Monday, May 25, 2015

Both Sides Now: One Man's Journey Through Womanhood excerpt by Dhillon Khosla

Both Sides Now: One Man’s Journey Through Womanhood Excerpt by Dhillon Khosla

Both Sides Now: One Man's Journey Through Womanhood, written by Dhillon Khosla, is a vivid and compelling account of how one man’s search for wholeness led him through multiple, complex, and life-threatedgdedning surgeries that transformed him not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Born with the body of a female, Dhillon Khosla knew very early on that his true identity was male, yet he spent nearly two decades repressing that knowledge and trying to embrace his female form. Shortly after turning twenty-eight, he came across an article about men born with female bodies who had undergone surgeries to reclaim their male identity. When he read their stories, Khosla felt flashes of recognition stirring within and—for the first time—hope.

In this riveting memoir, Khosla discusses openly and honestly what it was like to live as a woman, and how that life shaped the man he is today. Through anecdotes, he shares unique and profound insights into the sexes. Ultimately, however, Both Sides Now is a story about what it means to truly love oneself, and the willingness to turn away from the dissenting voices that tell us who we ought to be…and toward that one, lone voice that he has known all along.

Both Sides Now: One Man’s Journey Through Womanhood
Untreed Reads Publishing (May 19, 2015)
ISBN: 9781611877991 (paper)
ISBN: 9781611878035 (ebook)


IT WAS THE MIDDLE OF July 1997—I was driving to Los Angeles from my home in the San Francisco Bay Area to participate in a one-week program sponsored by a music school. I was twenty-eight years old, and one of many women who had recently graduated from law school and passed the bar exam. By day I worked as a staff attorney for federal judges, analyzing criminal appeals and researching law behind the scenes. But in order to restore some balance into my legal life, I had begun working on music in my spare time. So, by night I took voice lessons, studied songwriting, performed at open-mike nights, and composed songs on my guitar and keyboard. And in between my music and the law, I dated women—some of them within the lesbian community, and some of them not.

I had been working on putting together a demo in a local studio for about a year, and as much as I was looking forward to finally having a full week to work on music without the interruption of law, my mind was occupied with something entirely different.

A few months earlier, an ex-girlfriend brought over a copy of an article that had appeared in The New Yorker in 1994. She had been given the article in a psychology class, after a female-to-male transsexual had appeared as a guest lecturer. In the article, the author interviewed several men who had gone through surgeries and hormone treatments to transition from female to male. And as I read the things these men had said, I immediately saw why my ex had asked me to read the piece. Flashes of recognition went off in my mind, arranging themselves like the pieces of a puzzle.

I read as one man described his fierce resistance to being treated as a girl and I thought of my own childhood when I had insisted that I was a boy, adamantly refusing dolls and dresses and hanging out only with other boys during recess.

I read as another man—who had made the transition from female—said that he never fit in the lesbian community because he was too male in some way—not “butch”—just male, and I remembered how lost I always felt at lesbian gatherings because there was no one with whom I felt that “sameness.” I then thought about the girlfriends in my life who had always identified themselves as straight and wondered why I was the one exception—the only “woman “ to whom they were attracted.

And then, in the final interview, I read as a man talked about all the wasted time he had spent in places where he didn’t fit. He ended by saying he didn’t know why this condition chose him, but he was finally the person he had always dreamed he would be.

The word “dream” hit me the hardest of all. I had spent so much of my childhood dreaming of developing a firm, male chest. I remember running around shirtless at my birthday parties and fantasizing that I was a pop/rock star like Billy Joel or Rod Stewart—always men. And in the past few years, when those fantasies and dreams had resurfaced, I couldn’t think of anything to do except pray that God would make me a man in my next life.

Between the interviews, my ex-girlfriend had highlighted statements from doctors where they opined as to the cause of transsexualism. One doctor pointed out that in experiments with animals—from rats to apes—they injected testosterone during a critical time of brain development in a female fetus. In every case, while the animal still came out with a female body, it behaved exactly the same as would have any male animal of its species. In other words, contrary to its physical body, it believed it was entirely male.

But it wasn’t until I gave the article to my current girlfriend, Selena, that I really felt its full impact. I remember her putting it down after she had finished reading it and saying, “Baby, this is you.”

To hear it out loud, to have someone finally hold up a mirror that reflected back the truth of who I am, touched some deep place within me. I remember feeling this tremendous sense of release—like “Now you see; you finally see.”

The relief, however, was short-lived. Next came the tough question: Now that I knew the truth, what was I going to do about it?

The ebook is available wherever ebooks are sold. The print edition is only available, for now, through the website (click here) The print edition is 25% off and in addition you'll receive the ebook for FREE if you add both to your cart. And if you enter the coupon code EXCERPTS during checkout, you'll get an extra 10% off of the paperback price.

