Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beekman 1802 Pasta Sauce; Gay Amish; FREE Bad Boy Excerpt

Yesterday I posted about a new brand of pasta sauce being made by gay couple, Josh and Brent, at Beekman 1802. You can read more about that here, and learn more about Beekman 1802. But the reason I'm posting about it again today is because I happened to see another brand of pasta sauce on a morning news show earlier today and I thought it was interesting.

First, the Beekman 1802 pasta sauce is organic and contains nothing artificial. It comes from heirloom tomatoes, and it's priced at 7.95 for a 26 ounce jar. But more than that, 25% of all proceeds from this pasta sauce go to US farmers to help them pay off their mortgages. I like that. I know a few farmers here in Bucks County and I know how hard they struggle.

So when I heard another guy talking about his new pasta sauce this morning on TV, and I heard what he was charging compared to what Josh and Brent are charging, I had to post something about it again. This new 35.00 a jar pasta sauce I saw on TV this morning is called "Sunday Gravy." Tony and I both have Italian American backgrounds, and we know that on Sundays the main meal of the day for many Italian Americans begins in the afternoon and there's always pasta and gravy. Notice how we don't call it sauce. It's called gravy and I think that has something to do with the fact that there's almost always meat in it.

In short, the Sunday meal begins with some kind of antipasto...cheeses, roasted peppers, stuffed peppers, etc...then goes to pasta with gravy, after that a meat course is served, and then there's usually a salad at the end of the meal. That's just a basic description of how it works. There's garlic bread, and things like pizzelle.

I'm not a prolific cook, and I'm no stranger to pasta sauces that cost anywhere from fifteen dollars a jar to twenty dollars a jar, but I have never seen one that costs 35.00 a jar. They claim "Sunday Gravy" contains all kinds of braised meats and it takes hour to make. That's true. It does take hours to make. When Tony makes a huge batch it's on the stove from morning until the time we sit down to dinner in the evening. But that slow cooking doesn't make it any more expensive than something that's cooked in a half hour. And the meat thing with this "Sunday Gravy" makes me wonder, too, because traditionally it's always been the cheapest cuts that go in to pasta gravy. I knew a woman from The Bronx who used to used chicken feet because she claimed it made the gravy silkier.

So I'm just not sure what warrants the 35.00 price tag on "Sunday Gravy," especially compared to the 7.95 price tag on the new Beekman 1802 brand where 25% of the proceeds go to help pay off mortgages.

And this only makes me want to order the Beekman 1802 brand even more now. I will post a follow up after I've had it.

Gay Amish

One of the things I've learned from an Amish reader who guest posted here once, is that Amish people in general are not thrilled with the way publishing portrays the Amish in romance books. Most of the time they are insulted, and sometimes they even laugh at it. According to my Amish friend, it's never right, it's always glorified and unrealistic, and it makes Amish people look nothing like they really are. Many times it makes them look backward. And I can personally tell you that this is NOT true. I have never met anyone brighter, sharper, and more interesting than my Amish friend. And, he has this excellent knack for writing most published writers don't have these days.

I know we're talking about romance, where it's supposed to be all about escapism and fantasy. And I've defended that before. But where do we draw the lines? Especially if we're insulting a group of people who didn't ask anyone to write about them in the first place.

I know how they feel. While most of the gay fiction I read seems to be accurate and the authors to take their time to get it right, I often find discussions on blogs, and comment threads on these same blogs, where they discuss gay people as if they are gazing at them through a microscope. Most of the time it's all hooded opinion and conjecture. One in particular makes my blood curdle. She knows it all and as far as I know she's not even gay.

But I'm talking about the Amish now, and gay Amish in particular. I found a few links that are interesting and I think they help portray the Amish in a more realistic way.

This one is interesting:

Unfortunately for many people, their "knowledge" of the Amish comes almost entirely from TV and movies. A columnist for the NEW YORK POST wrote late last year that "Everything I know about the Amish, I learned from the old Harrison Ford movie, WITNESS." While undoubtedly an exaggeration, this is a bit like watching a Tarzan movie in order to learn about African culture, or "The Sopranos" to gain insight into the lives of average Italian-Americans today. While such shows may be entertaining, they also stereotype and make it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

This one talks about growing up gay and being Amish:

James Schwartz was raised in an Amish community in Michigan. In a segment on HuffPost Live, he shared his struggle to fit into this group when he realized he was gay.

