Posts tagged “review

Thanks to Author Carey Parrish for His Lovely Review of GIFTS NOT YET GIVEN!

Gifts Cover Low Res (427x640)I so appreciate the lovely review of Gifts Not Yet Given at Sole Focus. Carey Parrish is a talented author (Marengo and Big Business) whose books I’ve enjoyed and I was delighted to read his review of my new book. In part, his review reads:

Very few writers can touch a reader’s heart but Kergan Edwards-Stout knows how to do just that. Gifts Not Yet Given easily jumped onto my top ten books read in the past year and it will remain a favored selection in my library. With so many writers competing in the literary world today, it takes a true author to rise above the pack, and Mr. Edwards-Stout is one of those few gifted storytellers.

His full review can be found here.  Thank you, Carey!


GIFTS NOT YET GIVEN is on ANOTHER “Best Books of 2013” list!

Gifts Not Yet GivenMany thanks to the fun blog of Canadian Brahm Kornbluth for including Gifts Not Yet Given in his Alfred Lives Here top 5 book list for 2013. I was honored he included my debut, Songs for the New Depression, on his list last year, and flattered to find Gifts there this year! He says of Gifts:

The second book from an author who was on the list last year, Gifts Not Yet Given is a collection of short stories, a format which unusually doesn’t hook me, but these did. Three stories stayed with me: “The Stepping Stone” about a geeky son and his mother from hell, “Holes” about a life devastated by disease, and the title story about a family still struggling with a choice long in their past. These stories are original and intriguing, and the characters are strong and flawed, loving and broken.


GIFTS NOT YET GIVEN Lands on a “Best Books of the Year” List!

Gifts Not Yet GivenHow could my day possibly get any better??? Well, by finding out that my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, made a “Best LGBTQ Books of the Year” list! WOO HOO!

“Edwards-Stout writes beautifully, and the stories are charming and uplifting.”

Thank you, Queer Books with Julie!


Out in Print: Great Review of GIFTS NOT YET GIVEN

I’m very grateful for the wonderful review of my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, by Out in Print (which was a champion of my first book, Songs for the New Depression, naming it one of 2012’s best books.)

“He’s at his best when he’s sharp and cutting, riding the edge to undercut the sweetness or the sadness, depending on how its played. That’s a combination that really works for him, and he manages to hit it more often than not.

He hits it hard in the opener, “The Nutcracker,” a biting piece about corporate ball-buster Sheila, whose mask of invulnerability drops when she receives the titular souvenir as a gag gift at the office Christmas party. The story is witty, observant, and altogether successful in its portrayal of office manners as well as career goals, and even though Sheila is easy to hate, she becomes a sympathetic figure by the end. This is the kind of story Edwards-Stout tells very, very well…

Not all of these stories are about gay men or women, but don’t let that stop you from picking up this fine volume of well-written pieces, most of which are powerful and emotional without the taint of cheap sentimentality that the holidays usually induce.”

Gifts Not Yet Given is available now in paperback and e-book at Indie Bound (Independent Book Stores), Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or at your favorite book sellers!


Grateful for the Review of “Gifts Not Yet Given” in Frontiers Magazine/Los Angeles

FrontiersA special thanks to Dana Miller for including mention of Gifts Not Yet Given in his entertaining “Out & About” column in Los Angeles’ Frontiers Magazine.  In it, he writes:

“Also on my must list is… Kergan Edwards-Stout’s new collection of tales of holidays, Gifts Not Yet Given. I loved Kergan’s first novel, Songs for the New Depression, and once again he delivers compassion, sincerity and a warm honesty in his writing that I just treasure. Plus, hell, one excellent piece is called ‘Festive Beaver.’ Kergan was honored as one of HRC’s Dads of the Year in 2011. He and his partner Russ are raising two beautiful boys. Gifts is a stunning compilation from a smart and skilled author.”

Thank you, Dana, for the kind words!


Rave Review of “Gifts Not Yet Given” from Edge on the Net

Edge on the NetI’m so thankful for the amazing review that Gifts Not Yet Given received from Edge on the Net, the world’s largest network for gay news and entertainment, by reviewer Christopher Verleger.

I am so appreciative to share the review with you!

