Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!

In English, and in all other parts of the world!! Thanks for making 2011 another great year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

James Taylor- Sweet Baby James

Nowadays There Are Two Kinds of Publishing Advice to New Authors

I'm keeping this one as short as I can.

I read a blog post where an unpubbed author stated he follows all the advice about querying agents, never insults them or misspells their names, and does absolutely everything he possibly can to get his query right. And yet he never receives requests for partials or full manuscripts.

I would imagine he's not alone. I would also imagine there are thousands and thousands of other unpubbed authors who feel the same way he does.

I also know that novels like THE HELP were rejected dozens and dozens of times by literary agents. I even know an agent who rejected it.

I also know that a several novels that were rejected by every literary agent and publisher in the US went on to become huge hits on Amazon Kindle.

And, I also know that publishing is subjective and when you're querying a literary agent you're also querying the agent's personal taste in writing style, storyline, and what he or she thinks can be sold to an editor who also has his or her own personal distinct taste in fiction.

But I also know this, a well kept little secret with some. I've read where some literary agents believe nothing has ever come from unsolicited queries...for them personally. They've either nurtured their authors with big books or they've actively gone after them. I'm not saying this is the case across the board...far from it. But it does leave room for thought about the subjectivity of the query process.

The advice given to the guy who was seeking advice from this publishing professional was that he should seek out writers conferences and try to learn more about querying.

I'm not saying this is the wrong advice. Who knows? Maybe spending a small fortune, when gasoline prices are going to hit the four dollar mark this spring, is worth his time. Maybe he will, indeed, at least get a request for a full manuscript from an agent if he does go to a conference. I'm sure he has a slim chance.

But my advice to him would be to check out what's going on in e-publishing right now and start taking control of his own career. If you're an author, there hasn't been a better time in the history of publishing than right now. I would tell him that he's not the first author to experience tons of rejections from literary agents and he's not going to be the last.

Then I would ask him how many other great manuscripts like THE HELP are being turned down on a daily basis because they don't resonate with literary agents...or editors. The cycle has been going around for many decades. I would imagine there are plenty, and I would hate to think about how many great books like THE HELP I missed because my reading list has been so dependent on the taste of a select few...people who I wouldn't let decorate my bathroom let alone pick my reading list.

I'm not knocking agents and editors. I don't want it to sound that way. I'm sure the advice given was what the publishing professional believes is accurate. We need them all, especially literary agents. And we'll need them more in the future. I'm just pointing out that there are two viable sets of advice nowadays for authors, not just the advice that's been handed out for the past fifty years or so. And before an author spends their hard earned money schlepping to a writers conference, he or she might want to take advantage of other opportunities that seem to be working out quite well for more than a few authors.

In this case, I speak from personal experience. It isn't hearsay. I can tell you right now I have no regrets about getting into digital publishing eight years ago when everyone else was still laughing at it. As an author, I never would have had the chances I've had in "traditional" publishing. I would still be sending out queries and wondering if I should schlep to a writing conference. And I truly believe there isn't a conference or workshop on queries designed that would change anything for me.

Church Related Incident Considered Gay Hate Crime

Though I've never been very religious, I do respect the rights of those who choose to worship, absolutely and completely. Evidently not everyone else does. As you can see from the article below, a Methodist church was vandalized because it depicted silhouettes of gay couples holding hands.

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- Vandalism of a church's Nativity display that includes depictions of gay and lesbian couples was being investigated as a hate crime, police said.

The damage at Claremont United Methodist Church occurred late Saturday or Sunday morning.

Read More Here...

Update: Fred Karger for President

For those who have been following my quasi political posts, here's an update about Fred Karger, a gay Republican running for President. That's right: he's gay and Republican. Most of you probably don't know there are a lot of "them" out there. You're certainly not reading about it or hearing about it from the mainstream media...which I will talk about in another post.

I refer to my political posts as quasi because I vote independently and never follow any party lines. I'm not a political zealot. I like bipartisan candidates and people who can bring America together, not divide it. This is partly why I find Fred Karger extremely interesting in many ways. It's not just because he's the first openly gay Presidential candidate I've seen in my lifetime. If you read more about him you'll see what I mean. It's very interesting.

Here's one of the regular e-mails I receive from his campaign:

This has been an exciting year.

