Amazing occurance. And new release.

What's amazing? I actually accomplished some new writing! I shoved my block a little bit out of my way and...wait for it, wait for it... I actually wrote 1400 words on a w.i.p. today!!!  It has been YEARS since I've written 1000 words in one day!  It's a weird story and I'm not even sure where I'll send it when I've finished, but no matter. I DID it.

Also, there is news, for anybody interested.

I have another story just released from Untreed Reads. It's titled "The Legend of the Mountain Ash" and it originally appeared in the I Do Two anthology to benefit marriage equality.  It's part of one of UR's new series of literary romances.  I'm not sure exactly what category it is. It's romantic, historical, and realistic with more than a hint of fantasy.

Here's UR's description

Ethan, a Doughboy wounded in the battle for Belleau Wood. Davy, a reviled British conscientious objector serving in a military hospital.  Two young men drawn to each other in the midst of the horrors of the Great War. Neither has a family, for the soldier’s family has all died and the CO’s family has cast him off in disgust for refusing to take up arms. The bond of love that grows between Ethan and Davy takes them to Ethan’s beautiful Appalachian hills, where they build a home and make a life. And it is there they find that their love is strong enough to conquer everything, even time and death.

The best place (for the author's benefit) to buy it is The Untreed Reads Store (

It can also be found at:
Lightning Source (a distributor, primarily North America)
Amazon UK

  Many other retailers will carry it in the days and weeks to come. And as with all of Untreed Reads short stories, you get a lot of good reading for very little money!


Getting Whacked by a Trout

Well, that's what it feels like, anyway.

One of my favorite Monty Python skits was the Fish Dance, where the two guys pranced on a wharf whacking each other with a fish (forget what kind.)

I just had my own version of that, because finding out you're not as good as your friends think you are is like getting whacked by a large fish. My short story, "Rivka", which I entered in the Glimmertrain Winter Open-- a story my betas and I were SURE would win at least one of the three prizes, or at least be published in Glimmertrain didn't--*whack*--even--*whack*--place in the top 25. *whack, whack*  Ewww. Fish are slimy.

Such is life.

But instead of moping, as is my wont under similar circumstances, I decided to revise Rivka. I had deliberately written it in a minimalist style because Glimmertrain is a "lit'ry" magazine and that's what they seem to want. It's a good story as it stands. But as I was reading it over, I realized that minimalism really isn't me.  So I'm going to rewrite it and submit it to the Eric Hoffer Prize competition (another literary competition so it likely won't win there, either) but at least it will be ME entering not someone trying to be something she's not. Minimalist schminimalist. I have to put in details! I expect the story will wind up being an ebook from Untreed Reads, if Jay likes it.  But those damn competitions have such nice prizes in one lump that they are a temptation!

Entering is probably just barking at the moon.  Arf-arf.

When Nature beats up on us...

I've heard from my friends in New Zealand and neither of them is anywhere near the disaster site, but my heart goes out to those who were. That was a hellacious quake.

We forget, except when something awful is happening, that despite our pretensions mankind has absolutely no control over nature. None. Nada. Zip. Mother Nature can do whatever the hell she wants, whenever she wants, how she wants, and we are helpless.

I live on a major fault line in the central US. We haven't had a major quake in my lifetime, though one has been predicted for many years. In the early 90's one expert even set an approximate date for one, and we were all convinced. We had earthquake drills in the schools (I worked in a school then). We've had minor shivers that opened cabinet doors and knocked a few things off the shelves. During one of them, something fell on my little boy's hamster and killed it, and broke his heart. So far that's the worst that has happened. Mother Nature has mostly limited her nastiness here to tornadoes, floods, and an occasional excessively dry or excessively wet season that ruins crops.

I guess that's one reason I don't believe in God: If he exists, Nature is his handmaiden and her destruction seems so random. If there is an intelligent being behind all this, then it seems malicious, like a big, mean kid beating the snot out of a little kid who can't defend himself. Ah, well. Does this mean I'll go to Hell, now? My sister says so.

Forgive the rambling. Well, that's what goes on between my ears these days. Rambling!I should probably be glad I don't get a lot of readers, or else the guys with the white coats would be showing up at the doors.

