And Now the Cover for “Winter Heart” the Final Book in the Seasons of Love Series!

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So today is the official release of the cover for the final book in the Seasons of Love series, Winter Heart, which will be released in one month. And I was thrilled to have that release happen over at Love Bytes. Click Right Here and you can see it!

The cover was done by the incomparable Paul Richmond and I couldn’t be more pleased. He’s done several of my covers of the last six years or so including all four covers for the Seasons of Love series.

I don’t think the wondrous Dani Maas, who runs Love Bytes, will mind me including the story of the covers for this series right here….

So well over a month ago the amazing Paul Richmond sent me the cover for Winter Heart. Did I like it? he wondered. Did I like it? OMG! I nearly went out of y mind. Conceptually it was just what I’d been dreaming of for at least two years. Visually it was simply stunning.

The thing was, I couldn’t reveal it! I was champing at the bit with excitement. I had to wait. It’s been agonizing.

But now and finally the time has arrived.

This is the fourth and final cover for the fourth and final novel where we will finally see how Wyatt Dolan, the true heart of series, finally finds true love!

You know years ago I was introduced to the work of an amazing artist by the name of Alphonse Mucha. His art blew me away. At nineteen or so, I wasn’t aware of the style know as Art Nouveau. But I fell head over heels in love. The only thing about his work that made a young gay man sad was that Mucha did hundreds of paintings of women, but only a handful were of men. I longed for his art to include more men! But alas, Alphonse Mucha was long dead.

When Paul Richmond was given the assignment for coming up with the covers for the Seasons of Love series, I had no idea at all of what they should look like. And then he asked me a question.

“Have you ever heard of Alphonse Mucha?”

W-what? Had I ever heard of Alphonse Mucha?

“He was an artist I really love,” he continued. “But all he did was pictures of women. I always wanted to do a series influenced by his work, but do them in that “what if Mucha did paintings of men?”

My eyes went wide. I could believe it. Alphonse Mucha-style men? And for my books?

“And since he did a number of paintings with the four seasons theme, and your books are the four seasons, why not?”

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Well I didn’t need convincing! I was laughing! I was crying! I was dancing! And I was thinking of one of the best friends I ever had—who had just recently passed away and had been the one to introduce me to Alphonse Mucha—and how thrilled she would have been about my covers.

Nope, I didn’t need any convincing at all!

And here is the information on the book!

Series: Seasons of Love: Book Four
Release date: October 20, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 400
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Published by Dreamspinner Press

Blurb:
For over ten years, Wyatt Dolan defined himself as the lover of Howard Wallace. Howard made sure Wyatt’s self-worth depended on that role. So when Howard dumps him, he is lost at sea in a storm, without a rudder. If it wasn’t for his supportive friends, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Finally, after a series of disasters, he escapes to Camp Sanctuary—a sacred place to him—where he can be alone, try to put his past behind him, and find a new direction for his life.

Kevin Owens is a lonely man. He is very intelligent—several apps he created have gone on to make him a comfortable living—but he is also quite shy and is uncomfortable making conversation. The death of his dear friend and former lover after a long illness leaves him grieving, confused, and adrift. Then a dream guides him to Camp Sanctuary, only to find that the one cabin with a wood-burning stove has already been reserved. And worse, by a man he’s had a secret crush on for years—Wyatt Dolan.

When a snowstorm knocks out power at the Camp, Wyatt and Kevin must share the same cabin to stay warm, and very soon, magickal things begin to happen.

Pre Order Links:
Dreamspinner Press Ebook
Dreamspinner Press Paperback

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

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Sitting Here with the Husband Watching One of My Favorite Movies of All Time; Mary Poppins

And I really can so that. It came out when I was only four years old and I loved it then and I love it now. I can watch it over and over and over. I sit and quote along from beginning until the end, and of course I sing along. And I cry at the end every time.

I cried like a baby that first time. “I don’t want Mary Poppins to go!” I wailed.
“But now the kids can be with their father,” Mom explained.
“I don’t care! I want Mary Poppins to stay!”

You know P.L. Travers—the author—is said not to have liked the movie. I understand she didn’t want it made, at least by Disney. And she hated it was a musical. Which breaks my heart. It truly does. Mary Poppins is such a magickal film. How could it not have melted the ice that she set against it? Such a wonderful, sweet, delightful film.

Julie Andrews was the real magick in the movie of course. From the minute she floats down from the London sky, feet turned out in that crazy way, and blew all the other nannies away I was in love. And her voice! Oh my!

And I can’t forget Dick Van Dyke! Wow! His dancing is so amazing and xxx is one of the best dance numbers to this day.