Twenty-two months ago, Fred Karger began running for President of the United States. Since then, Fred has traveled from state-to-state laying out his independent vision and demonstrating that he is uniquely qualified to turn this country around.

And thanks to supporters like you, we’re ready to take on Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann in 2012.

But before we can turn our attention to 2012, we need to finish 2011 the right way.

We are 48 hours away from a crucial fundraising deadline. It's important that we end this year strong and head into the New Year with the funds necessary to continue to compete in the upcoming primaries and caucuses.

And here is a link to his web site, where you can read more about him or donate a small amount of money if you are so inclined.

Talk About Switching Gears: The Little Baron's Christmas Angel

I know it might appear peculiar to see a book like THE LITTLE BARON'S CHRISTMAS ANGEL above a post promoting a book about foot fetish, but this is a good example of how I like to switch gears without warning.

The author of this book was an editorial client of mine, and I've read and edited this story many times, as well as many of his other books. He's not a client of mine anymore, though. When he wanted to get into Amazon publishing I told him I didn't know enough about it to do him justice and he found someone who did. So I don't know how the book has been changed since I last edited it. But I do know this author worked for years on this one and I have no problem recommending it anyone. It's a great read, for kids and adults. And the price is certainly very good, at least compared to what's going on with the big six. Besides, up until recently you wouldn't have had a chance to read a story like this because it would have been considered too short to publish by literary agents and all large publishers. In the digital age of publishing, it works very well.

You can check it out here, and download it to your e-reading device. And, for those who still don't have e-reading devices, you can download it to your computers and read it right on your PC. You don't need an e-reader to read e-books. All you need is a computer.

The Little Baron sat silently in the seat of the large leaded, glass window and peered out upon the grounds of the old manor house. He watched the snowflakes gently blanket white the garden below including the tall distant evergreens. This was his most favorite room in the house, it was the library. Although in the evenings it was often occupied by his grandfather the Baron, in the afternoons it was his own private land of enchantment. There were books with pictures of faraway places and stories of adventure, which almost seemed impossible to really exist. It was the day before Christmas and the air was filled not only with great aromas coming from the kitchen and pantry, but also with the anticipation which comes only at this time of year.

The manor had been totally decorated earlier in the day by the loyal household staff. This had been an occasion which the late Baroness always enjoyed, unfortunately the Little Baron never knew his grandmother because she had passed on a few months before he was born. Garlands gracefully hung from the railings of the balcony above and poinsettias were placed upon around table in the entrance hall to act as festive, silent greeters. A tall Christmas tree had been chosen from the Baron’s forest with utmost precision, for it was the focal point in the drawing room since it was to stand guard over the gifts later that evening.

High Concept: Four Feet Under...

As I posted earlier this week, I remember watching an episode of Sex in the City that handled the subject of foot fetish and it stuck with me for a long time. I wanted to write something about it but nothing ever came to me so I kept putting it off.

Those who know my fiction, know that I don't always remain in the same venue all the time. Because I sometimes switch gears, so to speak, I feel obligated to let readers know what I'm doing in more detail so they don't think they are buying one thing and getting another.

Sometimes I do write books I think are far more romance oriented than others I've written. TAKE ME ALWAYS is a good example of this. As you can see from this review/comment on allromanceebooks, a reader thought so, too.

OH MY GOD!!! I CRIED MY EYES OUT!. This was a very touching love story with alot of steamy sex. Make sure you have plenty of time to read the entire book in one sitting and a box of kleenex by your side. It was a very close adaptation of The Notebook except the character that was writing the story used a computer. Maybe we should call the book "The Laptop" (tee-hee). Seriously though, it is a great read.

There are times I like to have fun and take a Debbie Macomber trope and add a lot more spice and heat to it. I love Debbie's books; don't get me wrong. But just because there's a basket of puppies in a book doesn't mean there can't be good sex, too. And there are just as many readers out there who want to read the sex scenes as there aren't. There's room for everyone.

In some cases, I'm often amazed at the double standards sometimes. I read about a popular book reviewer editing an erotic BDSM anthology and then I see on her blog she uses the word "heck" instead of "hell." I know this is small, maybe even petty. But if you're bold enough to edit BDSM, which is territory where even I've never gone in fiction (seriously,) give me a break with the "heck" bullshit. You're clearly no saint; you're allowed to use the word "hell" (smile).

