Out of the Closet

By Christopher Scott

I’ve kept this secret for a long time. I remember feeling it for the first time as a child, but kept it to myself well into adulthood until I could no longer hide from it any longer. Finally, it became too difficult to keep inside, and in the last several years, I began some experimentation. I finally learned to express my feelings and emotions, and it was truly liberating.

I haven’t even shared the secret with my family, not even my mother and father. Not with my closest friends, even though I’ve wanted to so many times. What would happen if these people so close to me realized what’d become of the strong, masculine man they thought they knew?

It was just too hard and too embarrassing. I felt like I’d be judged, ostracized, and laughed at. I just wasn’t ready. Until now.

It’s time for me to come out of the closet. Mom, Dad, brothers, sister, friends, I’m sorry you had to hear it like this, but it’s true.

I am a Romance Novelist. Wow, that feels pretty good.

Seriously though, I have no idea how my transformation came about. Nothing in my past indicated I’d become a romance writer. Granted, I was always a voracious reader and fancied writing a book some day, but figured it would be more in the tradition of my literary heroes, an important work of fiction following in the ink stains of Hemingway, Steinbeck, Rand, or even John Grisham for God’s sake.

Unfortunately, all I could do was write romance. And, while at first it was frustrating, eventually, I was able to reconcile this romantic obsession with my literary snobbery. One day it hit me that many of my favorite novels, even the classics, were at their heart romances. Think of Atlas Shrugged, Gone with the Wind, or A Farewell to Arms. All great novels by famous authors, all essentially love stories.

So I continued to write. Finding my mid-life crisis at 40, I couldn’t buy a sports car or sleep with an undergrad, although lord knows I tried. No, the only thing I could do was churn out romance novels like it was my job.

Now, before you picture the heaving bosoms, cruel alpha males, and ridiculous cover art of the traditional romance novel, I’ve got to tell you, my stories are nothing like that. I tell stories of believable people engaged in daily life struggles, people like you and me. The characters are real, they’re flawed, and eventually, their struggle to find love is either punished or rewarded just as it is in real life.

The end result is the Broken Man series, now available for purchase on this site. I guess if I had to label it, I’d call the series a Reality Romance, exploring a man’s journey to find love and the women who guide him along the path. Regardless of labels, it truly is a gratifying experience to start with a blank page on my iPad and eventually turn that nothingness into an intricate story people around the world can enjoy.

More importantly, writing these stories has also helped to heal the wounds of my past. Some people visit psychologists, many embrace religion, others find their fix through exercise, sports, friendships, work, or any number of ways. I find my fix by writing, and while it might be cliche, it truly is a cathartic experience.

That doesn’t mean I’m always happy with my work. My first novel was so bad I later had it unpublished. I’m also frustrated by my inability to progress beyond the twenty chapter, fifty thousand word, dual point of view format followed in my first three novels.

So, I’m determined that my next novel will not only bring closure to the story, but will also broaden my scope as a writer. I plan on a full length novel of approximately eighty thousand words complete with a multi-person point of view and a more thorough development of characters. Look for it when the inspiration eventually strikes, probably sometime in late 2014.

I guess that’s about it. I hope you enjoy my works and be sure to know, they’re intended for women and men, young, old, or in between. I also encourage you to continue your own search for happiness, whether it comes through writing romance novels, painting, singing opera, or any other activity, even seemingly embarrassing pursuits. You never know where you might find the fix for your brokenness, but when you do, I hope you’ll do as I did.

I hope you will come out of the closet too.

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Are You Broken?

By Christopher Scott

Are you broken?

A broken man, a shattered woman, possibly the possessor of a damaged soul.

That’s a good question, and not a simple one to answer.

Do you physically or mentally abuse your spouse and children?
Have you ever physically hurt another human being intentionally?
Have you ever been inappropriate with a child?
Do you not feel remorse or regret for your actions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not broken. You are a
sick, sadistic excuse for a human being in desperate need of counseling and likely
incarceration. This site is not for you.

Have you abused drugs or alcohol?
Do you eat too much or not nearly enough?
Are you a Workaholic?
Do you exercise obsessively or not at all?
Do you experience difficulty with interpersonal relationships and have trouble expressing your feelings and emotions?
Have you remained involved in a physically or mentally abusive relationship?
Have you been prescribed medication for anxiety or depression?
Do you consider yourself unhappy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions or embrace other self-destructive
behaviors, consider yourself broken, and welcome to the site. These and other behaviors are indicative of an underlying problem, and congratulations on having taken the first step towards a fix by identifying your brokenness.

And that’s really what we’re all about at Broken Man. Sure, the past is important and sometimes we need to remember our history in order to move towards a better future. But, we aren’t going to dwell too much on past events or behaviors, regardless of how damaging they may’ve been. That would simply be counterproductive to our goal of finding a fix to our brokenness and possibly living happily in the future.

We hope you enjoy Broken Man, and promise not to take ourselves too seriously while making the greatest effort to keep the site fresh, updated, and thought provoking. We also hope you’ll become a valued member of the Broken Man family and expand our support system by inviting your broken friends and damaged loved ones to share in our community.

