I’m The New York Times best-selling author of the memoir The Autumn Balloon (Grand Central, 2015), a Target Book Club Pick, which USA Today called “a brilliant debut” and the Lambda Literary Review said was “…Alarmingly engrossing….a memoir that should be moved to the top of everyone’s to-read list immediately.” I have a B.A. from Hofstra (journalism/philosophy) and an M.S. from Columbia (journalism), and have spent the past ten years as a journalist, ghostwriter, editor, and advocate/educator for the LGBTQIA+ community.
My memoir, The Autumn Balloon, tells of how, by the time I was fourteen, drug addiction and mental illness took the lives of most of my immediate family. In the following years, I survived severe poverty and homelessness and endured the deaths and suicides of others closest to me.
I never took the SATs. I had a fractured high school record pieced together from several schools, and a GED. I was not an ideal candidate for any college. But after writing an admission essay, Hofstra University admitted me on a probationary period, with one chance to prove myself. A few years later, I graduated magna cum laude with a degree in journalism and philosophy, and was accepted into Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Since then, my work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Buzzfeed, and Salon.
I’ve also worked as an executive ghostwriter for Kevin Anderson & Associates and Gotham Ghostwriters, and have served as a developmental editor for several published books, including novels. I worked as a sensitivity reader for the Sheryl Sandberg Foundation and contributed writing to their social channels on the topics of grief and loss.
I also launched an LGBTQIA+ travel magazine called ManABoutWorld that published hundreds of travel guides for queer travelers. We folded the magazine into an organization I co-founded, HospitableMe, a global strategy and education company specializing in inclusive hospitality. Since 2017, our inclusive education curriculum has been used by global brands in the travel, retail and financial sectors: Booking.com, The Kering Group, Visa, New Belgium Brewing, NYC & Company, and many others. As an LGBTQIA+ expert and advocate, I’ve spoken at conferences around the world about how to make the world more safe and welcoming for the queer community.
I live in Brooklyn, NY.