I'm explaining FOUR FEET UNDER WITH MY BUDDIES because it's not the most romance oriented book I've ever written. It's more new adult, high concept erotica if anything. I'm certain fictionwise will classify this in "fetish." There is a happy ending, character development, a storyline that would stand alone without the sex, and there could be room for a possible relationship in the future with the characters. But you're not going to find a basket of puppies in this one.

The gist of the story is focused on one thing: foot fetish. And I tried to keep it lighter, without laughing at it like they did in Sex in the City. It's one of those awkward topics late night comedians love to joke around about. I can just hear Chelsea Handler now. But the truth is there are obviously a lot of people, gay and straight, out there with foot fetishes and it's one of those taboo topics no one will ever admit to aloud. And, we tend to laugh at things that hit too close to home and make us a little too nervous.

Here's the blurb, and if anyone has any questions, please e-mail me.

Young Max is living at home and going to community college to save money. But his social life is nonexistent; he hasn’t been with a man in months. Then one Friday night he decides to go to the school gym and work out because there’s usually no one else around. That’s when he finds two of the hottest guys on campus shooting hoops in the empty gym. He pretends to be disinterested and they eventually follow him into the locker room. When he finds out they are a gay couple looking for a third, he’s stunned. And when they tell him what they want him to do to their feet, he can’t wait for them to take off their shoes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thank You Amazon...

I just saw a blog post thanking a brick and mortar bookshop, which was clearly meant to promote the bookshop, on a publishing blog. It's a sneaky little thing I've seen alleged publishing professionals do, letting readers know in a subtle way they don't like or care for digital publishing. Trust me, you never see them promote Amazon, Kobo, or any other form of digital publishing.

So I decided to say my own small thank you to Amazon. They don't need my help with promotion, but I'm doing it anyway. Last I checked, a good deal of my own sales come from Amazon, so I'm more than qualified to thank them.

I posted earlier about a friend who is re-releasing his novel, which is LGBT fiction set in the year 1961. The title is "Camping in the Backyard Going Forward." The author is Anthony Zatti. And he's doing this on Amazon, as a trial promotion with free books.

He's doing this as a free Kindle download on Amazon for a limited time, and from what I'm hearing the free downloads have been flying off the cyber shelf. Like I said, it's free, so check it out. And, when the promo is over, the digital price is only $2.79.

No author would ever have been able to do this at a brick and mortar bookshop. And I find it amazing and spectacular to see that authors are now capable of doing this on Amazon. But more than that, it's also amazing that readers now have options to read for entertainment they never had in the past. And that we don't have to depend on the questionable taste of a handful of people what goes on our reading lists.

Lori Perkins Talks About E-publishing

I've been following Lori's blog for at least six years now...might be longer. We've worked together in a strictly author/editor/publisher relationship many times, and she's been responsible for having the final say with a few of my titles at Ravenous Romance. She also helped brainstorm the concept of the Virgin Billionaire series when I wasn't even sure I wanted to write the first book in the series. I've posted about how that book freaked me out many times.

And now, Lori just wrote a great post about e-publishing you should check out. This isn't someone just blowing smoke up your butts either. There's a lot of that going around these days. This post is based on personal experience and facts that I know Lori has learned first hand through a great deal of hard work, not to mention hard knocks.

You can get there from here.

Here's an excerpt:

Ebooks now outsell mass market titles, practically putting paperbacks out of commission. Borders went out of business completely. But more and more people are reading, and that includes a whole new generation of readers who now consider reading entertainment again.

Who is Your Agent?

When you're a writer, whether you've been published or makes no difference...and you don't have a literary agent representing you, you are your own agent. You are representing yourself, on your own behalf, always looking out for your own best interests. This is important to understand, especially with so many changes happening in publishing.

This is the wiki definition of a literary agent, here. It's easier to just link than explain, because that's not the reason for this post.

For a few brief months in my 20 year writing career, I had a literary agent. It didn't work out. We parted amicably when I wound up sending her checks at the end of each quarter. I was basically shopping and selling my own work faster than she could get out an e-mail reply. My books were being released faster than she (bless her dear little slow beating heart) could tweet them. And other than that experience, I've always acted as my own agent. I've made mistakes along the way. I've also been lucky enough to have good friends in publishing who can, and have, advised me when I didn't understand something. But for the most part, I've been winging it on my own. And I've learned how to think before I act in every single situation I encounter.

