research

Working on Another Historical…


I wish there were someone around to kick me when I start projects like this. I always say I don’t like writing historicals. But the truth is that I just don’t like the concept of writing them. It takes too long to do the research and I like things to move fast. When you’re writing a historical you have to stop and triple check facts, and sometimes you even have to cross reference to find out if there are discrepancies. The problem is that once I’m really into the story I can’t help but love it.

A Young Widow’s Promise, which is a civil war romance, took me years to write. One reason I didn’t release it was because I loved it so much I didn’t want to let go of it. Only those who have suffered public reviews can understand this. And with this book I was checking facts right down to the wire until the day it was released. Another reason why I’m not fond of doing this research is that I can’t help but question how they know the information is true or not. No one nowadays was around in the year 1860, so how can anyone really be certain something did or didn’t happen. I know there are strong arguments against what I just said. But I still can’t help wondering. And there have been times when I’ve taken historical facts and written about them even though I questioned them silently. The best you can do is trust someone with more knowledge about history. The least you can do is try to get it right given the information available to you at the time.

I swore when I finished A Young Widow’s Promise I wouldn’t do another historical for at least two more years. But like A Young Widow’s Promise, the story I’ve been working on for the past two weeks is something I’ve always wanted to write and the timing right now is perfect. I’m between Virgin Billionaire books. I just submitted a book that will be published under one of my pen names. And this particular topic I’m writing about is something I’ve always wanted to write about. But more than that, it’s a m/m historical and extremely sexy. This time, unlike with A Young Widow’s Promise, I’m targeting my usual audience.

But I do swear this is my last historical for the next two years. I’d like to focus my short stories more on westerns for the next year. I enjoy writing them and reading them. I see a lot out there, but the ones I’ve read just don’t seem very sexy to me. And if I get the urge to write another historical anytime soon, I’m coming back to this post and reading my own words.

I wish I could post more about the subject of the historical I’m working on. It’s just too soon to talk about it right now. I will post more in the coming weeks. I’m hoping to have it submitted to the publisher by early next week. And then we’ll probably take another few weeks of editing. It should be out by late February, which if I’m counting the days right, will be perfect timing.

What Was It Like To Be "Gay" In the l960’s?

I’m writing this post because I’m working on a book right now that’s set in the l960’s. I have many older gay friends who’ve been helping me out with research. And articles like this have been insightful.

But I have to admit that it’s hard…damned hard…to fully understand what it must have been like back then. I can only imagine and hope I do it justice.

Gay in the 1960s — the time was ripe for revolution

By Warren Allen Smith

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Gay life in the 1960s was, for sure, an entirely different time, a time in which falling in love monthly, or even weekly, was neither impossible nor improbable.

It was a dangerous time, however, to be openly gay. Physicians who cured our venereal diseases scolded us for having done what we did to get sick. Psychiatrists ruled that we were mentally sick. Neighbors maliciously gossiped about who was visiting late last night. Landlords asked gay couples, hoping to rent, if they were related. Monotheists called us sinners, threatening that if we didn’t choose to be heterosexual we would not get to Heaven (making that theological invention all the more undesirable). If we were slightly on the fey side, we could get a black eye, a bloody lip or worse. Sometimes, in self-defense, we related antigay jokes to throw people off.

Even if we carefully stayed in the closet, it was difficult to play The Majority’s game. When I was an acting first sergeant in charge of a company that landed on Omaha Beach in 1944, I did play the game, difficult as it was. Although I preferred music, art, poetry and ballet to sports, I guarded against expressing myself. Whenever I got a leave during the time I was in the Army, I chose to travel alone. Who better than gays to understand Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”!

In 1969, Vice President Spiro Agnew would have become president if Richard Nixon had died. Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand tied as best actresses for an Oscar. “1776” and “The Great White Hope” won Antoinette Perry awards. Billie Jean King was one of the top tennis players. If treated, gonorrhea, syphilis and other venereal diseases were not life threatening. It cost 20 cents to ride the subway.

Sex in New York City was readily available, night and day. The Rambles in Central Park was one place where openly gay male sex occurred and allegedly had ever since the William Cullen Bryant-inspired area first opened. All that shrubbery, all those dark places in which to hide and to meet….

