After grad school I moved to New York, where I lived for seven years, mostly in the East Village. The best part about living in New York in the early 1980s was that you could make a decent living doing freelance word processing. All the writers, artists, actors, and musicians were doing it. The word processing machines of that era were very large and very scary to the executives who purchased them. Enter the freelancer who knew how to tame the machine and calm everyone's nerves.
The bad part about living in New York during the 80s was...well, there were many bad parts, not the least of which was the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. By 1986 I was more than ready to leave, and when I had the opportunity to move to Kansas City (to culminate a long-distance flirtation...hands up for 'who's been there?'), I took it.
My flirtation-turned-relationship in Kansas City didn't last long, but I decided to stay because I loved the place, and still do. It may be one of the last of the truly livable big cities in the country. I met my partner, Ralph, in the fall of 1988, and we started dating in January 1989. We moved in together in the spring of that year and have been together ever since.
Wayne and his husbear since 1988, Ralph Seligman, were married in New York in October 2013, live in Kansas City, Missouri. "My flirtation-turned-relationship in Kansas City didn't last long, but I decided to stay because I loved the place, and still do. It may be one of the last of the truly livable big cities in the country. I met my partner, Ralph, in the fall of 1988, and we started dating in January 1989. We moved in together in the spring of that year and have been together ever since."
I've been writing from as far back as I can remember, but most of what I've had published has appeared within the past several years. I was lucky enough to get the attention of Greg Wharton, publisher at Suspect Thoughts Press, who placed stories of mine in several anthologies and brought out my first book, an erotic novel called 'My Name Is Rand,' in 2004.
'A Report from Winter' orignally appeared, in condensed form, in the book 'Walking Higher: Gay Men Write about the Deaths of Their Mothers.' My search for a publisher that would bring out the full-length version of 'Winter' led me to Steve Berman at Lethe Press. Steve and his staff do a phenomenal job of bringing LGBT-related books to the community.
As I mention in Winter, my "day job" life has been a pretty hit-or-miss affair, but I was fortunate enough to be an HIV educator for several years. While I was in that job I began grantwriting--everyone who worked in HIV/AIDS services was a grantwriter--and got a job as full-time grantwriter for Kansas City Hospice. During that time I worked on a capital campaign that brought the first freestanding inpatient hospice facility to the area. Since 2006 I have been managing grant programs in the arts and culture field. I received my Grant Professional Certification (GPC) in 2010."
A Report from Winter won a 2009 Rainbow Award as Best LGBT Non Fiction. Tales My Body Told Me won a 2010 Rainbow Award as Best Gay Contemporary.
A Report from Winter by Wayne Courtois
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (July 20, 2009)
Amazon: A Report from Winter
Amazon Kindle: 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. Though receiving excellent care in a nursing home, she 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.
Tales My Body Told Me by Wayne Courtois
Paperback: 310 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (May 3, 2010)
Amazon: Tales My Body Told Me
Amazon Kindle: Tales My Body Told Me
Sex. Satire. Mystery. Foul Play. True Love. Not necessarily in that order.
Paul Lavarnway thought he had settled into comfortable, middle-aged domesticity in Kansas City with his husband Eric. So how is it he finds himself confined with four other gay men at East Oak House, a spooky old mansion from which they can see the rundown, off-season resort of Two Piers, Maine, with its single pier and silent Ferris Wheel? He can't remember. Is it the drugs? The group therapy meant to help Paul and his housemates learn to be happy ex-gays?
While winter deepens outside the windows, Paul and his companions and their sweetly sinister mentor Brian explore the past and the future without ever quite understanding their present in the hot-house atmosphere of East Oak House. As memory comes to the surface, Paul discovers truths about himself, his husband, the man who came between them, and the accidental lover whose death looks more and more like murder.
Shifting with surreal grace from profound emotion to shallow sex to mystery and horror to outrageous comedy to redemption (maybe), Tales My Body Told Me is a novel like no other.
More Rainbow Awards at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, Rainbow Awards/2009 & 2010
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