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I have a new column at the Vital Voice….check it out at http://www.thevitalvoice.com/lifestyle/57-lifestyle/597-nqotp-weight-for-it
A few years back I worked at an antique store and, it was because of my employment there, that I learned a little more about furniture that I had previously cared to know. Where I would have once simply liked a piece of furniture because I liked the way it looked, suddenly I could tell the difference between mid-century modern and Art Deco. Biedermeier and Queen Anne were some of the names I learned, along with the phrases “outsider art” and “primitive.”
According to eHow.com, “Primitive” furniture items are crudely made pieces used in place of popular furniture of the era until such time as a better piece could be purchased. Since the pieces were only meant to be temporary, they were expendable. It is for this reason that they are a rare find today and, as a result, much more valuable to collectors.
The antique store was full of such pieces, some of it authentic, while other pieces were newer but made to look primitive. (A dead giveaway to spotting fakes is the presence of paint: because real primitives were considered temporary and to be thrown away as soon as something better came along, painting them was considered a waste of paint.)
Regardless of provenance, everything in the antique store was ridiculously expensive.
It was around this same time that Tim and I decided that we needed to buy a china cabinet or hutch for our dining room. Thanks (mostly) to Tim’s mom, we had acquired quite the collection that was in need of proper storage, pieces too nice to relegate to a closed kitchen cabinet. There was a vast collection of stemware, martini glasses, white wine glasses, red wine glasses, brandy snifters, aperitif glasses and demitasse; there were two types of dessert cups my grandmother’s china, water goblets and a set of silver that had belonged to Tim’s grandmother, along with various serving dishes. In short, we needed a cabinet.
But, because everything in the antique store was so over-priced, we decided that we would have to find our cabinet elsewhere. Employee discount or not, there was no way our budget would allow for what my employer was asking for even the ugliest china cabinet, so we spent our weekends searching other shops, flea markets and even dumpster-diving in alleyways.
It was at the store of a local retailer, tucked away in their crowded and damp basement, that we found what we were looking for, a rough wooden hutch with double doors, a drawer, with storage underneath. I saw it and immediately knew that it would work. For one thing, it almost perfectly matched our dining room table, a definite plus that I hadn’t even dreamed that I could hope for. Almost immediately, however, I saw some bad signs. First, there was no price tag on it and it was full of crap, scraps of paper, tools and odds and end pieces from other broken items in the store. To me this indicated “Not for Sale,” even though there was no such sign affixed. There were missing glass panes and handles missing as well, flaws which could be easily remedied but, to make matters worse, on one side the lower, outside panel support was completely missing, which caused both the wood just above as well as the wood on the back of the hutch to sag. In my mind there was no way we could make it work. Tim, on the other hand, saw a diamond in the rough and went to inquire about a price, insisting to me that it was a genuine “primitive.”
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After a year’s delay the sequel to Midnight Whispers is finally in the able hands of my editor, Greg and, while I know this is going to hurt, I’m excited to see things moving!
I just finished editing the galley for my upcoming book (Not Quite) Out to Pasture, due out this winter from Walrus Publishing. It’s always a thrill to see a manuscript, something that I’ve only seen on the screen of my laptop, typeset and ready to go to press! Now if I can convince Bold Strokes to move forward with the sequel to Midnight Whispers my new year will be off to a great start!
Last Friday, New Year’s Eve, I was shocked by the spring-like weather that rolled through the area. The unseasonably warm weather was a nice break from the usual chill, but I was saddened to hear of the deaths in Arkansas and Missouri caused by tornadoes, spawned by the warm air. To make matters worse, there were at least twenty tornadoes reported, the most for that time of year in the past 50 years.
The next day, news stories on the internet reported that, in Arkansas, 3,000 birds inexplicably fell from the sky. Now, I’m no friggin’ scientist, but I’m thinking “tornado maybe?” Educated guesses, and by educated I mean Scientific Types in Lab Coat shit, included the possibility of a lightning strike. (Another was the equally ludicrous “Fireworks.”)
A lighting strike? Killing 3,000 birds at one time? Now that would have to have been one hell of a lightning strike. But, as with most things, I don’t know shit about birds or lightning, so I went busily about my queer way.
This morning, I was greeted by more creepy assed news from Arkansas. Just days after the 3,000 birds inexplicably fell from the sky, 100,000 drum fish have washed up on river banks dead. The educated types I mentioned earlier were quick to pronounce the two events as “unrelated.”
Okay, within days of 3,000 birds falling from the sky, the nice, mostly white people of Arkansas suddenly have to deal with 100,000 bloated and stinky dead fish clogging their rivers AND THIS IS IN NO WAY RELATED?