Glynis Johns was delightful as the mother, the suffragette. Ed Wynn, who loves to laugh, makes me so happy. Reta Shaw and Hermione Baddeley were heartwarming as the servants. And of course the story would not be complete as David Tomlinson, the father, who proved we are never too old to grow up.

There’s no telling which song is my favorite. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” is right up there. Along with “Jolly Holiday” of course!

    Oh it’s a jolly ‘oliday with Mary
    Mary makes your ‘eart so light!
    When the day is gray and ordianry
    Mary makes the sun shine bright!
    Oh, ‘appiness is bloomin’ all around ‘er
    The daffodils are smilin’ at the dove
    When Mary ‘olds your ‘and
    You feel so grand
    Your ‘eart starts beatin’ like
    A big brass band!
    It’s a jolly ‘oliday with Mary
    No wonder that it’s Mary that we love!

But the song that holds a very special place in my heart is “Feed the Birds.” My heart swells to bursting….

    Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
    Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
    “Feed the birds, ” that’s what she cries
    While overhead, her birds fill the skies
    All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
    Look down as she sells her wares.
    Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling
    Each time someone shows that he cares
    Though her words are simple and few
    Listen, listen, she’s calling to you
    “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
    Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag

Love, love, love this movie. It awakened the magick in my heart as a four year old boy, and the magick has never gone away.

Love,
B.G.

PS: What are your favorite songs or moments in this lovely film?

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9/11; We Will Never Forget

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I remember thinking many times in my life, “Gosh, what must it have been like to be alive when Pearl Harbor was bombed? To wake up and hear on the family radio that such a thing had happened? How shocking it must have been…” There are a few other similar incidents in history that made me wonder the same thing.

And then came September 11th.

I worked in this small office that handled billing for a cancer center. I got to work hearing that something had happened but none of us knew what was going on. Very different rumors and stories and something about a plane hitting a building and the boss said he was going to leave and bring a TV back to work and I can’t remember anymore why we couldn’t just watch the story in the Internet. Has the Internet come that far since 2001?

At some point they finally sent us home for the day and I turned on the TV to see the horror of what was going on. I was in such shock. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as the details came in that the Towers just…just…collapsed in seconds. It was like something out of a science fiction movie.

I cried.

I reeled.

I was alone as my boyfriend still lived two hours away and I only saw him on the weekends and he worked nights and waking him only made him very grouchy because he hadn’t realized the full extent of what was happening yet.

But finally, as the day and days past, this is what I remember.

And incident designed to tear this country apart did exactly the opposite.

Not only were there the heroes who helped at Ground Zero and throughout the city and state. No. There was more.

People of all ages and beliefs and religious beliefs and sexes and sexualities and races and more immediately came together, working side by side not only at Ground Zero, but all over the world. What those terrorist did was prove the very good of the United States as well as this planet.

Over and over and over I hear and read people talking about how horrible people are today and crying, “What is this world coming to?” I see posts of Facebook crammed with negativity saying what a awful world we live in.

I saw and see people shrugging off their differences and coming together. I see them standing side by side and helping each other. I see people giving their lives to help other people. That is what I see.

And before I focus (God, I am crying here) on the 2,996 people who died and the more than 6,000 injured, I will and do remember that we, as a people, we refused to be afraid, but stood together in bravery and in love.

And said, and say, we remember. We will not forget.

I was feeling a bit lonely and blue last night. This morning I feel connected to my country and the world. And I am not afraid. I am not worried about what might happen next. I know the world is changing and becoming a better place and I am convinced we are beginning to see one of the most significant and transforming and awakenings in human history.

And I am a witness to it.

Namasté,
B.G. Thomas

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Four Movie Reviews! (I Went a Little Crazy Yesterday)

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Some years ago one of my favorite things to do was have all day movie festivals/marathon. I would go to a theater and watch one movie after another. Yesterday I did it again. It was a joy. Something I hadn’t done in a long time!

So here are my thoughts…. I will try to give Spoiler Warnings, although I am not quite sure how to do it….

BEN-HUR

The 1959 version of Ben-Hur really is one of my favorite movies. If not in my top ten, it is still way up there. No matter how many times I see it, it stirs a plethora of emotions. For over three hours I am on a roller coaster and often on the edge of me seat, especially the famous chariot race, even though I have seen it dozens of times and know how it ends. I am hit by so much of this classic film: joy, anger, heart-thrills, love, reverence and more.

