Friday, June 21, 2013

Paula Deen and FN; What You Say Matters; Free Weekend Excerpt

As a follow up to a post I wrote earlier this week about FN star, Paula Deen, I wanted to link to this next article. I had a feeling we would be hearing more.

After two days of public backlash over revelations of celebrity chef Paula Deen’s tolerance for racism and use of racial epithets, the 66-year-old released three apology videos on Friday afternoon. Following her first video’s release and subsequent removal from her YouTube channel, the Food Network announced it would not be renewing Deen’s contract at the end of the month.

The first, 46-second video features a flush-faced Deen asking for forgiveness. “Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable,” she said. “I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but I beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners – I beg for your forgiveness.” The brief apology features several jump cuts, lacks any explanation for her “hurtful language” and fails to detail which mistakes she regrets.

As a result of all this, the food network decided not to renew her contract, which was up at the end of this month. You can also view the two apology videos Deen didn't take down from youtube.

We've seen things like this happen in the past with other major personalities, including those who spoke out against gays like Anita Bryant. And that happened many years ago. But I wanted to take a moment to point out that nowadays we all pretty much have to watch what we say in public, and how we say it. I heard of a local school teacher who had a blog last year where she ranted about her students. She lost her job as a result.

It doesn't always have to be something racially oriented to turn people off. I have seen comment threads where authors have gone on rants that I've never forgotten...or forgiven. I'm sure if I saw them, other people saw them. And when you go on rants like that what you say matters. I've even been the topic of vicious comment threads in the past where a mean author decided to take my books out of context, knowing nothing about me or my books. In spite of the hurt, I never responded, and never will respond, because I knew/know if I did it wouldn't make things any better. So I let the author have her malicious fun, and I moved on and wrote another fifty novels.

I'm not saying the an occasional rant every now and then about something you truly believe in your heart is wrong. No one can fault you for what you feel is right. I rant often about LGBT issues and I'm going to continue. I'm talking about random attacks on innocent people that weren't solicited or provoked. I'm talking about when people say hurtful mean things just for sport and there's really no reason.

The problem is that when you do things like this online it never disappears. People take screen shots even if you take blog posts and comment threads down. Once it's out there, it's there forever, and what you say matters. And when you do or say something horrible in public that's what people are going to remember the most. You can apologize all you want, and you can even be forgiven. You can wish everyone a happy pride day and pretend to be a virtual saint for the rest of your life. But in the end, each time they hear your name or they see you, they'll always remember that thing you did that was horrible and in most cases unprovoked. They will also be talking behind your back and you'll never know it. So what you say does matter, and that's just a cold hard fact.

Free Excerpt from Unpublished Book, Billionaire Bad Boys: The Palm Beach Stud

This is from the first page, and first chapter, of an upcoming book in the Bad Boy Billionaire series. I like to post these weekend excerpts because I often surf the web looking for things like this on weekends myself. The original title was The Palm Beach Real Estate Mogul, but we all thought that was too dull. Keep in mind this is the raw version, before edits, that I recently submitted to the publisher.


           One of the things Brady Bradley loved most about living in Palm Beach, Florida was the shopping. He could spend hours walking up and down Worth Avenue browsing through boutiques that sold some of the finest high end designer merchandise in the world. He tended to daydream while shopping, about his life, his wonderful husband, and all the things he had planned for the future.   

            He had favorite shops where the people knew him well enough to hold doors open for him, or suggest clothes he might like. In fact, many of the shops had him on file and when they received something they thought he might like, they phoned him before they even put it out on the floor for sale so he could drop in and see it first. He rarely had to park his red Porsche a great distance. Most places knew him well enough so that all he had to do was pull up to the entrance, leave the car running, and one of the sales clerks would watch it so he wouldn’t get a citation.