“Author Kergan Edwards-Stout follows up his engrossing debut novel, “Songs for the New Depression,” which examines thirty years in the life of an AIDS-stricken California man, with the equally profound, “Gifts Not Yet Given,” a short story collection of compelling characters and circumstances ranging from the mundane to the maladjusted.

The events depicted in all fourteen stories occur on or around a specific day of celebration, including family gathering holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, such festive occasions as Halloween and Mardi Gras, Mother’s and Father’s Day, as well as the obligatory wedding and office party. With a holiday or special occasion as the backdrop for each entry, emotions run especially high throughout and the behavior of the represented individuals is contrary to the everyday.

One of the strongest and more uplifting stories, “Hearts,” describes the unbreakable friendship between Karyn, an insecure teen, and her gay best friend, Kevin, who accompany each other to a high school Valentine’s Day dance. The equally heartwarming “The Fourth Christmas” introduces Andrew and David, a couple celebrating their fourth anniversary despite the opposition of Andrew’s conservative mother, Natalie.

Conservatism and religion appear prominently in several stories, including “The Old Rugged Cross,” a heartbreaking, albeit somewhat affirming, tale of a mother, Cassandra, who begins to question her faith and purpose in life after her firefighter husband and son perish in the line of duty. Evelyn, the stubborn, bible-thumping protagonist in the grim “Mother’s Day,” believes having three estranged sons is just another example of God’s will. Thom, Evelyn’s youngest son, makes a surprising, conciliatory appearance in the sequel, “Father’s Day.”

My personal favorite, “Glenbourne, IL” tells the moving story of a cancer survivor revisiting his past during a Thanksgiving visit to his childhood home.

Although select stories are arguably too brief, all never fail to pack an emotional punch, and the collection, as a whole, is chock full of joyous albeit occasionally awkward instances and imagery (divorce, a sacred family recipe, an Easter bunny outfit) that are relatable, or at least familiar to everyone. With the holiday season approaching, “Gifts Not Yet Given” reminds readers, however flawed, to accept, appreciate and when warranted, forgive our families and friends.”

Thank you, Edge on the Net!!!

 


Kirkus Reviews on “Gifts Not Yet Given”

KirkusLogoHiResI’m grateful for the review of my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, by Kirkus Reviews (“The World’s Toughest Book Critics).

“In 14 stories, Edwards-Stout assumes an impressive range of voices… This willingness to step inside the minds of such disparate, often nonmainstream characters hints at Edwards-Stout’s confidence as a writer and his broad life experiences. Edwards-Stout’s stories are original and important… provocative stories with a clear, vital message.” Kirkus Reviews

Available now in paperback and e-book at Indie Bound (Independent Book Stores), Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or at your favorite book sellers!


Robert Michael Morris on “Gifts Not Yet Given”

The ComebackRuss and I were first introduced to Robert Michael Morris, like most of America, through the hysterical (and too-short-lived) series, The Comeback.  On it, he played Mickey, Lisa Kudrow’s hairstylist, and he delivered lines and wonderful reactions like nobody’s business!

What most people don’t realize is that, in addition to being a sought-after actor, he is also an accomplished author and playwright.

He read my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given, and gave me a lovely quote:

“Kergan Edwards-Stout’s new book, a collection of thematic short stories, is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get. And that is delicious. The short story form is a delicate blend of trenchant dialogue, brisk character sketches and local color, and here they are all totally satisfying. What I love about short stories is that I always want a bit more, a tidier resolution, and I am a sucker for a happy ending. Mr. Edwards-Stout has mastered this form, titillating, plucking the heart strings and most often causing a smile of recognition. Some stories already portend a lengthier treatment, a novella perhaps. He touches our common humanity and amazes with his insight. The little collection is a Gift Already Given: a gift of delight and sweet humanity.” – Robert Michael Morris, actor – The Comeback, Running Wilde, and author – An American Scrapbook


First Review: “Gifts Not Yet Given”

Gifts Not Yet GivenMy sincere thanks to veteran reviewer Amos Lassen, who has been a wonderful supporter of the arts–particularly LGBT-related work–for his very kind review of my new book, Gifts Not Yet Given. He’d reviewed Songs for the New Depression and had liked it, but I was blown away, and so humbled to read in his new review, that Songs was “one of the highlights of my literary life.”  WOW.  He goes on to write:

