Day 34 of 365 Days of Silver ~~ I am SO Grateful for Ideas…

“Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried.”
~~ Tim O’Reilly

I am so thankful for my gift—the gift of storytelling.

It really is quite exciting…. People ask, “Where do you get your ideas,” and there is no answer. Not really. And yet there are a million answers!

The ideas come from a picture, a newspaper article, a personal story, something a friend tells me, a commercial, a magazine ad, a line from a book that is so outstanding that I sit up and think, “That line is a whole novel!”

My story New Lease in the anthology Two Tickets to Paradise came from me just looking at pictures on something like tumbler and seeing this older guy sitting alone on a beach with a grey sky. And right in that second I knew he was lonely and thinking of killing himself and that his lover had died…a man he could never properly say was his lover because the man was married… And then I knew he wasn’t even allowed to go to the funeral. And then he meets this young man on the evening be plans on ending it and then….

It all happened fast. One thought after another after another after another after another….

Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf happened backward. I suddenly knew I wanted a crazy silly and very very long title… And I was mindlessly sleeveing trays of mail at work to send down the line and the title began to come to me and it grew and altered and then…it was there! WHAM!

An hour later I knew the entire story….

The one I am working on now? My husband gave me a section of the newspaper with a story he knew I would love—can’t say what it is right now!—and all of a sudden I knew that I wanted to do something on that theme and within hours the story popped into my head and grew. I knew the first chapter. I knew the second chapter. I knew the way the two characters would meet.

I love my gift!

It is very exciting. It makes my heart pound. It makes my breath speed up.

And I know I am a part of Creation.

I know that I am made in the image of a Creator…and how I reflect that image is by Creating myself.

I know that we are all Creators. We all have these things we do that seem so natural to us and others can’t imagine how we do it. My friend Cricket crochets these amazing things and I can’t crochet a potholder. Can’t! I am in awe. She and people like her say, “All you have to do is follow the simple instructions.” But no. It is more than that.

I hope and pray that everyone has such gifts. And when something calls to them, they do it for God’s sake! Do it! Dance, paint, sing, cook, raise children, garden, do spoken word, do whatever!

Do it for your sake.

It’s the most exciting thing in the world!

And now? Off to work on my book!

B.G. Thomas


Day Twenty-One of 365 Days of Silver ~~ I Am Grateful That My New Book Was Released Today!

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
~~ Ernest Hemingway

I worried for a bit about this one. I didn’t want to make my blog a commercial endeavor. But darnit! I am so grateful for my new book, and for lots of reasons.

First, I’m grateful that I have the gift of writing! Storytellers have been revered since cavemen sat around a fire. Those tales entertained and taught lessons and tried to make sense of the world and why it worked–why the sun rose, why the earth trembled, why the sky flashed with lightning and rumbled with thunder. They even tried to explain the nature of “god.”

Storytellers have never lost their importance. From Aesop’s fables to the stories of gods and goddesses to Shakespeare to glittery vampires. Stories are important. And I’m a part of that wonderful magick!

And I’m so grateful that I have these stories within me to tell!

“Do you ever wonder if you’ll run out of ideas?” people ask me.

Ha! It’s the last thing I worry about! I have so many ideas, so many characters begging me to tell their stories. I’m fine on that account!

And I am so blessed to have readers. People genially interested in my stories, my books, my novels. I’m living a dream. And yes, it doesn’t hurt to get paid for doing what I love to do. Who doesn’t want a job that doesn’t seem like a job? It is certainly work, but work that is so rewarding on so many levels. Work that I love. And thankfully, there are publishers that want my stories. And if my tales weren’t selling, they wouldn’t keep buying!

And of course there is Dreamspinner Press, that I have already talked about (and probably will again). They believe in me. My new book is proof of that!

Because I goofed. I goofed big time. I got lazy. I did something…ah…so not good. I didn’t pay attention to the guidelines on a Call for Submissions.

Every year DSP publishes an “Advent Calendar.” 30/31 stories released one a day through the month of December. There is always a theme, but it is easy (for me at least) to write almost anything I want and it “fits” into that theme. I love love love writing holiday stories and people like them. I believe in magick, I believe in holiday magick, and that pours out of my stories. They make people feel good.

