Book Banning Thoughts

A myriad of frightening things are going on in our world right now. For example, we see Americans with an affinity for Nazism, racist messaging and comments made out in the open by prominent politicians, and of course thousands of Americans deny the legitimacy of the last presidential election. I could write my concerns about all of these issues. But nothing symbolizes the moment better to me than the push for book banning.

As a professionally trained historian, I taught about and studied book banning in a number of countries, communities, and societies. They all have one things in common: the suppression of free speech and the attempt by one group to control the thoughts of everyone else. Book burning represents the most extreme manifestation of this trend, but the mere attempt to ban a book is only steps away from a conflagration of books in the town square. The open and free flow of ideas is essential to a free people and a functioning democracy.

I therefore applaud anyone and everyone who combats the specious trend of banning books. With the uproar over a Tennessee school district banning “Maus,” a lot of people have spoken out against it. I am particularly proud to be a member of the Horror Writers Association, which released the following statement:

Statement on Maus and Other Banned Books

The Horror Writers Association condemns banning books in no uncertain terms. We believe authors need to be able to tell their stories without fear of reprisal.

The banning of “Maus” in a Tennessee school district, which was done on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is nothing less than censorship and anti-Semitism.

“Maus” is not the first text to be excluded from school libraries. Recently, LGBTQ+ texts have been banned in a Washington state school district, and many other books by authors of color have been censored in districts across America. These are chilling examples of censorship, racism, anti-Semitism, and white washing. We all need to be more vocal each and every time this happens.

These actions set a dangerous precedent in a free society. They cannot and should not be tolerated. The HWA condemns all attempts at censorship, particularly these obvious attempts of the establishment to silence marginalized voices. We urge you to speak out in your local communities against such autocratic tactics that not only threaten our creative community but also make our world less safe.

Signed,

The HWA’s Officers and Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees spoke for me here with their powerful words. And I am writing to you to implore all of us to speak out against such censorship. We all need to be fighting to preserve American democracy, and freedom around the globe. Resisting book bans is not an insignificant aspect of this struggle. Join the cause and denounce such behavior!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I took a couple weeks off to enjoy the holidays. If any of you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I love to decorate, as revealed in my 19 Christmas Trees. I like to get away from work, writing, and publicity to rejuvenate. I take the time off to reflect, spend time with loved ones, and bid goodbye to the previous year. And of course to have fun with all my decorations!

Now we’re on to 2022, and I am excited! Here are my writing plans:

-Most exciting, THE VAMPIRE’s WAR will come out this year!!! In the coming months, I’ll share its blurb, teasers, cover art, etc. NineStar Press recently changed the way it assigns a publication date, to give authors more lead time and certainty. However, this means it takes a little longer after agreeing to publish before we learn the exact date. This is a good thing! I am sharing that information with you because I can’t tell you exactly when to anticipate THE VAMPIRE’S WAR coming to you, but it will be 2022.

-I am also busy at work on the sequel to SANTA IS A VAMPIRE. THE EASTER BUNNY IS A WEREWOLF has already been a lot of fun to write. Simon the Elf returns, Santa makes a couple appearances, and wait until you learn the truth about the Easter Bunny . . .

-And I hope to continue to ramp up my publicity efforts. As I revealed last year, I became a full-time writer in January 2021. I think this helped me do more on the publicity front. I am still learning and growing in that department, still seeking ways to reach out to you and new readers.

Happy New Year! Let’s work together to make 2022 bright and accepting for all people.

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My Holiday Wish for You

Happy Holidays to everyone!

I wanted to take a moment to share my holiday wish for every person who reads my blog.

I wish for each of you a sense of belonging. Some people find belonging with family. Others find it with friends. Or maybe you feel alone but can reach out to one person – a lifeline to help you feel less alone. Whatever form of belonging you discover, I wish for you to feel loved and important.

Whether I have met you, please know you mean something to me. As a reader of this blog and a fellow human, I see your worth. Please join me in uplifting each other, no matter your belief system, race, sexuality, gender or class.

Happy Holidays, my friends. I love you.

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THE VAMPIRE’S WAR!

I am pleased to announce THE VAMPIRE’S WAR will be coming your way next year!

What happens in Book V of the Realm of the Vampire Council?

An enraged vampire prepares for war against the Vampire Council. Jaret Bachmann possesses the power to assist in the fight but the Council keeps him at a distance. When his lover, Anthony, disappears, Jaret takes matters into his own hands. Defying the Council, combating a violent enemy, and searching for his place in the world, Jaret must find himself and prepare for battle at the same time.

The final clash is set for Notre Dame Cathedral. Who will survive? Who will win? Find out in THE VAMPIRE’S WAR – coming in 2022!

In the meantime, please check out the other volumes in my vampire series! You can find them listed here, with a buy link: MY BOOKS!

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What?! Queer Spooky Tales AND a Great Cause?!

I am super excited to share the following anthology with you! Check it out in order to read some spooky queer stories while also contributing to a wonderful cause!

