My weekend visit to Tallahassee. Ah-h-h, sweet memories ….

FSU gateHi, friends and readers:

I attended the Florida State University College of Law during the years 1974-77. I loved my time in Tallahassee, where I went through some pretty big changes. So many good things happened to me during those years, and I made many wonderful friends, some of whom I still stay in touch with.

Last weekend I helped my partner move to Tallahassee, where he’s doing a four-month internship. It was the first time I’d spent more than one night in Tallahassee since I graduated, back in 1977. I was there three nights and days, and what a great time I had. The city is so beautiful, with all it’s towering oak trees festooned with Spanish moss. We visited my old home on Pepper Drive (It’s still a real dump.), the FSU track on campus where I used to train for distance races, the law school, and the forest on Miccosukee Road where we ran two miles on a gravel trail.

Becoming Andy Hunsinger final front cover smallerA few years ago my novel titled Becoming Andy Hunsinger was published. It takes place in Tallahassee in the mid-1970s, and while the book is not autobiographical, it does incorporate many places and events that took place in Tallahassee while I was there. Here’s the book’s blurb:

“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’s ‘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. Can Andy’s friendship with Travis, a devout Christian who’s fighting his own sexual urges, develop into something deeper?”

Of course Tallahassee has changed a lot since I lived there–it’s grown in size and population–but is still the same city I came to love forty years ago. People there are so friendly and gracious, something I noticed as soon as we arrived. I feel lucky to have been a part of the FSU community and the Tallahassee community as well.

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A visit to Lambeau Field for a Packers game ….

lambeau-fieldHi, friends and readers:

My partner Greg is a Wisconsin native and a rabid Green Bay Packers fan. His family owns the rights to six season tickets to Packers home games. We spent this holiday season with Greg’s family, up in Door County, WI, a beautiful peninsula bounded on one side by Green Bay (the body of water) and on the other by Lake Michigan. Yes, it was cold, but oh so beautiful as well. Snow glistened on evergreens, the sun shone most every day, and things were quiet and peaceful.

On Christmas Eve, we attended a Packers game at Lambeau Field, which was a real treat. We tailgated beforehand, grilling brats over charcoal and drinking Miller Lite beer from frosty cans. There is such a sense of tradition at these games, and people were totally stoked for this one. The Packers defeated their arch-rival, the Minnesota Vikings. Our seats were excellent, very close to the field, at about the 35-yard line. What fun!

Anyway, in the photo I have posted, that’s me on the right, Greg on the left, and Greg’s brother Mike in the center. I will never forget this visit to Lambeau Field.

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City Lights Bookstore, an American literary treasure ….

city-lights-bookstoreHi, friends and readers:

When I was in law school a roommate lent me a short fiction anthology written by Charles Bukowski and published by City Lights Bookstore. I liked the book so much I bought my own copy, which I still own.

City Lights is located in  the North Beach section of downtown San Francisco. It has been in operation since the 1950’s, when Beat Generation poets made it one of their unofficial headquarters. The store has a wonderful selection of books on multiple levels. Two years ago, my partner and I visited San Francisco, and I made a point of visiting City Lights to buy a few books, including an anthology of short stories written by Ry Cooder, who is also a wonderful guitar player and composer.

If you ever visit San Francisco, take the time  to visit City Lights, and help support it by purchasing a book or two. You won’t regret it.

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My novel, “The House on Fremont Drive”, is a Finalist in the 2016 Rainbow Awards ….

rainbow-award-finalistHi, friends and readers:

Every year the Rainbow Awards competition takes place. It’s an international contest involving several hundred LGBTQ-oriented books. Each entry is reviewed by a panel of judges.

I am pleased to announce that my novel, The House on Fremont Drive, is a finalist in this year’s competition in the Contemporary Gerneral Fiction category:

http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4922267.html

The House on Fremont Drive final cover smallerHere’s what one Rainbow Awards judge said about  my book:

“I wasn’t sure if it was an Young Adult novel or not, because most of the main characters are teens. But the themes, plot development, and ideas inside the book is all pretty adult stuff. In fact, it’s an intriguing mixture of’ characters and genres, from the paranormal tale to the Svengali-manipulation story and also a pretty sturdy YA romance, but in the end it all coheres and tells a pretty good story with a satisfying ending.”

