Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rainbow eBooks Shutting Down; Free Excerpt The Arrangement

Rainbow eBooks Shutting Down

I'd heard about this last week, but didn't want to post anything until I knew for certain and had a link. Rainbow eBooks, which has been selling digital books with LGBT content, is shutting its web site down at the end of this month.

Rainbow eBooks has announced today that they are shutting down their online bookstore. The web store will remain active for purchases through September 30, 2013 and will remain active for customer downloads through December 31, 2013. After December 31, 2013 Rainbow eBooks will provide direct links to publishers.

The rest of the article goes on to mention how important it is to back up your e-books just in case something like this happens. And it has happened before (1placeforromance.com, and fictionwise.com) and it WILL happen again. It's also why established authors with small start up presses should be seriously thinking about learning indie publishing if they want to survive. If the online retail stores aren't lasting, the small online presses won't either. It's especially important for those with multiple titles at small presses. If that small press shutters you'll want to release your backlisted books. My prediction is that most authors of the future will be selling their own books directly from their own web sites...kind like what J.K. Rowling did.

The bookstore feature of J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website went live Tuesday, enabling English-language readers to buy the digital editions of all seven Harry Potter novels—and the audiobook editions—from anywhere in the world. Editions in French, Italian, German and Spanish will be the next wave.
The author who is also the businessperson will flourish in the coming decades.

I don't think Rainbow eBooks shutting down is any reflection on e-books in a general sense. E-books aren't going to disappear because a small business shuts down. Brick and mortar bookstores have been going out of business for years and there could be multiple reasons why that vary from business to business.

I think it's more of a reflection on small businesses, and how hard it is to get any small business off the ground to the point where it's at least breaking even. It's also a reflection on how hard it is to get any LGBT oriented business to make a profit, especially in publishing. I see more gay men reading mainstream books than LGBT oriented books all the time. It's a tight niche market and only a small percentage of the population is going to read LGBT content, and that includes gay people. In the same respect, it was a brave venture for the people who started Rainbow eBooks and I'm sorry to see them go.

Free Excerpt The Arrangement

This is an excerpt from a novella I wrote about a year and a half ago titled, The Arrangement. It was released through ravenous romance as a collaboration with author Andrew Grey who also wrote a novella of his own. The book is titled In Bed with the Boss. My novella is about a young guy during the early l960's who winds up working in an office building in New York and falling in love with his married boss during a time when anything considered even remotely homosexual was taboo.

Once again, this is the raw version, and you can read the full excerpt with all of the erotic scenes here at my Word Press Blog. It's the full first chapter of the novella. The novella is about 25,000 words in length. I don't like to add anything with adult content to this blog. And the word press excerpt is much longer than this one.

In l962, if a man was attracted to another man, he was considered a homosexual in clinical terms. In more realistic everyday terms, men like this were considered queers, fags, pansies, deviants, and perverts. Among other crude references, which ranged from pillow-biter to corn-holer, depending on how graphic someone wanted to be, men who were even remotely attracted to other men were, in essence, sick freaks of nature and societal outcasts. And if a man and fell in love with another man, he was one step beyond royally screwed. In other words, there wasn’t much hope.

            Toby McFarlane didn’t think of himself as a freak or a pervert, at least not deep down inside where it really mattered. Though he wasn’t sure two men could fall in love with each other, he didn’t discard the concept either.

It wasn’t until he graduated from college and realized his attraction to men wasn’t a stage when he finally decided to stop fighting his feelings and learn to live with them. And even that wasn’t easy. He never went a day without feeling anxious or worried that someone would figure him out. He was always looking over his shoulder, making sure he didn’t make the wrong gestures or give anyone the wrong look. So he did the best he could to blend in with everyone else, which seemed to be the safest way to live his life.  

In the summer of l962, right after he graduated from the ultra conservative Drew University in New Jersey, Toby moved to New York City. It seemed like the best thing to do. He took a small apartment in midtown Manhattan on the fourth floor of a building that had once been a large single family home. He figured moving to New York would be safe and there would be more men like him in an urban environment. He knew there were more men like him; he’d read about them and heard about them. But he just wasn’t sure how…or where…to meet them. There had to be a way to search them out, and he was determined to do it.  

