Hurricane Irma’s gone but not its aftermath ….

Hi, friends and readers:

It has been four days since Hurricane Irma slammed into the Tampa Bay area. Fortunately for us, the storm moved a bit eastward before it reached us, so we received only a “glancing blow”, as one weatherperson called it. My house, which is only about 100 yards from the Gulf of Mexico, was spared any damage, which is pretty miraculous. Aside from a fallen tree limb and a whole bunch of tree and plant debris that made a mess of my patios and yard, I was fine. It took me two days to clean everything up.

The bad part has been a complete loss of electrical power on my island. I spent two days “camping out” in my home, and then I threw in the towel Wednesday afternoon. I packed a few clothing items and toiletries, and then I drove down to Bradenton to stay with my ex-partner, who has electrical service. As I write these words I’m savoring his air conditioning and the quiet of his home while he is at work.

We’re told by the power company that power should be restored to my island by late Friday  night, so I may stay here until Saturday morning. All in all I feel very lucky.

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Hurricane Irma. Will it strike Florida’s Gulf Coast?

Hi, friends and readers:

If you follow this site then you know I live on a small barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, west of St. Petersburg. The Intracoastal Waterway is about 40 yards from my house and the Gulf of Mexico is about 100 yards away. In other words, I’m surrounded by water.

Normally, my location’s quite safe form flooding, but now Hurricane Irma, a Category Five storm, has entered the Caribbean Sea and is headed in Florida’s direction. If it hits here my house is a goner.

Now, I have lived in Florida all my life,  most of it on the Gulf Coast, and I don’t panic over hurricanes. Predictions by the weather people are often inaccurate. It’s quite possible Irma will turn north into the Atlantic or west toward Mexico, and then I’ll be fine. But if it comes here I’ll have to grab my valuables and my insurance policies and then evacuate to a friend’s house who lives on high ground.

Wish me luck ….

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A nice Arctic photo. I’m so tired of hot weather ….

Hi, friends and readers:

I came across this photo a few days ago and it took my breath away, for more reasons than one. First of all it’s a spectacular photo. I don’t know who took it, but he deserves to be commended for his photographic eye.

Secondly, it makes me yearn for a cold weather climate. Where I live in west central Florida the weather in mid-August is downright oppressive. The temperature in the afternoon often reaches the mid-nineties and the humidity is also close to ninety. Conditions are so stifling I don’t even think about going outdoors before dark, except to get inside my car and turn on the air conditioning.

After I retired from practicing law I began renting apartments in Berlin, Germany every summer, to get away from the Florida heat. I’d leave June first and not return until the end of August. Summers in Berlin are delightful: highs in the mid-70s and lows in the mid-50s. But it’s been years since I spent a summer in Berlin.

Maybe I should do that again?

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The “dog days of summer.” What does the term mean?

Hi, friends and readers:

It’s so hot during the day in Florida right now. Most days I don’t even venture outside until the sun sinks low in the west and a breeze starts to blow off the Gulf of Mexico.

Ever heard the term “dog days of summer”? The “dog days,” I always thought, were those summer days so devastatingly hot that even dogs would lie around on the asphalt, panting. But no.

Many people today use the phrase to mean something like that—but originally, the phrase actually had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, it turns out, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.

To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe.

You learn something new every day.

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My New Adult novel, “Becoming Andy Hunsinger”, is set for re-publication next month ….

Hi, friends and readers:

In late 2014 Prizm Books released my New Adult novel, Becoming Andy Hunsinger. Here’s the book’s summary:

“It’s 1976, and Anita Bryant’s homophobic ‘Save Our Children’ crusade rages through Florida. When Andy Hunsinger, a closeted gay college student, joins in a demonstration protesting Bryant’s appearance in Tallahassee, his straight boy image is shattered when he is ‘outed’ by a TV news reporter. In the months following, Andy discovers just what it means to be openly gay in a society that condemns love between two men and wonders if his friendship with Travis, a devout Christian who’s fighting his own sexual urges, can develop into something deeper.”

Sadly, Prizm Books went out of business in late 2016, and Becoming Andy Hunsinger was no longer available for purchase. But since I retained the rights to the book, I was able to sell publication rights to NineStar Press, a very fine house that I am really enjoying working with.

Now a new edition of  Becoming Andy Hunsinger will be re-published next month. The book went through a thorough re-editing process, and though the guts of the book are the same, it’s a much better product than the original. I also like the new cover, which you see in this post.

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Four nights at my fishing camp at the Chassahowitzka River. What could be better?