I’ve never written a book like The House on Fremont Drive before, as it delves into several worlds I don’t normally write about: the occult, cross-country distance running, spousal and child abuse, psychological depression, and erotic asphyxiation. (Whew ….) It’s a big book, but I think it hangs together pretty well, and I’m glad I wrote it.

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Fall fishing on the Chassahowitzka River. What could be better?

jere-redfishHi, friends and readers:

One of my favorite places on Earth is my fishing camp on the Chassahowitzka River, about eighty miles north of St. Petersburg. The camp sits on an island in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, right where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a remote location that can only be reached by boat. We have a gasoline generator, solar power, and a gravity water system.

In recent years, the fishing up there has steadily improved, due to better fisheries management by the State of Florida.

Back in early September, Tropical Storm Hermine blew past the river, sending an eight-foot storm surge all the way up the river, to the marina where we kept our boat. The surge sank the boat, but thankfully it was insured. After weeks of searching, I found a good boat suitable for the river, and this past Friday my partner Greg and I trailered the new boat up to the river. We went fishing for about an hour, in a creek north of the river, where I caught this beautiful redfish on a live shrimp.

love the Chassahowitzka …. 🙂

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My new novel, “Dodging a Pearl”, is released ….

dodging-a-pearl-cover-smallerHi, friends and readers:

Today’s a big day for me. Createspace Publishing has just released my latest novel, Dodging a Pearl. Here’s the blurb for the book:

“Brad Schroeder is a trial lawyer with a taste for cocaine and prostitutes. An arrest costs Brad his marriage, his job, and his Winter Park address. Now, he’s starting a law practice in working class Cocoa Beach, attending NA meetings, and trying to raise his HIV-positive son. Can Brad beat his addictions and rebuild his life? Can Angela Stabile, a fellow addict and divorce lawyer, help Brad regain his confidence? Facing a devious adversary, will Brad prevail in a lawsuit he has filed on his son’s behalf? Most importantly, can he redeem himself in his doubting son’s eyes?”

This is a large book; it’s five hundred pages in length and unlike anything I have written before. The story takes place in both Orlando and in Brevard County, Florida. It deals with many issues: drug addiction, psychological angst, the HIV epidemic that spread through the U.S. hemophilia community in the 1980s, the benefits of psychotherapy, and the relationships between fathers and their sons.

I’ve very proud of this book. In the 1990s, when I still practiced law, I represented many families of boys with hemophilia who were infected with HIV via factor VIII concentrate, a product used to stop bleeds. And a good portion of this book is devoted to the litigation I pursued against the drug companies who made factor VIII concentrate.

If you are interested in buying Dodging a Pearl, click on the cover in the sidebar to the left and it will take you to the book’s listing on Amazon.

 

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Old friends are treasures. Me and my German pal, Moritz ….

hamburg #2Hi, friends and readers:

This summer I spent time in Hamburg, Germany. I stayed with my friend Moritz and his girlfriend Melli. The photo to the left was taken at an open air beer garden on the Elbe River. I can’t tell you how good it felt to see Moritz again; it had been at  least three years since I last saw him in South Beach, when he was en route back to Germany from South America.

Back in 1998, Moritz came to live with me for an entire school year, as an exchange student. Of course we didn’t know each other at all when he arrived, but we quickly became the best of friends, and have remained so ever since. Moritz was only sixteen then, but very grown up for his age. He was also an excellent student and a  good soccer player.

I took Moritz to my fishing camp often; he loved it there. I took him to a Florida Gators football game, and also took him surfing on Florida’s East Coast; his first time trying the sport. I took him to the Grand Canyon to ride the mules down Bright Angel Trail. I got to know all his friends from the Florida high school he was attending; they were all good kids. The year went by really fast, and I was so sad to see him return to Germany when summer came.