Now, unlike the 86% of Arkansas’ population, I am not a rabidly conservative Christian, but the New Year’s Eve tornadoes, dead birds and fish struck me as one thing and one thing only:
PESTILENCE AND PUNISHMENT OF BIBLICAL PORPORTIONS.
But why, I had to wonder, would God (yes, with a capital G) punish a state that is 86% Christian, 75% white (aren’t they His favorite?) and who voted 75% (check it out…just like the white demographic!) to ban same sex-marriage, that institution blessed by Lucifer himself? Hell, even Article 19, item one of the Arkansas constitution disqualifies atheists from holding public office or as serving as witness at trial. And there is already a law on the books banning abortion in the event that Roe versus Wade is ever overturned. Surely, this moral high road that Arkansas rides must mean that the Big Guy Upstairs favors our Wal-Mart shopping, gun-toting, NASCAR watching, sister fucking hillbilly cousins to the south. Then, it dawned on me:
God hates hypocrites. I’ m not saying He hates Christians or white folks, I’m saying He fucking hates hypocrites. I mean, it’s right there in the Bible in black and white and, where the Big Guy’s Kid, JC speaks, red. Remember the story from Sunday school (think back, you can do it. Further, further…) when Jesus kicked the money lenders from the Temple because they were charging really high exchange rates and (I assume) getting goat and pigeon shit all over the place? JC must have stepped into a steaming pile of camel dung because He went ape shit on the dudes, knocking over their tables and attacking them with a fucking whip. I don’t know if you’ve ever been attacked with a fucking whip, but it’s not pretty.
You’d have to have known my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Brand. That dude was one crazy old fuck.
Anyway, the way I see it, God decided to attack the very people WHO NEVER THOUGHT HE WOULD ATTACK THEM. Sort of like a Biblical Pearl Harbor attack, just with Hillbillies and birds falling from the sky like some twisted Alfred Hitchcock movie. Not even Sarah Palin with her high powered rifle could save them.
Fucking brilliant. Sad, but brilliant in a creepy, Machiavellian sort of way.
But why would God do such a thing to such obviously devout followers? Because He’s the Creator of the fucking Universe and fuck holier than thou types, that’s why.
Now, before anybody gets their proverbial panties in a twist, I’m truly sorry for everyone who died. It must suck hard to be yanked from your mobile home and whacked by a nativity scene first thing in the morning. And I’m not saying God sent these things as a punishment. These are merely observations of what appears to be a pestilence of Biblical proportions. In fact, I don’t even believe in the concept of Divine Wrath. So why, you might smugly ask, sitting at your desk, do I even bring up the topic if I don’t believe?
Because the 86% of self-professed Christians there do.
Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, anyone? Or, I know, how about the time the Big Guy got all pissy and flooded the planet killing every living thing that couldn’t capsize the Ark in their last, drowning moments?
Not to worry. It’s a sure bet sure that, as I write, the blame has already shifted to the state’s less than 1.0% of Muslims or 1.0% of Jews. Or maybe even the state’s terrified homosexuals or Illegal Aliens. Or President Obama. Just rip a page from the Tea Party’s Enemies List and you’re sure to find the scapegoat.
And I’ll bet there’s a lot of sackcloth and ashes wearing going on, wondering why, so closely on the heels of JC’s birthday, God would let something like this happen.
Because He can. And that’s scary as shit.
I should repeat here that the New Year’s Eve tornadoes ventured into Missouri, too, so it makes me wonder what’s next. I mean, Missouri banned same sex marriage, too and we’re 86% white and 77% Christian. Meaning, especially when you venture out in the Hinterlands and Meth-burgs of our fair state, we’re not much different from our cousins to the south. So are we next on God’s list? Will the Mississippi flow backwards once again? Will the New Madrid fault swallow up vast areas of farmland? Will the new smoking ban in St. Louis be suddenly repealed by the Anti-Christ himself?
This morning’s late breaking news that more fucking black birds have died in Louisiana makes me want to build my own goddamned ark.
As I said earlier, I’m no Bible thumping snake handler and don’t believe in Divine Wrath, so I don’t have those answers. I’m just sayin’, better watch your back.
“Vital VOICE” Scribe Pens Book, “Midnight Whispers”
By vital – Posted on October 28th, 2010
BY: COLIN MURPHY – SENIOR WRITER
Just in time for the highest of gay holy days, “Midnight Whispers: The Blake Danzig Chronicles” hit bookstore shelves on Oct. 18 for its timely Halloween launch. The novel is published by Bold Strokes Books and penned by Vital VOICE columnist, Curtis Christopher Comer, who just finished a successful book reading at Left Bank Books, Oct. 26.