A week after he moved to New York he went on an interview. They offered him the job that day and he accepted it with a huge smile and his strongest, manliest handshake. The next Monday he went to work as an assistant art director for Johnson, Frederick, and Lindsay Advertising, Inc, where he fell into a comfortable routine. It was the golden age of advertising and Toby couldn’t have asked for a better position. He wore dark suits and white shirts to work, with skinny solid ties, boxer shorts in pastel colors, and always white undershirts. On his feet he wore black Thom MaCan’s he had shined once a week by an old man named Otis in the lobby of his office building on Madison Avenue. He ate lunch at Horn and Hardart and ordered cheap Chinese take out three times a week. On weekends, he took long walks in central park and took the bus to Newark, NJ, so he could shop in Bamberger’s because he thought it was cheaper than Macy’s. On the third Saturday of every month he rode the subway downtown to little Italy to maintain his short dark hair. The barber on Mulberry Street, between Defazio’s Bakery and Orritelli’s shoe repair, only charged three dollars. In those days, Toby’s ninety dollar a week salary wasn’t considered terrible, but he’d learned how to stretch a dollar and make it last.

            When Toby walked to work in the morning, he looked just like all the other men on the street. He even wore a dark felt hat and a baggy beige raincoat during inclement weather. The only thing that ever really set him apart from the other men was that he often carried a large portfolio to the office instead of a briefcase. Sometimes he took work home, especially when he was working on an advertising campaign that needed extra attention. When he was inside the office among his peers, no one would ever have guessed he was more interested in the cute young guy who brought the mail up at eleven every morning than he was in the shapely blond receptionist in the front waiting area. That is no one except for Brad Lindsay, one of Toby’s bosses and the third and youngest partner in the advertising agency.

Brad and Toby were both in their twenties, both thin and attractive; both had similar hair cuts and wore similar suits. If Toby’s hair hadn’t been a few shades darker than Brad’s, they could have passed as brothers. The only real difference between them was that Brad was married to Carl Frederick’s daughter, Misty, and Brad had been made a junior partner the day after his wedding. And Toby was single and considered a bachelor.

They weren’t men who should have been close friends, and wouldn’t have been if something hadn’t happened one Friday evening the first autumn Toby worked there. Toby had stayed late to work on a project that had been bothering him. He was the new guy in the office and he wanted to impress his bosses. He’d been trying to come up with a new slogan for a baby food company and he’d been working so hard that day his head was pounding. He’d forgotten to eat lunch and lost track of time. When he finally took a break to go to the men’s room, he ran into Brad Lindsay at the urinals. Brad was standing there leaning back, with his legs spread wide and one hand on his penis. He glanced at Toby and sent him a cocky smile, and then started to whistle a tuneless song that made the short hairs on the back of Toby’s neck stand up.

Toby returned the smile and took a quick breath. He regained his composure and tried to act casual. He usually avoided the men’s room at all cost because it made him feel awkward and out of place. He’d never been a man’s man in the sense that he didn’t know how to talk about sports and dreaded it when other men started talking dirty about women. But he didn’t have a choice now. If he left without doing anything he would have looked peculiar. So he walked up to a urinal at the opposite end of where Brad Lindsay was peeing and pulled down his zipper. Toby’s hands felt a little shaky and his heart started to race. Brad continued to whistle; he took his time and remained in front of the urinal far longer than he should have.

Toby pulled his penis out of his pants and glanced down. He didn’t look sideways and he concentrated on what he was doing. But he felt his ears getting red and his heart had begun to race. If he’d known Brad was in there he would have waited another fifteen minutes.

Then Brad caught him off guard. He smiled and glanced in Toby’s direction again. “Working late tonight?”

This was the first time Toby had actually encountered Brad Lindsay up close. He’d nodded hello and smiled at him in the elevator. But he’d never actually been face to face with him alone. Toby froze; he gulped and said, “Ah well, I’m working on the baby food campaign.”

Brad laughed. “Oh, you poor sucker. I heard all about that son of a bitch. He’s one of the worst clients we’ve ever had. It’s impossible to please him.”

Although they were about the same age, Brad was Toby’s boss and Toby knew he had to treat him like a boss, not a buddy. He’d watched the way other people treated Brad: with great care. “I’ll figure out something that will make him happy, Mr. Lindsay. You can count on that.” Toby was ambitious. So far, he liked working there. And he knew he could only depend on his work ethics and his talents to get ahead because there was no way he’d ever marry the boss’s daughter. Toby had overheard the office gossip. They laughed and said Brad would have been working in the mail room if he hadn’t married old man Frederick’s daughter.


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