Now the lazy part…. I didn’t pay attention to DSP’s guidelines last year. OMGosh! They wanted holiday stories from around the world. I didn’t notice!

I get this email back with this sort of *cough*cough* — Ah, Ben…. Ah… This story isn’t set in another country. We would consider publishing it if you could move it to another country.

OMGosh! What had I done? I knew better! I can’t tell you the frustration I suffered last year when editing my first anthology, A Taste of Honey, all about bears. I got close to a hundred submissions and dozens of them weren’t about bears! I would read a long story thinking, Okay… Where is the bear? And then the bear would never show up! One story even had a character say, “I’m a bear!” But he wasn’t! He was smooth and big and muscular (yes, I know there are muscle bears), but the only thing “bearish” about him was a bear tattoo. Well, a tat does not a bear make (it was a pretty darned good story though).

“Just wait until you get your first heterosexual love story,” several editors said, commiserating with me,

So how could I turn around and do the same thing??

I briefly considered “fixing” it and trying to re-tell my story so that it took place someplace else. A Canadian friend and one from England–both amazing writers–offered to help. The problem? My story couldn’t be set more in the United States, and Kansas City in particular. The famous J. C. Nichols Country Club Plaza and the Kaufman Center for Performing Arts play a significant role in the story of my rent boy named Leslie “Red” Parks and his client Kirk Toliver. There was just no way. It wasn’t the work involved. It was the locations were very important to the atmosphere of my book!

The thing is? They loved the story so much they bought it anyway and released it as a New Year’s tale, which is just what it is. It is amazing to have that kind of belief behind me and supporting me.

So yes, darnit! I am grateful that I have a new book out today! Grateful beyond words!

And grateful to know that I can keep telling my stories, and publishers and readers will be interested in my words.

Thank you all!

B.G. Thomas

PS: By the way–*blush*–if you’re interested in my new ebook you can find it by clicking HERE directly from Dreamspinner Press or if you prefer to go to Amazon, you can find it by clicking right HERE.


Day Two of 365 Days of Silver ~~ I Am Grateful for Dreamspinner Press

“The humblist tasks get beutified if loving hands do them.”
~~ Louisa May Alcott

Today I am grateful for Dreamspinner Press (as well as any other publisher that has produced my writing).

Five years ago I was a deamer, living in fantasies that one day I would be a published author. And now I am. I have six novels under my belt, one to be published in the spring sometime, and I’m well into writing more. I’ve sold numerous short stories and novellas. 2014 saw me edit my first anthology, A Taste of Honey. My novel The Boy Who Came In From the Cold has been translated into German (as well as my holiday short, Biana’s Plan) and will soon published in Korean. Five of my stories are now available as audiobooks, the two that are novels read by the talented (and very handsome) and openly gay actor Charlie David (I’m a fan, so imagine my excitement when that happened).

And now my first free story has just been released. Not too shabby.

I owe it all to Dreamspinner Press and the staff, with most of the credit going to Elizabeth North, Lynn West, Julianne Bentley, Anne Regan, Paul Richmond and Andrew Grey.

And I am especially grateful to my editor Andi Byassee, who polishes and polishes and polishes my work and makes sure I shine.

An unbelievable amount of work goes into publishing a book. There are reviewers, editors, artists, and far more—I don’t even understand or know what else is done or how many people are involved. DSP pays out a lot of money to make a book available, trusting there will be a return on their investment.

And to think thay my “free” book—Derek—wasn’t free to produce! A lot of hands touched it from when I emailed it to when it was released to readers.

But Elizabeth and Dreamspinner trusted me. That I was worth it!

They’ve made my dreams come true!

There’s a distinct chance that in the next year or so I can give up my “Evil Day Job” and write full-time!

I’ve wanted that since I was around eighteen, and trust me, that was quite a long time ago.

So thank you Dreamspinner Press! I am so grateful to you!

B.G. Thomas

The covers for the American and German editions for The Boy Who Came In From the Cold.