Comer has been entertaining and enlightening Vital VOICE readers with his online column “(Not Quite) Out to Pasture” since May 2009. With crisp and compelling prose, the St. Louis-based writer has shared stories ranging from living in San Francisco to life with Tim, his partner of 17-years.
“I wrote this shortly after losing my job in January 2009,” explained Comer. “And since nothing else was getting picked up by publishers, I was like why don’t I write something fun for a change.”
“Midnight Whispers” follows paranormal investigator Blake Danzig, star of the syndicated show “Haunted California” and owner of Danzig Paranormal Investigations, who has been able to see and talk to the dead since he was a small boy. Born into a circus family, Blake eventually made his way to San Francisco where he wrote his first book and opened his paranormal investigation office. Assisted by his best friend and self-proclaimed witch, Melody Adams, Blake helps his ex-lover and San Francisco Police Detective, Brian Cox, solve cold case murders by contacting the spirits of the victims. But, when he gets too close to a psychotic spirit, all hell breaks loose and Blake ends up risking losing not only his boyfriend, Joe, but his very soul.
“When Tim and I lived in San Francisco we lived in an apartment that was very haunted,” admitted Comer. “We had a very haunted apartment: chairs moved, lights turned on and off, there were shadowy figures—stuff like that. I can’t explain it, but I do believe in it. And because of my belief in ghosts, I watch those stupid ghost hunting shows. So I thought why not combine the two and the end result was a gay ghost hunter.”
“Midnight Whispers” is a fun and entertaining read. The characters are bold, colorful and easy to know. Through Blake Danzig we are introduced to a host of other-worldly encounters as he tries to delicately balance his supernatural gift and his love life. Filled with sexually charged passages, Comer’s Danzig is dark and handsome and while he longs for true love, rarely passes the opportunity to hook up.
But if Blake is the hero of “Midnight Whispers,” then the heroine is most definitely San Francisco. Through Danzig we tour the gay mecca and its history from the seedy gay bar to investigating atop fog capped Nob Hill.
“I did move out there when I was 21 and I lived there for 15-years,” said Comer. “So I guess it’s pretty obvious that I love the city a lot. It’s a great city.”
When reading “Midnight Whispers,” one can’t help but visualize the movie on channels like Logo and Here! TV and admittedly, the idea hasn’t been lost on the author. Comer has already started to work on the next installment of The Blake Danzig Chronicles and hints that the protagonist will travel a great deal and St. Louis is a likely destination.
“Midnight Whispers” is available locally at Left Bank Books and other retailers or online at http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com.
Average: 5 (11 votes)
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This review is from: Midnight Whispers: The Blake Danzig Chronicles (Paperback)
Comer, Christopher Curtis. “Midnight Whispers: The Blake Danzig Chronicles”, Bold Strokes, 2010.
Communicating with the Dead
Blake Alexander is a paranormal investigator and he has his own television show, “Haunted California”. Blake can communicate with the dead and has been able to do so since he was a small child. He comes from a circus family but he managed to get to San Francisco and open an office for paranormal investigations and he also wrote his first book. His helper, Melody Adams, is his best friend and a witch (so she says). Blake had been romantically involved with a police detective, Brian Cox and Blake helps him solve cases using his paranormal powers to contact the spirits of victims. However, he once became to close with one spirit and everything went awry. This causes a great deal of grief and perhaps the loss of his new lover, Joe and himself.
The paranormal theme has become quite popular in gay fiction and I have had a hard time getting into it but……not with this book. I think that is because Comer set up his plot so well and his characters are totally believable. This is his debut novel and he should be very proud of it. Let’s see if he can follow it up.
I love to write. I love creating a story and characters that I know people will love or hate. Flaubert once famously said “I spent the morning putting in a comma, and the afternoon taking it out.” While I can certainly relate to this on some level, I’ve never tried taking myself or my craft too seriously. Writing, and reading what was written should, in my opinion be fun and not feel like a chore. And, even though my work might not rank up there with the weightiest of tomes, I write like people speak, like they think and I believe that this approach lends an air of honesty and accessibility to what I write. If only one person comes away from reading something that I’ve written and thinks “I’d like to meet Curtis Comer, I’ll bet he’s interesting,” then I’ve accomplished something.
My first novel, “Midnight Whispers: the Blake Danzig Chronicles,” (Bold Strokes Books, 2010) has now been released and is doing very well. A sequel is already in the works.
Meanwhile, I continue to write my weekly column, “(Not Quite) Out to Pasture,” for the Vital Voice which, I hope, speaks to those gay men (like me)who have divorced themselves from the “gay scene” of nightclubs, bars and cruising.