Monday, October 27, 2014

An American in Paris

Lance Ringel in Paris
Lance Ringel and Chuck Muckle's 17-day odyssey spanning three countries, seven states and eight readings concluded on Saturday in Paris, where the author of Flower of Iowa and his spouse/co-presenter visited a Great War Exhibition at Les Invalides

This visit complemented a pilgrimage they had made to London to see an even more comprehensive centennial exhibit at the Imperial War Museum, and the poppy installation at that city's eponymous Tower. 

In the wake of the tour — and a tweet in praise of the book by author/actor/director/comedian Stephen Fry — Ringel's eBook has enjoyed a strong, renewed surge in sales, and currently ranks #2 on the Historical Fiction and #3 on the Gay Fiction best-seller lists on Smashwords.com.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wading Through Seas of Red

The juxtaposition of the words “art” and “installation” usually gives me a chill, and not in a good way.  In the past, I have seen too much public art and too many art installations that have been bland, pretentious or both.  

But from the moment I read about “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red,” the installation of 888,246 handmade ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower of London, I was convinced that Paul Crimmins has created something worthy of the World War I centenary. I also was convinced that I had to see it for myself. (The number of poppies corresponds to every British and Empire/Commonwealth soldier who died in The Great War.)

And this morning, Chuck and I did so. We attended as part of a huge crowd of other pilgrims, as the installation has indeed become a tremendously successful piece of public art. But as vast as the crowd was, it was overwhelmingly quiet and subdued, as befits a visit to what feels essentially like a cemetery. 


The inspiration of the artwork is even clearer when one is on-site. Poppies come flowing from the Tower in a gush of symbolic blood and fill the moat in an undulating ocean of red that surrounds the ancient structure. (Only an aerial photo could do the extent of it full justice.) I was struck in particular by the strong presence in the crowd of the very old and the very young. “Blood Swept Lands” is a work of art that speaks to all generations. Everyone who visits comes away keenly aware that each red flower in that sea represents a human life lost in a tragic conflict.  


On November 11, the date when The Great War ended in 1918, the final symbolic poppy will be planted in the installation. (All planting has been done by volunteers.) After that, “Blood Swept Lads and Seas of Red” will be dismantled, and the poppies will be sent to those who have paid 25 pounds apiece to own one, with the net proceeds benefiting service charities. I had planned to buy one when we got to London, but all 888,246 already have been sold. I don’t mind that; it means that this extraordinary artistic achievement has touched hundreds of thousands of others, too.

Praise from a Renaissance Man

My novel has a very important new champion: actor, comedian, author, journalist, activist, broadcaster and film director Stephen Fry! Here's what he Tweeted this morning, and I am honored:

Reading a truly wonderful WW1 novel. A gay romance, but not soppy or silly. So truthful and touching facebook.com/flowerofiowa @FlowerOfIowa

To view it on Twitter, please click here. And, please follow us @FlowerOfIowa

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Return to the Windy City

Lance Ringel and Chuck Muckle brought their “Gay in the Great War” dramatized reading and music program to Chicago’s famed Gerber/Hart Library on Saturday, October 18, where an appreciative crowd was in attendance. For the author, it was a true homecoming; Ringel, an Illinois native, is a former Chicago resident. He served as the editor of Windy City Times, the city's long-running LGBT newspaper.

Gerber/Hart Library and Archives was founded in 1981 to be a depository for the records of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) individuals and organizations, and for other resources bearing upon their lives and experiences in American society. Gerber/Hart Library and Archives is now the Midwest's largest LGBT circulating library with over 14,000 volumes, 800 periodical titles, and 100 archival collections.

Below are photos from the event:






Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Great War Pilgrimage

Fresh from a Midwestern book tour that saw Lance Ringel and Chuck Muckle present seven readings of Ringel's WWI novel Flower of Iowa in seven days, the intrepid pair arrived in London where, to their amazement, they found a monument to the London Rangers — the very battalion to which David Pearson, one of the heroes of Flower of Iowa, belongs. 

The monument stands just around the corner from the pair's favorite bed and breakfast.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Double-Header in Cleveland

On Monday, October 13, Lance Ringel and Chuck Muckle brought their Flower of Iowa fall book tour to the Cleveland area in a pair of readings.

