Meet My Partner: A Christmas Story

“Mom… Dad… I’d like you to meet my partner.”

Most of us have had at least one of these awkward, anxious moments in our lives. And the stakes are even higher when the first meeting takes place during the holidays.

In my most recent novel, If I Seem Quiet…, Aaron Bradbury came out to himself, came out to his parents (it did NOT go well!), met a guy, reconciled with his parents, and so much more.

Now, he’s taking his partner Ryan to Ohio for Christmas, where his parents will meet Ryan for the first time.

This story is an excerpt from my next novel, which will come out in the spring of 2024. Enjoy!

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Video from the “If I Seem Quiet…” Book Release Party

The book release party for my fourth novel, If I Seem Quiet…, was held on Friday, November 17, at Exposed Studio & Gallery in Phoenix – the same place my previous book signing parties were held. It’s a charming LGBT-owned business with beautiful art on display from local artists and a nice area for holding receptions. Gregg Edelman, the owner, is very supportive and a joy to work with.

My husband Jeff captured the event on video. In the video, I spoke about how I got started writing novels. I recounted the seemingly innocuous event that provided the seed of inspiration for this novel (and by extension, the others). I read an excerpt from the book and answered some excellent questions from the audience.

Just click on the image to watch and enjoy.

The T-Shirt That Launched Six Novels

Occasionally, people ask who my characters are based upon and where I get the inspiration for my stories. Sometimes, it’s completely random and spontaneous – like when I’m people-watching in a fast-food restaurant.

One day in late 2017, I was eating dinner in a fast-food restaurant on a Monday evening. It was the Rubio’s at Indian School Road & 44th Street, if you’re curious. I had two hours between rehearsals, so I brought my laptop along and caught up on email, Facebook, the news, etc. during and after my dinner. I eat at that Rubio’s fairly often, and I have a favorite seat along the window near the self-serve soda fountain, which I visit several times during my prolonged stay.

A young man entered the restaurant and sat at a table near me. I guessed him to be in his mid-20s. For some reason (probably boredom – or maybe because he was cute in that boy-next-door kind of way), I began to wonder what his story was. What did he do for a living? Was he a native Phoenician or from someplace else? Where was he before he visited the restaurant, and where would he go afterward? Was he gay or straight? Those sorts of things.

By the time he left 15 minutes later, I had made up his life story. I decided to write a book about him and his made-up life. He became Aaron Michael Bradbury, the main character in my new novel If I Seem Quiet…. (I prefer “If I Seem Quiet” to “If I Look Quiet” for this book.) (more…)

How San Diego Pride Influenced “If I Seem Quiet…”

This weekend (July 14-16) was Gay Pride weekend in San Diego. If you’ve never been, it’s one of the more festive Gay Pride weekends in the country. The combination of Hillcrest, one of the country’s most vibrant gayborhoods, San Diego itself, and the warm, sunny weather makes for an ideal weekend. People travel from all over California and Arizona and points beyond to enjoy the festivities.

Between 1999 and 2004, I went every year. From the third year on, I stayed with my friends Bill and Eric, and an agenda for the weekend took shape. I’d drive over on Friday, spend a couple of hours in the afternoon at Black’s Beach (a clothing-optional beach with a large gay section), then drive to Bill and Eric’s house. We’d head into Hillcrest for happy hour at the rooftop bar at the Park Manor Hotel. It was packed! It was the place to see and be seen while drinking Cape Cods, their specialty. The rooftop offered a spectacular view of Balboa Park and downtown San Diego – when we weren’t looking at all the beautiful scenery right there on the deck. After happy hour, we would go out to dinner in a nice restaurant.

Saturday morning, we watched the parade. Bill and Eric had a favorite spot, not far from the Park Manor Hotel. They brought folding chairs, an umbrella or two, and a cooler. We watched the two-hour-long parade, with plenty of eye candy among the various walking groups, marching bands, convertibles, and floats.

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Sample Chapter from Maybe Next Year: Gay Pride Day


In honor of Gay Pride Month, here’s a chapter from my first novel, Maybe Next Year. You can read it below or download a PDF here.