            One bright Florida morning in early May, Brady put the top down, put on his sunglasses, and sped out of the driveway entrance of the Palm Beach home that had been in his family since the 1930’s. For the past two years, he’d been living there with his husband, Kevin Erwin, one of the most powerful real estate billionaires in the country. Before that, Brady had grown up in this lavish Mediterranean style mansion with stucco walls, red tiled roofs, and perfectly manicured gardens. It was the only real home he’d ever known.

            Although his husband, Kevin, had wanted them to move to one of the million dollar properties he owned in Palm Beach, Brady couldn’t bring himself to leave the family compound no matter how hard he tried. His mom and younger brother still lived there, too, but not full time. The younger brother was in boarding school in New Hampshire and his mom spent a good deal of her time in the penthouse in New York. So Brady and Kevin had the massive old house all to themselves most of the year.

            Brady was on his way to Tiffany’s on Worth Avenue that morning. Kevin had been complaining that his wedding ring…a huge square diamond set in platinum…was too loose and he couldn’t wear it because he was afraid he’d lose it. Kevin had put the wedding ring in a chest of drawers in his closet and said he would get it sized correctly sometime in the future. But Brady knew his husband all too well. If he wasn’t busy dealing with something real estate related, he was out playing golf talking about something real estate related. Brady knew Kevin wouldn’t take the time to get the ring sized properly and this symbol of their love was something Brady took very seriously. Even though gay marriage wasn’t legal at the time, Brady’s wedding vows had been the most important thing in his life to date. He loved his husband so much, and he loved being married so much, he never took his matching wedding ring off. Brady worked out with it, he bathed with it, and even wore it when he had his body waxed every week. He often flashed it around on purpose, just to let other people know he was married to the most wonderful man, handsomest in the world. And Brady wanted Kevin to feel the same pride in their marriage, and Brady felt terrible because Kevin couldn’t do that with a wedding ring that didn’t fit.

            On his way to Tiffany’s he stopped at Jimmy Choo for that new pair of brown suede loafers he’d ordered. After that, he parked the car and went into Island Company to pick up a few pairs of swim trunks for both of them. When Brady and Kevin were alone at the house they always swam nude in the pool, but Brady liked having the newest swim trunks each season and he’d always found the quality better at Island Company than anywhere else.

            Brady was a little finicky about his swim trunks. He’d always been more conservative than flashy. He didn’t want to look like those older gay guys in Fort Lauderdale who wore those hideous skimpy bikinis with their stomachs overflowing and their grotesque crotches bulging. He preferred his swim trunks loose and natural, and not obnoxious. He didn’t feel the need to advertise his private parts all over the place to strangers, and often wondered why some men did.

            Unfortunately, the pithy young sales person in the store didn’t seem to agree with him. Brady found a pair of light blue swim trunks in the softest fabric he’d ever touched and asked if he could try them on. But when he stepped out of the fitting room wearing the tasteful, conservative swim trunks the sales person was waiting for him with a few strong opinions of his own…all completely unsolicited.

            “Oh, cutie,” the sales person said, “You have the body to wear something more like this.” He held up a pair of tight red swim trunks with pencil thin black side stripes. Then he walked over to the mirror where Brady was standing, held the red swim trunks up to Brady’s waist, and pushed them up against the front of Brady’s body so hard Brady almost fell back into an underwear display.

            Brady glanced down at the red swim trunks and made a face. “I don’t think they are for me, but thanks for the suggestion.” This guy was new in the store and he didn’t know Brady was a regular customer. He seemed to be in his mid-twenties and spoke with a New York accent. He was painfully thin and the black skinny jeans he wore had been a huge mistake. They only made his legs look thinner, his chest appear more sunken, and his feet look bigger than they already were. He also had the strangest shade of dark black hair Brady had ever seen, cut in a dramatic way where one side was longer than the other and pushed forward over his forehead in points.

            The sales person frowned and insisted he try on the red swim trunks. “This color with your dark blond hair and your nice big tanned muscles is just perfect, cutie. I absolutely insist you try them on.” Then he set his bony hand on the small of Brady’s back and guided him back to the fitting room.