I see in that movie the love between Judah Ben-Hur and his boyhood friend Messala. I was not surprised when I found out in extras that the director told Stephen Boyd (Messala) to treat his relationship with Judah as if he were in love with him. I think even as a kid I saw the erotic passion emanating from the man. I was caught up in so much passion in the film. The desire for Messala to prove himself to Rome, the love between him and Judah, the horror when Judah and his family (at Messala’s own words) are sent to the dungeons and the galley. I was swept up in Judah’s intense desire for revenge and how that desire turned to a burning hatred toward the man he once loved. Then there was his love for the Roman man who adopted the Ben-Hur who was once a galley slave. I felt for Judah when he finally went back to Jerusalem, and found out his mother and sister had leprosy. And how he fell back in love with Ester, a woman who had once been his slave (yes, the Jews had slaves). Oh, and the chariot race! Edge. Of. Your. Seat! And of course Judah getting his revenge on Messala, and finding it empty. And of course the true power in the character of Jesus, and all that went with that. Love, compassion, forgiveness and more—all of which finally bring Judah’s heart back to life. And let us not forget the tears of joy when his mother and sister are cured when a storm brings Christ’s blood to them through the rushing water. So many emotions! So much passion! I love this film!

And then there is the new movie. Not bad. But I am sad to say, not good. I think “meh” would fit. There is absolutely no passion in this film. When all the things (or most of them) listed above happen in this new movie, I was all but yawning. I didn’t believe in any of the characters. They were total cardboard. No passion. I never felt the love between Judah and his best friend. When Judah and his family are hauled off to their awful fates, I didn’t care. When Judah was taken to the galleys and forced to row for Rome for five years, I couldn’t be bothered to yawn. What’s more, when he is freed, he is this skinny guy who doesn’t have the body of a runner. Wouldn’t all those years of hard labor have changed his body? When he meets Ilderim, the man who owns the horses that Judah will ride in the chariot race—it’s boring. When Messala finds out the Judah is alive—who cares? Messala didn’t seem to. When Judah is reunited with both Ester, the love of his life—no fire, no passion at all. When he finds out his mother and sister have leprosy—he only vaguely seemed to be bothered at all. The chariot race, when today’s incredible CGI was just so-so. Not yawn. But nothing edge of the seat at all. Then when Jesus comes back into the story, I didn’t believe for one second that his message turned Judah’s heart from stone back into flesh. Did. Not. Believe. It. For. A. Second. The acting was so…boring. Even that of Morgan Freeman. How sad is that?

I see no reason for this classic movie to have been re-made. Certainly not with this particular version. I cannot recommend this movie. Maybe if it becomes available through RedBox or if you have cable, watch it there. But don’t waste the gasoline money, let alone whatever it cost to see a movie where you live. I was pretty disappointed.

MORGAN

A very powerful and disturbing film and I can certainly recommend this movie to those who are fans of the horror combo science fiction movie. “Morgan” is a scientifically created artificial creation—gone wrong. Lee Weathers is a corporate risk-management consultant who is charged with deciding whether or not to terminate this humanoid being. The other characters are the family of people who created her. And while the characters of Morgan and Lee are cool and emotionless, still far more under the surface feelings come across than anyone in Ben-Hur. Deciding, as a viewer, if Morgan deserves death or not is quite edge of the seat. In some ways this movie reminded me of Ex Machina, another horror/SF movie that I really liked. This movie I can recommend. See it in the theater, even though you could wait. The cinematography was muted and gray and claustrophobic and…powerful. This was the best of the four movies I saw yesterday. It also, I must add, had a great cast, and all were excellent actors!

PETE’S DRAGON

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie! While it is obviously a “kid’s” movie, once again Disney was smart enough to make sure there was plenty to appeal to adults. Adults who will feel like a kid when seeing this movie. I loved this story of a young boy raised by a dragon. You know I have never seen the original, so I can’t say how close it is like that movie, but I was swept up over and over and over again. And the acting! Everyone was so good, especially Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace, the forest ranger, and yes, Oakes Fegley as Pete. This was yet another movie that I believed in the characters and everything they went through. I loved Oona Laurence as Natalie, Pete’s first human friend since his parents were killed in a car crash years before. Robert Redford was wonderful as the old man who claims to have once seen a dragon (and who no one ever believed). And I loved hating (or at least not liking) Karl Urban as Gavin, the man who wants to hunt, capture, and own a dragon. And there were numerous times that my heart simply sored—which sadly it did not once during Ben-Hur. My only question is why they chose to make Elliot the dragon a mammal (complete with green fur as well as a dog like nose and behavior) instead of a reptile. It didn’t bother me. It was just a curiosity…. See this movie! At least on DVD.