Bryan and Chris are high school juniors who have been inseparable best friends for three years. They have just discovered their feelings for each other run much deeper than mere friendship. On a Saturday in June, they venture into Kansas City from their homes in Prairie Village, Kansas, and visit their first gay pride festival. Their perceptions of the festival and the gay community itself couldn’t be more different.

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Pride Merchandise: I’m “Over” the Rainbow (+ book excerpt)

In my next novel, If I Seem Quiet…, there’s a scene in which the main character, Aaron, is preparing for his potential boyfriend Ryan’s first visit to his apartment for dinner. It’s Wednesday, and Aaron has a tradition of eating sushi from Food World, his nearby grocery store, because it’s on sale on Wednesdays.

By the way, Jeff and I do the same thing in real life. Two stores near us, WinCo and Fry’s, have sushi on sale on Wednesdays, and we buy it every week.

I couldn’t have envisioned it at the time I wrote this, but this moment in the book (which takes place on June 1, 2016) ties in with a story that’s recently been in the news.

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Video from the “Open Books, Closed Sets” Book Release Party

The book release party for my third novel, Open Books, Closed Sets, was held on Friday, March 24, at Exposed Studio & Gallery in Phoenix – the same place my previous book signing party was held. It’s a charming LGBT-owned business with a nice area for holding receptions such as this. The owner, Gregg Edelman, is very supportive and a joy to work with.

My husband Jeff captured the event on video. In the video, I briefly reviewed the synopses of my first two books, Maybe Next Year and Instant Adult (since a few people in attendance hadn’t read them), then I described the new book and read an excerpt. For some mysterious reason, the video camera stopped recording when the audience Q&A began, so sadly, that’s not included. But I think you’ll enjoy the video anyway. Just click on the image to watch and enjoy.

 

If you’d like to read an excerpt selected from the first few chapters, click here to download it (PDF).


Read Cruise Virgins for Free!

Cruise Virgins is a short story about two young men experiencing their first gay cruise. You'll meet some of the characters in my new novel, If I Seem Quiet.... It's a perfect intro to that story.

I'll also send occasional emails that will keep you informed about my upcoming books and offer them to you at a discount. I'll share background information about the stories and the writing process. From time to time, I may solicit your input which will help make the books even better!

You'll receive complete instructions on how to download your free eBook to almost any device, including Kindle, Nook, Kobo e-reader, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android phone or tablet, or your computer.

If at any time you'd rather opt out, you can unsubscribe with one click. And of course, I would never share your info with anyone else.

Photos and Video from the “Instant Adult” Book Signing Party

My heart is still full of joy from my book signing party on Friday, November 11. 30 people attended, including part of my family from Anaheim, California (a total surprise!). My friend Scott Thomas helped set up and sell books, and his family came and delayed a birthday dinner for one of his kids so they could stay for the talk. My husband Jeff helped in so many ways and videotaped the talk. Exposed Studio & Gallery was the perfect place to hold the event!

Thanks to everyone who came! I genuinely appreciate the outpouring of interest and support.

If you weren’t able to attend the event, here’s the video. You’ll have to provide your own wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Here are some photos from the event. Click on any photo to enlarge it and enter slideshow mode.
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10 Questions About “Instant Adult” for Author Dave Hughes

If you’re curious about my second novel, Instant Adult, but you’re not sure what it’s about or whether you would enjoy it, perhaps my answers to these ten questions will fill in the blanks.

You can download and read a sample chapter of the book here.

What kind of book is Instant Adult?

Well, it’s not a romance novel, nor is it erotica. It could be described as historical fiction, although that history took place only 15 years ago. The best label I’ve come up with is ‘contemporary gay fiction,’ although I realize that’s pretty general.

This book tells the story of Bryan, a young man who must quickly adapt to the responsibilities of being an adult after he suddenly finds himself in Los Angeles, far away from home. It’s culture shock on multiple levels.

My goal is to tell a compelling story that centers around gay characters and gay issues – especially issues the LGBT+ community was facing in 2007-2008. The book deals with being out at high school and the occasional homophobia and intolerance the characters encounter along the way.

