Posts Tagged 'Trinity Tam'

Imagine

BY GREG HERREN

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My new y/a novel, Lake Thirteen, Lake Thirteen 300 DPIwas inspired by a trip to an old cemetery one night at the Bold Strokes retreat in August, 2011. The retreat was an amazing time, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself…but as far as I know, I’m the only person who went who came away with a book idea.

On the way up the mountain where the lodge was located was another road marked as Cemetery Road. One of the first nights there, Lisa Girolami and the infamous Carsen Taite gathered up a gang to go ghost-hunting in the cemetery there and so, equipped with recording devices, they, myself, Trinity Tam and Nell Stark and several others departed for the cemetery. It was a perfect night for ghost hunting–the sky was filled with clouds so there was that sense of true dark–and I think it was our second night there; I could be wrong. Anyway, we found the cemetery–which was truly old. When I got out, I walked immediately to a grave with the headstone ALBERT LINCOLN 1892-1908. My immediate thought, which I spoke out loud, was “How terribly sad, he was only sixteen.” His grave rested next to his parents’; his mother was born in 1866 and lived to 1965; to which I added, “poor woman, she outlived her son by 59 years.” I stood there for a while, feeling this overwhelming sense of sadness, before we began moving around in the cemetery, looking for paranormal activity.

There were American flags everywhere, planted, one would assume, by the local VA on the graves of veterans. There was no wind, and there was a mist rising up from the ground. We were all gathered around a large tombstone when suddenly Trinity called my attention–and everyone else’s–to a grave behind us and far to our left. The flag on this grave was moving back and forth; yet all the other flags in the cemetery were still. There was no wind, none whatsoever. We all walked over to this grave, and it was about this time I noticed that I was feeling cold–I’d been cold since getting out of the car, but it was getting colder. The flag continued waving even after we got to it–and we were all standing at various places around the grave–and there was no wind; no reason for the flag to be waving at all.

I was drawn back to Albert’s grave again from here, and it was around now that I realized that not only was I cold, I was only cold from behind; in other words, my back and the back of my legs were cold, but there wasn’t any kind of wind. I asked Trinity if she, too, were cold, and she wasn’t–no one else was; they all thought it was muggy and sticky. At this point, all the hair on my arms stood up, and I had goose bumps like I’ve never seen before–and my back was getting colder.

While we were at Albert’s grave, several people heard a strange growling behind us (I didn’t hear it) and the majority of the group went investigating, leaving Trinity and myself behind. While we watched them, I asked Trinity to feel the back of my shorts and my shirt–and she confirmed they were cold.

Throughout this entire experience I continued feeling incredibly sad. Later, when the others rejoined us, Lisa felt the back of my shirt between my shoulder blades, and she, too, confirmed my shirt was cold.

Lisa said a prayer, since we were departing, and as she said the words, I got incredibly cold, this time all over. All the hair on my body stood up–head, arms, legs–and then as suddenly as it had come over me, it was gone–and I felt the muggy stickiness everyone else was experiencing.

As we drove back up to the lodge, I kept think about Albert and how he died. And later that night, alone in my room in a different cabin a little further down the mountain from the lodge, listening to the wind moan through the forest, the story started coming to me.

And that’s where the story of my new novel Lake Thirteen came from. I’ve been really pleased with the response to it so far…and now, when I have some free time, I might actually try to find out what really did happen to Albert.

Put a Ring On It

What’s more romantic than a proposal? And no, I’m not talking about a book proposal.

The University of Lesfic

Authors Nell Stark, Trinity Tam, Rachel Spangler, PJ Trebelhorn and I will be reading and signing at a multi-school event at Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA). Meet our host, Anita Kelly, Director of Counseling and campus GLBTQ Coordinator.

Click here for more information about the event.

Going Evil: Keeping Romance Alive in Series Writing

By Nell Stark

Trinity Tam and I knew what would happen in Book 3 of the everafter series before we finished Book 1 (everafter) and began Book 2 (nevermore). It was always clear to us that in Book 3 (nightrise, released this month) Valentine the vampire would have to “go evil,” and her lover Alexa’s quest would focus on bringing her back from the metaphorical abyss.

Structurally, the loss of Val’s soul functions as a way to keep the romance story line alive in a series that begins, unorthodoxly, with the protagonists already together. Most romances start with the protagonists apart, and in many cases, they’ve not yet even met. But in the everafter series, Trin and I wanted to explore what happens when an established couple encounters life-altering circumstances. For the first two books, Val and Alexa fought to remain together despite the upheaval occurring both in their own lives and in the world around them. They endured every crucible in which they found themselves. In most romances, the main characters must overcome hurdle after hurdle in order to be together. In our romance, the heroines had to fight tooth and nail and claw to stay together.

