Please welcome Tammy Bird. One lucky winner will receive an ecopy of Sandman. Details on how to enter are below.
Listen to the Children
“Mommy. Mommy. Mommy.” My son’s squeaky little boy voice echoed in the hallway as he searched for me.
“In here, little bit.” I stuck my head out of his room where I was gathering pieces of his softball uniform to add to the wash.
He stopped directly in front of me and wrapped his arms around my leg. I felt the hiccups of his cry before I saw the streaks on his cheeks.
“Hey, buddy.” I pulled his arms lose and squatted in front of him. “Why the tears?”
“What. What’s a fag?” He asked between gulps of air. “Brian said you’re a fag and he can’t come in my house anymore.”
The year was 1986. I was 23, and my son was 4. I had been out as a lesbian for less than a year.
As I write these words, I can still hear his voice, see his face, feel his confusion, as he struggled between his love for me and his love for his best friend. It was a defining moment for me, the moment I decided to be honest about who I am–always. I would not hide or lie, regardless of the cost.
“Oh, buddy.” I tussled his hair. “I’m so sorry Brian’s folks feel that way. A fag is an ugly way some people define a gay man. A better term for mommy is lesbian.”
“Why lesbian?” He wiped a tear with the back of his hand. His hiccups stopped.
“That’s a word for a girl who loves another girl instead of a boy.”
“Then Mark is a fag?”
Mark was a family friend who made sure there was a positive male figure in my son’s life in those early days of questioning and struggles. “Well, remember that’s an ugly term, but yes. Mark is someone Brian’s folks would call a fag.”
His tears were completely dried up. He smiled and wrapped his little arms around my neck, his lips puckered against my cheek.
Just like that, his world was right again. He trotted out the way he came. I followed.
I stood at the door that day and watched as my son gave his four-year old rendition of the conversation we just had. I watched as Brian shrugged and motioned toward their bikes. I watched as two little boys processed the ugliness of adults and decided it was inconsequential to their world. I watched as two little boys rode off into their future, a future that is today.
Now my son is a man with children of his own. He and his siblings and their children and their children’s friends stand up every day as fierce and loyal allies of all people who identify on the lgbtq+ spectrum.
When I write, I always keep this story in my mind as a reminder of the importance of our words to the world. I write characters who are living in spaces with people who are not always kind. Some of them are gay; some are questioning; some are bisexual or genderqueer; some are trans; some fall elsewhere on the spectrum entirely.
All of them have a story that we need to better understand. All of them deserve to be heard. I write gritty stories with a purpose. They are not for everyone. But my dream is that they will get into the hands of those who need to hear.
Sandman, published by Flashpoint Publishing in December 2018, is a psychological thriller that plops a badass lesbian protagonist into the middle of a small beach town where one or more long-time residents are not who they appear to be. The goal is not to highlight that she is a lesbian, but to show that labels can be quite deceptive. Of course, she is a lesbian, so there’s that… 🙂
by Tammy Bird
Katia Billings, EMT with the Emergency Medical Services of Buxton Beach, NC, is one of the first to respond after a hurricane rips through the small island community. As she helps search for survivors, she and her fellow responders discover a secret that will haunt Katia the rest of her life.
Lurking beneath the sand dunes is an evil that no one suspected.
A sandy grave not connected to the storm leads investigators to uncover the tomb of a serial killer, literally beneath their feet, hidden for years from the residents of the tight community.
For Katia, it’s personal because she knows one of the killer’s victims. She enlists help from K-9 search expert Paige, and Katia’s on-and-off lover, Zahra, in her determination to find the killer, dubbed Sandman, and stop him from killing again.
What small-town secrets will they unearth in their pursuit of the truth? Will the three women survive the physical, emotional, and psychological attack being waged against their small slice of sand? Or will they become the next victims of Sandman?
Win an ebook copy of Sandman. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me the name of the author of Sandman. Hint: It’s Tammy Bird. One winner will be selected on June 21st.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Tammy’s work is rarely defined as sweet or cozy, and she likes it that way. She is not here for sweet or cozy. She is here for the beautiful swirl of psychologically hard and gritty and fantastically real. She has short stories published in academic and fiction anthologies, and her first novel, Sandman, was published in 2018.
CONNECT WITH TAMMY BIRD
Thanks so much for stopping by today.