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    Three Writers and a Publicist Walk Into a Bar

    By Michele Karlsberg–

    Michele Karlsberg: This past March I presented a workshop on publicity and marketing for writers at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans. I spoke about how important networking is, along with recognizing opportunities that are right in front of you. I also told the attendees that I have a column in the San Francisco Bay Times that highlights books. I said all with a smile and a wink, but this is how I met K.M. Soehnlein, Jobert E. Abueva, and Rob Graves. I later spoke with each about their books and how I admired their self-promotional drive. It’s not an easy road to navigate. Allow me to introduce to you some great summer reads written by these wonderful authors.

    Jobert E. Abueva – Boy Wonder: A Coming of Age Memoir

    Jobert surely took his time, learned his craft, and studied the book world. Then he landed a book deal with Rattling Good Yarns Press. Recently he was awarded The J. Michael Samuel Prize, which honors emerging LGBTQ writers over the age of 50. 

    A child TV personality from a prominent Filipino family and the son of an accomplished academic, Jobert was a high achiever at his all-boys Catholic international school in Tokyo, Japan. Whatever he did, he had to be the best, racking up achievements. He was a favorite among his fellow students, who elected him three times to the student council as class president, vice president, and president.

    Jobert was a triple all-star winner at the brain bowl interschool academic competition. He was in the debate and speech teams, and was a varsity track hero. He wrote for the school newspaper and yearbook and performed in school plays. He was a golden boy who could do no wrong.

    But Jobert had a secret nobody could know. After school, he led a clandestine existence turning tricks with foreign male guests at Tokyo’s world-renowned Imperial Hotel. So, it’s not surprising that he had to be the best and was handsomely paid for it. It was more exciting and earned better pay than waiting tables. A BMOC (Big Man on Campus), he juggled dual identities of boy wonder and boy toy, sure that if exposed, he would be shunned by his friends and devastate all who groomed him for greatness.

    Jobert is a winner of the Writer’s Advice Flash Memoir contest. He is also a recipient of the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Literary Award for historical LGBTQ short fiction and received two National Arts Club literary scholarships.


    K.M. Soehnlein – Army of Lovers, A Novel

    When you meet K. M., you feel Act Up, Fight Back energy all around you. His energy alone makes for great self-promotion.

    Army of Lovers follows a young gay man swept up in the excitement, fury, and poignancy of the AIDS activist group ACT UP. Arriving in New York City full of idealism, Paul discovers the queer community gathering strength in the face of government inaction and social stigma. As he protests, parties, and makes a new home, he finds himself pulling away from his HIV-negative boyfriend to pursue an intense bond with a passionate, HIV-positive artist. Paul’s awakening parallels ACT UP’s rise, successes, and controversies. And then everything shifts again, as his family is thrust into their own life-and-death struggle that tests him even further.

    Born out of the author’s activism inside the vibrant queer community of the ’80s and ’90s, Army of Lovers blends history and fiction into an exploration of memory, community, love, and justice.

    K. M. Soehnlein (he/him) is the author of three novels, including his Lambda Literary Award-winning debut, The World of Normal Boys. He is the recipient of the Henfield Prize in short fiction and a Rainin Filmmaking Grant for screenwriting.

    For more information:

    Rob Graves – I, Rob Graves, A Memoir

    When you read about Rob’s memoir, certain words stand out like misdiagnosis, treatment noncompliance, coping with sexuality, sex addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, self-medicate, and trauma; heavy stuff. As soon as I met Rob, I felt a sense of calmness come over me. I knew I had just met a wonderful human spirit.

    Rob has spent his life dealing with chronic clinical depression and bipolar disorder. I, Rob Graves offers a candid and poignant story about his life as a gay man suffering from these mental health issues and a genetic disposition for substance abuse, which morphed into an anonymous sex addiction during the height of the AIDS epidemic.

    He chronicles his personal story, illustrating the dangers of misdiagnosis and treatment noncompliance, but rather than teach or preach any specific cure, his mémoire lets the reader decide whether the life choices described are right or wrong for their own life path.

    He shares the journey he took to come to terms with his homosexuality and overcome tremendous health odds—through years of therapy, medication management, and learning the arts of forgiveness and acceptance—to find success and peace with himself and thrive in the present. He aims to provide an inspirational example of breaking the cycle of mental health stigmas and addiction, both in the gay community and the community at large.

    For more information:

    Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBTQ+ community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates 34 years of successful marketing campaigns. For more information:

    Published on July 13, 2023