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Paperwhite Narcissus

PaperWhite-coverMy latest book...

It is 1966, and Tim Halladay, in his senior year at William and Mary, is in the process of discovering his true sexuality. He spends his weekends living in the basement apartment of his aunt Blade’s Georgetown home. There, he uncovers the darker side of the nation’s capital, making forays into the Washington, DC, neighborhood of Foggy Bottom and meeting some brilliant, unforgettable men and women.

Tim has known since he was thirteen that he was born a twin and that his brother, Jeffrey, died in the delivery room after they were born prematurely. Over time, Tim’s curiosity about his unknown brother has grown dangerously close to an obsession. As he deals with the recent death of his theatrical mentor and worries about being drafted after his graduation—a prospect that makes him hesitant to apply to Yale’s drama school for graduate study—his fixation on Jeffrey continues to grow. Tim’s journey takes strange and adventurous turns as he goes from Arlington National Cemetery to Williamsburg at Christmas time, and then on a South American adventure with his aunt Blade.

Along the way, Paperwhite Narcissus delves into an exploration of narcissism, identity, and the doppelganger theory as one young man struggles to define himself.

Awards - Finalist - 2015 NIEA (National Indie Excellence Awards) LGBT Fiction

Excerpt

open-book-icon"Tim had cut classes to attend Red's funeral. He now had a lot of work to catch up on, but he had told his professors beforehand, and they had all agreed to work with him. It was well known at William and Mary that Tim was a protege of Red Ryder, the flamboyant TV star of Another World. Tim's mother had heard about the actress's sudden, tragic death on the local Westport radio station while preparing breakfast and had immediately called Tim. The news had spread quickly across campus. Two jocks from Sigma Nu had found Tim on the floor in the hallway of his dorm, sobbing in a fetal position, the receiver of the pay phone dangling above his head. They had carried him back to his room like a dog hit by a speeding car, placing him carefully on his bed and spreading a blanket over his limp, trembling body. They had immediately called the Dean of Men's office."

Reviews

Tom Baker “Paper White Narcissus”, iUniverse, 2014.

Reviewed by Amos Lassen
Nov 24, 2014

Set in 1966, Tim Halladay is discovering his sexual self as he reaches his senior year at William and Mary College. We go back in time with him as he experiences the darker side of gay life in Washington D.C. During the week he lives at his aunt’s in Georgetown in a basement apartment in her home but on the weekends he explores the gay neighborhoods of the nations’ capital. It is there that he feels at home with the remarkable people who populate the areas. Throughout most of the book Tim is a student in Williamsburg, Virginia at the College of William and Mary and most of the story tales place there.

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Full Frontal, to make a long story short

Full FrontalMy second book...

It is August of 1957, and Tim Halladay, a caddie at the Longshore Country Club, is looking forward to beginning eighth grade at Assumption School. Tim and his best friend and fellow caddie, Jimmy, are oblivious to the fact that they are slowly transforming into young men with secret desires.

As Tim embarks on a journey of emotional and sexual development, he approaches the world around him with a "full frontal" attitude that allows him to somehow not only survive but thrive, beginning with his first gay experiences as a shy teenager in suburban Connecticut and moving through his escapades at a Virginia army base, the Hotel Manhattan, the Museum of Modern Art, the Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel, to his first three-way with cute Greenwich Village neighbors, or tending a mafia-owned gay bar, or becoming involved in unexpectedly hilarious jury duty sequestration. As Tim moves from one encounter to the next, he gradually transforms, moving toward a future as a rising star.

FULL FRONTAL shares an intriguing glimpse into the life of a gay man, as told through his eclectic relationships as he eventually discovers that true happiness is all about give and take.

