Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Red Satin Collection Reviewed in Frock Magazine (and Speculative Family Drama)

I'm pleased to announce that Regan and Maisie's holiday adventures in The Red Satin Collection have been reviewed in the March/April 2012 issue of "Frock: Your Bi-Monthly Transgender Lifestyle Magazine." (Thank you, Sally. You're the best!)

Frock is available to read online, and the current issue is free, so check it out right here: http://frockmagazine.com/frock014/ The review of my book is on pages 73-75, but it might take you a while to get that far, because the articles in Frock are all so interesting.

I've actually been thinking about The Red Satin Collection a lot lately. As Sally points out in her review, it's highly "family drama" oriented. I happen to come from a big family and there's always drama to a greater or lesser degree, so I enjoy stories of other families and their collective insanity.

But I've been thinking about something a little more specific in relation to The Red Satin Collection: Regan's reunion with her alcoholic father. It's funny when I write a character who is so clearly ME and don't even realize it. Butch Regan (hater of shopping trips, secure in her sexuality, and very much in love with her trans friend Maisie) is such a ME character I probably wouldn't have been able to write the Red Satin stories if I'd realized it at the time.

The Red Satin Collection is not based on real life events. Not at all. It's based on real people, my girlfriend and I, but the stories are speculation. The stories are "what ifs." My girl is not out with her family yet--they still think of her as a guy. After almost 4 years as a couple, we haven't spent a Christmas together. I've never cheated on her and never wanted to--and definitely not with any of her sisters.

I also never got Regan's chance at reunion with my alcoholic father. When my dad died, we'd been estranged for a dozen or so years. That was my choice. I cut ties with a heavy heart after he became increasingly abusive and manipulative toward myself and my family, stealing from us, issuing daily death threats against my mother, my siblings, and I. Restraining orders were issued, not followed. My mother installed bars on our windows because he kept breaking into our house.

It was an horrific time for our family, and when my father was eventually sentenced to 18 months in prison on unrelated charges, life finally started to improve for us. Little by little, we began to feel safe. My father wrote letters, but I never opened them. After a time, he gave up and found someone new to stalk. We discovered this after his death.

So, that was "real life," many years ago.

In "real life" today, I don't find myself speculating on the possibilities, but I always say my writing comes more from my unconscious than my conscious mind. I never ask myself questions like: What if my father had quit the bottle? What if he'd seen the error of his abusive ways and developed wisdom in the time we didn't know each other? What if he'd come back into my life with something to teach me? What if he could meet the woman I love and admire our relationship? ...at Christmas?

Maybe I'm too pragmatic or even too bitter to ask these questions, I don't know, but The Red Satin Collection (the story called Red Satin Christmas in particular) isn't afraid to play with them. Maybe writing is nothing more than cheap therapy. And maybe it's more than just therapy for the writer. I'm not saying The Red Satin Collection is a self-help book (it's trans lesbian erotic romance, actually) but I think it did help me, somehow.

I think everything I write helps me. Somehow.


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