Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What is Life?

On this holiday that celebrates Life, I would like to share these magnificent words spoken by Mother Teresa:

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is bliss, taste it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.”

Image of Mother Teresa from Bio.com

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Gay Christmas Story by Valentino DeMitri

I have to confess that I have a huge crush on Santa; I’ve always had a thing for older men. Working for his organization is a family thing. My mother still works for him. My father did too, before he deserted us shortly after I was born to run off with an elf with pointier ears than Mom. Last I heard, he had a gig acting in The Hobbit. No word on what became of Miss Pointy Ears, except rumor has it she dumped him for an elf from Lord of the Rings.

The weeks before Christmas are always wild and crazy in Santa’s workshop, and sightings of him are fleeting. However, today I am suddenly aware of The Man himself standing behind my chair, watching me work.

“Gah!” I say when I look up into his jolly face. I always considered his demeanor to be so—dare I say it?—gay.

Santa stroked his beard and looked down at my GI Joe. I could smell the scent of peppermint on his breath. For a moment, I got a whiff of mistletoe and frantically looked up, hoping someone had helpfully hung a sprig right above us. 

“The sparkling pink pasties glued over his nipples are an interesting touch,” he finally said.

I held up my GI Joe masterpiece, pride washing through me. “Well, initially, they would be hidden by his uniform.”

Santa stroked his beard—such a sensuous caress—and nodded. “Ah, I see. Don’t ask, don’t tell.”


He looked me in the eye. Me! I felt the tips of my pointy ears grow hot. Then he glanced down at my name tag. “Spock, is it?”

“My mother was a Trekker.”

“Clever name.”

It was the first time I hadn’t been teased about it, which caused me to fall even deeper in love than before...if such a thing were possible.

Santa looked thoughtful for a few, timeless moments before he asked, “Are you romantically involved with someone right now?”

What? I shook my head to clear my brain. What did he ask me?

He grinned. “Great. Why don’t you come over to my place for dinner tonight?”

“Gah!” was my eloquent reply.

Omigod. Dinner with Santa!

He slapped me on the back, a hearty—but assuredly intimate—gesture. “See you at six, my boy.”

Twinkle, the pretty elf who worked next to me, stared at Santa as he walked away. “Seriously?” she asked. “Dinner with The Man? None of us ever get invited to have dinner with him.”

To boldly go where no elf has gone before.

*          *          *

As I knocked on the door to his house, I pushed the multitude of questions out of my mind. The big one that had been bothering me all day was: what about Mrs. Claus? Had Santa sent her off to test drive the reindeer? I struggled with the moral dilemma of having dinner with a married man. What would my mother say? What if Santa wanted to kiss me? Should I play hard to get? Would he think me easy if I planted myself under any and all mistletoe I could locate? As waves of angst coursed through me, Mrs. Claus swung open the door and greeted me with a toothy smile.

“Hello, Spock! So glad you could join us this evening.”


In a daze, I stumbled inside their warm cabin and melted into a soft chair near the roaring fireplace.

“Would you like some hot cider, dear?” Mrs. Claus asked.

Mutely, I nodded.

Santa’s hearty laugh snapped me out of my stupor, and I jumped to my feet. Walking into the room at his side was another, younger man. Not as soft and cuddly as Santa, he was nevertheless handsome. And he was bald, just like Jean Luc Picard. A sigh escaped me. I liked bald men—the look was so...dare I say...phallic?

Santa introduced him. “Spock, this is my baby brother, Sven. He’s visiting from Sweden where he works on the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee.”

I took note of the smart military uniform Sven wore. “You serve in one of the armed services?” I managed to somehow ask, proud of myself for being able to finally master a complete sentence.

Sven grinned and gave me a coy wink. “No, but my brother told me how much you like men in uniform.”

He flexed his muscles, a button flew from his shirt, and I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a...no...could it possibly be? A pink pastie!

I swooned as visions of sugar plum fairies danced in my head.

Note From Devin O'Branagan

Valentino DeMitri is the most popular character I have ever created, and critics labeled him "the best gay character in fiction." He woke me in the middle of the night recently and dictated this holiday story to me. We hope it made you laugh. If you would like to discover the beauty, wit, and charm of Val, please read The Red Hot Novels. You can learn more at www.RedHotNovel.com

Red Hot Property is available as an eBook and in print at Amazon

 Copyright © 2012 – Devin O’Branagan – All Rights Reserved

Valentino DeMitri

Wishing all our readers a joyful holiday season!

(Please note: All character representations on my blog and website are professional models.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Dance

I wrote this story as a holiday gift to my fans. It is a prequel to Show Dog Sings the Blues and The Red Hot Novels. The Christmas Dance is a touching tale that sheds light on the characters in those books, and speaks to what I believe is the true message of the season: Love is the greatest gift we can give one another.
Please enjoy The Christmas Dance:

My name is Talisman and I'm an Australian Shepherd. My person is Valentino DeMitri, and he's the heart of our family, our brilliant sun.