Excerpt

open-book-iconThey both got the bibs, melted butter, and corn on the cob. Penny brought cups of beer.
"You guys behaving?" she flirted.
"We rented bikes today and rode along the dunes," Bobby explained.
"Romantic!" Penny teased. "You guys queer for each other?"
"Hey, no," Tim responded, irritated. "We're in school together; we just wanted to have some fun on the Cape."
"Coulda fooled me," she said, swaying back to the pickup stand. She was obviously pissed off.
"Hell," Bobby laughed. "She's just looking for some fun. Want to ask her back?"
"I'm ready to leave," Tim said taking off his bib and pushing the lobster shells into the middle of the picnic table and onto the newspapers that had been laid out as a tablecloth. “I’ve had enough of the Clam Shack.”
“Me too,” Bobby agreed as he pulled out money to pay the bill…
The boys walked back to the Surfcomber without speaking. Penny’s comment had struck a nerve. Tim didn’t really think they were queer for each other. What was wrong with two friends having feelings?

Reviews

FULL FRONTAL, to make a long story short.

by Tom Baker, New York & Bloomington, iUniverse 2012.

Reviewed by Amos Lassen
December 5, 2012

I was lucky enough to meet Tom Baker right after his first book, The Sound of One Horse Dancing, was published. He had come to Provincetown and invited me to have lunch with him and I really enjoyed it (but that in no way influenced my review). One of the things that I really enjoy about Tom Baker is that he had already finished one career when he started a new career as a writer and this gives him the advantage of being able to look back on life and use his own experiences in his writing.

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The Sound of One Horse Dancing

One horseA little bit about my first book...

Twenty-seven-year-old Tim Halladay is a rising star in the three-martini lunch world of Madison Avenue in the early 1970s. In only five years Tim has become a vice-president at the first ad agency he interviewed with, in charge of some of the most prestigious accounts listed in Advertising Age.

But a week before Thanksgiving, his life takes a serious hit. After a hard-drinking, sex-filled night, Tim the "golden boy" arrives late to work. He suddenly finds himself fired without explanation. With three hundred dollars in his savings account, Tim wonders how he'll even pay the rent.

As Tim comes to terms with his unemployment, he reminisces about his life and the circumstances that have brought him to this crucial crossroads. Everything in his life -- his emotionally unstable upbringing, his service in the army during the troubled years of the Vietnam War, his affair with a high school girlfriend, his experiences at William and Mary during the JFK and LBJ years, his first job in the world of advertising, and his adventures as a closeted gay man in the Stonewall Era Greenwich Village -- contributed to both the downfall and redemption of Tim Halladay.

Excerpt

open-book-icon"It didn't seem possible. To other people I was one of the most promising, well-connected guys at the agency. In the last year I had single-handedly, through my personal connections, delivered the Joffrey Ballet account to the agency ... Only weeks ago, I'd been given a two-thousand dollar raise when everyone else was being told there was a freeze on salaries. I'd known from the beginning that the Madison Avenue game was rough, but this just didn't make sense.

My head was throbbing, a major migraine clamping on. I closed my eyes and raised my head on the pile of papers on my desk, still smelling of the coffee I had spilled over the morning mail. Sniffing the coffee and smeared ink from the pile of Xerox copies, I felt a desperate need for a drink. My appointment calendar was open ... 'Christ,' I thought, 'How does anyone get out of a day like this with dignity?' This is one of those situations not covered in the Fundamentals of Advertising 101. Ironic it isn't included as a mandatory course."

Reviews

The Sound of One Horse Dancing
by Tom Baker. iUniverse, 2011

Reviewed by Amos Lassen
September 3, 2012

Tim Halladay seems to have it all. He is vice president of an ad agency (the first he interviewed with), he is the toast of Madison Avenue and he has achieved a great deal in only five years. He has taken over some of the most prestigious accounts of the 1970s. But then ... a week before Thanksgiving everything changed, and after spending a night of booze and sex, he gets to work late and is fired with no explanation. He was low on cash and could not even pay his rent, and he knows that he must find a way to deal with his lack of a job. He begins to think back on his life - his unstable childhood, his time in the military, his high school affair with Karen, his girlfriend, his college education at William and Mary, his move to New York and his first advertising job and of himself as a closeted gay man in that period when Stonewall became a symbol of liberation.

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