The Bay Area Queer Writers Association presents a collection of spooky tales to fright and delight you. Authors Wayne Goodman, Richard May, M.D. Neu, Liz Faraim, and R.L. Merrill have all contributed tales of the macabre for your reading pleasure. All proceeds from this inaugural collection will be donated to the The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center of San Jose, CA. Here’s where to get it: BUY LINK!

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Do Horror Writers Hibernate after Halloween?

I had an interesting conversation with some fellow horror writers last month. We noted how many people, events, and such requested our presence in October, which makes sense given Halloween. People focus attention on thrills and frights and things that scare them during this month.

However, we also discussed how many folks, other than true horror enthusiasts such as ourselves, think horror writing disappears or becomes irrelevant once October 31st turns the page to November 1st.

I wanted to assure everyone that, contrary to the stereotype, we horror writers continue to function once November rolls around. We write. We live our lives. We get ready for Thanksgiving and then the Holiday season, the same as everyone else! And we do hope to sell books year round, not just in October!

In fact, I adore the change of seasons. Of course I get all excited to decorate for Halloween! But I also have a lot of fall decorations I get out at the same time. Those items remain up until after Thanksgiving, even after I put away my Halloween decorations. And, as many of your know, I am a nut job when it comes to holiday decorations. I’ll share all of my Christmas trees this season once I get them up.

What’s the moral of the story? PLEASE continue to help me and my fellow horror writers by purchasing our books during every month of the year! And remember – we’re still lurking even if Halloween ended!

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Happy Halloween!

No matter how or why you celebrate the holiday, Happy Halloween! As a horror writer and big horror fan, Halloween is the time of year the whole world focuses on the genre.

If you have kids or like to pass out candy, Happy Trick or Treating!

If you love horror movies, curl up for a lot of scares this weekend!

And of course – read horror books of all kinds to celebrate Halloween!

Enjoy Haunted Houses? Then get out to a few right this minute!

A lot of other ways to celebrate exist, too. So take a break and embrace Halloween!!

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Halloween Blog Appearances!

Happy Halloween Week! The big day is almost here – get ready for the ghosts, goblins, vampires, witches, zombies, demons, and you name it to stop by for a visit! I had some great opportunities to visit blogs this month to chat about my writing, the horror genre, and Halloween. I’ve rounded them up to share with you here:

Horror Writers Association, Halloween Haunts Blog: The Queer Monster Within!

J. Scott Coatsworth Blog: A Chat about My Writing!

Readers Advisory Guide to Horror: Why I Love the Horror Genre!

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Meet a Couple Scary Friends! J.P. Jackson and Rick R. Reed Visit My Blog!

The week of Halloween is finally here! As a horror fan, what’s not to love about the chills and thrills?! And here is even more exciting news: great books exist to fill your Halloween needs, with great LGBTQIA+ characters from amazing gay writers! I want to share two author friends with you. J.P. Jackson and Rick R. Reed are fellow NineStar Press authors who bring unique vision to the world of vampires, witches, and other dark elements. Please check out their scary Halloween reads – the buy links follow each book description!

SUMMONED by J.P. Jackson!

Devid Khandelwal desperately wants to experience the supernatural. After years of studying everything from crystals to tarot to spellcasting, nothing has happened that would tell him the Shadow Realm is real. And that kills Dev. As a last-ditch resort, he purchases a summoning board, an occult tool that will grant him his ultimate desires.

Cameron Habersham is Dev’s best friend. Cam loves Dev like a brother and will do anything for him, as long as he looks good doing it. So when Dev asks him to perform the summoning board’s ritual, he reluctantly agrees, but he knows nothing will come of it. Nothing ever does.

However, within a day, Dev and Cam’s lives are turned upside down as wishes begin to come true. They discover the existence of a supernatural world beyond their imagination, but peace between the species is tenuous at best.

Dev finally gets to see the Shadow Realm, meets the man of his dreams, and is inducted into the local male coven. But for all the desires that were summoned into existence, Dev soon realizes the magical community dances the line between good and evil, and Cam ends up on the wrong side of everything.

The old adage is true: Be careful what you wish for. BUY LINK: SUMMONED!

IMMORTAL THINGS by Rick R. Reed!

By day, Elise draws and paints, spilling out the horrific visions of her tortured mind. By night, she walks the streets, selling her body to the highest bidder.

And then they come into her life: a trio of impossibly beautiful vampires: Terence, Maria, and Edward. When they encounter Elise, they set an explosive triangle in motion

Terence wants to drain her blood. Maria wants Elise . . . as lover and partner through eternity. And Edward, the most recently converted, wants to prevent her from making the same mistake he made as a young abstract expressionist artist in 1950s Greenwich Village: sacrificing his artistic vision for immortal life. He is the only one of them still human enough to realize what an unholy trade this is.

Immortal Things will grip you in a vise of suspense that won’t let go until the very last moment…when a shocking turn of events changes everything and demonstrates—truly—what love and sacrifice are all about. BUY LINK: IMMORTAL THINGS!

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The Queer Monster Within

The Horror Writers Association hosts a blog for the month of October, Halloween Haunts. The contributions are so much fun to read as we march toward Halloween. My entry was published today, so please check out “The Queer Monster Within!”

Link: The Queer Monster Within.

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