Friday, April 10, 2015

Free Gay Excerpt; Publishing Scams; Barry Manilow's Glass Closet

Publishing Scams

I try to keep on top of everything in publishing even if I don't post about it. The problem is that other than an Amazon lawsuit where Amazon is suing someone for creating fake reviews, not much of interest has been happening in publishing. Oh wait, I read something about Harper Collins going back to the agency pricing model. Now that's big, fascinating news.

In any event, here's a piece about a publishing scam that the blogger followed for years.

I first heard of Senese in 2007, when I began to get questions about a project called Bookbeat--a supposedly  in-development TV show featuring books and authors. Despite a cheesy-looking website full of ungrammatical text, Bookbeat purported to be affiliated with major players in the entertainment industry. No staff were named on the website, but a fairly easy-to-trace trail led to Senese, who claimed to head the impressively-titled Orion Entertainment Group, and to have authored a bestselling blockbuster novel called Cloning Christ.

You can read the rest here. It's an older blog that's been around for a while now. I sometimes agree, and sometimes don't. The main point is that there are many publishing scams going on right now, with authors, bloggers, and greedy ambitious people and you have to be cautious with everything. Especially where you donate your money these days on crowdfunding sites. They seem to be the worst of all. I recently witnessed a lot of good people donate thousands of dollars to a legal fund and the person they donated to turned out to be one of the biggest scammers of all time. I'm waiting to see if, or when, that will be rectified.

Barry Manilow's Glass Closet

This is interesting to me because in my most recent novel in The Rainbow Detective series one of the main characters gives in to extortion in order to avoid being outed. He's wealthy, famous, and flamboyant and everyone knows he's gay...except he never formally came out of the closet and said as much. In fact, his worst fear is being outed and he's willing to pay a million dollars to keep it quiet.

It's the same case with IRL public personalities like Barry Manilow. When it was recently discovered that Manilow married a man the only people who were shocked were his homophobic fans. As far as I know, Manilow didn't even make the announcement formally. He just got married and people wrote about it. It's not unlike the way Liberace and even Richard Simmons have handled their situations.

When news broke that “Copacabana” crooner Barry Manilow had secretly married his long-time “friend” and manager Gary Kief, we were happy for him but not entirely shocked. The 71-year-old veteran performer has been setting off people’s gaydar for decades, yet he still chooses to remain closeted to mainstream audiences. Think Liberace.

But it’s 2015, and certainly audiences could handle rethinking songs like “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Could It Be Magic,” and “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” in the context of same-sex affection. They’re just songs, anyway.

I disagree. Those people who you hear calling in to QVC and the Home Shopping Network can't handle it and it would have an impact on Manilow's brand. And I find it awfully presumptuous that the author of this article would even make that statement.

For whatever reason, Barry has gone out of his way to quell rumors.

I know I should probably be more vocal about this, because I do believe coming out is the best policy, but I just can't help taking a few steps back. There's a valid, logical reason why these public figures don't come out waving the rainbow flag and it has nothing to do with not wanting to be labeled. They have a brand. They have been selling that brand and working that brand for many years. And even though we've come a long way there are still people out there in the US who would turn their backs on them if they came out of the closet in public. In some cases it's much better to just not say anything at all. Last I heard, Manilow never actually denied he was gay either.

You can read the rest here. The comments are mixed. The fact is that even the media treats closeted gay public figures differently than they do openly gay public figures. If you have any doubts just look at what Michael Sam has been dealing with since he came out. And frankly, as a gay author my opportunities are as highly limited as any minority in the US. Even though I was a best selling genre author at the time with my book Pretty Man, five years ago when I was asked to write a novel for a romance collection on a home shopping network they asked me to write it with a pen name so no one would know a gay author had contributed. And I did it because it paid well, without regrets. I didn't like it, but I did it.

So there you are. It happens all the time in publishing, too.

Here's another link about Manilow's wedding...Suzanne Somers was the best man. 

Free Gay Excerpt

Now that I mentioned the new book in The Rainbow Detective Agency...which will be titled The Rainbow Detective Agency: The Guy with Two Penises...here's an excerpt from the book where I get into the fear of being outed in public. He says he's afraid of the world finding out about a rare condition known as Diphallia, but he's really afraid of being outed himself.