Qualities of Light -- Review

Qualities of Light

By Mary Carroll Moore

Spinster’s Ink (2009)


Young Adult/ Lesbian Romance

PEN/Faulkner nominated book

 From the jacket: “An early summer morning, a forbidden boat ride. An accident that puts Molly Fisher’s seven-year-old brother in a coma. And Molly’s life plummets out of orbit.”


Sixteen is difficult, and the summer of the sixteenth birthday Molly Fisher is plunged into life-altering situations she could never have foreseen.  Life in general has become more and more of an uncertain trail leading who knows where. She is convinced her pilot mother and her artist father are splitting up, and Molly and her parents have become distant from one another.  She feels as if her family is splintering apart.

 A more-or-less normal, teen-angst-filled summer at the lake takes a horrifying turn when Molly yields to her little brother’s pleas to take him for a secret birthday boat ride on the lake. Sammy adores his big sister and the feeling is mutual. They slip out at dawn; Molly is sure she can get the speedboat back to the dock before her father wakes up.  Laughter and forbidden fun suddenly shatter in one of those split seconds that change lives. As Sammy leans out to reach something that fell into the water, he falls overboard,  and he is trapped underwater.  He is rescued by his sister and one of her friends, but the rescue took precious seconds of his life.

 For the next few weeks Molly and her parents take turns sitting vigil at the bedside of the silent, unmoving little boy, not knowing if he will ever awaken, not knowing if the time underwater without oxygen will leave him with brain damage. Ms. Moore portrays the thoughts, situations, and emotions surrounding Sammy and his family in such a realistic and honest way, that the reader really cannot predict the outcome for Sammy.

 Molly not only is guilt-ridden over her part in her brother’s life or death struggle, she is dismayed to realize that the rift between her parents has become wider. Will she lose her brother and also her family before the summer is over?

 At this time, a newcomer shows up at the lake—beautiful, athletic, grey-eyed redhead Zoe Novato, who is a champion water skier. Brash and outspoken, Zoe is the opposite of the introspective and shy Molly. At seventeen, Zoe’s a tad more than a year older but she’s years older in life experience.  Zoe, as you might expect, becomes Molly’s close friend, and before the story is over, she becomes more than a friend. They do make love in a dark cabin, but it’s not sudden, it’s not exploitive, it’s not seduction. The scenes involving love and sex are beautifully written, touching in their portrayal of vulnerable first love.

 Will little Sammy ever again hide beneath the cab in’s porch and make up happy little songs? Will Molly’s parents split, as happens so often when there is a major trauma, or will they find their way back together? Will Molly ever again feel close to her parents? And will she be able to confide in them the explosive discovery she has made about herself this summer? Will Molly and Zoe go their separate ways at the end of summer, and have to face that what they had was just a sweet, fleeting teen romance ? Or will it turn out to be more than that? Please read this excellent YA novel and find out.

 Although it’s considered a Lesbian romance, it’s much more than that. It’s most of all a story of a young, vulnerable girl and her family who are facing the most devastating situation any family can face. 

Molly and her father are both born artists, and the author permeates many scenes and many of Molly’s thoughts and feelings with color and light the way a painter permeates a canvas.  It’s an elegantly simple book. Lovely in every way. 

Remembering with a Laugh

This was written to be read at a memorial service for my friend who recently passed away. I thought some of you might enjoy it. I decided not to use his full name on the internet, as he was a very private person.

Adventure with L.
By Ruth Sims

This is the true account of the time L. took an innocent straight woman to Chicago for a wild, booze-filled weekend. Oh, well, not really. But it makes a great beginning and got your attention.

What L. actually did was make a magical weekend happen that otherwise could not have happened.

Sixteen years ago Sasha Alyson of Alyson Publications, published my first book and even nominated it for The Lambda Award. That year the Lambda ceremony and banquet was held in Chicago, at the Palmer House. Sasha offered to pay for myself and a companion to attend the banquet and awards ceremony. It would be an overnight stay, with book signings at the ABA the next day.

