Friday, August 17, 2012

"That Cowboy in the Window," And Letter From a Transgender

My newest release, "That Cowboy in the Window," was inspired by a note I received from a reader who happens to be a transgender. I don't talk about these things often because I know how important discretion is to my readers and I want them to know they can trust me. And I do have permission to reprint part of the note I received from this reader. I'm stating that up front because if I didn't have permission I wouldn't be printing it here.

Hi Ryan,

I've been passing as a transgender in secret all of my life. I never had enough money to have any surgery or get any counseling but I've always been okay with myself and never had to work hard to pass. As I write this I'm finishing your book American Star II and I wanted to thank you for writing about a transgender character the way you did. It has always been my goal to live my life full time as a woman instead of as a man so I won't have to sneak around anymore. That's not as easy as it sounds and I'm still working on it. Reading books like this gives me hope that I can do it in time.

The note goes on to explain more about her interests in having surgery and how she plans to live her life full time as a woman. She's in her early thirties and passes as a woman at night. She's basically living two lives and she's getting tired of it. When I opened that e-mail it surprised me because I wasn't trying to make any strong political or social statements with American Star II I always saw that book more as a satire than something serious. And yet ASII inspired someone enough to write me about it.

And this reader's note inspired me to write about a transgender character caught between two lives. In my next release with, "That Cowboy in the Window," I get into the "T" part of LGBT in ways I don't do often. It's not a love story between two people and I'd like to thank for giving me the chance to write stories like this that aren't ordinary. It's a love story about someone learning to love herself with all her flaws and quirks. It's about having the courage to stand up and be who you are. And it's about taking the time to listen to that little voice deep down inside you while you're in the middle of your own life story.

I get notes like this all the time from people. I can't say these people are part of the LGBT community because in many cases they are still on the outside looking in, so to speak. But I value these e-mails and I never take them for granted. I've never been a fan of beta readers, and the only people I trust enough to read my work before it gets published are my editors. I can't even imagine a beta reading inspiring me with comments or opinions about my work. But I am a huge fan of readers who contact me with their own personal stories. That's the only inspiration I'll ever need.

Here's the blurb for "That Cowboy in the Window." And here's a link for ARe. You can get it at all retail web sites where e-books are sold, including the publisher's web site,

A quirky queer ritual that leads to an amazing self-discovery.

This is the unusual gender-bending story of Paige living as a woman by night and a harmless effeminate man named Paul by day. Though her best friend knows the truth about her, no one else does, especially not the handsome young straight guy in the cowboy hat who lives in the apartment across the alley and likes to watch her undress every night. She’s always been able to pass without working too hard, but never felt complete as a woman. But when she finally decides to get the exaggerated breast augmentation she’s always dreamed about, her life changes in ways she never expected. Although it’s not the kind of happily-ever-after ending found in most romance stories, it is the kind of emotional happy ending in modern romance that begins on the inside where it counts the most.

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