SUICIDE SQUAD

Sadly, I can’t say too much about this movie again. I don’t know what DC’s problem is in translating its characters and books to the big screen, but they just can’t seem to find the magic that Marvel Comics has generated in its translations. At least this movie was better than DC’s last few attempts. It’s no Green Lantern thank goodness.

The set up was eternal. It was confusing as well. Maybe you have to be a fan of the comic book? But to that argument I say what I say in every other instance of book/comic book/television series/etc being translated to the big screen. I shouldn’t have to be familiar with the original material! The movie should tell the tale all one its own. It is one thing to better appreciate a movie if you are a fan of the original and able to find all the Easter eggs placed there for fans. But I should be able to understand what the hell is going on.

Yes I understood that Amanda Waller has come up with an plan to deal with a world that now has Supermen in it. That with his death, she is concerned that if the next “Superman” is evil, that there must be a way to deal with it. Her idea is to bring the worst of the worst, the most villainous characters (who are all in prison) together and make them a team to fight threats (by placing explosives in their necks to keep them in check). And there is some actual good acting. Will Smith was surprisingly good (he has been so blah for about ten years now, constantly playing Will Smith over and over) as Deadshot, the man who cannot miss. Viola Davis was terrific as Amanda Waller. And Margot Robbie stole that show as Harley Quinn, the totally insane lover of the Joker! I mean, wow! And Jared Leto as the Joker? Why I just can’t decide. I will give him this. He played him far, far, far closer to the comic book version of the character than any other actor to date. And he was scary crazy. Not at all the campy version of Cesar Romero, the stupidly over the top version by Jack Nicholson (who simply plays Jack Nicholson), or the chillingly crazy version by Heath Ledger. What I didn’t like was how they made him visually. Tattos and metal teeth and the like. So I will have to think on him to see how I feel. And the acting by the other actors? Sadly, even Jai Courtney (Boomerang), who I really love seemed bored out of his mind.

The major problem with the film is what has happened with so many other DC films. First, I don’t believe in any of them and can’t identify or sympathize with them. Not even Diablo—the man with a tragic past—or Deadshot—who has a huge love for his daughter.

See, I can identify with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, the everyman. Even a man with super strength and the powers of a spider is still a simple man, who has everyday problems—just like us. Daredevil might be blind and have impossible radar-like powers, but he’s just a guy, and I can feel for him—and root for him. Even Thor, a god, has to learn humility, earn the respect of his father, and fall in love. So many of us have to learn the same lessons.

But how do you identify with Superman, who is invincible and can do anything? Or Batman, a billionaire who is arguably as crazy as the villains he fights? Or Wonder Woman, who wasn’t even born, but made of clay by Queen Hippolyta and brought to life by Zeus? As well as most of the characters in Suicide Squad? How do I identify with Killer Croc, a man slash crocodile? And the movie does little to help with that dilemma.

This translates to the villain and the threat of the movie. The Enchantress and her brother, six-thousand-year-old gods who want to wipe out all life of Earth. It was all kind of silly and never felt like any kind of threat. Cara Delevingne spends most of the movie undulating and sorta of hula hooping/hula dancing while trying to scare us. I found myself laughing out loud.

And over and over again the movie just seemed to get lost—forever seeming to forget what it was about. I left the theater unmoved or excited.

My recommendation? See the movie on RedBox while friends are over and pay sorta attention to it while eating hors d’oeuvres and having cocktails. It’s all the attention it really deserves—but Harley Quinn is so much fun, she deserves the chance to be seen.

And there you have it. My review of the four movies I saw yesterday. Opinions may vary. I’d love to hear what you think?

Movie Joy!
B.G. Thomas

Happy Fiftieth Birthday Star Trek!

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I think it is fair to say that in some ways, Star Trek saved my life….

When I was a kid, I had a lot of friends. But we moved a lot. I was a Marine brat. And for some reason, when we moved to the Chicago suburbs, I went from being Mr. Popular to being the most unpopular kid in school. From sixth grade on. I was the kid who got his books knocked out of his hands and made fun of and who everyone hated. I was so very very alone.

Then I discovered Star Trek. This was when the original series hadn’t been in reruns but for a very short time. I was just a little too young to like it in its original run, but now I was in love.

Because Star Trek showed a world and a time when man had evolved out of its immaturity and we were all one big family. It didn’t make a difference if you were male or female, white or black, Russian or Japanese, or even human or non-human.

I didn’t even know I was gay yet, but I knew this was a world I wished I lived in. And the philosophies that Gene Roddenberry made the center of his universe was one I adored and thrived through.

Star Trek in many ways made me the man I am today. Loving or learning to love all people, becoming the best that I can be, being a genuine person, and making tolerance an important part of my life.

