When I was writing "The Vegas Shark," the next book in my bad boy billionaire series, I had to do some research for Lake Mead for a scene that's probably one of the most pathetic and vicious I've ever written. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I can say it has something to do with sex in public, public nudity, and something most people would never do to their worst enemy.
And while I was researching information for Lake Mead, I came across an interesting article about sex in public without even looking for it. I thought I'd just get basic maps and facts about trails. But I soon discovered that public sex must be something fairly popular for a lot of people, and not only at Lake Mead.
This link will take you to a website called "Private Hiding places."
This page is dedicated to the disclosure of secluded little places that abound at Lake Powell, perfect for a little hanky panky. These places are too small to camp at and at least a half mile from the nearest camping area. We're talking tiny beaches just big enough to beach a small boat or PWC, but up on shore you'll find another sandy area, comfortable, but hidden around a corner, or over a ledge.
And then, of course, there's the infinite Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson, sex tape that was shot at Lake Mead. If you haven't seen it, you might be surprised to see just how gifted Tommy Lee truly is in one specific department.
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee tied the knot on the shores of Cancún in February 1995. Shortly after they got busy with making sex tapes. It is speculated that the infamous sex tape, which set the standards for celebrity sex tape and was widely circulated, was shot sometime in 1995. The most interesting part was shot on a boat on lake Mead.
So it seems that public sex is more popular than even I thought it was. And I was only doing basic research about Lake Mead. This has nothing to do with my own private research on the East Coast. There are Dunes in Provincetown, MA, where I've spent some interesting afternoons. Of course no one will ever admit to this; they don't want anyone to know what they are doing. I know one guy who will swear (in front of his partner) nothing ever happens in the dunes when he's out there alone. But it happens often, especially during the off-season after Labor Day.
2013 Great American Fiction Contest
I still get a few print magazines, and in this month's Saturday Evening Post I read a story by the winner of the 2013 Great American Fiction Contest. You can read more about the contest here, and here's an excerpt from the winning story title, "Wolf," by Lucy Jane Bledsoe. By coincidence, the characters in the story are at a park...but no public sex in this one!
I wasn’t exactly happy with Jim wanting to change his name to Anatoly, but I tried to roll with it. Change is good in a relationship, right? That was the whole reason we went to Yellowstone in the first place, to zest up our marriage, have a little fun, do something new.
I didn’t think we needed an overhaul, though. Nor did I think the change needed to bleed outside our marriage. But after the first trip to the park, he started asking our neighbors to call him Anatoly. It was embarrassing.
“Been reading our Dostoyevsky, have we?” said our next-door neighbor Clarence, pleased with himself for dredging up a literary reference.
There's a reason why this story won the contest. It's well written and doesn't make any of the offensive mistakes I often see new writers make in e-books. I know there's no definition of what good writing is. And I'm not trying to define it now. I also make allowances for little things I find offensive if the story is really good. But there are a few things about writing bad fiction that shouldn't be ignored. In order to know this, you have to have read some good fiction. One of them is dealing with dialogue tags.
To see what I mean all you have to do is read the above excerpt a few times. It's simple, tight, and clean. No one "barked longingly," or "wretched lovingly." Clarence "said." He didn't "quip" or "joke." I don't think there's anything that annoys me more than said bookisms used too often. There are cases where it's okay; there are exceptions to every rule. But if I see them all the time I stop reading.
In any event, here's a link to read the story in full. And I think they talk about the 2014 contest if anyone's interested in submitting work.
This is actually something that came up yesterday while I was going over copy edits from the publisher for "The Vegas Shark." For some reason I'm not sure I understand, I feel close to this book in ways I don't feel about other books I've written. And nothing in this book is even remotely connected to my real life...or even past experiences. It's pure fiction in that sense.
In one of the notes from the copy editor...a woman...I found something interesting I wanted to share. Nowadays we see a great deal of information about gay men on social media, but that information doesn't always represent all gay men, especially gay men of a certain generation. We see the politically correct types crying bully all the time, while they are close to crossing the bully lines themselves and don't even realize it. One dear, sweet reader I know who is in a situation where he can't come out of the closet now...or maybe ever...recently told me a story about how a group of nasty gay men bullied and ridiculed him in a public coffee shop just because of the way he looked and the way he was dressed. That infuriates me to no end. Had I been there, I would have buried those nasty little queens and I probably would have been kicked out of the coffee shop. Unfortunately, we only see this type of gay man lately...the vegan hispter type with the puff of hair sticking up above his forehead...and that's not all there is to gay men.
So I had to politely explain a scene and a character to the copy editor and it wasn't easy. The biggest frustration for me is that I'm the gay man and I don't like to be questioned about being a gay man or my experiences as a gay man. It's one of the main reasons I never question anyone else. But I know the copy editor and I know she had good intentions. And I don't blame her at all for not getting it at first because the contradictions within gay culture run so rampant it's hard to keep track sometimes.
Here's a quote from the book. I had to add this make it clear, and to show the copy editor what I was trying to say. I thought it would be clear just from what I'd already written. Evidently I was wrong, and I figured if she didn't get it, readers might not get it either. Frankly, I'm not sure they will get it now. But that's all she wrote, so to speak.
When men did touch the strippers, which they often did, it happened fast and no one talked about it. Chickey said he didn’t like it, but never really screamed at anyone for doing it. As a gay man of a certain age, Chickey was often filled with contradictions most people wouldn’t understand. He came from a generation of gay men that cared more about where they’d find their next big penis than rainbows and equality. And the only thing he liked better than big penis was money.