Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Yesterday, my partner and I went to a local popular coffeeshop chain anticipating a rare meal out and a good time. We had each received gift certificates from doing a survey. What we found was that we could only eat one item because it was the only thing they sold that was free from animal products. To add insult to injury, the music was so loud that the servers kept thinking we were saying “bacon” when we said “vegan.” They responded by telling us about pork products to our horror and confusion.

On the way out I noticed that there was “A Kindness” board and post-Its for customers to leave comments. I don’t think it was exactly what they meant, but I couldn’t help leaving the message “More vegan products please.” Later I reflected that vegan always means kindness, especially to the animals that humans routinely eat. And I did say please.

Humans are animals also. I went to a plant-based diet the year I turned sixty and after I had a health scare, which is one reason that I try not to be too judgmental of what most people eat. Besides, I am a Buddhist, and try to “water the good seeds.” I figure that most of us have the potential to be vegan, because most do eat a vegetable now and then and can keep on going with that. But I do think it is a shame that people have been brainwashed by advertising (mostly from the food and pharmaceutical industries).

Then there are the health benefits of going to a plant-based diet. After three years, my partner and I feel so healthy that we would never go back to the Standard American Diet (SAD). Also, the better and stronger we become the more adamant we are about the rights of the animals and the future of the planet.

As a writer, I feel that being on a healthy plant-based diet is a “secret weapon” (in plain sight). I was always a prolific writer. But since I’ve gone to a healthy plant-based diet I have more energy, so I often feel unstoppable. As a result, I kept sending out the manuscript for my latest published novel Loving Artemis, an endearing tale of revolution, love and marriage which was recently published by Thorned Heart Press.

So that’s what being a vegan means to me. “Vegan, not bacon.”

For information on my novel Loving Artemis click here

I am delighted to be able to bring you this review by the esteemed author Maria G. Fama on my novel Loving Artemis, An Endearing Tale of Revolution, Love and Marriage (Thorned Heart Press; August 16, 2022):

In her absorbing new novel, Loving Artemis, Janet Mason gives her readers a coming-of-age tale masterfully framed by the story of Thalia and Grace, two professional, middle-aged women in a long-term relationship in 2015. We are then taken back in time to the turbulent late 1970s, when the Civil Rights, Gay Rights, and Women’s Rights Movements were making inroads into the national consciousness. There we meet bright, talented, working-class teenage girls, Artemis, Grace, and Linda, among other interesting characters, both male and female. The girls grapple with their sexuality, family expectations, education, relationships, and life decisions, while finding their way in a world with many pitfalls, including drugs and alcohol. This novel contains an added bonus of providing engrossing facts about history, science, culture, and religion, as Artemis and Grace ponder them.

We are taken back in time to the turbulent late 1970s, when the Civil Rights, Gay Rights, and Women’s Rights Movements were making inroads into the national consciousness. There we meet bright, talented, working-class teenage girls.

 Loving Artemis offers within its pages, stories of romance, danger, disappointment, love, and the ultimate vindication of the human spirit. This novel is very rich and satisfying and is not to be missed.


I ran into a friend yesterday who is doing voter registration. When he asked me if all my friends were registered, it gave me pause. To make a long story short, I don’t know. But I have observed that voting is a way of caring for yourself and of caring for others. So, whether you are doing this remotely or by mail, please vote. Remember there are some key issues on the ballot. Social security is one of them as is choice, voting rights and the future of the planet. They are not small issues.

So, take care of yourself and others and vote like your life depends on it.

My friend who gave me this flyer is Tim Styer, someone I met through my Unitarian Universalist community and who is working on the UU the Vote efforts. Tim, also a worship associate, was one of the early readers of my novel Loving Artemis, an endearing tale of revolution, love, and marriage (Thorned Heart Press) and I was delighted to hear that he was loving the novel.

He gave it a brief assessment:

It’s not boring!