“Kergan Edwards-Stout impressed me greatly with his first book, Songs for the New Depression and he gave himself quite a task for measuring his work that was yet to come. I am glad to say that this book not only lives up to my expectations, it surpasses them… What I found to be so amazing in this book is that the author’s personal stories became my personal stories as well and to me this attests to the universality of man. It is almost as if he wrote some of these stories directly to me. I knew from the moment that I read the preface that I would be in for a special treat reading these stories but I did not know that they would affect me the way that they did. To me, a sign of good, or even great, literature is when the writing speaks to you. This is what Edwards-Stout is so good at. He not only writes each story as if he is writing just to you, he has each story pull you into it. You are not just a reader—you are also a participant. Several times I had to stop reading to make sure that I was indeed reading something written on a page and not being acted out before my eyes.

There is something else this writer does that is stunning—he is able to mix love and compassion with anger and rage and he has us laughing and crying in the same story and sometimes in the same sentence. He writes of love in a way that is self-defining and makes you never again question what it is.”

Mr. Lassen goes on to write a generous review of Gifts Not Yet Given, which you can read in full here.  My heart is full.  Thank you!


New Review says “Songs for the New Depression” Shines!

AU reviewVery grateful for a new review in Arts & Understanding, a magazine devoted to HIV/AIDS, on Songs for the New Depression. The review (found on page 48) notes “the laughs make the book deceptively breezy. SONGS shines with psychological truth and historical accuracy.”  Love it when folks “get it!”


“Songs for the New Depression” lands on another Top Books of 2012 list!

Best LGBT BooksMy sincere thanks to Butterfly-O-Meter Books for including Songs for the New Depression on their Top 10 Books of 2012 list. I’m overwhelmed with the response to my novel, and truly appreciate the mention! Also, thanks to Out in Print, Alfred Lives Here, and QueerMeUp for inclusion on their lists as well.  It has been a wonderful year, and I appreciate all of the notes from readers about how the novel has touched you.

The holidays encapsulate all of the bittersweet, subtle emotion I hoped to convey in the book.  At times joyous, others sad, and still others sexy and raucous…  Life is a wonderful mix, and I am grateful every day that I’m alive and able to experience and be moved by it.

I hope that you each have a wonderful holiday season!

Kergan


Out in Print names “Songs for the New Depression” one of their “Best Books of 2012”

I’m so grateful for Out in Print Reviews including Songs for the New Depression in their wrap up of the top books of the year; it is a career highlight for me.  Not only does it affirm my instinct to write, but it also means that others may eventually discover my tale, and hopefully it will inspire and resonate.

Out in Print wrote, in part:  “Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written… You’ll read this once for its emotional impact and again to see how the author achieves it. But no matter how many times you dive in, you’ll be impressed.”

My Christmas gift came early this year!


New Review Calls “Songs for the New Depression” a “Gem”

I’m so grateful for the wonderful review of Songs for the New Depression in the Examiner by noted author Alan H. Chin, calling it “a gem.”  Under any circumstances, that alone would  be high praise, but what most people don’t realize, though, as I normally don’t discuss it, is that–from beginning to end–I published the novel largely by myself, making the accolades even more meaningful.

In December 2010, after 12 long years of on-again, off-again writing, I finally finished the novel in order to be able to give it to my partner, Russ, as his 50th birthday gift.  After meeting my deadline, I then began trying to sell the book in the traditional manner.  I approached over 250 literary agents, and was rejected or did not receive a response (which is the same thing as a “no”–just less polite) by every single one.  I sent the manuscript to publishing houses, large and small, and was again rejected.  I took every route possible, and was told “no,” time and again.  It was incredibly demoralizing, to have written something which I felt so passionately about, only to have my baby repeatedly deemed ugly.

Finally, I received two rejections which sent me off on an entirely different path than anticipated.  One was from the agent who represents Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham (The Hours.)  She’d read the novel, enjoyed it, and had shared with other agents in her office, calling the writing “contemporary, fresh, funny,” only to then let me know that she couldn’t “sell it.”  There was a glut of literary fiction on the marketplace, she noted, and marketing a book such as this would be difficult, at best.  While that should have been disappointing, it really wasn’t.  Neither was the next rejection letter I got.