Thanks for joining us, and welcome to you, my fellow broken man.

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Reviews, Romance & Reality

By Christopher Scott

Recent reviews of my third novel, Broken Again, can only be described as scathing. This after overwhelmingly positive reviews for my first two novels. The following is a sampling of critiques available for your viewing pleasure on Amazon:

Good writing but weak, egotistical, narcissistic protagonist ruins the story…This is not a romance in any shape or form. Sadly, it is just another example of a pathetic loser of a man trying to boost his own vainglorious ego because he can’t step up and take responsibility for his choices.

I should have stopped after the second book…Not a romance and not something I want to read about…It took a couple I was happy with and ruined them for me. Sad choice by the author.

I’m afraid this book dismayed and confused me all at once…This book is nothing but some kind of fantasy fulfillment where cheating is not only accepted but rewarded. While the plot has its merit, it fails to deliver because the characters didn’t grow one iota.

This book made me want to punch people in the face…The thing that kills me about this story is that Jack doesn’t seem to have a conscience or any remorse at all.

You get the idea, and ironically, this feedback is exactly what I was seeking when writing the book. The reviewers are right. Broken Again is not a traditional romance and is intended as a kind of mid-life train wreck where the reader becomes more and more angry while witnessing the flawed protagonist continuing to make poor choices.

The face puncher actually understood and appreciated my intent. Despite her proclivity for violence, she rewarded the book with the highest five star rating. The other raters, likely expecting a typical love story, weren’t so generous with their stars, a response I understand entirely.

But I’ve labeled the Broken Man Series a Reality Romance for a reason. It doesn’t follow the guidelines of traditional romance, even if the first two novels didn’t stray far from the formula. And within the context of the entire series including the upcoming fourth and final installment, Broken Again fits in nicely despite alienating the majority of my readers.

With that in mind, I’m gonna let everyone in on a little secret. Men cheat. Some chronically, some only one time. Some feel remorse, some don’t. Some are even able to separate from their entire life when they go out of town and then return like nothing ever happened.

I don’t look at Jack as one of those guys. He’s a one-timer and does feel remorse even as he attempts to rationalize his behavior. He makes bad choices at times, but in the end, he tries to learn from his mistakes. He’s far from perfect, he’s flawed, he’s human. But try not to give up on him quite yet.

I don’t think he’s going to make the same mistakes again.

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By Christopher Scott

I have a friend I see occasionally, let’s call her Grace, who’s actually quite amazing. Employed by the same company for the last sixteen years, a friend and mentor to many, a fabulous mother of two young boys. Warm, kind, and enthusiastic, you’d never know she’s broken.

sad-girlBut she is. Grace grew up in a truly damaging setting, an environment that makes my supposedly “difficult” childhood look like a picnic. We’ve only really talked about it in passing, but what she’s shared makes the person she’s become all the more remarkable.

Growing up in the northeast the only child of a drug addict, Grace spent her childhood moving from home to home as her mother found her fix. At times sleeping in a tent or a car, fully aware of her mother’s drug use, Grace used her mind and made up games to pass the time and escape her reality. As is usually the case, her mother’s problem only accelerated in severity, eventually culminating in her premature death.

To make matters worse, she never knew her father. Just another man willing to abandon his children without so much as a second thought, leaving his daughter curious as to what he even looked like. Adding to her feelings of abandonment, Grace later found out he’d taken a mulligan, remarrying and starting a second family as if the first one never happened.

Fortunately for Grace, as she headed into adolescence, her grandmother stepped in to stop the insanity. Gram, as she so affectionately calls her, finally had enough, somehow gaining custody and moving Grace to Florida. Or, as she was so fond of saying as she battled old age and dementia, “I stole you.”

Thank God for all the grandparents out there willing to steal their grandchildren from neglectful parents, on some level acknowledging their own failures as a parent and unwittingly finding redemption. Where would we be without them. In Grace’s case, Gram took on the role of her mother, really her only connection, her only sense of love and security as she made her way into adulthood.

Not always smoothly though. Grace has struggled to overcome her past, most of the horrid details she’s yet to share with me, the majority of which she probably never will. Fortunately, she sees a Psychologist and seems to have overcome many of the lingering after-effects of her broken childhood including depression, eating disorders, and who knows what else.

She’s battled through her problems with purpose and a great attitude, and now tries to help others who struggle with similar issues. She never really asks why or feels sorry for herself, but uses her childhood as a kind of strength to know she can get through anything. How she became this incredible person I can only imagine, but surely Gram had a lot to do with it.

A couple weeks ago, Gram passed away. Upon hearing the sad news, I froze, knowing how important Gram was in her life, frankly worried as to how Grace might respond. So this week, I went to see her.

She’s returned to work, but it’s easy to tell her heart and mind aren’t there, even as she tries to smile and hide her feelings. She’s shockingly thin, but promises to start eating again now that the nausea has faded. I can tell Grace is battling the best she can even as her world has fallen apart.

It’s always hard to know what to say in this situation. You don’t want to say too much and keep opening up the wound, but at the same time, you want to let her know you’re there for her, that she has your support. For once, I was brief, saying only the words I hope she needed to hear.

I simply told Grace that I love her.

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