Peter, the man Val loved, was the moon reflecting Val's sun. He was gentle, shy, and fragile, so Val and I focused our energies on caring for him. Peter even inspired my latent maternal instincts. For some strange reason I always found comfort in licking his feet, probably because they were both left feet. At least that's what Val said. I figured it was some kind of human frailty and perhaps my sincere attention to them might remedy the situation.

The week before Christmas, Peter was killed by a drunk driver. Grief became a giant black hole that swallowed every bit of our light.

Val wouldn't get out of bed for days, so I crawled in next to him. My fur soaked up his tears, and my love absorbed a measure of his anguish. Humans came and went, bringing food and sympathy. However, at the end of the day it was just the two of us clinging to each other, wishing with all our combined might that we could change the unchangeable.

"Before Peter drove off I gave him a hard time about not being able to do the dance routine," Val told me with a shuddering sob. "God forgive me, that was the last thing I said to him."

Val and Peter had been preparing for a Christmas Eve recital at Cafe au Gay. Tap dance was a challenge for Peter.

"If only I had told him how much I loved him!"

I felt so helpless.

My stomach growled. Lost in grief, Val had forgotten to feed me. As I pondered my dilemma, I remembered that his mother, Margo, left a freshly baked cheesecake on the kitchen counter. I gently disentangled myself from Val's arms, jumped off the bed, and made my way down the hall into the kitchen. My toenails clacked on the tile floors, echoing in the tomblike silence.

Earlier, when Margo came over, she plugged in all the Christmas lights. Now that darkness had settled, the house was awash in a bath of brilliant colors. It reminded me of the stages on which I had seen Val and Peter perform. We had always been a show biz family. Margo taught theater arts, Val danced, Peter sang, and I had once won Best in Show at Westminster. I thought about how Val had always insisted that the show must go on. I was afraid he would forget how to do that now.

My nose led me straight to the cheesecake, perched enticingly within my reach. My hind legs steadied me while my front paws reached for the pie. Carefully, I pulled it to the edge of the counter and flipped it onto the floor where it landed with a fragrant splat. I dived into the sweet, creamy concoction with gusto.

"Why, Miss Talisman! Aren't you just a naughty little Talismanian devil?"
The familiar voice startled me. Peter? I swung around, and there he was. Peter wasn't the first ghost I'd seen, but I had never been so thrilled to see one before. Peter! I bounded over to him, and he knelt to greet me. I tried to press the top of my head into his chest, but his body was just a shimmer of light that I passed right through.

"Whoa, did you feel that?" Peter asked.

When we merged it had been warm and tingly, and a faint veil of sparks flew.

"Do it again," Peter said.

Carefully, I pressed the top of my head into the middle of him, and I was filled with his sweetness; he was sweeter than cheesecake.

"It's like we're inside each other," he said.

My Border Collie friend, Bippity Boppity Boo, has a person who is a medium. I once heard her say that psychics could sometimes body-share. Was that what was happening?

"I can't move on until I make things better for Val," Peter said. "Will you help me?"

*          *          *

We started slowly. Now Peter really did have two left feet, but he also had two right ones for balance. And he had me to help; I was famous for being a wonderful dancer.

Time seemed to stand still while we struggled to synchronize ourselves. I closed my eyes and surrendered to Peter while he took over and showed me the dance steps. Then I exerted myself and coordinated the movements to include my two extra limbs. We encouraged each other, conquered our doubt, and when the flow of time returned, we were tap dancing our shared hearts out. The clickety-clack of my toenails on the tile sounded like tap dance shoes.

Val appeared at the kitchen door. "Tali?"

"It's show time," Peter whispered to me.

Together, we performed a flawless four-legged version of the dance Peter had been trying to learn for the Christmas recital. We finished with flourish and took a well-deserved bow.

Val gasped. "Omigod...Peter?"

We dance-shuffled over to Val and sat down at his feet. We reached out to him with my front paw; he grasped it and fell to his knees.

We leaned forward and blew into Val's left ear, just like sweet Peter had always done.

Val was breathless when he said what he had longed to say. "I'll always love you."

We nuzzled Val's neck, and Peter gave him a gentle kiss goodbye.

*          *          *

Copyright © 2011 - Devin O'Branagan - All Rights Reserved

Author’s Note

My Australian Shepherd, Kolbe, died two days after Christmas. For a week following her passing, my other Aussie, Jazz, morphed into a startling replica of her. Kolbe’s expressions, mannerisms, and unique behaviors were all mirrored by Jazz. I was in such a state of grief that I didn’t immediately notice the transformation. It was my veterinarian who pointed it out to me. She said, “They’re body-sharing. I’ve seen it before. It won’t last long, but it will help them both with the transition.” A week later, Jazz was Jazz again. It was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing, but the experience was undeniable. It helped to teach me that life is full of great mystery and wonder, and it inspired this story. I hope it touched your heart.

“Love is stronger than death.” – Preacher Levi,  Red Hot Liberty

To learn more about The Red Hot Novels, please visit www.RedHotNovels.com