Friday, April 19, 2013

Who Bradley Cooper Lives With; New Adult by Jill Hughes; Free Excerpt "A Cowboy in Love"

 



Who Bradley Cooper lives with might come as a surprise to some, but I found it kind of nice when I read that he lives with his mom. I have read that he's from my area...Jenkintown, PA, which is about a half hour drive from New Hope...but I'm not exactly sure about those details.

“It’s not like I live in a compound and she’s in the guesthouse. No. She’s in the next room,” he tells Details magazine in its latest issue. ”But here’s the thing. She’s a cool chick. We can hang and she can roll with the punches.”

Together, they can get through tough times. Cooper, 38, explains that after his father’s death two years ago, he and his mom moved in together for support.

“My family is very close and my dad dying was brutal for all of us,” he says. “It was a schism and its aftershock has not stopped. And we need each other. So here we are.”

I've always been very close to my family, and to Tony's family. And neither of us would think twice about bringing anyone in our family to live with us. Family comes first. Nursing homes are not an option for us unless it is the ultimate absolute last resort. Period. My dad has been in CHF recently and the prognosis isn't good. I would love to have both my parents come live here (there's plenty of room) and they insist on maintaining their independence. So I think Bradley Cooper is actually kind of lucky that his mom didn't resist moving in with him. (They can be very stubborn sometimes :)

New Adult Fiction by Jill Elaine Hughes

I've become a huge fan of the New Adult Fiction genre for various reasons. One of which is that I'm getting a little over a lot of the issues and debates (and ridiculous drama and sometimes creepiness) that go along with m/m romance. I'm also not fond of the way gay men in general are represented these days in some of these books. In many cases gay men either wind up looking like pet poodles, poster boys for bullying, or eunuchs. And the fact that I am a gay man often makes me question my own writing now more than ever before.

And one thing I find refreshing about New Adult Fiction is that gay characters can be introduced in books as either main characters or minor characters, and often without labels or stereotypes. Gay people can just be people like everyone else. I'm not sure how this works with romance, but I do think there's sub-genre potential for something like New Adult Romance that might take the place of what we now know as m/m romance. Of course that's only conjecture on my part, and for all I know the New Adult genre might blossom into something different as it evolves. But from what I've seen so far, I'm really loving it and I'm even planning on getting more involved myself in the future. My first and foremost passion will always be gay fiction...and the sub-genres that go along with it that include gay romance, gay erotica, and suspense. But New Adult seems to be offering both a new approach to mainstream gay characters with hetero characters, and a way to get rid of the stereotypical gay stories. And it doesn't always have to be erotic. I think sex in New Adult is important because what new adult doesn't have sex.

In any event, I've been reading the latest new adult fiction of author Jill Hughes lately in my spare time and I'm thoroughly enjoying her take on the genre. Here's one of her books on Amazon. I'm not finished reading it, but I will post something in the future about it.

A New Adult erotic BDSM thriller. Set in Cleveland, Ohio and the Ukraine, DOMINO is the story of a young, shy college girl's sexual awakening through art and bondage. An American version of THE STORY OF O, with elements of classic international thrillers, DOMINO can appeal to the classic erotica reader as well as New Adult fans.

Plot Summary:
21-year-old Nancy Delaney is finishing up her third year of college when her magazine-editor roommate asks her to go review an art opening in downtown Cleveland. The artist is mysterious international playboy and eccentric Peter Rostovich, and the art is like nothing innocent, virginal Nancy has ever encountered before. Multimedia artist Rostovich has created an erotic art installation all about S&M bondage — complete with a live sculpture that’s so realistic, it gets the whole exhibit shut down by the Cleveland police.

Aspiring journalist Nancy’s nose for news smells a hot story idea, which she sells to the Cleveland Plan Dealer. But as she works to get her story, she soon becomes intimately entangled with Rostovich, who finds her irresistible. Rostovich becomes Nancy’s ticket to sexual awakening, and she soon discovers she has an appetite for bondage, too.

And there’s far more to Rostovich than just his art — he’s involved in a strange, violent criminal underworld that kidnaps Nancy and spirits her halfway around the world, where she’s held prisoner and made to serve as private Dominant-for-hire somewhere in the former Soviet Union. Will the sexual powers Rostovich helped awaken in her be Nancy’s only hope for escape?