The reason I'm writing this post isn't about me. It's not about literary agents either. I'm writing it because I've heard more than one author in the past six months make statements I'm not sure they understand. Several have said they are releasing their books through Amazon as Kindle e-books. Almost all of them used wording like, "Amazon is acting as my agent."

I'm all for what Amazon is doing for authors. Amazon is empowering them and giving them chances the so-called "gatekeepers" would never have done. And almost every author I know is now taking advantage of this opportunity, as they should. But Amazon is not acting as an author agent. Amazon is looking out for their own best interests, and that's what the author should be doing, too.

There are many books and web sites out there that discuss self-publishing or Indie Publishing, whichever you prefer. There are also books and web sites that help unagented authors. I've learned a lot just by reading literary agent blogs in the past ten years. But it's important to understand that if you don't have a professional literary agent looking out for you, you'd better be looking out for yourself. And you'd better start learning how to do that. It's just as important with Indie Publishing, digital release first publishing, and e-publishing in general as it's always been with "traditional" publishing.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where Writers Go When They Pass On

Worth sharing.

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"

"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."

He's Not a Big Fan of Breastfeeding in Public: Kasey Kahne, NASCAR Driver

Sometimes I run across something I feel the need to share. It's also nice to know that not everything in my world is controversial and related to the LGBT community at large.

I honestly don't know who Kasey Kahne is, but the guy probably doesn't come from a large extended family. Trust me on this.

I come from a long line of therapists and chiropractors. I've seen my mother breastfeed, my sister breastfeed, and even my, I am certain, might just do it on facebook any day now. I've been quietly making bets with other family members.

So it doesn't bother me when I'm out in public and I see a woman breastfeeding. I got used to it a long time ago. Have at it...especially if it keeps the little darling child from screaming and ruining the rest of my day.

Obviously, that wasn't the case with Kasey Kahne while he was walking around a supermarket and saw a woman breastfeeding. He tweeted this:

Just walking through supermarket. See a mom breast feeding little kid. Took second look because I was obviously seeing things. I wasn't!

And then followed with this:

I don't feel like shopping anymore or eating

I don't know what to say to that. Clearly, this freaked him out. You can read more about it here if you are so inclined.

Free Kindle Book on Amazon: "Camping in the Backyard Going Forward" by Anthony Zatti

I'm not exactly sure how this works. But a friend of mine is having a book released for free through Amazon and I wanted to give him a shout. The title is Camping in the Backyard Going Forward, and the author is Anthony Zatti.

Here's his post on facebook, verbatim:

It's now less than five hours until you can get a copy of my book, Camping in the Backyard Going Forward, from Amazon/Kindle for FREE. That's right for FREE. You can get it for your Kindle or to read on your computer for FREE right after nidnight tonight. You only have a limited time to take advantagre of this promo offer by Amazon/Kindle Books/Anthony Anthony Zatti.

And here's the Amazon link.

I don't think I can get this one for free. I don't own a Kindle and I'm not a Premium Kindle Member. I own Kobo and NextBook. But for those who own Kindles, I would imagine it's worth your time to check out a free e-book and see if it's for you. I do this all the time on Kobo and I'm usually happy with what I receive. I'm also planning to buy the book anyway as soon as I'm finished reading Merv Griffin's new bio (Oy...what a tale of deceit).


This is one of those times I'm thrilled with a review, and it's all because the reviewer "got" what I was trying to do and I never had to explain myself once. For a writer, this is the ultimate experience. I honestly don't care about how many stars I get or what kind of ratings readers leave. I've been around too long not to know and understand how subjective the reading experience can be and how people will react in many different ways. If you don't believe me, just go over to goodreads and check out a few of the reviews left for The Great Gatsby.

But when a reviewer actually sees what an author was trying to do, without doing anything other than reading the book, it's a wonderful feeling to know that you at least touched one person. And I never did get into any long explanations about what motivated me to write GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE the way I did because I was on the fence about the title and how closely related the title was to the classic Pride and Prejudice. As you can see in the review below, the book isn't much like the original classic. I figured I just keep my big mouth shut and see if readers knew what I intended with this book.

Here's a link to the review. And below is the actual review copied and pasted verbatim. There are no spoilers, but I should warn that there are a few words and phrases with adult content and this is an PG rated blog, so if this sort of thing offends you, please feel free not to read it.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So far, of all the remakes I enjoyed this one the most. Mainly, because Ryan does such a good job of translating the pride and prejudices to the gay community.