An esteemed editor and publisher, Don Weise, who used to run Alyson Books and now heads the LGBT press, Magnus Books, also read the novel.  Again, I got the same response, which essentially said,”I love your book, but literary fiction just ain’t selling!”

While no one likes rejection, to have been told by two well-respected sources such as these just how great they thought the book was proved a huge boost to me, launching my “make-it-happen” instincts into overdrive.  My feeling was, if these amazing folks love it, but there just isn’t a marketplace for it, why not create my own marketplace?

Thus began a huge leap into the world of indie publishing.  I had no money, so leaned on friends to help me edit the novel.  I learned how to make videos, in order to create my own promotional tools.  I learned code to be able to build my website.  I wrote my own press releases, contacted reviewers, acted as my own shipper, and more, in order to both publish and promote my book.

While the novel may never make me rich, that was never the intent.  I wrote a cautionary tale of love, loss, and redemption, and for those folks who’ve read and “gotten it,” my hope is that the novel will feed and nourish their souls.  Happily, most of the letters I’ve received tell me that it has.  Others won’t like it, and that’s okay, too.  I’d rather have written something which is polarizing than to have written something bland.

This particular reviewer, however, “got it,” and I feel so grateful.

Songs for the New Depression isn’t the story of my partner, Shane, though he inspired it.  This is really my emotional journey, entirely fictionalized, of going from self-serving to self-loving.  Of going from a person I hated into one in whom I now see value.  Going from someone scared of taking leaps into one for whom leaping has become mandatory.

Each and every person who reads and appreciates the journey means that my learning and efforts have not been in vain.

For those of us who choose the lonely road, it is a hard one, but the rewards at the end are also ours to savor…

Please check out the full review here, but following are a few lovely quotes:

“This is a sad story brushed onto the canvas with insightful, dark humor and touching flourishes…

Gabe is not a likable character, yet the author skillfully presents his protagonist in such a way that the reader understands why Gabe chooses to push people away, even people he loves. Also, the three snapshots are told in reverse-chronological order, so the reader builds up sympathy for the character while he struggles with AIDS, and then in the end, reveals the sexual incident that derailed Gabe’s life, to finally bring understanding. Reversing the order was a stroke of genius.

The author presents a story that is heartfelt and authentic, and told with great skill.

If you are looking for a gushing mm romance with a happy ending, keep looking. If you are looking, however, for a well-written, intelligent, bittersweet tale of love and overcoming a troubled past, then I can highly recommend this gem of a book.”


Butterfly-O-Meter Gives “Songs for the New Depression” 5 Butterflies!

Gotta tell you, I love-love-love it when someone reads and understands my book, Songs for the New Depression.  With a challenging lead character in Gabriel Travers, it seems from most reviews that readers either love or hate him; there is no in-between.  Yes, he is flawed, critical, and at times downright awful, but he is also smart, funny, passionate, confused, and genuinely attempting to change his ways, if only he knew how.  I sympathize with him a great deal, and don’t always understand it when someone else writes him off as simply mean, unlikeable, or without redemption.

Happily, most folks do “get” him, including this terrific new review at Butterfly-O-Meter.

You should head over there to read the full review, where she notes that the book is in her top 5 reads of the year thus far, among other flattering things.  Here, though, is my favorite of her quotes:  “So, all in all, this book is a work of art. It won’t be a hit and run, it won’t fleet away after you’ve galloped through it, it won’t leave you the way you were when you started the read. I was touched, moved, impressed and sort of shaken after reading this, and I’m still recovering now, 24 hours later, and you know what? That’s what a book should be able to do for you. That’s what art should be able to do for you, alter your soul once you’ve been touched by its magnificence. I’m altered.”

Thank you, Butterfly-O-Meter!


A Lovely Quote from Steven Fales, Creator and Star of “The Mormon Boy Trilogy”

I’ve long admired the talented artist Steven Fales. He’s a writer and performer who is also an advocate, never afraid to share his life, loves, and struggles through his artistry. Audiences worldwide have loved his performances, especially his well-known play, Confessions of a Mormon Boy, which he is currently performing in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Confessions is part of The Mormon Boy Trilogy, which he recently performed in repertory in Los Angeles.