Old friends like Moritz are a treasure, and it’s terribly important to stay in touch with them. I’m sure glad I went to Hamburg this year.

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Fall is in the air at Pass-a-Grille Beach ….

beach guyHi, friends and readers:

Every morning, around eight, I take a three-mile, barefooted walk on the beach down the street from my house, and afterward, at least during the warm months of the year, I take a nice dip in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a great way to start my day, and I return home feeling refreshed and ready to do some creative writing, especially after I enjoy a warm shower on our fenced-in patio.

sea oats #2Yesterday when I walked the beach I noticed some changes in my surroundings that portended the approach of fall in central Florida. The seat oats in our sand dunes were in full bloom. A nice breeze blew from the northeast, and the humidity seemed lower. I saw a snook fish cruising along the shoreline, and I watched brown pelicans dive-bomb pods of baitfish about forty yards off shore. If you have lived on Florida’s Gulf coast as long as I have, then you know these are all signs that fall is just around the corner.

I love this time of year in Florida ….

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The joy of hiking in Maine and Nova Scotia ….

Jere MaineHi, friends and readers:

It seems like I’ve been on the road this summer more than I have been at home. Since early July I have traveled to Cuba, Germany, and then to Maine and Nova Scotia. I enjoyed each trip for its own particular features, but I especially enjoyed the Maine/Nova Scotia trip I took with my partner, Greg.

We flew into Bangor, where we rented a car and then drove to a friend’s lakefront cottage near Greenville, ME, where we spent four nights. Most days we hiked the area’s rugged terrain. We dined on fresh lobster, haddock, and salmon, a real treat. And maybe we drank a little beer also …. The people of Maine are unfailingly friendly and helpful; it’s always a joy spending time there. After four nights at the lake we drove to the city of St. John in New Brunswick, Canada, where we stayed in a lovely inn built in the 1890’s. The next morning we caught a car ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia, and then drove to Bear River, where my sister and her husband are renting a farmhouse for three months

Jere Maine #2I had never been to Nova Scotia. It’s a vast province with mountains, forests, lakes and rivers. It is sparsely populated. It offers wonderful hiking opportunities. Our first day we hiked on Brier Island, reached by two separate ferries. We visited vineyards and a winery, and we dined on more fresh seafood, including the local specialty: sea scallops that are four times as large as Florida scallops and very tasty. After two nights at Bear River, we drove to northern Nova Scotia to visit a spectacular area known as Cape Breton National Park, where we spent two full days hiking through a variety of terrains. It’s an amazing place with many cliff side views. I could easily spend a week there.

As I’ve said before, friends, I think travel to new places enriches us more than any other activity. It allows us to meet people who live differently than we do. And we see geography unlike any we’ve seen before. I’m so glad we made the Maine-Nova Scotia trip. If you ever get the chance to visit these places, be sure you do. You won’t be disappointed.

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My summer visit to Germany ….

spiekeroogHi, friends and readers:

On June 10, 2016, I flew from Tampa to Frankfurt, Germany, to spend 16 days visiting friends all over Germany. Besides Frankfurt, I visited Hannover, Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg. And friends also took me to a very special island on the North Sea called Spiekeroog, where the beach is wide and the dunes soar. No vehicles are allowed on the island so it’s very quiet and peaceful. We spent time hiking and exploring. The food was great and the weather was nearly perfect during our stay. The photos I have posted here today will give you some idea of what Spiekeroog looks like.

spiekeroog #2It had been five years since I’d last visited Germany, but it hasn’t changed too much. My friends over there are former exchange students who lived with me and their families and friends. It was so good to see them all, and the time just flew by.

Now I am back in Florida, but not for long. Tomorrow my partner and I will fly up to Maine, where we’ll stay at a friend’s lakefront cottage in central Maine, not too far from Moosehead Lake. Then we’ll take a ferry to Nova Scotia, where we will stay with my sister and her husband in a farmhouse. We’ll also do some hiking in the Cape Breton national park at the northern end of Nova Scotia. I always enjoy visiting places I have not been before, so I am stoked.

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