Trouble was, I had no one who would go with me, and for various reasons I couldn’t drive that far by myself. Not to mention that the thought of driving in Chicago, or of even being in Chicago alone, was terrifying. I knew I’d never again have the chance to attend something like that.

As luck would have it, I mentioned the situation during a phone conversation with L.. I probably whined. I’m good at whining. I didn’t see L. often because he lived in Springfield and I was in Danville, but we talked often. He said something to the effect, “There’s always an answer.”

The next day he called me and offered himself as my chauffeur and dinner companion. I was ecstatic, and I insisted I would pay all expenses for both of us-- the hotel rooms, gas for the drive, his tux, everything; after all it would be a great business deduction come tax time. I reserved two rooms at the Palmer House for us.

The big day came. We talked all the way there, of course. I doubt if there were thirty seconds of silence. Just the trip alone was enough pleasure. When he called for me in the evening, all dressed up in his tux, he looked so cute. When I told him so, his face turned five shades of red. He was as excited as I was, and his eyes fairly danced. The food was fancy and not very good, but who cared? We got to meet and sit with Sasha Alyson himself. And let me tell you, Sasha Alyson was quite a looker, especially in a tux. And he was a tremendously nice guy. Also at the table were the men who were to buy the company a few months later, though we didn’t know that. L. and I were both kind of star-struck at the well-known people there.

As a small-town, working class girl, I had never been to any kind of event that fancy. And I had never tasted wine or alcohol. You see, though my dad and brothers and one of my sisters drank a lot, the few times I had tasted it, I didn’t like it at all. So for dinner, I stuck with water.

The alcohol came later.

Though I may have been in my 50’s, I was a babe-in-the-woods. As naïve as a 19th century missionary. I think L. almost fainted after the banquet when I blithely said, “I’m going out for a walk, L.. I may never see Chicago again.”

He kicked into full Mother Hen mode and said, horrified, “You can’t go out alone on the streets of Chicago at one in the morning!”
Well, ok, but neither of us was tired and not at all ready to call it a day. “I know,” he said, “there’s a cocktail lounge. We can go there.”
He laughed when I told him I had never been in a bar or a cocktail lounge. I don’t think he believed me at first. He soon found out it was true. I was clueless.

Well, we went into the cocktail lounge, low lights, soft music, just like a movie. The waitress…. Are they called waitresses in a cocktail lounge?... well, whatever they’re called, she took our order. L. ordered a fuzzy navel. I told the waitress I just wanted something sweet. She suggested Kahlua and cream. I’d never heard of it but it sounded luscious and I was thirsty.

The drinks came. I schlurped mine down and ordered another. L. was looking at me a little funny, and after a while, I realized he was trying to tell me something without coming out and saying it. I happily… and I do mean happily… schlurped the second one, giggling while I did.

Everything was funny even if my eyes did feel kind of heavy and if my memory serves, my lips were getting numb, L. finally got the words out. “I don’t want to alarm you,” he said, “but I’d go easy on that if I were you.”

I giggled. That was the funniest thing I’d never heard. “Why?” I said. “It’s wonderful. And it’s not alcoholic, is it?”

“Only about twice what I’ve got,” he said.

I looked at the remaining drink in my class. How could anything that good be alcoholic? I looked at L., his eyes large and still twinkling behind his glasses. I could tell he meant it.

“Am I drunk?” I asked, probably with a giggle.

“Well,” he answered, ever the gentleman and diplomat. “I wouldn’t say you’re drunk. Let’s say you’re tipsy. And not feeling any pain.”

And it was true! Even my feet in ridiculous high heels didn’t hurt! I finished the drink, much more slowly, and we left. I remember feeling floaty and sleepy and incredibly happy. So, I remember thinking, this was what being tipsy felt like, and giggled because “tipsy” is such a funny word! That night I slept like a corpse.

The American Book Association book fair was the following day and we were to meeting Sasha there, at the Alyson display.