I was thrilled to learn that Steven recently read my novel, Songs for the New Depression, and even offered me a lovely quote, which I’m proud to share.

Songs for the New Depression is an impressive, innovative, and dynamic love story. Rich, witty, and vivid, this is a heart-wrenching, hilarious and sometimes shocking journey of an everyman-narcissist who finally finds redemption in embracing his humanity and ultimately reunites with the hero he was always looking for between the lines of Paris, Bette Midler, and all things fabulous. I found myself singing along until I was able to shout, ‘Amen!'” – Steven Fales, Confessions of a Mormon Boy

Thank you, Steven!


Top 2 Bottom “5 Kisses” Review of “Songs for the New Depression”

I’m very grateful to the folks at Top 2 Bottom Reviews for the wonderful “5 kisses” review of my novel. I also appreciate just how well written and thoughtful the review is!

Songs for the New Depression, by Top 2 Bottom Reviews (D.H. Starr, Reviewer)

Songs for the New Depression by Kergan Edwards-Stout was one of the most emotional, touching, heart-wrenching, and intelligent stories I’ve read in a very long time. With a dark wit reminding me of David Sedaris, this story examines the life of a man who’s made many mistakes and, at the end, has managed to learn a few lessons.

Written in the first person from the perspective of Gabe Travis, the story is broken into three sections. The first section focuses on his later years as he is dying from AIDS. The next section focuses on his twenties at a juncture when he had lost his youthful idealism, but still had hope for a happier future. The third section depicts his high school years and the awakening of his physical sexuality and first love.

Part of what made the story so touching was this backwards design. As we moved forward in the book, we learned about Gabe’s past, but we learned about it already knowing where he’d end up. References and dreams take on a new meaning because we know, ultimately, where the desires of the younger Gabe will lead him.

The language is sophisticated and elegant, each word precise, depicting clear images and evoking specific emotions. The description, whether of location, food, clothing, people, or emotions draws the reader into the moment as if it were actually happening. As a result, we experience Gabe’s highs and lows on a powerful level, truly understanding Gabe, his limitations, and his dreams.

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Author Spotlight: Drake Braxton

I love discovering fresh literary talent, particularly in the genre of gay fiction, and was pleased when Seventh Window Publications introduced me to one of their new authors, Drake Braxton.  His debut novel, MISSING, is a fun and sexy read, detailing what happens when a happily married man journeys to the Deep South for a 20 year high school reunion, only to find that his husband has mysteriously disappeared.  Part romance, part suspense, MISSING takes readers on a fast paced ride, with twists you never see coming.

Drake Braxton took the time to engage in an interview via email, sharing more about his inspiration, gay literature, and his debut novel, MISSING.

Thanks for taking the time to “chat”, Drake!  Tell me about MISSING.  How did the story originate?

Most stories have a strange place where they start and this one, as cliché as it sounds, was a real dream. I awoke in a panic, full of fear and sadness, as I’d dreamt that I had attended a reunion with my other half and he disappeared. My goal was to recreate that horrible feeling in the early part of this book.

Your lead character, Blain Harrington, has many issues he is dealing with, which I won’t go into, as I don’t want to ruin any surprises.  But how did he come into being?  What was your impetus for his character?

Blain is someone so different from me and yet, I’m sure there are parts of me in all of my characters. He wants desperately to be the good guy in the relationship, but he is deeply flawed and has done things in his past that haunt his current relationship. I also wanted to show a character that gets on a soapbox about how people are so judgmental towards gays and yet he has judgments of others based on their education, intelligence, background…a little Shakespearean book snob.

While MISSING isn’t strictly a romance, it also isn’t strictly a suspense novel, either.  It straddles the two genres quite well.  Were you aware, when you began the book, that it wasn’t quite one or the other?

I love reading books that are not afraid to mix genres–that have sensual moments that propel the story, but also other moments of great romance or suspense. I needed to unravel the past romance of these two men and that led to twists and turns I did not expect.  Interestingly enough, a few years ago, an LGBT publisher really wanted to publish the book, but only if I changed it to be a “true mystery.” I couldn’t do it. And in hindsight, I’m glad I waited and that Seventh Window has took the chance with the book.

