Would My Books Pass the Bechdel Test?

I discovered recently that it doesn’t matter what the content of a musical is, I fucking can’t stand musicals. Alison Bechdel’s comic Fun Home has been turned into a Broadway musical. It’s a big deal not least of which because it’s the first time Broadway has ever had a lesbian lead. That’s sad when you think about it, pitifully sad. 


Point is, listening to snippets of the songs on NPR I wanted to shoot myself in the head. I can’t stand singing. Recently, my wife received Into The Woods from Netflix. Watching that was just painful. It reminded me how wretched the Sweeney Todd film was. 

If you like musicals, then great. I don’t care. I’m not saying you shouldn’t watch them or enjoy them. I’m saying I’ve discovered that it’s not the content or the actors or directors that I have a problem with, but rather I genuinely hate the genre.

But it got me thinking about Bechdel. I really enjoy her work and I’m glad to see her work getting the recognition it deserves. I love that her Bechdel Test has become so prominent in the film, television, comic, gaming, and literary worlds. And it made me wonder how my own novels would stack up. Am I writing an inclusive fantasy story or simply throwing more male hetero-cis shit into the world? I can’t change others but I can control what I do, so I had to ask, Would my books pass the Bechdel test?

Disclaimer: Now, if you’re a troll or a gamer-gater or a sad puppy or some other kind of fuckwit (libertarian or faux libertarian or MRA) looking just to gripe, grumble, or pick a fight, then don’t read this post. Just fucking ignore it. Move on with your day. I’m not interested in your thoughts or feelings and you’re not interested in mine, so let’s just go our separate ways. Nobody is making anybody read anything they don’t want to.

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Updated Edition of Adversaries Together

Last November I self-published my first novel Adversaries Together. I did so because I had just finished National Novel Writing Month and had a manuscript that if I didn’t put out there I would just let gather dust. It was a book that was written in 30 days, proofread and edited on the fly.

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There were a lot of typos and errors. Should I have polished it more rather than just release it warts an all? I don’t know. I do know that if I hadn’t pulled the trigger when I did, the book would be available for anyone to read. 

Fortunately, a couple of friends read the story and liked it enough that they volunteered to do some proofreading. Jessica Utrup and Logan Ryan Smith helped me work over the manuscript of Adversaries Together and create a cleaner edition.

The new edition is formatted better and easier to read. I also was able to lower the price for both the paperback (now $12.99 down from $14.99) and the e-book (now $0.99 down from $2.99). My hope is that this makes the series more accessible and encourages more people to pick it up.


And don’t forget, book two is available as well. Winterfinding is only $9.99 in paperback and $2.99 as an e-book. Keep this in mind as well–if you buy the paperback of Winterfinding and send me an email (gentlyreadlit at gmail), I’ll email you back an digital copy (your choice of Mobi, PDF, EPub, etc.) of Adversaries Together FREE.

Free stuff. Always a good thing.
I’m currently writing book three and hope to have it available in the Fall of 2015.

If you’ve read Adversaries Together, please consider leaving a star rating at Amazon or at Goodreads

If you’ve read Winterfinding, please consider leaving a star rating or review at Amazon or Goodreads

Herb & Fern out on a date

Nostos: An Inventory of a Long & Ongoing Journey

medium_5515495904It’s nearly impossible for me to have any allegiances. I’ve never felt any sort of drive or pull to be identified as someone from some place. Although I certainly can go on and on about what, where, and with whom I don’t want to be associated. I realize this sets me apart from many and most who desperately cling to their so-called heritage. I can’t seem to muster the concern or see the significant/benefit.

Perhaps it’s because that unlike many and most, I’ve never stayed in one place long enough to lay claim to it. As an adult, I’ve lived in six states over four regions of the country (Midwest, South, New England, and Great Plains). Why move so much? For work, for school, for love. Soon I’m going to live in a state that’s entirely new to me (Kentucky). Because of this, I’ve gotten a bit curious about my lineage. How did I get to here, to this place? First step to answering this is, I think, pondering family.

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Foodiesphere: Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut squash. I like it. I love it’s soft sweetness and its texture. It’s a great source of Vitamin A and C (good for vision, skin, immune system, and heart health), potassium (heart health), and fiber. I also dig the fact that it’s common and relatively easy to prepare.

So when I discovered a recipe that merged my love of lasagna with my new squash obsession, I bit. This is probably one of the most satisfying recipes I’ve yet made. It was simple to prep and cook, and the end result was a wonderful mixture of sweet and savory.

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Sartorial Manners, After a Fashion

Men dress like shit. Simple fact. Faux pragmatism weaves its way through a morass of laziness when it comes to the actual clothes a man wears day in and day out.

Many and most will go to this as some sort of badge of honor when criticized or even simply in the presence of those talking about dressing properly let alone well. It’s a tired and simpleton’s masculinity that fails to know how to dress itself.

But all this is a tad too negative. The purpose of today’s post? Fashion.

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Minnesota Dreaming, A Spring Interlude


South Turtle Lake

The North. When it comes out of its Winter shell, its Spring can be delightful. Last year my in-laws bought a cabin in Otter Tail County on South Turtle Lake. 

They weren’t able to close on it until late so my wife and I only got to experience the chilly Autumn of the area. This last week, I drove up from our place in Kansas to help my father-in-law open up the cabin and do some improvements. 


Map of South Turtle Lake

We had some very simple tasks. First and foremost, assemble the boat dock. Now I know that many and most Northerners will give me stick for even mentioning putting out a boat dock for no other reason than it;s just so common. But growing up I never had the opportunity to do anything like this. Although I grew up in a small county seat in Wisconsin, I never had the chance to do outdoorsy things. A combination of little to no male role models and a naturally nerdy tendency made me an indoor boy.


Dusk on South Turtle Lake using all the filters to capture the colors

So my journey up to aid my father-in-law wasn’t for my expertise. It was because I have two fully functioning knees. I was labor. And for my labor I was to be compensated in the form of brats and beer. These terms were acceptable. 


I had never spent any time in the area. The nearest town of significance is Fergus Falls. Here I was able to see the second giant otter statue that the county has to offer.

19819_10153225713853866_1082803825058940635_nThis lake also sported a tiny island that was a rookery for cormorants and egrets.

10366165_10153225715783866_5584698225633977236_nI also had the opportunity to hiss at a goose and send it on its way.