Action v. Words

As a writer, one might think it a bit strange that I headline a post “Action v. Words,” especially since I’m about to gripe about words. But it’s exactly because I am a writer that I know the importance of action versus words. Here’s a simple example: If I talk all the time about writing a book and never take the action to actually write the book, I fail as a writer. Here’s another
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Rape & Faith: “Please don’t ignore the victims.”

Forty years and almost two months after I was graduated from Baylor University, I stood outside the wrought iron gates of its president’s home. I’m talking about Ken Starr’s home. He’s the president of Baylor. The same Ken Starr who investigated President Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal and on the Paula Jones sexual harassment charges. So I find it painfully ironic that it’s a series of rape scandals
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Breaking Point, Suzy Spencer, Andrea Yates

Yeah, I’ve Been MIA. Here’s Why.

When I last blogged in February 2015, I thought I was back to posting on a regular basis. But then … career and life happened. In some ways, saying career happened seems contradictory because in the world of book publishing we’re asked to blog. In fact, many literary agents tell us that the number of blog hits we get—as well as the number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans we have—influences publishers to buy or
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Secret Sex Lives in Chicago Tribune

“Fifty Shades of Grey”/”Secret Sex Lives”

With Fifty Shades of Grey grossing nearly $250 million in worldwide ticket sales in its first weekend, I guess it’s no surprise that there’s been renewed interest in Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality. To say I’m pleased with that is an understatement. I got my first hint of that interest when a photo journalist for the Chicago Tribune sent me an email that had “Love
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Cross-Dressing In The Red State of Texas

“Maybe I can find me a maid’s dress in there,” Bill said. His girlfriend laughed. They were driving to Target for dog food, but Halloween was nearing. “You couldn’t handle it if I wore a dress, pantyhose, and shoes,” he persisted. “I’d just laugh at you,” she replied. Bill didn’t say a word. He remembers too clearly his parents arguing, his mother loading him up and moving out of their house and then back in—repeated
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“I died the day I was born.”

“I’m the son of a serial killer.” Those were his first words to me. I stood in the foyer of a small library deep in the Hill Country of Texas. It was March 2013, and I was there to teach a class on Writing Sex & Murder: Reality vs. Fantasy. As I waited for the class to began, I watched the students enter. Most were the typical writing seminar crowd of retirees wearing their uniform of clean, com
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An Update on the People of “Secret Sex Lives”

I’m constantly asked about the people from Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality. “Are you still in touch with them?” “What do they think about the book?” “What happened to …?” So I thought Valentine’s week might be a good time to answer some of those questions. Yes, I’m still in touch with many of them. So far, I haven’t heard any direct complaints about the book, though through the grapevine
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Oh, No. I’m Back.

Yet that "Darkness Visible" that William Styron so vividly described in his “memoir of madness” began to be all that I could see. I tried to focus on my blessings, but that only made me feel guilty and even more depressed. Then, one day, I wanted to drive my car into a concrete wall. This time, I didn’t need Lola to tell me I was depressed.
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“The Next Chapter”

I’m not exactly a social human being. I’d prefer a night, by myself, in front of my TV to a fabulous party, anytime. People don’t always believe me when I say that because they see me out in public, speaking in front of groups, smiling, laughing, joking, appearing comfortable, looking like I’m having a good time, which often I am. They just don’t know that I have to race to my car afterw
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