For information on my novel Loving Artemis click here

I was delighted earlier this week to learn that my recently published novel Loving Artemis, An Endearing Tale of Revolution, Love and Marriage (from Thorned Heart Press in Oregon) is on Q Spirit’s important list of the top LGBTQ Christian books in 2022.

Q Spirit includes the following listing:

Loving Artemis: An Endearing Tale of Revolution, Love and Marriage” by Janet Mason.

A lesbian romance novel set in the 1970s captures what it was like to come of age in the post-Stonewall but pre-AIDS era. Church and other spiritual traditions are woven into the narrative, including the goddess Artemis. The author is an award-winning creative writer and Unitarian Universalist lay minister. Q Spirit’s annual list of the top LGBTQ Christian books included her novels in in 2018 (THEY, a biblical tale of secret genders) and 2020 (The Unicorn, The Mystery) published by Adelaide Books in New York and Lisbon.

To view the entire list, click here.

Since the Q Spirit ministry which includes an online newsletter promotes LGBTQ spirituality in all forms and prominently includes the saints, I decided to include an excerpt from Loving Artemis that references the saints. (I spent a lot of time on Catholic.com researching this.) In this chapter, one of my main characters, Grace, drops acid at a party and imagines that Artemis, the other main character, is Saint Anne. The novel is set in the 1970s.

Grace followed Saint Anne outside and got onto the back of her motorcycle. Grace wrapped her arms around her. They started to move. The night air felt good against Grace’s face. She could feel purple streamers of light trailing behind them. She hadn’t jumped out of a window, but she was flying.
“What is your house number?” Saint Anne asked when they were stopped at a red light.
“Seven,” replied Grace over the purr of the engine.
Seven was her house number, and it was also the number of glowing angels that descended from the stars and spoke her name. When they pulled up at the curb outside her house, Grace got off the bike. She knew she lived there, but at the same time she wasn’t sure if she was really the girl who lived there. She sat down in the street.
“Whoa,” said Saint Anne. “Are you okay?”
She got off her bike and helped Grace to her feet.
Grace wondered if she really had met Saint Anne. Could it be true?

Loving Artemis, by Janet Mason

For information on my novel Loving Artemis click here

For information on my novel Loving Artemis click here

This week, the international LGBT radio program, This Way Out reran a piece of commentary I wrote and recorded some twenty years ago, on The Well of Loneliness.

This made me reflect on this seminal lesbian book and wonder how it affected my later work, especially Loving Artemis, an endearing tale of revolution, love and marriage (Thorned Heart Press 1922).

Revisiting the Well made me think back to 2011 when my book Tea Leaves, a memoir of mothers and daughters had been just published.

I was at a wring conference on a panel when I learned that the women in the audience (who were all in queer studies masters’ programs) had never heard of The Well of Loneliness. The only dyke author they had ever heard of was Allison Bechtel. They were very interested in hearing about our history! I was very happy I was there!

The Well of Loneliness is billed as the first lesbian-centered novel. It was first published in 1928 in England where it was banned and not because it was a good book. It was banned because the authorities were afraid that it would give women ideas!

Every coming out story is unique but there are some commonalities. One of them is feeling alone in the world. When I wrote Loving Artemis, I revisited what a queer teen would find when she searched for herself in the library in the 1970s:

Then she noticed something. At the bottom, where the metal rod ran through the cards, were the lower portions of eight index cards. She ran her fingers along the ragged edges and counted them again. The top halves, where the typing would have been, were torn off. Grace stared down at the bottoms of the index cards. It looked like somebody tore them off on purpose. At first Grace was confused, then she was outraged. But finally, she decided that this gave her hope. There were eight missing subject headings where the word Lesbian should have been. That meant there were eight books that were probably still in the library somewhere.

