Learning and Writing and Reading

Dear Bookworms,

Last night, sitting up in bed in the late evening golden light that drapes across the valley here, I began to write the second story in Quin and Leon’s life journey together. I spent a long time looking at maps of Santa Barbara, trying to locate where they should live — somewhere with a little left of old Santa Barbara, the one that is still discernible pressed like a flower between wealth and decay. I miss that city. I used to live there but the wealth made it difficult to survive. The sadness with which I left remains with me; what else to do with it but write?

I stood outside the tall, rough wooden fence of the house on Olive Street whose number matched the tag on the keys Leon had given me. It was an effortlessly pristine day. The rest of the street one way looked luxurious; the other way, toward downtown Santa Barbara, was a little less so, as if our new home had stopped the wealth from spreading.

Only the editing gods know if this will stay in the final draft, but it makes me happy to share my slow process with you. It makes the writing more valuable, somehow. More meaningful in my heart.

I’m learning how to be an author in 2023 as well, and consequently I have an ARC campaign and a giveaway happening.

Booksprout is where I’m hosting the ARC campaign. It’s this Path of True Love Team campaign for Crossroads of Desire, and I believe — I hope! — anyone can access it and download a copy of the story in exchange for a review.

I’m also trying Bookfunnel, and I’ve joined the Keep it in Your Pants MM Erotica and Romance giveaway, which begins tomorrow. There are numerous books available and here is Crossroads of Desire keeping good company with some well-toned gentlemen:

A view of six book covers from a MM Erotica and Romance giveaway featuring beautiful male bodies in romantic or sensual poses

Please do pass these links on to anyone you know who needs a good read.

I’ve also been reading “crip” poems lately, a recovered term of strength applied the subgenre of disability poetry. I love Elizabeth Meade’s poem “When I Stutter,” since my own disabling episodes come with stammering:

When I Stutter


Sometimes, m’s elongate,
grow long tongues to taste the last bit
of breath my body has to offer.

Sometimes, i’s echo
like the harsh cries of a seagull,
try to fly far away from the nest of my mouth
only to circle the ocean of my uncompleted sentence.

Sometimes, my breath becomes caught
in the chamber of my throat, my head cocked back
until the word —at last— launches out of my mouth like a bullet.
or a punch.

(Sometimes, my soft, raspy voice
provides no balm to soothe the ear.)

Sometimes, I remember Daddy said my voice
sounds like Mommy’s. I rejoice then, as syllables
trip over one another like eager children
rushing toward the playground
with all the freedom her voice no longer has.

All that remains is the deep ache in my throat,
vocal cords like mud stomped flat
under the feet of my rowdy utterances.

Your author,

Aden Ray