The reason I don't post about this often is because the Amish are extremely private and they don't like to discuss themselves. It's also the reason why it's hard to find links about them. I understand that and respect it. But I also think it's important to break stereotypes, too, sometimes. If anyone has anything to share, please feel free to comment. I handle all anonymous comments with aboslute discretion and no one will ever know who you are.

Free Bad Boy Excerpt: The Vegas Shark

I don't think I've had as much fun writing a book in years as I did with The Vegas Shark. I actually hated to see it end and that almost never happens with me. I tend to look at the books I'm writing in a more objective way and I don't get attached to them. This excerpt has never been published in retail web sites before. It's a scene where Chad and Treston are just getting to know each other. Treston's hiding in the closet, listening to Chad and his annoying boyfriend that he's nick named "Pussycat." And that's only because his real name is "Dare," which he thinks is stupid. In this case, Chad's a the bad boy, the liar, and the scoundrel. And Treston knows it. I did have to edit a few things because this blog is rated pg, but nothing's been edited in the version for sale.

           Chad said, “I love you so much pussycat. But all I want to do tonight is hold you in my arms and fall asleep. I don’t want to ruin the moment with sex. It would bee too cruel. I want this night to be about emotion and the love between us. We’ll make love in the morning.”

            Treston rolled his eyes and laughed into his hand. He had to admit this was one of the best lines he’d ever heard a guy say when he didn’t want to have sex. He knew damn well Chad couldn’t get his forty-seven year old penis up again until morning. 

            The poor fool believed every word Chad said about love and emotion. “That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to me, sweetie-pie,” Dare said. “Let’s get into bed right now and close our eyes.”

            “I’ll be there in a minute, pussycat,” Chad said. “I think I left the light on in the closet.”

            When Treston heard Chad coming toward the closet door, Treston moved away and backed into a row of expensive dark suits. There had to be hundreds.

            Chad opened the door slightly and slipped inside. He lifted his index finger to his lips and started to whisper. “Don’t say anything; just kiss me.” Then he grabbed Treston by the back of the head, pulled him closer, and shoved his tongue into his mouth.

            Treston didn’t understand, at least not at first. But it only took a minute of kissing and he realized what was happening. He reached down, grabbed the erection poking out of Chad’s black sweat pants, and said, “I thought you were going to just hold the poor dumb bastard in your arms all night because it’s so romantic. We just had sex. I thought you said you were on a twenty-four hour erection cycle.”

            Chad reached around and grabbed his bottom. When he did this he seemed to grow more sexually aroused. “I wanted to see if I could get it up again sooner. And thanks to you I can. You’re the best.”

            Treston couldn’t believe what he’d just heard. This guy had no limits. “You really are a fucking asshole. I should go out there right now and tell the poor dumb fuck what’s been going on here all night. I’m starting to feel obligated to do the right thing.”

            Chad kissed him again and smiled. “But you won’t do it, will you?”

            The saddest thing of all was Treston knew if he did go out and tell Dare the truth, Dare probably wouldn’t have believed him anyway. They never do. Treston wouldn’t have believed anyone if he’d been in Dare’s place, so he knew it would just be a waste of his time and energy. Besides, he’d learned in life people usually have to figure things out on their own.  So he stroked Chad a few times and said, “No, I won’t. But I’d like to go home soon, you forty-seven year old fucker. I’m tired. I’ve had a long day and I’d like to brush my teeth.”

            “Just wait until he’s sleeping,” Chad said. “As soon as it’s okay, I’ll get you out safely. I promise. I’ll even have a car take you home.” He looked into his eyes and smiled. “Please do this for me.”

            Treston shrugged. “I’ll do this for him, not for you. So don’t give me your helpless look. There’s nothing about you that’s honest or decent or helpless. And frankly, I don’t feel like getting into any drama tonight that’s none of my business. You people mean nothing to me.”

            Chad kissed his forehead and said, “Thanks. I owe you.”

            “You don’t owe me anything.”

            As he turned to leave, Chad pointed to his crotch and said, “And thanks for this, too. You're the best.”

            Treston lowered his head and laughed. Then he twirled his finger and said, “Any time, idiot.”

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