As the author Kathy Anderson wrote, Loving Artemis “captures perfectly the days when young queers searched library catalog cards to find ‘homosexual’ books, when teen lesbians felt they were the only ones in the world. More than a coming-of-age story, more than the love story of Artemis and Grace, the novel is also an illuminating and thoroughly enjoyable journey through the decades. I cared about these characters and loved seeing their lives come full circle by the book’s end in the 21st century.”

The Well of Loneliness wasn’t foremost in my brain when I wrote Loving Artemis since I read the book so long ago, but it must have been there inspiring me to take things a bit further.


For information on my novel Loving Artemis click here


This morning, I participated in the Poetry Sunday service at the Unitarian Universalists of Mt. Airy in Philadelphia. The YouTube video of my part of the service is above and the text is below.

Good morning

When I first thought of today’s theme, The Poet in the World?, I was thinking of the title of an old book of prose by the poet Denise Levertov. While I did read the work of Levertov and knew of her as an important poet who lived between the years of 1923 and 1997, I never thought of her as a guiding force in my world, even though poetry led me into my life.

I reconsidered when I revisited her work. Consider the following poem:

The Breathing

An absolute
patience.
Trees stand
up to their knees in
fog. The fog
slowly flows
uphill.
White
cobwebs, the grass
leaning where deer
have looked for apples.

The woods
from brook to where
the top of the hill looks
over the fog, send up
not one bird.
So absolute, it is
no other than
happiness itself, a breathing
too quiet to hear.

I now see that poetry has long been a refuge for me. It has been a way to breathe in a world that too often is terrifying.

I was a poet before I was a prose writer. As the poems got longer and included dialogue, I turned to literary prose. I just published my fourth book of prose, titled Loving Artemis, an endearing tale of revolution, love and marriage which was just released from Thorned Heart Press.

The book is a coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of the historic current events that led up to the landmark US Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality in 2015. The novel is very autobiographical but is still fiction. I was writing it during the time that I was joining this Unitarian Universalist congregation and read several excerpts here when I was first a worship associate, including this narration from my main character Artemis:

She wanted it so badly that she could feel it in her bones. She wanted it so badly that she could taste the sweetness of her dreams. The love that she felt for Linda was a fire in her that glowed. The sky darkened. Even in the winter cold, she felt like a firefly. Somewhere in the future, a star winked back at her. It was Linda. They would have a life together. Art wished so hard that her wish had to come true. But first, she and Linda had to get through this last year of high school. Getting into trigonometry would be easy, compared to the rest.

In addition to being a coming-of-age story, this is a Unitarian Universalist novel.

I had a few advance readers in this congregation, and I was delighted in my introverted and awkward way when Tim Styer, who was moderator when I first joined the church and who continues to be an important part of my UU journey, told me that he was loving the novel.

“It’s not boring,” he said, giving it a brief assessment.

It is a story about hope. At the time, in 1977, some might have said that Artemis was delusional for wanting to marry the love of her life. But she wanted it so badly that it did happen.

Ultimately, it is a story about the power of love.

–Namaste–

For information on my novel Loving Artemis click here

I was delighted to find this review today by the novelist Louis Greenstein.

Janet Mason is at her best in this well-wrought, seamless coming-of-age novel. But Loving Artemis is more than a coming-of-age novel. It’s the history of the LGBTQ and feminist struggle seen through the lens of adolescent lovers who parted ways in 1977 at age 18 — and who each lived very different lives through the ensuing decades. From navigating high school politics and teenage yearnings to re-defining themselves in a rapidly changing world, Artemis and Grace take us on a sweeping journey through a tumultuous time for culture and politics.

Artemis is arguably the coolest girl in her ginormous high school in the Philadelphia exurbs. Leather-jacketed, motorcycle riding, book smart, and streetwise with an independent streak as long as I-95, her swagger and her glare can stifle a heckler. But is it really a clever cover for her insecurities and her unstable home life? After a heartbreaking loss, Art hooks up briefly with Grace, who’s dazzled by Art, but confused and struggling with her sexuality, her family’s expectations, and her self-understanding.