Given the genre-bending, who is your reader?  To what kind of person would MISSING appeal?

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Humbling Edge on the Net Review of “Songs for the New Depression”

Once again, I find myself thoroughly humbled.  I received an advanced copy of this review, and had to keep my mouth shut, or else folks all over the world would’ve heard my guttural screams of ecstasy. I’ve reread this amazing review of Songs for the New Depression on Edge on the Net eight times, to make sure I’m not misreading their lovely praise!

Songs for the New Depression – Review by Christopher Verleger

Screenwriter and director Kergan Edwards-Stout’s compelling, beautifully written debut novel, “Songs for the New Depression,” examines three decades in the short life of Gabriel Travers, an AIDS-stricken California man who fails to recover emotionally from unfortunate events that transpired when he was an effeminate teen.

Named after an album by Bette Midler, “Songs for the New Depression” has all the trademark ingredients of gay men’s literature–a witty albeit troubled protagonist, his incorrigibly loyal female best friend, an emotionally absent father, a quirky yet lovable mom, and an incomparable first love. Despite the seemingly familiar premise, the author’s darkly comic, brutally honest prose reads like poetry and has a melodic flow that is equally funny and heartbreaking.

Told in reverse, beginning when our narrator is approaching forty and increasingly symptomatic, Gabe confronts death with sarcasm, insecurity and regret, much like how he has dealt with everything throughout life. Knowing his days are numbered should soften his disposition, but initially it has the reverse effect, as shown when best friend, Clare, writes him off after having had enough of his insensitive commentary, and when Gabe tries to dismiss his young lover, Jon, assuming he’ll eventually abandon him anyway once the disease takes over.

The next two parts paint a picture of Gabriel as a reckless, disenchanted twenty-something having evolved from a feisty high school teen, forever scarred by a hazing incident that exacerbates his already-strained relationship with his parents, and especially his father. Although he has Clare to confide in, Gabe only begins to truly understand friendship and unconditional love after becoming attached at the hip to his free-spirited, fellow classmate, Keith. Another pleasant version of Gabe surfaces later in life, upon meeting Pastor Sally, the object of his mother’s affection.

Readers will certainly empathize with Gabe, but most of the time, it’s hard to like him, perhaps because we all have someone like him in our lives, or recognize one or more of his traits in ourselves. Regardless of your opinion of him, Gabe’s story is bittersweet, heartfelt and profound.

Even with the grim backdrop of AIDS and a narrator of questionable character, “Songs for the New Depression” is a quintessential page-turner and the product of a truly gifted author.

 


Chapters and Chats Interviews Kergan Edwards-Stout, Author of “Songs for the New Depression”

Chapters and Chats is a fun blog focused on authors and reading.   Jodi does a great job both in leading readers to terrific books, but in interviewing authors as well.  I was flattered she both gave my book a glowing review, but took the time to interview me as well.  You can check out the full interview at her site, but here are a few of my favorite questions and answers:

C&C: First let me say what an honor it is to have read your book as well as the chance to interview such a skilled author. With your writing, directing, volunteer work and being a father and spouse how do you juggle everything successfully?

Thank you so much for the opportunity to discuss my work! I really appreciated your review of the book, and love it when a reader or critic “gets it!” As far as your question, juggling it all is a struggle, and the biggest reason I don’t write more. It is tough to do it all, and in my life, our kids come first–even if that means my next book will have to wait.

C&C: At what point did your sons Mason and Marcus realize you are incredibly talent and celebrated with many awards? How do they react?

(Laughing.) Well, I’m not sure they think I’m talented! I won’t let them read “Songs for the New Depression” until they’re older, due to some racy bits, but they are very proud of my accomplishments. When it’s won awards or gotten great reviews, the kids have done a family toast at dinner, which is really all the acclaim I need.

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Author Spotlight: Jeffrey Luscombe

One of LGBT fiction’s brightest new stars, novelist Jeffrey Luscombe has received much acclaim for his debut novel, Shirts and Skins, recently released by Chelsea Station Editions.  Edge on the Net says that “Shirts and Skins is nothing but authentic in its pathos, eloquent in its delivery, and well worth the read,” and, having recently read the book, I can agree.