The first took place at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. Ringel and Muckle’s words-and-music presentation “Gay in the Great War,” program occurred in conjunction with the Center’s Senior Drop-In during the lunchtime hour. 


That evening, Lance and Chuck performed their dramatized reading with music at the private home of a longtime friend in nearby Huron, Ohio. One guest delighted those in attendance by dressing authentically as a Great War nurse.


Ringel and Muckle will give six more presentations through October and November, including a private reading date in London. The tour concludes in Ringel’s hometown of Poughkeepsie, NY, with a November 10 reading with music on the eve of Veteran’s Day.

Please visit our events page for detailed tour information. You may order an eBook download of Flower of Iowa by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Flower of Iowa Blooms in Pittsburgh

The 2014 Flower of Iowa fall book tour continued this past Sunday, October 12, with a reading and music at The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh. Here, author Lance Ringel and his spouse, actor/singer Chuck Muckle, presented excerpts from the acclaimed WW1 novel. In addition, Muckle performed several classic songs made popular during The Great War, including “Over There” and “It’s A Long Way to Tipperary.” The presentation was made in conjunction with a meeting of the Center’s Men’s Group.

This engagement was a special one for the pair; Ringel and Muckle, now together for 38 years, first met while both were attending the University of Pittsburgh.


Ringel and Muckle will give 7 more presentations through October and November, including a private reading date in London.

Please visit our Events page for detailed tour information. You may order an eBook download of Flower of Iowa by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall Book Tour Kicks Off in Brooklyn, NY

The 2014 Flower of Iowa fall book tour kicked off last night at the The Brooklyn Community Pride Center, where author Lance Ringel and his spouse, actor/singer Chuck Muckle, presented excerpts from the acclaimed WW1 novel. 

Ringel and Muckle will give 7 more presentations in 7 days on a 5-state tour that begins Oct. 12th in Pittsburgh and concludes Oct 18th in Chicago

Please visit our events page for detailed tour information.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dramatized Reading & Music in Milwaukee, WI on Oct. 15

Author Lance Ringel continues his book tour across America. Following appearances in New York, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Lance will offer a dramatized reading from his acclaimed World War I saga Flower of Iowa at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center on Wednesday, October 15 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. 

Ringel will be joined by his spouse, actor-singer Chuck Muckle, who will perform several songs made famous on the battlefields of World War I. 

The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center GLCC is located at 1110 North Market Street, 2nd Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53202. Admission is free, and the program is open to all. The event is in conjunction with a meeting of the Center’s SAGE's 50+ Support Group.

Flower of Iowa was selected in May as one of the top summer reads by The Advocate magazine, and has attained the #1 spot on the gay fiction best-seller list, and #2 on the historical fiction list, at Smashwords.com.

The mission of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is to further develop the vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the greater Milwaukee area, thus improving the quality of life for everyone. The mission is supported by the Center’s leadership in community building, health promotion, advocacy, and communications.


For more information, call (414) 292-3070 or visit mkelgbt.org.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dramatized Reading & Music in Cleveland on Oct. 13

To commemorate LGBT History Month, author Lance Ringel has scheduled several events for October on his book tour across America. Following appearances in New York City, Pittsburgh, and Madison, WI, Lance will offer a dramatized reading from his acclaimed World War I saga Flower of Iowa at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland on Monday, October 13th from 11:00 AM to noon. 

Ringel will be joined by his spouse, actor-singer Chuck Muckle, who will perform several songs made famous on the battlefields of World War I. 

The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland is located at 6600 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102. Admission is free, and the program is open to all.

Flower of Iowa was selected in May as one of the top summer reads by The Advocate magazine, and has attained the #1 spot on the gay fiction best-seller list, and #2 on the historical fiction list, at Smashwords.com.

The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland seeks to create a community that celebrates the inherent worth and dignity of every person regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and inclusive of class, race and ability. They work collaboratively with other LGBT and ally groups to address community needs and issues. More info: lgbtcleveland.org.

For more information, call (216) 651-5428 or visit lgbtcleveland.org.