Star Trek also made me the romantic that I am today.

I believe in the best of mankind. I see us at our best. I see us constantly getting better. Transforming into better beings. I believe that given the opportunity, we will transform our world into the very best it can be. I do believe we are slowly growing out of our infancy, our childhood, our teenage angst, and into loving wonderful adults.

I don’t think we will wipe ourselves out. Why just look what I’ve seen in my lifetime!

Interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, the first black president, and probably soon the first woman president. I’ve seen disease, but cures to disease. And even more is coming!

I’m excited to be witnessing the greatest spiritual awakening in human history.

Yes, there is a lot of bad stuff happening in the world, but there is so good as well. And more every day.

Star Trek also led me to science fiction literature because of Robert Block and David Gerrold and Harlan Ellison and Theodore Sturgeon and so many others. Which led me to other authors that led me to great literature in general.

I love Star Trek for teaching me all of this, for teaching me to see with new eyes, and more…entertaining me for most of my life. Through Star Trek and Star Trek; the Next Generation and Star Trek; Deep Space Nine and Star Trek; Voyager and even Star Trek; Enterprise. I loved the movies, old and new. And I love the possibility that next year a new Star Trek might be a new and wonderful part of the tradition. Gene Roddenberry’s son is a part of it!

Thank you Star Trek for being there for me when I was sad and lonely and had no friends. Thank you Star Trek for teaching me social skills when I found Trek fandom. Thank you for helping me be a better man.

Happy Birthday, Star Trek! And here is to fifty more years!

And beyond!
B.G. Thomas

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Twelve Years Ago Today I Lost the Best Father I Could Hope For

Twelve years and I still can forget he’s gone. I can still reach for the phone…and then remember.

I miss him so much.

He hasn’t faded really. I can still hear his voice. That funny way he would grunt. His stories. His made up words.

I look at the steps on my front porch that he made and the gorgeous coatrack as well. I think of a lifetime of things he built for me. Especially when I was a kid. The club house and all the stuff that went in it. The huge sandbox and the flying saucer on wheels what actually had a plexiglass top. The giant train set in the basement.

And there was the years of Indian Guides and camping and horsing around.

And how well he dealt with my coming out.

“I’ve always know,” he said.
“How?” I asked.
“The way you use your hands when you talk.”
WTF? “What does that have anything to do with it?” I cried while gesturing with flailing hands.

I laugh at that now!

I do have some regrets. I don’t let them rule me but I do have them. He was a quite private man. There is so damned much I don’t know about him and Mom doesn’t know and now there is no way for me to know. From the simple, what his word “hansclobber” really meant and did he make it up or did he pick it up in his thirty-six years of being in the Marines and a good deal of that spent all over the world. To more important thing. Who was he really? I will never know.

If your father is still alive, please don’t wait. Ask all those questions! Especially the ones that no one else can answer!

Dad, thank you for being my Dad. I miss you more than words will ever ever be able to express.

I love you!
Forever.
Your son,
Benj

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My Dad when he retired. This was some General Big Wig
that he highly respected. I don’t know who he is.

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My Dad with his immediate family. He is in the light green.
The man over him is his brother and that is his brother’s wife
next to him. The little boy is his nephew (my cousin) and the
man with the girl in his lap is my Dad’s sister’s husband and
daughter. That makes the woman Dad’s sister!

Something Pretty Cool – New Releases of Two Stories

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So two of my very first sales were short stories for the Dreamspinner Press anthologies “Riding Double” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” I really love these two stories and they are a part of my universe. Why the love interest in my first novel “All Alone in a Sea of Romance” made his first appearance in one of these two stories.

Well first the bad news. Both anthologies are going out of print. Kind of breaks my heart! Two of my first homes and soon they are to be no more.

But now the good news. Dreamspinner Press has decided to release both these stories as stand alones! That way they won’t be out of print. I am so excited I can hardly stand it!

I have already signed the contracts! I am cleaning them up a bit because after six years I am a better writer than I was in those days, but they will be the same stories. And for people who have hesitated to buy an anthology when all they wanted was one story to complete their B.G. Thomas collection, now they won’t have to!

I am not sure of the release dates but I believe they will both be available before April of next year! And of course they will have their own covers. I am doing the Snoopy Dance and seeing this as yet one more sign that writing is what I am supposed to be doing! Why else would they take a chance on two short stories?

Of course I really believe in these stories. I adore them. They are very important to me and it makes my heart soar knowing that they will not be out of print!

Anyway, I will keep you informed!

Lots of Love!
B.G. Thomas

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