Years later, Grace thinks she may have spotted Art at a Pride Parade. The moment rekindles her memories and ignites a story at the intersection of political culture, popular culture, drug culture, the rise of feminism, and the long slow crash of the American Dream.

Mason weaves history, humor, and pathos into a compelling, compassionate narrative with strong, memorable characters, deep insights, and motorcycles too!

For more information on Loving Artemis, click here.

For more information on the blog tours and giveaways on Loving Artemis, click here.

Yesterday, my novel Loving Artemis, an endearing tale of revolution, love and marriage was published by Thorned Heart Press. I found out that the day before that — August 15th — was the feast day of the Goddess Artemis (which is Greek) also known as the Goddess Diana (Roman).

I found this out from Kittredge Cherry, minister and publisher of the important newsletter QSpirit. You can read her excellent article here.

Even though I wrote a novel titled Loving Artemis, I didn’t realize that I was so strongly guided by the Goddess. Since writing for me is an intuitive process, I hadn’t thought about it previously.

However, in exchanging information with Kittredge, I realize that the Goddess has long been with me.

In the novel Loving Artemis, my main character promises her Greek grandmother, Yiayia, on her deathbed that she will never marry a man — which (while I didn’t know it at time of writing) the Goddess Artemis or Diana vows also.

Also, there was a time when I spent many hours at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where a sculpture of the Goddess Artemis (Diana) is at the top of the main staircase.

For more information on Loving Artemis, click here.

For more information on the blog tours and giveaways on Loving Artemis, click here.

I’m very excited to announce that my novel Loving Artemis, an endearing tale of revolution, love and marriage from Thorned Heart Press is now available in eBook form, paperback and hardback.

Reading Loving Artemis is a full-body immersion into the 1970s, with the smells of joints and musk oil, the tastes of beer and lip gloss, and the sounds of motorcycles roaring down a highway. It captures perfectly the days when young queers searched library catalog cards to find “homosexual” books, when teen lesbians felt they were the only ones in the world. More than a coming-of-age story, more than the love story of Artemis and Grace, the novel is also an illuminating and thoroughly enjoyable journey through the decades. I cared about these characters and loved seeing their lives come full circle by the book’s end in the 21st century.

Kathy Anderson, novelist and playwright

I’m very glad to be able to repost this review by Trudie Barreras of The Unicorn, The Mystery. Special thanks to Kittredge Cherry. Click here to learn more about the QSpirit newsletter.

“The Unicorn: The Mystery” by Janet Mason is yet another book brought to my attention by author Kittredge Cherry and her extremely important QSpirit ministry that deals with the interface between sexuality and spirituality. Mason’s fascinating novel uses a room in a museum containing seven tapestries featuring a Unicorn as the impetus for an intricate meditation on the conflict between mythological spirituality and the rigid dogmatism of a Christianity totally submerged in fear of heresy.

The two narrator-protagonists are the Unicorn and a Monk. The setting is an Abbey somewhere in France which includes an attached convent of female religious. The Monk, a young mystic who none-the-less has earthly ambitions of achieving power and prestige by becoming a priest, has been steeped in “pagan mythology” by stories his mother has told him. As the story opens, he sees the Unicorn basking in the sunlight and falls in love, both spiritually and erotically. The trouble begins when he naively describes his experience to his priest-teacher, and sets in motion a chain of events leading to the hunting of the Unicorn, all of which are depicted in the tapestries upon which the Unicorn reflects while relating the story.

For information on my upcoming novel Loving Artemis (August 16, 2022; Thorned Heart Press) click here

To learn more about my novel THEY, a biblical tale of secret genders (published by Adelaide Books New York/Lisbon), click here.



I am fast becoming a tough, old vegan bird.

To learn more about my latest published novel — The Unicorn, The Mystery, click here:

The Unicorn, The Mystery now available from Adelaide Books — #amreading #FaithfullyLGBT