So Gay List Book Reviews hosted me for my blog tour for my new novel “Summer Lover.” Here it is! Hope you enjoy!
Healing With Faeries and a Magickal Gay Brotherhood
Over twenty years ago I began to hear whispers and rumors about a men’s spiritual retreat that was held out in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere. Words was that anywhere from a hundred to a hundred and fifty men—most of them gay—would gather for a week or so to be together, learn together, teach each other and generally just be there for one another.
I heard that most of these men followed an “nature-based religion.” That sounded mysterious, but I had several pagan friends and they were all pretty darned cool, so I had nothing to worry about there. No baby sacrifice or anything like that. Then I saw this amazing episode of “Queer As Folk” where Michael and Emmet go to “Fairy Camp,” and I was like…. WOW! That looks simply amazing! I don’t think I am going to come up with a name for myself like “Dumpling” or “Clearday,” and with my body images, I had doubts I would ever play nude volleyball, but the rest? Wow!
Problem was, try as I might, I just couldn’t find out where and when this thing was goin’ on! Meanwhile, I dumped a terribly abusive lover—and man who did tremendous damage to my self-esteem (and thus any possibilities of nude volleyball), to my spirit, to my sexuality and my emotions.
Then to my surprise, within five months, I found a new man. Friends were worried that this was rebound and I would wind up getting further damaged—and to tell the truth I was a little afraid myself—but nothing could be further from the truth.
I had somehow found on of those good men. A true man. A loving man. A real Knight in Shining Armor. He wasn’t as worldly or exciting or well-read as my ex. But hell! Where had that gotten me?
What’s more, the minute he heard about this men’s festival, he was just as excited as I had been. And if only we could find it, I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about him chasing the other attendees while my back was turned!
Then one Labor Day Weekend while we were camping at a big retreat center, we were sitting about talking and who should we find but a man who regularly attends this men’s festival we’d been hearing about! We had just missed it by a month or so, but now armed with the information we needed, we prepared for the next year.
And attend we did!
The event was nothing like we expect. However, it was just what we needed.
Festival is many things to many men but those who come back find something powerful. No one is in charge; all members share equally in decision-making, and each man is responsible for sharing in those functions necessary to the group, including cooking, cleaning, and planning.
I’ve never seen a single game of nude volleyball (although I’ve seen my share of naked men, especially at the beach). Nor have I met the ghost of gay activist Harry Hay. At least not directly. I’ve certainly met men who embodied the man and his principles.
The men who gathered at this event were and are some of the most loving, kind, spiritual and healing men I have ever met in my life. They are not perfect. Yes there are a few sour apples in the bushel. But for the most part?
Well, I would not miss the festival for anything in the world. The men there have helped me so much in my healing, have helped me to trust again, and helped me to learn to dare!
OMG! I’ve dressed up in drag and pranced around on stage lip-syncing to a song called “Everybody’s Fucking But Me,” and another year I dressed up as a nun, sang the song “” and I got to run and leap into the arms of six hunky men! Top that! Yes! I was on Broadway….well… A version of it anyway. I certainly had my fifteen minutes of fame.
I have witnessed things that defy description. I learned not to care that I don’t have the body of a god and shed my sarong and skinny-dipped with the rest of them. And I will never forget the night me and a few close friends were swimming under a full moon and a muskrat swam in the midst of our little circle! Ha! One of my friends screamed like a
-year old girl and teleported to the beach. Oh, we laughed. And the muskrat? He rolled his eyes and swam off. Just thinking about it has me laughing so hard there are tears on my face.
These are men who understand. We don’t fit in. We see the world in a different light. We love first and hate last and try not to hate at all. We hold each other when we’re crying and don’t judge each other (or try not to). We respect each other’s spiritual and religious paths—the Festival attracts pagan and witches but also Christians and Buddhists and Hindus and just about any thing you can think of.
And there are some find cocktails to be had as well. Oh my! There has certainly been more than one night through the years that I don’t remember going back to my cabin. Of course I don’t have to worry about driving and I know there was someone who volunteered to help me get there.
These men have celebrated and supported my literary career too! They are so happy for me and show up to listen to me do readings as well as make sure to review my books online. What’s more, when I asked them if I could write a novel about my experiences at Festival there was not an objection one—at least not that I’ve heard.
And festival is pretty much what my new book is all about. I’ve renamed the campground and re-dubbed the Festival. But if you read “Summer Lover” you’ll get a taste of what it’s all about.
“Summer Lover” is a novel about a young man named Scott Aberdeen who doesn’t believe in anything anymore. Not Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or God. Or love either for that matter—at least, he knows no one will ever love him.
Cedar Carrington, raised by rock star parents, leads a free-spirited, nomadic life, never staying in one place for long. Due to a dark past he refuses to share or even think about, he is willing to let men into his bed for sex, but never for the night.
When Scott finds himself camping in the middle of nowhere with over a hundred men who all believe in love—and faeries and a magickal gay brotherhood—he’s pretty sure he’s in the wrong place. And when Cedar connects with cynical, critical Scott, he wonders how he could be falling in for this man of all men. But hearts and lives have been transformed at the Heartland Men’s Festival before, and it might be just the place where two very different men can release their pain and find true love at last.
And this is MM Romance. You know it’s going to have a happy ending, right?
This year my husband and I will be attending something like our twelfth festival. I can’t wait. As a matter of fact, there is a good chance that while you are reading this I’m laying out on raft in the middle of a lake with my faerie brothers. My friend Super Gem might be massaging my feet (he is so good at that) and I’ll be sharing the story of how my partner and I got legally married this year in Baltimore. Later we’ll fix a meal together and then break bread and then probably stay up deep into the night laughing and crying and sharing and listening.
And in the words of one of my faerie brothers, “May we all dare to dwell in beauty, balance and delight.
Originally Posted Here: http://gaylistbookreviews.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/b-g-thomas-tells-how-he-found-summer-love/