But sometimes, life throws a curveball that can’t be dodged or hit out of the park. Sometimes, two people split up even when they’re perfect for each other. nightrise allows Valentine and Alexa to have a “traditional” romance—to find their way (back) to each other—even though they are paranormal characters in an urban fantasy setting.

If I’m being truly honest with myself, though, there’s another reason for why it was necessary for Val to “go evil.” Since the first chapter of everafter, Valentine has fought against her own nature. As the daughter of a wealthy Republican politician and as someone who was made a vampire against her will, she embraces neither her blood-family nor her blood-cravings. Instead of seeking to integrate all pieces of herself into a healthy whole, she repeatedly attempts to deny both her heritage and her intrinsic needs. When she “goes evil,” she finally stops fighting herself and becomes “free” in the purest sense of the word.

But in so doing, of course, she loses Alexa, the person who matters most in her life. So the question becomes: is there a future in which Valentine can acknowledge who she is and what she needs without being “evil?” And if so, what are the conditions necessary to make that future into a reality?

To learn more, we invite you to read the newly-released nightrise. If you do, please let us know what you think at nell.stark@gmail.com and 333tam@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook or Twitter. For more information about the everafter series, visit http://www.everafterseries.com/.

Thanks as always to Kathi Isserman and the exceptional cast at BSB (Radclyffe, Cindy Cresap, Sandy Lowe, Connie Ward, Lori Anderson, et al.) who do so much to make each Bold Strokes book a success!

Vlogging the Vlogger

While in the midst of vlogging with others, I was ambushed by some of my favorite authors: Trinity Tam, Rachel Spangler, Lisa Girolami, and Lynda Sandoval.

The Good, the Queer, and the Undead

            Good day, gentle readers: we’re Nell Stark and Trinity Tam, and we’re in the process of writing a four-book paranormal romance series. The first book of the series, everafter, came out in October 2009. Book two, nevermore, was just released a few days ago. Today, we’d like to discuss with you why we believe that paranormal sub-genres have “taken off” over the past decade, and how this kind of book can help the LGBT community to articulate its struggle for equality.

            Much has been made of the renaissance of vampires and werewolves in literature and film, but we believe that this trend is more a re-imagining of the role of paranormal characters than a true resurgence of interest in the supernatural. Vampires and Weres (since it has become popular in recent fiction to “were” a variety of creatures) used to be the ultimate villains. Consider Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), in which the eponymous vampire’s sole raison d’etre was to seduce women away from their “proper” roles as wives and mothers. By contrast, Stephanie Meyer’s immensely popular Twilight series (2005)  features a family of heroic vampires and a tribe of wolf shape-shifters who protect humanity from the evil members of their own species. Over the course of a century, then, the vampire or werewolf villain has become the heroic “boy next door”–now a suitable romantic partner for a female lead rather than a demonic Don Juan determined to make her one of the undead.

            This trend has also taken hold in queer literature, as evidenced by the paranormal novels recently published by Bold Strokes: L.L. Raand’s The Midnight Hunt, Gill McKnight’s Goldenseal (and sequels), Winter Pennington’s Witch Wolf (and sequels) and our everafter series. These authors enjoy crafting stories that feature paranormal protagonists, and many BSB readers enjoy learning about the exploits of our Vampires and Weres. To what might we attribute this late twentieth and early twenty-first century re-imagining of the paranormal character from villain to heroine?

            Vampires and werewolves have traditionally lurked at the borders of literature. Mysterious and threatening yet also alluring, they are fundamentally queer. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for example, they epitomized the objects of Western xenophobia against Eastern Europeans. In the 1980s, Anne Rice’s vampires came to symbolize the fear of an HIV epidemic. In the late 1990s, however, the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer diverged from this trend by introducing both vampires and werewolves who fought on the side of the “good guys.” Thereafter, vampires and werewolves began to move from the fringes to the limelight. We don’t think it’s any coincidence that this trend parallels the rise of the contemporary LGBT civil rights movement.

            Currently, television shows like True Blood and mainstream paranormals like Kim Harrison’s Hollows series feature Vampires and Weres who are seeking equality with the humans around them. Many of the BSB paranormal releases (most notably The Midnight Hunt and Witch Wolf) also take up this theme, and we plan to treat it extensively in the fourth book of the everafter series, titled sunfall. In our books, and in the paranormals written by many of our colleagues, the predominant form of “queerness” is not sexuality, but species. Writing a paranormal romance, mystery, or thriller allows us as queer authors to craft thought experiments about the present and future of our community’s battles, even as we simultaneously invite readers of all identities to pause and reflect on what it means to be queer.

            Fundamentally, paranormal stories are about community-formation, identity politics, and the struggle to come out—to emerge from the shadows and be recognized as separate but equal. We invite you all, whether you’ve never read a vampire story or you dress like one each Halloween, to join us as we explore these themes that rest at the very heart of the LGBT individual’s daily struggles.


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