Today we’re so pleased to welcome the authors from the new Dreamspinner Press anthology, A More Perfect Union, a new collection of stories about same sex marriage and marriage equality by four gay, married men. Together, they have a combined 21 years of marriage, and 88 years together as couples.
The four of them answered the following question for you:
How did you meet your husband?
Legally Married 6 Years, 33 Years Together
Even though it makes me feel absolutely ancient to say this, my husband and I met in the early 1980’s and we have now been 33 years. It is always so shocking to see that the junior employees I am hiring these days weren’t even born when we first met.
We were both relative newcomers to Washington, DC at the time, he in a new job and me having completed my first year of seminary. It was a Sunday afternoon when we met… in church. My habit is and always has been to get somewhere early. His habit is and always has been to get somewhere at the last possible second and not one second early. So on that Sunday I was seated – in a nice seat, thank you very much – when this latecomer wanted to sneak past me to an empty seat in my pew. I grumbled but let him.
But then, since the church was very crowded and busy that Sunday, there was a shortage of hymnals. Since I had arrived early I had one in my hands. He, having arrived late, didn’t have one. So not only did I have to let him past me, but now I had to share my hymnal with this man. Gesh.
During the sermon that Sunday – don’t ask me what it was about, I don’t have a clue at this point – I remember that it involved something somewhat complicated. And as I happened to look at the guy seated next to me, I noticed that he was following the sermon very closely, and while a lot of people missed a key point, he and I were two of the people that got it. Hmm.
Afterwards, because I am and always have been terribly shy, I left the church, unable to handle socializing with a room full of strangers. Less than a block away, though, I stopped – literally –turned around and walked back. Totally, completely, absolutely out of character, I walked back into the church social hall, found the man who had been seated next to me, and walked up to him and introduced myself.
Don’t ask me what we talked about, but we started talking. And kept talking. And we talked some more. It was a beasty hot day so we found someplace to get something cold to drink and talked some more. We ended up going back to his place together and spent the night together. Two weeks later we were just about inseparable.
Legally Married 2 Years, 16 Years Together (& 10 Years Married by Heart and Ceremony)
We met at a science fiction convention believe it or not. I used to work registration at a lot of them—I still do at one—and so I meet a lot of people. They have to pass by me before they can get in! And Raymond was one of them. Thing is he is a very quite and shy guy, and for most of those years that I worked at conventions, I was in a relationship. I hadn’t noticed him. But then that relationship ended….
It was the first convention I was volunteering at since my breakup and I happen to glance down the line to see how long it was…and there was Raymond—looking at me with the most gorgeous blue eyes I had ever seen. My heart literally stared pounding.
And then throughout the weekend…I would catch him staring at me from across the room—but in the sweetest and sexiest way. Finally I approached him and we have been together ever since! It turns out that he had a crush on me for several years. He was talking to a mutual friend who asked him if he was coming to the con. He told her he could afford it that year. Then she goes and says, “You know, I hear men is single now….” He had no idea she knew he was gay or that he had a crush on me.
But guess what? He borrowed the money to come to the con to meet me! Thank goodness I took the next step and approached him first!
Legally Married 6 Years, 15 Years Together
We were at a pagan gathering in Portsmouth in the late 90s. He was apparently a regular, but I had just stopped in to visit with friends I knew who went to the group. Erich and I had a really interesting conversation about Norse mythology, and when the group broke up, he and I went downtown to have a late lunch. When he dropped me off at my car later, I had a strong desire to kiss him goodbye, but I was currently in a relationship, so I just thanked him and got out of the car.
A couple of years later, my relationship broke up — rather badly — and I started dating again. But my thoughts kept going back to that interesting man I’d had lunch with. I no longer recalled his name, and the Portsmouth group had dissolved. Fortunately, the people who ran it were still accessible through another website I eventually tracked down, and I emailed them.
I drove three hours north to have lunch with my friends, and we talked about the possibility of me starting the group up again in Portsmouth. The only reason they’d shut it down was because they’d had to move away, and nobody was willing to take it over.
I asked them if they remembered the guy I’d spoken with the last time I’d attended, which was definitely a long shot. But they had a vague recollection of someone matching my description, so they said they’d see if they could contact him.
I started the group up again, after several weeks of exchanging emails with old friends who’d been part of it, and one of the very first people to walk through the door was Erich, carrying a large coffee urn. Apparently, he’d remembered me, too. In a later conversation, I told him about my impulse to kiss him that first day, and he said, “I really wish you had.”