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Dave Joins Author/Podcaster Mark McNease on One Thing or Another

Mark McNease is an accomplished author of gay-themed murder/mystery novels and more. Visit markmcnease.com to discover his work. Mark also did a great job as editor of my first two retirement books.

Mark is a good friend who has been incredibly supportive of my writing for Retire Fabulously! and now, my fiction writing.

In August, 2022, Mark invited me to be a guest on his One Thing or Another podcast to discuss Fiction Writing and Pursuing Our Passions. We talk about Instant Adult and why I switched from writing retirement books to writing gay fiction. Click to listen!


Read Cruise Virgins for Free!

Cruise Virgins is a short story about two young men experiencing their first gay cruise. You'll meet some of the characters in my new novel, If I Seem Quiet.... It's a perfect intro to that story.

I'll also send occasional emails that will keep you informed about my upcoming books and offer them to you at a discount. I'll share background information about the stories and the writing process. From time to time, I may solicit your input which will help make the books even better!

You'll receive complete instructions on how to download your free eBook to almost any device, including Kindle, Nook, Kobo e-reader, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android phone or tablet, or your computer.

If at any time you'd rather opt out, you can unsubscribe with one click. And of course, I would never share your info with anyone else.

10 Questions About “Maybe Next Year” for Author Dave Hughes

If you’re curious about my first novel, Maybe Next Year, but you’re not sure what it’s about or whether you would enjoy it, perhaps my answers to these ten questions will fill in the blanks.

What kind of book is Maybe Next Year? Is it a romance novel?

It’s definitely not a romance novel, in the formulaic or categorical sense. There is romance in the novel, as our two main characters, Bryan and Chris, are high school best friends who gradually figure out they’re in love. But an expectation of every romance novel is that it has a “happily ever after” ending, and (spoiler alert!) Maybe Next Year does not.

So what is it? To me, it’s simply a compelling story that centers around gay characters and gay issues – especially issues the LGBT+ community was facing in 2007. There’s coming out, humor, drama, romance, conflict, and some revealed secrets – all the things you want in a good story.

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Fact vs. Fiction: The Joy of Making Stuff Up

In the front matter of most novels, there’s a statement such as the following:

This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is purely coincidental.

You’ve probably seen it so often you take it for granted and don’t think much about it.

Yet, I’ve discovered it’s difficult to write a fictional story that doesn’t make some reference to real-life people, places, and brands. I’ve already received questions such as, “Is [some character] based on [some real person]?” or “Is [some scene] autobiographical? Did that actually happen to you?”

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Why Maybe Next Year Takes Place in 2007

The story in Maybe Next Year takes place in 2007.

There are two reasons why I chose to place the story in this timeframe.

First, I have six more novels in various stages of development. These books will follow some of these characters as they go to college, begin their careers, enter into relationships, and eventually deal with people and issues from their past. Starting the storyline when Bryan and Chris are teenagers in 2007 will allow them to age into their roles in future books.

Second, setting the book in the mid-2000s serves as a reminder of the social and political environment for LGBT people during that era. Starting in 2004, many states passed amendments that prohibited same-sex marriage. Those amendments were the culmination of the Republican party’s anti-gay agenda that they have been actively promoting since the early 1980s to appeal to conservative voters. (more…)

Writing Every Day

This is Room 264 at the Downtown branch of the Chandler Public Library. It’s just three miles from my home and I can usually get here in less than ten minutes. Every day, I spend two hours in this room writing.

Could I just as easily write at my desk at home for two hours a day? Yes, I could. I did it during the pandemic when the library was closed. But at home, there are too many distractions. There’s paperwork on my desk that needs to be dealt with, someone comes to the door, my husband says something, or my dog wants to be petted. I could be doing a load of laundry while I write.

And it’s true that while I sit in Room 264, I could be checking my email or Facebook or playing a computer game. But I don’t. (Usually.) I write. When I’m here I’m ‘in my zone.’ The only reason I’m here is to write. I think the very act of getting into my car and driving to a different place serves to delineate my writing time from the rest of my day. If I continued to sit at my desk, it wouldn’t feel any different.

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