FIRST BORN SONS
The world of First Born Sons, like the world we live in, is messy and often heartbreaking but also full of profound moments of kindness and love. The book consists of multiple interrelated stories with a mosaic of contemporary characters, including four siblings, their spouses, children, friends, and neighbors, weaving their trials into a single novel where they fall in and out of love, search for identity, and chase their dreams. Themes of racial justice and inclusivity move the narratives toward breaking points both joyful and disastrous. Sons struggle with mothers (and would-be mothers), gay dads, and in one case, a firstborn daughter transitions to a firstborn son. Strangers become friends, parents raise their children, families go through divorce, a younger man forms a relationship with an older one, and death comes to an innocent. A global pandemic complicates the characters’ battles but also highlights what’s important in life.
EDDIE'S DESERT ROSE
In the 1980’s, Dave and Eddie Bates are just trying to get ahead by taking high-paying teaching contracts in Saudi Arabia. They know nothing about the winds of Islamic fundamentalism sweeping across the Arabian sands. Eddie, the younger of the two brothers, gets caught in a trap and meets an untimely death. The authorities try to cover up the incident. Join me in a trip across three continents as Dave and his wife, Maura, search for Eddie’s killers. Feel the chills as they keep ending up in the wrong places at the wrong times, sometimes nearly dead wrong. And what is a desert rose anyway?
FOUR CALLING BURDS
The four Burd siblings head to Mexico to heal and regroup after the death of their mother. Midlife crises are revealed. At the age of forty-seven, M wonders if she is too old to transition to the man she has been hiding inside her. Augie has a perfect gay family with a loving husband and an adorable bi-racial son. And yet, something is missing. The charismatic Lio has squandered his marriage and relationship with his daughter in favor of a hedonistic lifestyle. The youngest sibling, AJ, is married to a man emboldened by the election of a fascist bully as president. It takes a kidnapping to shake them out of their self-absorption, sending them on new journeys in search of that illusive thing we call happiness.
Rebecca, twenty-one, free, and a candidate for Stanford law school, sets out on a mission to bring justice to the man accused of killing her mother. Tio Jorge (George) is out of prison and living a reclusive but tranquil life in northern California. When their lives intersect again after a 16-year hiatus, they must cope with the remnants of hurt stirred up by delving into the past, challenging their notions of justice and truth, and ultimately their newly revived friendship. At the end of Rebecca’s journey lies a new millennium family to replace the one she lost as a girl.
THE MAYOR OF OAK STREET
A young man flees the confusion and trauma of growing up gay in the Midwest in the 1960s, choosing to go to college in a hopefully more enlightened New Orleans, only to find the past showing up to haunt, and then ultimately save him.
The Mayor of Oak Street is Meis's sixth novel, a coming-of-age story about a boy with an obsession for snooping on his neighbors and an infatuation with a young doctor down the street. He struggles to become a man in a landscape of sex, drugs, and rock and roll in the 1960s and 1970s.
When a young white man in high school, becomes involved with a black football star, the relationship leads to disastrous results in a small town in Mississippi. It is the early 1980’s and racism and homophobia are very much alive. In Book One of the novel, Byron struggles with revenge, redemption, and the sexuality that always seems to lead to pain. In Book Two, a young black man wonders about the mystery surrounding the uncle he never knew. Lamar struggles to navigate the minefields of black youth in our society, complicated by the fact that he is a Katrina refugee in Oakland and must deal with his own fluid sexuality. The story is revealed through the two characters, one white, one black, one rich, one poor. Their lives and families become entwined, and ultimately new families are formed. The experiences of the characters reflect the issues surrounding race and sexuality in the last thirty years in the U.S.
DOWN IN CUBA
Two cultures clash as Martin, an American suffering the ennui of middle age, sneaks into Cuba and falls into the arms of Leo, a captivating young Cuban artist who knows how to use his body to get what he wants. On course for a casual affair that would be mutually beneficial, a freak accident sets up a patient-caregiver relationship, sending their liaison in the direction of a budding romance. Martin is convinced that he has found a diamond in the rough and pours his heart into the doomed love while Leo juggles his dual life, thinking he can have it all. Set in the harsh reality of Havana’s gay underworld in the waning days of Cuba’s socialist regime, the novel moves from sultry nights on shady streets to the enigmatic channels of two hearts yearning to be free.
FAR FROM HOME
Far from Home is a collection of twelve short stories, taking the reader on a journey from the desert sands of the Middle East to a forbidden Caribbean island, and many points in between. Though two of the stories are set in the U.S., others find LGBTQ people dealing with life in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Spain, Turkey, Cuba, Mexico, and the Netherlands, places where the characters are physically and psychologically far from the comfort of home. The stories focus on people suffering alienation, confusion, violence, loss, and sometimes joyful encounters in the eternal search for love while they travel or live in other places.