On the Authors’ Blog of my publisher Bold Strokes Books, I write about how life as an expat led to writing my debut suspense novel Calvin’s Head, which comes out in September. Wow. That’s next month, folks! Check out Events Page for latest news of readings, signings, interviews, etc.
A storm rages outside. Wind rattles the windows of the 150-year-old inn. Ominous rolling thunder, lightning flashes, horizontal rain whips through the trees. The lights dim for a second. (Should I unplug my laptop? Yes.) Atop Mt. Washington, not far away, conditions must be terrifying. The worst weather in the world is recorded there. The power fails. Darkness. I light a candle. A few minutes ago I was reading a book called The Demonologist. Now I am afraid.
“It’s always best to start at the beginning,” advised Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. The day before the storm on the summit of Mt. Washington, a cold wind swept clouds across my face in the colorless landscape above the tree line. Like Kansas, I thought. Dorothy battling the wind in black-and-white before the arrival of the cyclone that will whisk her away to a Technicolor land of make-believe. The Wizard of Oz was on my mind because this week marks the 75th anniversary of its premiere.
Unlike Brad Pitt in Se7en, I was expecting the box. (Same size, a bit heavier.) Because it arrived earlier than anticipated, it still took me by surprise. Unlike Morgan Freeman, I didn’t slice it open with a switchblade. I used hedge shears. (Because I knew where they were and was too impatient to search for scissors. Or perhaps I wanted to outdo David Fincher in creepiness.) And inside the box? (Spoiler Alert!) Not pretty Gwyneth Paltrow’s head, but beautiful copies of Calvin’s Head. I didn’t cry like Brad Pitt, but my allergies did act up a little.
Amsterdam Gay Pride is in full swing and once again I am elsewhere. I haven’t minded missing the celebration the last couple of years. But this year I wish I were there. My former employer is sponsoring one of the eighty boats in the Canal Parade in honor of some very special guests – eight young LGBT activists from parts of the world where being gay can be a matter of life or death.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) has always been openly supportive of the international LGBT community. In the late 80s, producer Pete Myers began covering stories about gay social issues on his weekly show Rembrandt Express, long before other mainstream media. When I took over producing an arts and culture program in the early 90s, he encouraged me to talk with as many LGBT artists, musicians, writers, and filmmakers as possible. Three programs I produced between 1998 and 2004 that were honored with NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards are part of his legacy.