Untreed Reads Publishing

Author's Question: Do you schedule a time each day for writing or do you write when you're in the mood? 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Under Reconstruction after Surgery

Writers' Question of the Week: Do writers make good patients?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ginger DeadMan excerpt by Logan Zachary

GingerDead Man
Bold Stroke Books (January 15, 2015)
  • Phone: (877) BOLD-711
Chapter 1                                                                                                                              “Stacey, I’m going to run across the street and see if Brian Greenway has our order ready for the Thanksgiving dinner.” Paavo Wolfe poked his blond head into his best friend’s store. “Did you want to come with me?” He stepped inside the door of Lotions and Potions, which specialized in herbal remedies, skin care, massages, and all other areas of holistic health care.
            “Is that your subtle way to of asking me to help you carry all the rolls, bread, and stuff back to your store?” Stacey Laitenin asked, grabbing her jacket and purse.
“Is it working?” Paavo puckered up as she met him at the door.
“Since I was the one who asked you to help me feed the homeless, I guess I should come along and help you carry our order of rolls for the Thanksgiving Day meal.”
“Cool.” Paavo kissed her.
“Ben,” Stacey called over her shoulder to Ben Pumala as he was changing the sheets on his massage table, “I’m heading across the street to Icing on the Lake, did you need anything?”
 “No,” Ben said as he smoothed out the white cotton sheet over the table.
“We should be back in fifteen minutes in case anyone calls or needs me.” The overcast November afternoon had been slow, so she doubted it, but at least Ben knew where she was and that she had left him alone in the store.
Light snow fell from the sky as the cold breeze blew across Lake Superior. Icing on the Lake, the “Northland’s Superior Bakery,” was directly across London Road from their strip mall. We’re Wolfe’s Books and Lotions and Potions stood side by side in the center of the complex. Paavo’s bookstore dealt in horror books and movies. He sold nightmares. Everything from action figures to movie posters, any Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS, and every collectible a horror fan could ever want or need.
Despite the cold breeze off Lake Superior, the scent of fresh baking bread hung in the air all day and all night. Many neighbors complained about the smell, since it made everyone hungry.
Stacey locked elbows with Paavo as they crossed the street. The gloomy weather had driven many of their shoppers away, along with all the stress of getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday later in the week. The excitement of the Halloween film festival and the “werewolf” attacks on London Road were resolved, and their businesses had finally returned to normal.
The best friends pushed the bakery’s heavy glass door open, and the brass bell jingled, welcoming them in. A smoky haze filled the air in Icing on the Lake. “Brian, did you burn a batch of bread?” Stacey called.
No answer.
She looked at Paavo and released his elbow. “Could he have run to the grocery store for something, and it took him longer than he expected?” Paavo read concern in her face as they walked back toward the kitchen.
Suddenly, the fire alarm started its high-pitched shrill, and the warning lights strobed across the brick walls.
“We should get that batch out of the oven before Brian has smoke damage or a fire starts.” Stacey headed around the front counter to where the kitchen was. Large metal baking ovens lined the walls. She waited a second for Paavo, then waved him in. “Hurry up.”
Paavo quickly followed Stacey into the back of the bakery. The back door stood wide open as a cold breeze blew in off the lake, swirling the smoke that came from the ovens.
Stacey grabbed two hot pads and threw a pair at Paavo. She opened one oven and started pulling out a huge sheet of rolls. “Brian owes us big time for saving his buns.”
“He does have the cutest, tight buns.” Paavo slipped his hands into the oversized mitts and headed to the badly smoking oven on the opposite wall. He inhaled, crunching up his nose. “This one smells really bad.” He pulled the oven door open and froze.
Paavo couldn’t understand what he was seeing until the lake breeze blew into the oven and cleared out some of the smoke. The gust of wind added oxygen to the smoldering form, and the blackened shape burst into flames. That’s when he saw it was the burning body of Brian Greenway.
“Stacey!” Paavo yelled.
Holding another heavy sheet of bread, Stacey turned to see what was wrong. When she saw Brian’s burning form, she dropped  it. Loaves and buns rolled in all directions as she jumped away from the hot pan, which hit the floor and echoed through the kitchen. “Close the door,” she said.
Paavo jumped forward and slammed the door shut. He looked for the controls, trying to  figure out how to turn it off.
“We can’t leave him in there.” Stacey stood next to him. Finding the oven controls on her side, she turned it off. She opened the door, and the oxygen restarted the fire again.
“What choice do we have?” Paavo asked, pushing the door closed. “We’re too late.”
“A fire extinguisher?” She pointed at the red one on the brick wall, but didn’t move to get it.
“Should we even take him out of there?” Paavo pulled his cell phone out of his pants pocket and hit 911.
“Yes. We have to. Why would you ask that?” She clutched his arm.
“Because there’s no way he could have crawled into that oven or fallen in. It’s too high.”
“What are you saying? Murder?” Stacey asked.
“Yes, but who would want to bake the baker?”

Writers' Question of the Week: Do you outline your next chapter before writing it?

Monday, May 4, 2015