Hi, friends and readers:

It’s hot this time of year in Florida. But this past Friday I drove northward with all my gear to spend four nights at my fishing camp on the Chassahowitzka River, right where the river flows into the Gulf of Mexico. I spent four days harvesting scallops, fishing and doing a bit of drinking. 😉

As a native of west central Florida, I love these sorts of activities. I’m a coastal boy and always have been. When I spent four years in Gainesville at the University of Florida, and then another three in Tallahassee attending FSU law school, I missed the coast terribly. As soon as I finished school I moved back to Pinellas County so I could be near Tampa Bay and the Gulf.

I saw some beautiful sunsets these past four days, and shared some wonderful meals with friends. I snorkeled in crystal clear Gulf waters to harvest scallops. Those are the types of experiences that make me love life.

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Camping in the snow. Have you ever tried it?

Glowing tent in snowy forest, Mt Hood in distance blows plume of snow, Winter stars shine above everything. A frozen stream bed flows below the ridge

Hi, friends and readers:

I came across this photo of people tent-camping in a snowy landscape, and I thought it was so cool I decided to put it up here for everyone’s enjoyment. It seems the photo was taken near Mt. Hood, in northwest Oregon. Notice all the stars in the sky?

I have camped many places, but I’m from Florida and we don’t get snow here, so I have never camped in a snowy place. I wonder what it’s like?

When I was in college two friends and I drove across country during Christmas break, in my buddy’s VW Beetle. When we got to the Grand Canyon there was snow everywhere and the temperature plunged once the sun went down. We bought food for our dinner at the supermarket in the park, and then we spent the night in a men’s room, which was heated. The park rangers knew we were there but they didn’t mind. What a great memory.

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My latest novel, “Kevin Corrigan and Me”, is released.

Hi, friends and readers:

Yesterday, NineStar Press released my latest novel, Kevin Corrigan and Me. Here’s a short summary of the book:

“Ever since their boyhood days, fifteen-year-old Jesse has craved something more than friendship from Kevin Corrigan. Athletic, handsome and cocky, Kevin doesn’t seem approachable. But when Kevin spends a summer at Jesse’s family’s beach home, an affair ignites between them, one so intense it engulfs both boys in an emotional tug of war neither wants to give up on.”

I was inspired to write this story by events occurring during the summer following my ninth grade year, the last summer I didn’t have a job. I lived in a beach house on the Gulf of Mexico, and that summer a boyhood friend of mine came to live with my family for ten weeks. It was one of the best summers of my life, for a variety of reasons. 

I really enjoyed collaborating with the NineStar editors and staff on this project. I think the story is compelling, the characters are likable, and the writing is some of the best I’ve ever done.

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Changes, changes. They’re what life is all about, right?

Hi, friends and readers:

I haven’t posted on this site in several weeks, and there’s a reason for that. I’ve gone through so many changes in my life that my head’s spinning.

Last December a publisher I’d been with since 2008 folded. I had three major novels with them, and I had to find a new home for them. I finally landed at NineStar Press, which is wonderful house with great editors and management, so the change has actually been a good one, but I’ve been working feverishly as my novels went through a rigorous re-editing process. New covers had to be created, all of that. So, I’ve been busy.

At the end of March I broke up with my partner of seven years, which was a difficult ordeal, one of the worst experiences of my adult life. I’m just now starting to feel like myself again.

I have a new novel coming out next week, titled Kevin Corrigan and Me, which I believe is one of the better books I’ve written, and I’m excited about its release. Of course, a great deal of time was expended by me and the editors at NineStar, getting the book finalized. The book was inspired by a real-life event that occurred after my ninth-grade school year, when my boyhood friend came to live with my family at our beach home for an entire summer. It was probably the best summer of my entire life. Much of the story is fiction, but some of it is not, and I am certainly glad I took the time and effort to write the book. I hope it sells well.

Anyway, I suppose life is all about dealing with changes. The only time change stops happening is when you’re no longer breathing, I guess. So I will roll with them as best I can. As Scarlett O’hara said in Gone With the Wind, “Tomorrow is another day.”

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My island’s annual music festival begins tonight ….

Hi, friends and readers:

I live on an island called Pass-a-Grille Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast. We are west of St. Petersburg. And every year at this time our community association puts on a music festival with live performances, food trucks, wine and beer tents, and crafts vendors. The festival draws thousand of people to our island, and every year I volunteer to help set things up on Friday morning and afternoon.

This weekend is when this year’s festival takes place and I spent the better part of my day helping out. It’s always fun because I know most of the people who are doing the setup and we always have a lot of laughs.

I’m having a friend for dinner tonight, and after we dine I suppose we’ll visit the festival for a little while before he has to drive back home.

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