The book fair was in some big convention center and we took a taxi. A Chicago taxi. Yes. With a driver straight out of a movie. The taxi was the smelliest thing I’ve ever been in and the man behind the wheel was the Taxi Driver from Hell. L. and I both wondered if we’d get there alive. Throughout the entire ride the driver kept up a continuous loud and profane conversation with all the other drivers on the street, and pedestrians, too. “What the bleep bleep are you bleepin’ doin you bleepin’ stupid bleep bleep bleep.” Then he’d look over his shoulder at me, while still driving, and say “’Scuse me, lady.” Two seconds later, “Bleep you, you bleep bleep bleep bleep—‘Scuse me, lady. You stupid bleep don’t you know better than to bleepin’ cross in the bleepin’ middle of the bleepin’ beepin’ street? ‘Scuse me, lady.” Well, we lived through it and laughed hysterically as soon as we were on non-moving ground.

One of the highlights of the ABA, other than seeing Sasha Alyson again—and L. and I agreed Sasha was as handsome in ordinary clothes as he had been in a tux—was meeting and getting hugged by Jewelle Gomez and Dorothy Allison. I about fainted when I met Dorothy. She’s one of my heroes. I know neither lady would remember either of us, but I know I will never forget it and I bet L. didn’t either.

The ride home was as much fun as the previous day. And again, we talked all the way home. And you know what? He hadn’t let me pay one cent toward his expenses, not his room, not his tux, not even the gas or the taxi fare.

It was the time of my life, and I couldn’t have done it without L.. So here’s to you, L.. You made possible one small-town girl’s wild weekend in Chicago.

Tristan, Isolde, James Franco oh my

I had never even heard of the 2006 film Tristan and Isolde, had never seen James Franco, had never heard of Sophia Myles or Rufus Sewell. (you can tell I don't get out much!) OMG. I just got it from Netflix and I'm in love. The film is violent, romantic, wonderful. I bawled like a calf through the last part of it.

I know little of the medieval world, but between this movie and Nan Hawthorne's books, (An Involuntary King, published and Beloved Pilgrim, not published yet) I am now interested in both.

I know some of you are undoubtedly experts in things medieval. If you've seen the film, are the settings, clothing, etc., authentic? They certainly looked authentic to me, but I know filmmakers do tend to change things and ignoramuses like me wouldn't know the difference. Of course it's pretty much unavoidable in a visual medium. Also, were Tristan, Isolde, and Lord Marke real people or legends based on real people or does anyone know?

The only thing I noticed that seem a little weird is the same thing I notice in all historical films made since the advent of caps and veneers. Even lead characters portraying life in the centuries before toothpaste and brushes have perfect, snow-white teeth. Of course, those were also the days before sugar and more sugar. Anyway, none of us moviegoers want to look at a hero with gaps or blackened teeth. There is a limit to reality in entertainment.

Eulogy for a friend

If you have read Counterpoint: Dylan's Story, you know who Laurence is.

What you don't know is that his personality, if not his physical appearance, was based on a real person, a dear friend. When I told him he was my ideal Laurence, he blushed. He was very proud of it, but being sweet and very shy, he wouldn't let me noise it about.

He was as kind and gentle and full of sly humor as the Laurence in my book, and to most of the world he was full of cheer and happiness.. Sadly, he never found true love as my Laurence did, because he was self conscious about his weight, and was convinced he was homely. He couldn't see the beauty his friends saw. He joked about it, of course, how he was "always a bridesmaid but never the bride."

He was a devout Catholic, which always amazed me, given the Church's attitude toward gays. Behind the cheer and the sweet smile was a mind that warred increasingly with the burden of depression. A few years ago it overwhelmed him and he had to live on disability, and took a lot of medication. A year ago he had electroconvulsive shock therapy, which helped a little for a while. Yesterday the darkness and burden became too much and he took his life. There will be no funeral mass.

I will miss him terribly. And I'll never forget him.

Squees galore

Now that I have a working computer  I can now do some breathless updating  and shameless squeeing (ok, call it bsp if you want to, but I haven’t  been able to do this for about  a month! I’m gonna make the most of it.) The ALA recognition I may already have posted about, before I lost my computer last month. If so, skip to the next one.


