would interpret his work if given the chance to reflect on a particular painting through their own storytelling, rather than what Michael had in mind when he created the painting. The long-awaited result of Michael’s curiosity was published last month by MLR Press, entitled “Illustrated Men.”  There is an electronic version available at MLR, and a print version at Amazon. This is a beautiful book, not only because of Breyette’s wonderful paintings, or even the great storytelling from the authors who participated, but also because of the gorgeous interior layout of the book provided by MLR’s Senior Editor and Formatting Director Kris Jacen. It is also important to note that producing a book like this is no small task, at no small expense. Laura Baumbach, MLR’s Owner and Publisher (besides being a quite prolific and award-winning author) said yes to Breyette’s idea which, I’m sure, many other small or large publishing houses would not have taken on simply because of the magnitude of the effort. Thank you, Ms. Baumbach.

As to the genesis of the short, “Metamorphosis,” I wont giveaway the content of the picture, or my storytelling that accompanies it. (Maybe just a snippet.) What I will tell you is that when I first looked at Bryettet’s painting, “Metamorphosis,” I was immediately taken back to a very much simpler time and place in my life. I had just returned to Denver, my home, from two years in the Army (having earned my B.A. before I enlisted), and, having FINALLY accepted my sexuality as a gift, I happily celebrated that part of my psyche with–as I think about it now–a particular vengeance. I had a lot of catching up to do.

In those days there were 3.2 beer joints in Denver, at least two of them gay owned and operated. If you were at least eighteen, and had I.D. to prove it, you could partake of the merriment in those establishments. One of the bars, The Apartment, was a small place where I’d found my comfortable corner; a place where youngsters (Oh, how I loved the youngsters! Still do!) gathered, partied, hooked up. Every Sunday afternoon Frank, the owner of the bar, would host a drag show that saw the tiny dance floor cleared, a spotlight set up, and the performers’ songs prerecorded on cassette tapes. There was one fairly regular performer, I’ll call him Rusty, whose lip sync was, well, adequate, and whose body was absolutely luscious. He knew what his asset was. And he worked it with slow sensuous moves, to slow sensuous songs, gradually removing his clothing until he was down to his jockstrap. Yes, a striptease, that no “working girl” would be caught dead performing. The drag queens despised Rusty, but the crowd loved him. I suppose the queens believed he was in some way defiling their “art,” demeaning their calling to female impersonation. Rusty never did drag. Just lip synced and stripped.

I wrote a short about Rusty many years ago, that had him considering “upgrading” his performance; maybe taking some ballet lessons, and adding a little “class” to his act. That striving for a little “class,” and the eventual result provided the ending to that long-ago written short. And from that short, from the ending of that short came the idea for my admittedly quirky, kind of funky story accompanying Breyette’s painting, “Metamorphosis.”

So, there’s the genesis of the story. Suspect Breyette had something else altogether in mind when he created the painting. But, then, that was the point of Breyette’s curiosity, his vision for the collection anyway.

Snippet: Deaglan worked a few years in construction, bartended, watied tables. Served filet mignon and bouillabaisse, eased corks from twenty-year-old bottles. Appreciated the attention given to his looks as something he couldn’t help, nor wanted to. Seemed clothes tended to caress his body like shrink wrap a valued commodity. Gave up on underwear. Smiled at faces, men and women–forks shoveling chunks of rare meat into wide mouths–whose eyes captured, for later fanciful reference, the swing of a goodly treasure against the fine, thin linen Deaglan preferred. Pleased himself with a turn of his head, seeing in some of those same eyes a perceived desire to gnaw on the tightly muscled jut of his ass, framing a slit that surely promised deeper treasures. Dessert here, anyone?

My short story, “Continuum,” issued by Untreed Reads

Untreed Reads provides this synopsis of “Continuum.”

It’s been often said that to know where you’re going you have to know where you’ve been. Such is the premise of our latest release in our Diversity short story line, entitled “Continuum” by George Seaton.

In this story a gay man, looking back at the evolution of his relationship from the onset of AIDS in the 1980’s to the present, discovers that love and time both have their own continuity. With a longing for the carefree days gone by, the narrator grows to accept the time he now finds himself in. Part historical, part romance and mostly literary, we think everyone will find something to relate to here regardless of their sexual orientation.

“Continuum” is available here in the Untreed Reads Store for $1.50, and GreenPass members save an additional 15%. You’ll also find “Continuum” at Smashwords, Amazon for the Kindle and most of the great retailers listed on the right side of our website.

You can read an excerpt here: Scribd Very nice review here, from eBook Addict, Rainbow Reviews.

“Big Diehl – The Road Home” Released

My novel, “Big Diehl – The Road Home” has been released by MLR Press in ebook format. Print format will soon follow.

This is a follow-up to my novella, “Big Diehl,” also published by MLR Press.

The Diehl stories tell of a young man who, upon his graduation from high school, escapes his  dismal life in Wyoming, and finds himself on the road to discover the possibilities of a new life elsewhere. He hits the road, not really knowing where he’s going, or what possibilities he will find ahead. In Casper, Wyoming he enlists in the Army, is embraced by the kindness of strangers–who become his only real family–until he is required to report for duty at Fort Polk, Louisiana. His stint in the Army spans six years, including experiencing combat in the First Gulf War, Desert Storm. He returns to Wyoming with the intent to take-up his life where he’d left it, in Casper, amongst the love of his adopted family. But first, he must even a long-standing score he has with his father, still living in a “tin house” in Laramie.

The road home is not an easy one. The way back to the “world” is speckled with the discovery of a dog who, as all dogs, provide Diehl with the joy, comfort of unconditional love and perhaps guidance that only a dog can give. Diehl travels what is, at times, a dark road home–more in his mind, than in reality. Along the way he finds himself suspected of a horrendous deed; a prior unrequited love is explained; an old love is revisited; and, finally, Diehl must decide what the real meaning of “home” is.

“Big Diehl – The Road Home” contains tangential gay erotica.

Two nice reviews over on Amazon. And two other valued reviews at Literary Nymphs, and ebookaddict. And another, from Janna at E-Romance Reader. And a 5  Star review at Three Dollar Bill Reviews. Wow! Queer Magzine Online gave Diehl a very nice review.

The Cow and other Colorado tales

This little collection of three stories that center on northwestern Colorado rural and ranch life, is a slight diversion from my most recent publishing adventures. No erotica. No war. No romance. PG13, in fact. I love these little stories, especially The Cow.

This is the first time I’ve used the Amazon self-publishing functionality. But, just today (7/12/10) I’ve signed a contract with Untreed Reads to reissue this little collection under their moniker, so it will no long be available as self-published at Amazon or anywhere else. In a few days (weeks? Months??? Most likely in November) it will hopefully be reissued by Untreed Reads.

Big Diehl – The Road Home – Cover Art completed

The cover art for my forthcoming novel, “Big Diehl – The Road Home,” has been completed. Yes, there’s a boy and his dog there. The plot encompasses a wee bit more than what the cover art suggests. Don’t know when MLR will publish this novel. Hopefully before the summer is out.

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