Don't expect a scene by scene remake. This takes the aspects that are at the core of Jane Austen's book: the cutting observations about people and society and what people of that ilk are proud and prejudiced about but putting them into a modern gay context. So, we're not getting dry 1800 social observations of character but 2010 characterisations from a gay POV. They're none the less apt.

This means that the characters will be different. Tristan is no Eliza Bennett, but he shares some of her qualities, her honesty and her embarrassment at the behavior of her relatives, and most of all in being opinionated. Likewise Miller is no Mr Darcy, but he also is bound by the strictures of his parents and background.

In this case the prejudices and pride are linked up with new vs old money, gays vs straights, old queens vs new age gay.
I want you to stick with our own kind, and I don't want you screwing around with all these straights.

There's also the more normal kind of pride:
Ellen's face gleamed with pride; she gazed at her big strong straight son with love and affection.

I love that the alternate love interest is a stud ex-serviceman just back from Iraq.

The parallel works really well in this case, as the whole topic of marriage is at the core of the original. Who should marry who and why and again in this case, all Tristan wants to do is get married.

“As I got older and legalized same-sex marriage became an issue within the lgbt community, I started to realize I deserved to fall in love and get married just as much as heterosexual couples deserved it. I made a decision a long time ago I wouldn't settle for less. Call it pride, call it being stubborn. But I won't settle for less.”

In this case "Mr Darcy" is still not exactly pro marriage. He just wants to fuck.

There are some priceless bits eg when one main character comes up with this:
“Do you want to suck my xxxx?” Miller asked. He adjusted his position and spread his legs wider.
Tristan smiled. He had a feeling Miller was trying to shock him on purpose. “That's not very romantic,” Tristan said.
“You haven't sucked my xxxx yet, so you don't really know that for sure. It might be the most romantic thing that's ever happened to you.”

And later, the other MC says this:
Though Tristan would have laughed at clichéd expressions like dripping xxxx or weeping xxxx in public, and he would have frowned if anyone had used these awful, trite, clichés in ordinary conversation, when he had one right in front of him it was a different story.
you have to smile!

Ryan has the equivalent faux pas down pat. The comments about the price of things, never done by someone who really is "old money". And I loved this bit:
And Clint had been giving him fashion tips. Eldridge hadn't worn a bow tie, a crew neck sweater draped over his shoulders, or a pair of pink plaid slacks in weeks.

But Ryan doesn't neglect sharing real facts to educate people about factors affecting the LGBT community. In this case:
“There are many older gay couples who have been together for years. Just like straight married couples, they own property together. When one of them passes away, the surviving partner is forced to pay inheritance taxes on their own property. It runs into thousands and it wipes them out.”

He also doesn't pull his punches on a couple of occasions about hypocrisy.

Ryan Field's "Covers of Classics" can be a bit hit or miss, but to me, "Gay Pride and Prejudice", does exactly what he has set out to do.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's time.

I just saw this video again over at and I wanted to repost it on my own blog, too.

The reason I'm doing this is because this video is what my own life has been like. I know people will think it's not reality. But it is my reality, from the hospital scenes to the amusement park scenes.

And I like to see it being passed around.

Free E-books: Free Library of Philadelphia

A friend pointed this link out to me earlier this week and I haven't had time to check it out yet.

But from what I gather, you can borrow e-books from the Free Library of Philadelphia no matter where you live.

I will be checking it out in more detail, probably later this week. I've always been a huge fan of public libraries and I think this is a great way for them to co-exist in the digital age of publishing.

Grammar Police and Social Media

I have a nephew who is always posting different photos on social media, usually facebook. And each time he posts a photo there is always a caption that reads like this: "Me and my friend," or "Me and my Mom." Of course it's grammatically incorrect. And this particular nephew is 29 years old, he's a doctor, and he's well above average in the IQ department. If he'd gone through 12 years of Catholic school like I did, Sister Unforgiving in the photo above would have smacked his fingers with that ruler.

But my nephew is not the only one I see doing this on social media. To be honest, I'm often tempted do to it myself just to see if I could get away with it. When it comes to social media, from blogging to facebook to twitter, I've always believed it's supposed to be casual and free from grammar police. I also believe that language, grammar, and communication in general change and evolve with time. And when more people use something that's normally considered grammatically incorrect, it might be time to change the rules a little. Ending a sentence with a preposition is a good example. There was a time, not too long ago, when it was considered wrong to end any sentence with a preposition. Now it's done all the time, it's perfectly acceptable, and it's the way people actually speak. Communication evolves; some of the things we thought were important two hundred years ago don't apply anymore.