Many small parks had gay meeting spots, and all large parks had cruising areas. Brooklyn’s Prospect Park had several busy sites. Riverside Drive’s area stretched from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to General Grant’s Tomb and on up past Harlem. Parks along the East River and areas near the Battery were places to hook up. The park at Washington Sq. was appealing, particularly the northwest corner where guys leaned suggestively on the railings. If anyone asked the time, he really was inviting you to his nearby apartment. Rendezvous were followed by an exchange of names and phone numbers — wrong numbers, of course, if either thought he might do better falling in love after a one-night stand with someone else tomorrow.

Read more here…

What About Gay Divorce in New York?

I’m finishing up a new m/m romance where there are several gay weddings and they all take place in New York.

There’s also a gay divorce in the book and I wanted to read up about how that’s being handled in New York. And being that straight divorce is handled differently from state to state…I know this because my younger brother went through a nasty divorce a year ago from his evil ex where he had to fight for 50% custody of his kids…I figured it can’t be any different for gay couples.

I found out gay couples have been getting “divorced” in NY since 2008, which is long before they were allowed to legally marry.

I also found out it gets complicated when kids are involved. And, as far as I can tell, unless there’s something I’ve missed, the courts are handling this case by case because there’s no actual law in place at this time.

So far, this is one thing I found:

(Reuters) – As New York’s same-sex couples head to the altar to celebrate their newly won right to marry, they can take comfort in the fact that, if it doesn’t work out, their right to get divorced in the state just got a lot easier as well.

State senators on Friday voted 33-29 to approve marriage equality legislation introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat in his first year of office. New York will become the sixth and most populous U.S. state to allow gay marriage.

“One of the so-called benefits to marriage is actually divorce,” said Ruthann Robson, professor of law at the City University of New York. “If same-sex marriage is recognized, same-sex divorce would be recognized too.”

In fact, same-sex divorce was first recognized in New York in 2008, when an appeals court found that a same-sex marriage performed in Canada could be legally recognized in New York for the purposes of dissolving the union.

But without a formal law on the books, same-sex divorce in the state has proceeded on a case-by-case basis, creating some degree of uncertainty for same-sex couples looking to undo their unions, said Bettina Hindin, an attorney at Raoul Felder and Partners, who has represented same-sex couples in New York divorce proceedings.

Since same-sex marriages are now legally equivalent to heterosexual unions, same-sex couples’ right to divorce will be rooted in New York’s Domestic Relations Law, rather than cobbled together out of court rulings and individual judges’ decisions, according to Hindin.

“A lot of things are going to be easier” with legalized same-sex marriage, Hindin said. “It’s still somewhat out of the ordinary; this will make things far more ordinary.”

KIDS STILL AN ISSUE

If same-sex couples married in New York leave the state, however, they may run into trouble getting a divorce, especially if they end up in one of the 30 states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, said Susan Sommer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, which advocates for gay rights.

In some states, such as Wyoming, courts have found a right to divorce even absent the right to marry. In other jurisdictions that don’t recognize same-sex marriages, such as Texas, attempts at same-sex divorce have yielded mixed results.

In 2010, two trial courts in Austin and Dallas granted two separate gay couples’ petitions for divorce. The Austin appeals court upheld the ruling on appeal, while the Dallas appeals court did not, ruling that the courts lacked authority to issue divorces for same-sex couples. Both cases are currently pending before the Texas Supreme Court.

“It can be a real bind for people, trapped in this legal limbo,” Sommer said.

Still, same-sex relationships are no more susceptible to divorce than their heterosexual counterparts, Sommer added. According to a 2008 report from the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles, annual same-sex marriage divorce rates were about 2 percent, nearly identical to the rate for opposite-sex marriage.

“People go into their marriages expecting everything to work out, and for the majority of people that’s the case,” Sommer said. “But stuff happens.”

One issue that remains unresolved by the same-sex marriage vote is child custody, where one partner is a biological parent but the other has failed to adopt the child.

“Money is easy,” Hindin said. “It’s the children, the truly emotional piece of the relationship, that will be coming to the forefront and have to be dealt with by statute.”