I am beyond thrilled to find Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story listed as one of the top 108 books (all types, including nonfiction and poetry) by The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA). It’s really an honor to be on a list with the likes of icon Edmund White and other outstanding authors, such as Josh Lanyon, Raymond Luczak,Poppy Z. Brite, Michael Thomas Ford, Anthony Bidulka,Sarah Schulman… just as samples. The entire list, including TWO by Josh Lanyon, is at

Bryl Tyne was kind enough to blog about it at

This is the inaugural list of what will become an annual event. Now if someone would only tell me what the  “rt” stands for on “glbtrt” I’d be happy.


The one and only Elisa Rolle posted her review of Counterpoint on Amazon and also at

I loved the whole thing, of course, but especially her closing sentence:
“Counterpoint can well being two novels in one and having them together will prove to the reader that is possible to love two times, with the same deepness, and the point is that when something tragic happens in your life, you have to let your heart be open to that second chance.”

SQUEEEE #3 A surprise review in Dick Smart’s “Book Lovers” column in Lambda Literary. The review is delightfully titled “A Victorian Valentine.” There is a very brief excerpt below and you can read the entire thing at


A Victorian Valentine


Lambda Literary


Reviewer: Dick Smart

“Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story (Dreamspinner) is a marvelous Victorian Valentine that evokes Dickens, Les Misérables, and The Ballad of Reading Gaol while wisely not attempting to imitate any of them.  Sims instead chooses to tell the story of the young English composer, Dylan Rutledge, in an excitingly melodramatic style that is by definition correct for her subject—a 19th century drama set to music.”

SQUEEE # 3-1/2

Dick Smart chose Counterpoint: Dylan’s Story as one of the Top 5 Romances, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The other four books on his list are Mexican Heat by Laura Baumbach & Josh Lanyon; Normal Miguel by Erik Orrantia; Match Maker by Alan Chin, and Suspicious Diagnosis by Jardonn Smith, which is a collection of short stories. The last one has one of the oddest and most intriguing covers I’ve ever seen.

  • Current Mood
    happy happy

Do I have any friends left?

Wow. well, after what seems like and endless round of computer problems and service bills and more computer problems -- I found out on my own what the problem was. My 10-year-old computer was almost out of hard drive memory. Two weeks ago I was down to 600 KB!  I ordered a new computer with Windows 7 and the new version of Word.  A week ago my hard drive was down to 0 KB. I could download email but couldn't read it. And it's been a long time since I could get on the internet without having the machine shut down.

Well, a few hours ago I got the new one, with 20 times the hard drive memory.

But boy, do I hate the new version of Word. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I think it will take forever to learn how to use it, though I just ordered a book from Amazon that has Windows 7 and Word for Dummies plus a couple of Dvds. I'll need them. I hope my learning curve doesn't turn out to be fatal.

I'm sorry to have been 100% out of touch for so long. To anybody who noticed my absence, I do apologize and assure you that I'm still alive and will remain so if the new Word doesn't kill me. And with taxes coming up, I have to learn to use excel, too. 

I hope everybody has been happy and sassy and all writing bestsellers.

If I live through the next few weeks, I'm going to try to blog more often. (Is that a faint "Yay" I hear? *snort*)

Have a great weekend. You're all beautiful.  Mwah!

Well-Deserved Wins!

Congratulations to the winners & Runners Up of the Rainbow Award Best Gay Historical Category!

1) Alan Chin - The Lonely War (Zumaya Publications)

2) Donald Hardy - Lovers' Knot (Running Press)

3) George Gardiner - The Hadrian Enigma (GMP Editions)

Honorable Mention:
4) M. Kei - Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1: The Salle Rovers (Lulu Press /
Bristlecone Pine Press)

5) K.A. Mitchell - An Improper Holiday (Samhain Publishing)

6) Charlie Cochrane - Lessons in Trust (Samhain Publishing)

7-tie) Johnny Miles - Casa Rodrigo (Loose Id)

Ruth Sims - Counterpoint: Dylan's Story (Dreamspinner Press) (darn right I congratulate myself too!)

9) Jane Elliot - End of Trail (Manifold Press)

10) Fae Sutherland & Marguerite Labbe - Lotus in the Wild (Dreamspinner Press )