J. Scott Coatsworth:
Legally Married 7 years, 24 Years Together
Mark and I met in 1992, and it almost didn’t happen.
I had come out a few months before, and a gay guy I knew mentioned the Pacific Center, Berkeley’s LGBT center. They were known for their Monday night rap sessions, when gay men from all over the East Bay would come to talk about one of four or five topics with a moderator.
I had been seeing a guy named Robert – the first guy I ever kissed – and then suddenly he was gone. I wasn’t even really sure why. I had been ready to move with him to Florida and have his babies… looking back, maybe that had something to do with it. LOL…
So I decided, on a whim, to go to the Pacific Center one Monday night. We gathered in the courtyard, and they announced the topics for the night,
I chose “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” because, hey, it seemed like we probably had.
In our session, we all talked about our experiences – and they pretty much agreed with me that me and Robert had broken up. At the end, the moderator mentioned that guys would often go to the Bison Brewery – the bar across the street – for drinks after, and to talk.
Coming down the stairs at the Center, I looked back and saw this guy from my session. I asked him if he wanted to go for a drink, and he said yes!
We talked for hours. I found out he didn’t smoke, didn’t really drink alcohol, and loved to read, and I was sold. Then he took me up to the Berkeley Hills to “see the lights”.
You know how sometimes, when you are really into someone, your hands shake with excitement?
That was me.
And in two weeks, we had moved in together.
Twenty-four years later, we’re still together and very much in love.
So you see? Fairy tales can come true. *grin*
About the Book
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Authors: B.G. Thomas || J. Scott Coatsworth || Jamie Fessenden || Michael Murphy
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Length: 350 Pages
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 26 June 2016
Blurbs: On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.
But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say, “I do?”
Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was a right they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.
To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself, and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.
Someday, by B.G. Thomas
Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day. “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.
He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton’s very conservative family can’t accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won’t marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?
So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.
Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth
Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.
Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.
What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.
Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio’s side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.
Destined, by Jamie Fessenden
When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.
It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.
From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.
Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy
Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.
When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi’s family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.
When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in moVon so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.
About the Authors
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and their fabulous little dog. He is lucky enough to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends. He has a great passion for life.
B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction, and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to literature conventions his entire adult life where he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was a child; it is where he finds his joy.
In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all—since he grew out of being a “practicing” homosexual long ago. He submitted a story and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days. Since then the stories have poured out of him. “It’s like I’m somehow making up for a lifetime’s worth of stories!”
“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”
J. Scott Coatsworth:
Scott has been writing since elementary school. After leaving writing for twenty years, Mark, his husband, told him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
Mark and Scott have been together for twenty four years. They met at the Pacific Center, an LGBT center in Berkeley, California, in 1992. They dated for two weeks, and then Scott moved in with Mark, and the rest is history. They run their own business together, study Italian, and are almost never found apart.
Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple of short pieces in his high school’s literary magazine, but it wasn’t until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie published his first novella in 2010, and has since published over twenty other novels and novellas.
After legally marrying in 2010, buying a house together, and getting a dog, Jamie and Erich have settled down to life in the country, surrounded by wild turkeys, deer, and the occasional coyote. A few years ago, Jamie was able to quit the tech support job that gave him insanely high blood pressure. He now writes full-time… and feels much better.
Michael Murphy met his husband Dan thirty-four years ago during a Sunday service at MCC in Washington, DC when a hot, smart man sat down beside him. Due to a shortage of hymnals they had to share. The touch of one hand on the other in that moment was electric. Sparks flew that day. Though neither had planned it, they spent the day together followed by the night. From that day, for more than three decades they’ve rarely been separated, each finding in the other their soul mate.
In the District of Columbia, where they lived, marriage became possible in early March 2010. The minute it happened they were in line to get a marriage license, only to be stumped because the license required the name of the person who was going to marry them. There was such a sudden rush of same sex couples wanting to get married that the office already had a two-month backlog before an appointment could be secured. Since they weren’t at all convinced that the Congress wasn’t going to step in and do something stupid to take away this right, they started calling everywhere to find someone who would marry them. It might be legal, but finding someone to marry them was proving to be a challenge.
When an article appeared in the newspaper telling of a small, local United Methodist Church that had decided to go against general church policy because marriage equality mattered deeply to them, a conversation started. After a series of emails and phone calls, suddenly they were seated with two retired UMC ministers who were willing to risk it all to do the right thing. A few days later, license in hand, surrounded by a handful of friends and their best dog, Shadow, they were finally legally married.