As you can see, this is a sub-genre of New Adult, in the form of erotica, and so far I'm loving every word of it. I also find that there's a certain amount of escapism that I get from romance novels, but in a more realistic way if that makes sense. I'm not always fond of the word escapism, however, it does sum up the reasons why I read books like this. As a side note, I'm actually finding more enjoyment reading hetero erotic written by straight men lately. I'll post more about this in the future, with a link to a straight guy who's really writing some excellent erotica out there.

Jill Elaine Hughes is a freelance writer...a career writer...who is prolific in many areas. She writes for universities as well as writing fiction. She has that unusual ability that's gold for writers where she can switch gears and hop genres, which isn't always simple to do.

Free Excerpt From New Bad Boy Billionaire Book: A Cowboy in Love

Here's a raw excerpt from my latest book in the Bad Boy Billionaire series, "A Cowboy in Love." This is the sixth book in the series and one of the things I've worked hard to do was to keep each book...even though it's a series...markedly different from the previous books in the series. This is gay romance, by definition of what gay romance is supposed to be for gay writers. And this particular book in the series involves the grieving process and how one gay man finds it impossible to get over the death of his partner of twelve years. In spite of the fact that the main character, Bailey Chalfont, is a true modern day rake, I wanted to portray him as someone who is a victim of his circumstances, and that he can move forward. There may be things in this book that make people hate him at times, but I'm hoping that hatred doesn't last for long.

This is a scene where Bailey sees his adopted daughter for the first time in a few months. I also find it important these days to introduce characters of different races into my fiction...just like it is in real life for all of us. I think that's been ignored for far too long, and fiction seems to have this unspoken segregation, and I'm doing my own part in rectifying this on my own small scale.


Bailey pulled up to the front entrance and turned off the motor. He squeezed her hand again and said, “You always look gorgeous to me.” After an absence of a few months, each time Bailey saw her she seemed to grow taller and leaner. She now had those high defined cheek bones female models have, and soft smooth bronze skin. He could now see the woman she would one day become. It looked as if she’d let her straight dark hair grow longer since Christmas. And she’d cut her bangs in a way that almost covered her eyebrows. He reached up, ran his palm across her head, and said, “I like the new look. It makes you look very sophisticated. I can only imagine the fresh hells I have in store for me when boys start to notice it.” She was seventeen now, and she seemed to have avoided a good deal of all the drama and angst most teenagers go through. He often wondered what was to come, because up until now she seemed too good to be true. But then again, neither one of them had had much time in the last year to go through the normal, mundane things other people deal with. It reminded him of something his grandmother used to say about menopause, “Who had time to have a change of life? My husband had a major heart attack when I had my first hot flash. I had more to worry about than growing a beard. By the time I realized it happened to me I was an older woman and it was too late to have a silly self-indulgent mid-life crisis.” Bailey had learned the hard way that traumatic events often redefine people in ways they never expected.

            “Please, dad,” she said. “I had it cut this way because Michelle Obama had her hair cut like this for the inauguration. I have no interest in boys, thank you.” She’d always been the political type, like Christopher, which fascinated Bailey. He’d never cared one way or the other about politics, and he’d learned first-hand how vicious and sneaky most politicians are from his dealings with them through his oil business. He’d never met one who didn’t have his or her hand out, and he’d filled plenty of palms to get what he wanted.

            Bailey knew this was Kendra’s weakest spot: boys. She’d never shown any obvious interest in boys, but he had a feeling it was all an act and that she was still insecure about them. He kissed her on the cheek and opened the door to get out. “I’m glad to hear that, because boys are no good. They are bad news. I was a boy once and I know. I was rotten. You’re better off focusing on school and your sports and maybe you’ll be the first woman President.” When he thought about the things he’d done with men, especially in the past year, he shuddered just thinking about men doing these things to his daughter. He knew this was a double standard; he didn’t care. He wanted to keep her just as sweet and innocent as Christopher had been when they’d first met. 

            She opened her door and climbed out. She reached into the backseat to get his bag and said, “I highly doubt that, dad. I’m only seventeen. If it takes that long for us to get the first woman President we’re all in big trouble.” She also considered herself a full-fledged feminist. She’d met Hillary Clinton at an affair at the White House Bailey had been invited to attend once during the Bush administration, and Chelsea Clinton was her absolute idol.

            “Well maybe you’ll be the third or fourth woman President,” Bailey said. He wanted to keep talking about things like this. He didn’t want to talk about himself, or anything that involved Christopher. He knew she wanted to talk about more personal things, but he couldn’t take the look in her eyes when they did.

