José Sarria

José Sarria

In Blackmail, My Love I created a character named José Sarria, based on the real performer and activist José Sarria, who passed away in August of 2013, just after I finished the novel. José performed opera and incendiary monologues at the legendary Black Cat Café, a “bohemian” bar in San Francisco’s North Beach, and ended […]

Black Pearl

Black Pearl

Meet Black Pearl! She’s a character from Blackmail, My Love who works at Finocchio’s circa 1951. You won’t be surprised to learn that she packs a small revolver inlaid with mother of pearl flowers… The first image is the print in progress, drawn on the linocut, but not yet carved, while the second is of […]

Bearded Hibiscus

Bearded Hibiscus

Our hibiscus sprouted a beard overnight. I mean, a full Claus: long, whispy, perfectly white. And amazing circular patterns on the underside of leaves, tight mazes that remind me of cave drawings. Like some OCD faerie spent the night hanging off the branches, drawing the same intricate image over and over and over. An infestation […]

Sam Steward

Sam Steward

I learned a lot about Queer history as I did research for Blackmail, My Love, including the importance of the postal service. This sounds boring, but it’s not. I knew that the postal service played a central role in the evolution of obscenity laws: an effective way to prevent books about certain topics from being […]

Galleys

Galleys

When I was young, my uncle asked me who my favorite writer was. I remember a momentary flash in my brain, as I realized that PEOPLE write books. Somehow I’d thought they were like mountains and rivers: they just existed. From the moment I understood that people wrote books, I wanted to write a novel. […]

Elevation

Elevation

Last night, under a beautiful full moon, I became a fully professed member of the San Francisco Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. It was a two-year journey, though it started in Dolores Park about 15 years ago when I asked Sister Penny Costal, “Can girls be Sisters?” She told me I’d know when […]