“I hope you can see why I obviously can’t go to the police,” Lion said. “If this went public and everyone found out about Isaac’s rare penis condition there’s no telling what might happen to his career or my clothing line. That’s all people would focus on. We could lose all credibility. And even though I must admit there are definite advantages to being with a man that has two penises, I’d rather Isaac make the decision to talk about it in public on his own terms, not because someone forced him into doing it. And that’s what’s happening right now. Isaac made a very bad choice, he did a porn video for fast money he didn’t think anyone would ever see, and now the creeps who made the video figure they can make more money blackmailing us both and kidnapping Isaac. At least more money than if they released a naked video of him online. They’re threatening to expose his secret if I don’t meet their demands, and as a backup they’ve kidnapped him and they’re saying they’ll kill him. You know how those things work. These naked videos get released on the Internet, everyone copies them, and everyone takes advantage of the victim’s likeness. These people who kidnapped Isaac think they know exactly what they are doing and I don’t want to buckle down to their demands. Under any other circumstance I wouldn’t buckle to them. But I don’t have a choice. Giving them the money and getting Isaac back is cheaper than having all this exposed to the world.”
“How much money do they want?” Proctor asked. He found it odd they were blackmailing and kidnapping at the same time. The case didn’t make sense in many ways, and yet it seemed plausible to Lion. 
“One million dollars in cash,” Lion said. “And I’m willing to pay your agency two hundred thousand if you can handle this without getting the police or the media involved. I want this kept quiet.”
When he said two hundred thousand it was as if the skies had opened and Blair saw the gates of heaven. He jumped off Proctor’s desk, stood up straight, and said, “Of course we’ll handle the case, Lion. You can count on us, buddy, and most of all you can trust us. We get Isaac and his two dicks back safely, without incident. They get the money and they never publish the porn video.”
“How can you be sure they won’t go public with the video anyway,” Proctor said. “What if you give them the money and they still post the video on the Internet? What if they get greedy and want more?”
“I don’t believe they would take that chance,” Lion said. “If that happened I would have to go to the police and I’m sure they know there’s always an electronic trail left behind when something is posted to the Internet. I have to trust them on this one. I know it’s a gamble, but I don’t have a choice.”
“And most important, of course, is that Isaac’s life is worth a lot more than a million bucks,” Blair said. “This is more than a porn video and I think we should make that clear. They’re threatening to kill this man if you don’t comply. So whether or not they release the video afterward isn’t too significant.”
“Exactly,” Lion said. “I want Isaac back safely. And that’s why I need your help. I need a middle man, so to speak, that I can trust completely.”
Proctor had never heard Blair sound more professional. He gaped at Blair for a moment, and then he said, “I’m not sure, Lion. This case really isn’t something we would normally handle. It sounds more like you should go to the police. I hate to think these guys will get away with this, plus all that money. It’s more complicated than I’d originally thought it would be.”
Blair reached for the desk, as if he had trouble standing up straight after he heard Proctor hesitate at making two hundred thousand dollars. Proctor didn’t blame him. It wasn’t as if Lion were asking them to give him a guarantee. All he wanted them to do was follow orders, hand over some money, and do the job. However, there was something about this case that seemed too simple, as if they weren’t getting all the information they needed.
Lion looked Proctor in the eye and said, “After all you’ve been through in this business, I came to you because I knew you would understand how things work better than anyone. If this gets out, and it might get out, I’d rather it be on our terms.”
Blair said, “These dudes do sound like a bunch of amateurs. Seriously. Who kidnaps and blackmails at the same time?”
“I agree,” Lion said. “But I don’t trust them either, not with Isaac’s life. Isaac is one of a kind.”
“I’ll say,” Blair said. 
Although Proctor had more than a few misgivings, he took a quick breath and said, “We’ll see what we can do. But I can’t make any promises at this point.”
Lion nodded with a stern unwavering expression and said, “That’s all I’m asking.” And then as he stood and turned to leave, he pulled a photo and a few folded sheets of paper from his breast pocket and handed them to Proctor. “Here’s a recent photo of Isaac and the instructions I’ve received from them. As complicated as the situation is, they’ve made things rather simple as far as how they want me to go about handing over the money. Maybe even too simple.”
“So all we do is hand over the money and they’ll release Isaac on his own,” Proctor said. “We don’t even have to get him. And you trust that?”
“I have no reason not to trust that,” Lion said. “Of course I’m taking a chance, but as I’ve already said I don’t have any other choice. I can't let the world know about this.”
While Blair and Proctor glanced down at Isaac’s photo and the sheets of paper that had the instructions printed out as screen shots from text messages, Lion crossed to the door and said, “I’ll be waiting to hear from you.”















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