While newly published in the states, in his native Canada, Jeffrey first gained fame as the Gay Groom, due to his blog, which chronicled his trip down the aisle with his partner, Sean, and continues to chart his experience as a writer.  Now, he and Sean are legally and happily snuggled into their charming Toronto abode, but Jeffrey graciously agreed to chat with me about his journey to author- hood, his thoughts on the gay community, and what wedded bliss means to him.

Jeffrey, congratulations on the debut of “Shirts and Skins.”  What inspired you to write the novel?

I had the first line of this book in mind head for years. It just took some time to actually get down to work and write it.  After I earned my Masters in English a few years ago, I was accepted into a PhD program at McGill in Montreal but, to be honest, there was nothing I was interested in enough to spend four years writing a dissertation on. And since I had always written fiction, I decided to finally get serious about it.  So I applied to the Humber School for Writers program and four months later I had finished half a manuscript.

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Chapters and Chats Reviews “Songs for the New Depression”

Very grateful for the wonderful review of Songs by Chapters and Chats, which calls it an “important book.”  Wow!  Thank you!

Songs for the New Depression by Kergan Edwards-Stout (Circumspect Press 2011)

Link: http://www.kerganedwards-stout.com

This is an incredibly important book. I was raked over the coals with the raw emotion that Kergan Edwards-Stout creates in the telling of this story. You can feel the anguish of someone wanting, needing to be loved; and the pain one wishes to inflict, at their failure to find what they are looking for.

Kergan Edwards-Stout writes his debut novel ‘Songs for the New Depression’ with the experience of someone who has lost a partner to AIDS. Given his knowledge, his readers will come away shaken by the painful and often graphic memoir of Gabriel Travers; a fictional character, as he reflects on his life.

From his deathbed, Gabe tells his story broken down into three decades; 1995, as he comes to terms with his choices in life, the 1980s, when sex was his way of looking for love and AIDS became an ugly result of free love, back to his tumultuous youth in 1976, when he begins his journey with reckless abandon, through the gay scene after experiencing a broken heart.

Given that the book deals with such a difficult topic, Edwards-Stout manages to lighten the mood of what could be an oppressive book, by injecting humor and light-hearted moments. Regaling us with stories of Gabe’s relationships with his unlikely friend Clare; one of his only friends high school, his mother Gloria, who is exploring her new found freedom and finally the man who becomes his partner guiding him through the final journey of his life.

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Q Magazine Edmonton Reviews “Songs for the New Depression”

I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve gotten amazing reviews from Canadian critics, as well as heartfelt letters from Canadian readers.  Not sure why the novel resonates so with them, but am grateful for the reception it has received!  Check out the lovely review from Q Magazine Edmonton!

Songs for the New Depression

Gabe Travers is dying. He knows it. He is surrounded by the people he loves, his mother and her new wife Pastor Sally, his best friend Clare, his lover Jon. These are the people who have clung to him through the years, who have stood by him through bad decisions and bitchy remarks. Dying, he takes Jon to Paris; what better gift to give the man you love than the world?

It was a gift he’d been given 9 years earlier, by a man he loved, and as the book goes back in time, we the readers are taken on that journey with him. And then that journey continues back 10 years, to first kisses, to coming out, to a time when Gabe begins to make those relationships that will set the course of his life. To when he first hears Bette Midler.

When you look back at your life, how do you want to see yourself? Why did you make the decisions you made? How did you get here, to this point? Those are just some of the questions Gabe faces, and while he faces them, we explore his life, stripped away of pretension, bare, honest, pure. (more…)


QVegas Magazine Reviews “Songs for the New Depression”!

Always great to stumble unexpectedly on a wonderful review of my book!  Check out QVegas Magazine, from March!


Blade California Covers “Songs for the New Depression”!

My sincere thanks to the great folks over at Blade California for including Songs for the New Depression in their June gay pride issue!  Our family did a photo shoot for them many years ago which was lots of fun, and it is terrific to be included now with my book. The magazine is on their website in flash format, so the screenshot is difficult to read, but if you head over to their site, the article is on page 31.  Thank you, Blade!