March 26th, 2010

andrew potter

The Inside Reader: Dan Stone

Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir Mitchell
The Rest Of Our Lives by Dan Stone was probably one of the nicer surprise when speaking of books of the last year, at least for me. Yes, I started the book expecting a good book, as indeed it was, but sincerely, I had the wrong idea that it would be heavy, "high literature", and yes, sometime high literature is boring! And instead The Rest Of Our Lives not only it's high literature but it's also light, funny and very, very romantic. I hope Dan Stone will work and giving us more books like that one, and meanwhile, enjoy his Inside Reader List!

Dan Stone's Inside Reader List

Greetings! As with some others who have shared their picks here, those on my list are not necessarily the ten best books I've ever read, or my ten favorite books. They are, however, books that have affected me personally, influenced me in some way as a writer or as a gay man, or that have just become special to me in some way. Not all are gay-themed, although most are. Some are part of a series, but I've chosen one title to represent the series. Also, these are not necessarily in any order of preference. That said, here's my Top 10.


1) A Report From Winter by Wayne Courtois. In this extraordinarily compelling and bittersweet account of the author’s return to the wintry Maine landscape of his childhood and his experience at the bedside of his terminally ill mother, Courtois pulls back the curtain on a chilly, troubled New England family, offering a jumble of uncomfortable images—and an uneasy reflection on the awkward ties that still bind him to his kin. He also adeptly contrasts this somewhat bleak family portrait with the surprisingly warm and loving relationship he has found with his partner, Ralph, who, if not the prototypical knight in shining armor, nonetheless provides an emotional foundation that grounds and warms this painfully personally memoir and that offers welcome hopefulness to the author’s story.

Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (July 20, 2009)
Publisher Link: http://www.lethepressbooks.com/gay.htm#courtois-a-report-from-winter
ISBN-10: 1590212355
ISBN-13: 978-1590212356
Amazon: A Report From Winter

A Report from Winter is a death-in-the-family story, a love story, and a meditation on the meaning of “winter”—as a season and as a metaphor for family relationships. It’s January 1998, and southern Maine is recovering from one of the worst ice storms in history. Into this unforgiving environment comes the author, flying “home” from Kansas City after a ten-year absence. His mother, Jennie, is dying of cancer. She is receiving excellent care in a nursing home, but has lost the ability to communicate. Needing support, Wayne makes an SOS call to Ralph, his longtime partner. Ralph boards a plane to Portland for his first exposure to a Maine winter, and to Wayne’s family as well, including a feisty aunt and an emotionally distant brother. The contrast between a nurturing gay relationship and dysfunctional family bonds is as sharp as the wind sweeping in from the sea. Stubbornly unsentimental, A Report from Winter weaves childhood memories of winter with the harsh realities of living in a family where there’s not enough love to go around. The memoir is a tribute to hard-won relationships built on mutual trust and understanding, defying an uncaring world.

2) Comfort and Joy by Jim Grimsley. The combined delicacy and force of this love story is one that has drawn me back to re-read it several times. Grimsely’s writing has a lyrical quality that appeals to the poet in me and he has a poet’s eye for acutely conveyed detail and nuance. This is a subtle but powerful of the challenges of gay male relationships that manages to be both romantic and real and poignant without ever becoming maudlin or melodramatic. His Danny and Ford are men navigating the always tricky and often turbulent waters of a gay relationship in ways that I think any gay man who’s ever been in love can recognize and feel in his gut.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books (October 16, 2003)
Publisher Link: http://www.workman.com/products/9781565123960/
ISBN-10: 1565123964
ISBN-13: 978-1565123960
Amazon: Comfort and Joy

Ford McKinney is a devastatingly handsome, successful doctor, raised in an old Savannah family among good breeding and money. His longtime boyfriend, Dan Krell, is a shy hospital administrator with a painful childhood past. When the holidays arrive, they decide it's time to go home together. But the depth of their commitment is tested when Ford's parents cannot reconcile themselves to their son's choices, and Dan's secrets are exposed. Comfort and Joy is a poetic and finely-wrought novel that explores the difficult journey two men make toward love.

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About Dan Stone: Besides being a published writer for more than 20 years, Dan Stone is also a teacher, life coach and intuitive consultant. His first novel, THE REST OF OUR LIVES was published by Lethe Press in June 2009 and is a 2009 Lambda Literary Awards finalist for Best Gay Romance. He regularly posts the popular spiritual blog "The Shower Channel" at www.firstadream.com. He has been interviewed on Soul's Journey Radio, All Things That Matter radio, and 12Radio.com and is a teacher and intuitive advisor with www.12Academy.com. He also has been featured in the White Crane Journal and numerous literary and other publications and anthologies such as Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling, White Crane Journal, A&U Magazine, Astropoetica, Mostly Maine, Bay Windows, Chiron Review, Queer Poets Journal, Gents, Badboys, and Barbarians, New Gay Male Poetry, and Rebel Yell: Stories by Contemporary Southern Gay Authors. His upcoming collection of poems is being published by Lethe Press. He lives in Denver, CO, where he is working on the sequel to THE REST OF OUR LIVES, and also a children's book, and a collection of short fiction. He can be reached via his website: www.firstadream.com.

The Rest Of Our Lives by Dan Stone
Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (May 25, 2009)
Publisher Link: http://www.lethepressbooks.com/gay.htm#stone-the-rest-of-our-lives
ISBN-10: 1590211472
ISBN-13: 978-1590211472
Amazon: The Rest Of Our Lives

Colm McKenna has led a guarded life. Gifted with a wintry soul and a photographer's eye, he can stop time as easily as he freezes water, or call down cold north winds. He thinks he is alone and unique in the world. Then, seemingly by accident, he meets handsome writer Aidan Gallagher, his opposite, a young man who not only magically raises temperatures but quickens Colm's heart.

In this lighthearted and contemporary, gay romantic fantasy, can two male witches whose passion reincarnates century after century, find a way to express their love for each other again? Can this enchanting pair finally succeed after so many lifetimes?