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Looking Out: Baltimore author releases debut novel about 3 gay friends

The debut novel of a 30-year-old author born in the Baltimore area and now living in Owings Mills is landing higher and higher on Amazon.com's list of top-selling new releases in gay paperback fiction.

Jeremy Scott Blaustein attended the Carver Center for Arts & Technology in Towson, studied theater at Shenandoah University and was an award-winning Broadway producer for six years before returning to the Baltimore area about a year ago to begin writing his novel, "The Home for Wayward Ladies" -- about three gay friends fresh out of theater school and living in Manhattan.

"It took me about a year," Blaustein said of the writing process. "There was probably about eight months of solid writing, and the rest of it was probably thinking it was terrible and going back and rewriting and making it fabulous."

Dress Circle Publishing, which focuses on books about the theater world, called Blaustein's book a blend between "Sex and the City" and "Looking," a nod to HBO's now-classic series about four women living in New York and its new series about gay men living in San Francisco.

Blaustein's novel follows characters Eli, Hunter and Nick and their friendship.

"Amid bitchy brunches and failed one-night stands, these friends -- as promising as they are promiscuous -- are on a quest to have their voices heard over the roar of [the] city," reads a release about the book from Dress Circle.

Blaustein said the friendships in the book are based on his own friendships with two friends in college, as is the book's title.

"We always said that when we're unmarried at the age of 30, which I currently am, we would buy a house and call it the Home for Wayward Ladies and be like The Golden Girls and eat cheese cake," he said with a laugh.

Humor plays a big part in the novel, but it also takes a deeper look at young 20-somethings and their relationships in the gay world with the added advantage of retrospect, Blaustein said.

"It was 10 years ago when I thought of the idea for this, but it wasn't until I was 30 years old that I said, 'Oh, I actually have the perspective now to actually write these characters,'" he said.

Blaustein said he's already getting a lot of great feedback on the book, which was just released May 20. If you want to check it out, you can search for it by title on Amazon.

Elsewhere on the web:

- Online finance outlet NerdWallet.com ranked cities across the country for how LGBT friendly they are, based on a few different criteria. Baltimore landed at No. 13. Check it out here.

- Last weekend, you watched "The Normal Heart," HBO's new film about the AIDS epidemic in New York City in the early 1980s, and are wondering what its creator, Larry Kramer, was really like back then, right? Well Geoffrey Cowley of MSNBC dug up a 1983 interview with Kramer on the Today Show here.

- Historic LGBT sites are going to be featured in a new initiative by the National Park Service. According to the Associated Press, "Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is convening a panel of 18 scholars next month that will be charged with exploring the LGBT movement's story in areas such as law, religion, media, civil rights and the arts."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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