            Kendra tossed his suitcase over the roof of the car without giving him a warning. When he caught it, just in time, she laughed and said, “Good catch for an older dude.”

            “Very funny,” he said. He was actually younger than most of her friends parents. And, he often lied about his age to people who didn’t know any better. Bailey figured that if he looked twenty-five why not just tell people he was twenty-five. They didn’t have to know he was almost thirty-three.

            “Please,” she said. “You know I’m not serious. All my friends think you’re the hot dad. It’s actually kind of disgusting.”

            He joined her at the front door and said, “Do they know I’m gay.” It made him smile to think anyone thought he was hot, men or women.

            She laughed. “They don’t care about that. They think you’re hot anyway. And when I show them photos of dad they go insane.” She stopped short, as if she’d said or done something wrong. She was referring to Christopher as “dad” that time, not Bailey.

            Bailey sensed what had happened and he rested his hand on hers and said, “It’s okay to talk about him. Seriously. He’s always going to be part of our lives and nothing is ever going to change that.” Then he dropped the suitcase and gave her a hug. He really didn’t want to talk about Christopher, but when he saw the fear in her eyes, he knew he had to say something positive…or at the very least reassuring.  

            “I just want things to be good this summer,” she said. “I want us to have fun and I want things like they used to be. I’ll be going to college the summer after this and I’d like this summer to be like old times.”

            Bailey knew that would never happen. Without Christopher around nothing would ever be the same again for either of them. But he couldn’t tell her that, so he patted her back and said, “It’s going to be okay. We’re going to be okay.”

            The main house was a sprawling thirty thousand square foot shingle-style white affair with dark green shutters. It had subdued turrets, oval features, and arches at the roof that gave it a slightly more traditional look one might see on the east coast. Some sections had French doors leading out to balconies, and others had arched doorways and windows. There were even a few elegant bay windows with ornate trim, and all the brick chimneys had been painted white. To look at the house from a distance it would have worked just as well on a cliff in Newport, Rhode Island. When his grandparents had built the house his grandmother’s love of summers spent in New England were clearly apparent.

            To Bailey it was home, just like any other home. He opened the front door, waited for Kendra to enter, and he followed her into the main hall. The entire house, including the main hall, had undergone extensive renovations four years earlier. It had been one of Christopher’s projects and he’d overseen most of the work. Christopher had always loved things monochromatic, and most of the house had been redone in pale shades of gray and taupe. For the floor in the front hall he’d chosen pale gray and white marble set in a diamond pattern. He’d had the walls painted the same shade of pale gray and the trim painted white. He’d told Bailey he’d wanted the entrance of the house to be welcoming and also stress free for anyone who entered. As for furnishings, Christopher had removed a good deal of Bailey’s grandmother’s heavy old pieces and replaced them with leaner, lighter tables and chairs that had a French appeal. The main source of color in the main hall came from antique gilded frames and mirrors. Bailey had been so impressed with the renovations, and so proud of the home Christopher had created for them, he’d phone a friend in New York and he’d arranged to have the entire house featured in Architectural Digest.

            As he crossed the main hall, toward the grand semi-circular staircase, he felt as if he’d lived a million lives since the photo shoot with Architectural Digest. They’d all been so happy then; just the three of them living in their dream home, doing the simple quiet things all happy families do. Now it just felt cold and empty and gray, and Bailey couldn’t let Kendra see that he felt this way. He wanted to get upstairs fast, change his clothes, and go out for a long ride on his favorite horse all alone so he could think. Maybe Christopher would show up again and help him figure things out.  

            But when he reached for the banister, a huge black dog came running from the back of the house toward Kendra. He wagged his massive tail and rubbed his head against her thigh. When she bent down to pet his decrepit head and scratch his uneven ears, she said, “There’s my baby. Look who’s here, Dunstan. It’s dad.”

            The big dog was around ten years old…they’d never been certain…and looked every bit his age. One eye drooped lower than the other, he had a wart on his forehead, he was missing half his teeth, and he had a perpetual stream of drool hanging from the left side of his snout. They’d never been exactly sure of his breed, but Bailey had always sworn he had bear in him. Christopher had picked him up from the side of the road on his way home from the counseling center where he’d worked and Dunstan had been with them ever since.

            The only problem was the dog hated Bailey, and Bailey had never been too fond of him. And when the floppy old dog turned and saw Bailey standing near the stairs, he stopped wagging his tail, showed the few teeth he had left, and growled.


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