Maltese & Ekkel

an excerpt

I'm someone who has always recommended that an author never throw away anything he or she has written, no matter how many rejections it receives. If and when discouraged, merely file the manuscript away and await another day, with hopefully a more receptive editor or publisher on the horizon. I can't tell you how many times I've been contacted to write something, having remembered an earlier piece I'd filed away that did, with a little tweaking, definitely fit the bill and end up selling exceedingly well, indeed.

In fact, I was in the process of one more trip to deep-dive into my storage trunks in search of just such a manuscript, suddenly deemed suited for resurrection, when, within the deep-dark recesses, I came across the negatives and the black-and-white prints of some trial-run photographs taken of me, nude, as leads-in for a proposed color shoot that a publisher of my early erotica had once suggested would provide great promotional material for me and for my burgeoning career. At the time they were taken, I didn't much like them, nixed any follows-up, confiscated negatives and prints, and tucked one and all away for safe keeping, actually having forgotten all about them until I stumbled upon them all those years later.

Having seen a good many more birthdays by the time of our re-acquaintance, I, in retrospect, found them not nearly as bad as I remembered, and accepted the offer of an artist friend to borrow one of them to do his personal artistic interpretation of it. I was so pleased by the result, possibly because of inherent narcissistic tendencies, that I found myself, over the next few years, accumulating various other artists renderings of the very same picture for what has since become known, far and wide, as my ARTISTS "DO" author WILLIAM MALTESE collection.

One of the first to have joined in the project was Dutch artist Johan Ekkel who did one interpretation in October 2005 and a second in February 2006. During which time, and afterwards, the two of us became genuinely good friends, my having found several of his art pieces, without me as subject matter, the inspirations for more than one of my short stories in my B&D short-story collection LOVE HURTS.

Having more recently been exposed to many of Johan's newer pieces, many of them black and white, and, having been, once again, inspired by what I saw, I approached him and MLR Press publisher Laura Baumbach to see if they'd be interested in a whole collection of my m/m short stories, based entirely upon Johan's artwork.

Both graciously said, "Yes". And this book, this time with each piece of inspirational artwork in supplement, is the result.