I just have to post this blog from my dearest friend and collaborator R. Paul Sardanas. I can not re[read it as it always makes me tear up. All I can say is no matter how far I might go in the literary world, or how many book reviews come in or whom ever else I should ever cowrite with I will NEVER be as greatful or thankful as I have been writng with him.The things I have learned in the course of working on Torera are immeasurable, my thanks and admiration endless.

The official blog can be found on the link below.


Today "Torera", the epic novel exploring thirty years in the life of lady matador Lucretia Maria Calderon, goes on sale from Passion in Print Press. Any day a book makes it out of the mind of its creators and into the world is an exciting day, and I am particularly proud of this book, which is the product of two people finding a shared voice, one of the most satisfying experiences I believe a writer can have.

I've been incredibly gifted with the collaborators I've joined with over the years. Artist David Cuccia (whose stunning portrait of Lucretia is at the end of this blog...many thanks, David!), Erotic Artist Samarel, painter Bedazzled, artist and poet Marge Simon to name a few, as well as poetic works created together with talents like Tess MacKall, Willow, Kristaline, Kate Barker, Saroya and many more. Each time, I am amazed at the depth of these artists and writers, who take me outside of my own mind with fresh and inspiring visions.

In the writing of  "Torera", I had the honor of coming to know Tisha Garcia, who before arriving in the world of novels has written remarkable, cutting-edge screenplays with her writing partner David Strickler. Ideas flew fast and thick when Tisha and I began to brainstorm this book, and it grew and grew through that interaction, becoming a story of intense depth and  history. My original concept for the book (as I am a devoted animal-lover, and wondered how I would respond emotionally to a story about the world of bullfighting) was to set it in the modern arena of "bloodless" bullfighting, where supposedly no one gets hurt as all go through the motions of the classical bullfight -- but that story, though it would have been interesting, lacked the fire of deep emotion. Tisha felt that we could bring the story to a more powerful environment by going to the literary place that Hemingway went in his book "Death in the Afternoon"...looking with a novelist's eye at the wildly obsessive and driven figures of the 20th century Spanish corrida.

To that end we both read Hemingway, and researched the matadors of Spain, including Belmonte, Joselito, and many others -- but as our matador was to be a woman, we also studied the lives of Conchita Cintron, Patricia McCormick, and other Lady Matadors. Truly fascinating. And I came to think that like pacifists who write the most insightful books about war, perhaps Tisha and I truly could write not only of the violence and blood of the bullring, but the honor, courage, and almost mystical connection to life and death that these men and women embodied and experienced.

And so instead of one sun shining down on an idea as there is in the writing of a solo novel, there were two. Time and again I would be touched, astonished, moved and excited by the subtleties and strengths Tisha brought to the story. Our writing became a very organic thing, with each of us selecting a period in Lucretia's life that interested us particularly, and writing chapters along a time line in that manner, each of us sharing our thoughts and adapting as we went along. We took on subjects like fighting the disempowerment of women; the emotional and sexual obsessions of people who make the choice of a career that could kill them on any given day; and we didn't shy away from the violent world of the corrida, while at the same time exploring the humanity of those who live it. We found humor and tragedy, love and life.

The end result? Only the readers can tell us, but reading the finished novel, there is a seamless feel that I think most collaborators dream of. Our vision for the characters, the story, became one voice...bringing life to scenes that neither of us could have achieved alone.

Tisha, thank you for the gift of your wild intelligence, your insight, and your gift with words. "Torera" is alive with all of those things. I hope that the readers who read about the lives of Lucretia, Diego, Christian and all the others we illuminated in our thirty-year narrative, will feel the same exhilaration in reading as I felt in writing this book with you.

by Karl Shapiro

The dirty word hops in the cage of the mind like the Pondicherry vulture, stomping with its heavy claw on the sweet meat of the brain and tearing it with its vicious beak, ripping and chopping the flesh. Terrified, the small boy bears the big bird of the dirty word into the house, and, grunting, puffing, carries it up the stairs to his own room in the skull. Bits of black feather cling to his clothes and his hair as he locks the staring creature in the dark closet.

All day the small boy returns to the closet to examine and feed the bird, to caress and kick the bird, that now snaps and flaps its wings savagely whenever the door is opened. How the boy trembles and delights at the sight of the white excrement of the bird! How the bird leaps and rushes against the walls of the skull, trying to escape from the zoo of the vocabulary! How wildly snaps the sweet meat of the brain in its rage.

And the bird outlives the man, being freed at the man’s death-funeral by a word from the Rabbi.

(But I one morning went upstairs and opened the door and entered the closet and found the great bird dead. Softly I wept it and softly removed it and softly buried the body of the bird in the hollyhock garden of the house I lived in twenty years before. And out of the worn black feathers of the wing I have made these pens to write these elegies, for I have outlived the bird, and I have murdered it in my early manhood).
This was a triumph! Making a note here. HUGE SUCESS. Its hard to over state my satisfaction.
Like Aperture science, we do what we must because we can.

This is fact not fiction for the first time in years I can say that I feel pretty damn good about where I am going, where I have been and who I would really like to be with. I mean I have a book out, my first! Its published as of a few days ago. Im working on a short for an anthology with someone I respect and enjoy writing with. I am getting ready to shop around a gay novel titled Crossing Over which I wrote with my best friend. I dont sleep all day waiting for the sunset. I've just discovered gay bars, peanut butter hot chocolate, Nifty Fifties and double orgasms in Philly.