            He wanted to go in with Brady and help him change. But Brady gave him a polite push back and said, “I think I can do it alone.” He didn’t even like these tight red swim trunks, but he didn’t want to appear rude. He figured he’d try them on to be nice, and then he’d say he didn’t like them.

            But when he emerged from the fitting room this time, the sales person threw his skinny arms in the air and said, “Oh, that’s more like it, cutie. You look like a model now. It’s radical. It’s freaking epic, dude.”

            Brady hadn’t heard anyone use words like radical and epic in such a dramatic way in years, not since George Bush had been President. He turned toward a three-way mirror and glanced at his body. The red fabric was so sheer he could see the outline of his penis popping from his crotch, and the faint traces of that little line of dark pubic hair he left in place all the time when he manscaped were evident. Brady had never worried about his body; he didn’t feel self-conscious in that sense. When he turned sideways and arched his back, he noticed the tight swim trunk rode up his behind in a way that looked as if the swim trunks had been painted on his body. His butt looked great. Brady had been working out for years to maintain a defined torso and slim waist. But he’d never felt the need to advertise his body in public this way…or to objectify it…and he felt a little awkward, and self-conscious, standing there as three older men stopped shopping for cargo shorts to glance in his direction.

            The sales person walked up to him and ran his hand up and down Brady’s bottom in a rather bold, unexpected way. “This is definitely something that will attract attention no matter where you go.”

            “Or get me arrested,” Brady said. He looked at himself in the mirror again and laughed. His penis had shifted and it was sticking out in front through the fabric.  “I don’t think this is me. But thank you for the suggestion.” Then he turned and walked back to the fitting room in his bare feet. By that time he noticed from the corner of his eye he’d attracted the attention of four more men. They were laughing and leaning into each other, murmuring things he couldn’t hear. This was another reason why he tended to be more conservative with things like swim trunks. He was married and he didn’t want anyone looking at him that way unless it was his husband, Kevin. No other man in the world had what he needed, except for Kevin Erwin.

            When he came out of the fitting room the third time, he was wearing the jeans and blue T-shirt he’d worn into the store. The other men were still standing around, as if waiting for another show. So Brady handed the sales person four pairs of his usual swim trunks, plus the tight red pair, and said, “I’ll take all of these, including the red trunks you suggested. My husband will love the red ones especially.” He emphasized the word husband on purpose. He wanted them all to hear he was married, and he wanted them to know he didn’t appreciate being looked at that way.

            At Tiffany’s, he tried Kevin’s ring on before he left to be sure they’d sized it correctly this time. Brady had taken one of Kevin’s other rings that he knew fit well and he’d had them size the wedding ring to that. When he was certain they’d done a good job, he paid them and walked back to his car. He threw his packages into the back seat, jumped into the driver’s seat without opening the door, and pulled away with a quick jerk. He’d told Kevin he would be out all day. He’d said he was visiting a good friend in Jupiter and that he wouldn’t be home until at least five o’clock that afternoon. He knew Kevin would be working all afternoon in his home office at the back of the house in a building Brady had had built just to accommodate Kevin’s real estate business. He wanted to surprise Kevin by walking into the office wearing nothing but the skimpy red swim trunks and the newly sized wedding ring.

            On his way home, he planned this with such care he actually turned off the motor and parked in the driveway near the front door so Kevin wouldn’t hear him pulling into the garage in the back. He climbed out of the convertible without opening the door, grabbed his packages, and slipped into the main entrance without letting anyone know he’d come home. He managed to sneak up to his bedroom so gently not even the house staff knew he’d returned. And that wasn’t an easy thing to do, because his housekeeper, Anne, rarely missed anyone coming or going. She’d been with his family for years and she’d watched him grow up. She was a large woman who wore black tent dresses and gray vinyl mules. Though she rocked from side to side when she walked, and had been known to eat an entire loin of pork in one sitting without coming up for air, she ran that house so well no one dared to cross her, including Kevin.


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