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 gay people dealing with gayness 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. Most of the stories focus on Gay men suffering alienation, confusion, violence, and loss in the eternal search for love while they travel or live in other cultures.
THE MAYOR OF OAK STREET
As a paperboy, lawn mower, and neighborhood snoop, Nathan is the guardian of secrets about the people on his street. But the biggest secret he must keep is about himself. The rush he feels when sneaking into his neighbors’ houses becomes an obsession. Desperate to make a connection with another human being, his addiction changes to drugs, and later to sex in an attempt to mitigate the pain of being an outcast in high school and college.
The man he most admires, Dr. B, gives him a glimmer of hope two men can find love only to have that hope dashed when the doctor is driven from his hometown by scandal during Nathan’s time in high school. Years later their paths cross again in New Orleans, where Nathan attends Tulane University and Dr. B has fled, looking for a new life. Nathan’s biggest challenge is how he will deal with their reunion.
DOWN IN CUBA
Martin Vandenberg has a routine marriage and an unremarkable career as a professor of Latin American Studies at a small southern California college. To save himself from the ennui of mid life, he heads to Cuba on sabbatical where he will write a book about Cuban icon, José Martí. Soon after arriving in Cuba, he is led into the underground world of Havana’s Malecón where he comes face to face with his long-sheltered sexual feelings. Leo Flores is a young, unemployed artist adept at the Cuban game of love and survival. With both men longing to be free, though in very different ways, the things they do to help each other are also the things that can destroy them.
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.
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.
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.