So I don't mind when I see these small grammatical errors on social media. I don't mind when I see huge grammatical errors on social media either, because this is the way people speak on a daily basis. And, the key word here is "social." We're not talking about "educational" media. We're not talking about "bore-me-to-death" media. I think this is especially true when it comes to personal blogging. Nothing irritates me more than when I see a fool correct someone's grammar on a blog or social media...or on a comment thread. It. Doesn't. Matter. It. Is. Casual.

And yet I see it all the time, especially with regard to authors, editors, and publishers. There are people who must seriously believe that because authors, editors, and publishers work on books where grammar should be excellent at all times they don't deserve a break on social media. Most of the time it's the smallest mistake that people will single out and mention, in public, to the author, without giving it a second thought.

Personally, I think it's highly inappropriate to correct someone in public, on social media, with regard to grammar. I don't care what line of work they do either, and this includes authors or anyone connected to publishing. To correct someone in public on social media is basically the same as correcting someone's grammar at a cocktail party. It's bad manners, which is far worse than poor grammar. I tend to believe the people who do this on social media are also the same types of people who would do this at a cocktail party (I'd bet most don't get invited out often).

Unfortunately, the people who do this all the time probably won't even read this post. They will continue on, correcting people on social media, boring us all to death with their snide tongue-in-cheek comments and we'll have to ignore them. But if someone does, indeed, correct you on a blog or any other social media, don't worry. Don't give it a second thought. Because this is not someone you need to care about or know.

Interview with A. B. Gayle

I did an interview with author/editor, A. B. Gayle, recently and the post went up today.

You can check it out here.

The questions weren't always easy. They made me stop and pause more than once. But they were interesting to answer.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Something Lighter...The Gay Gourmet

Although I have a state of the art kitchen and my stainless steel appliances sparkle, I have to admit that I'm not the best cook. Nor do I want to be the best cook. In fact, I don't even like to turn on the stove unless it's absolutely necessary. I'd much rather order something and keep those appliances in sparkling condition.

But I find blogs like The Gay Gourmet very helpful, and entertaining as well. It's a place for inspiration and ideas, and the photos are great. And that's not easy to do when it comes to food. I see those disgusting amateur pics on facebook all the time, where someone bakes a "yummy" cookie that looks like something that was scraped off the bottom of someone else's foot. Trust me, this blog isn't like that. It's something that will inspire you, not repulse you.

You can read The Gay Gourmet by clicking this link.

High Concept Foot Fetish; Four Feet Under...

I have a new short story coming out in the next month or so that's unusual...for the sense that it's focused on the concept of foot worship. I remember watching an old rerun of Sex in the City and there was a scene where a shoe salesman in an exclusive New York shoe store had an obvious foot fetish. That episode stuck with me for years, and I've always wanted to write a story about a character who has a foot fetish ever since. But I also wanted to do it with a casual voice, and without insulting those many, many people, gay or straight, who do have foot fetishes. I won't know whether or not I've succeeded until the story is released. But I did want to explain a few things about the story in case readers have any questions.

First, this is not what I would consider m/m romance. It's m/m erotica for sure; it's m/m erotic fiction, for sure. But the emotional aspects of a true romance are not there. On the other hand, there is a happy ending, I do get into the emotional feelings and responses of the main character, and he is a very sensitive young guy who is going to community college for two years in order to save money to go to a four year university. He's a decent guy; he's a normal guy; but he's into feet. And he meets two other guys one night in the school gym who feel the same way he feels.

Second, this is a high concept story, which I don't usually do. The tag line reads: "Love, lust, and four big feet in a locker room." Here's the wiki definition of high concept:

High concept narratives are typically characterised by an over-arching "what if?" scenario that acts as a catalyst for the following events. Often, the most popular summer blockbuster movies are built on a high concept idea, such as "what if we could clone dinosaurs?" (Jurassic Park), and so on. However, it is important to differentiate a high concept narrative from an analogous narrative. In the case of the latter, a high concept story may be employed to allow commentary on an implicit subtext. The prime example of this would be George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, which asks "what if we lived in a future of totalitarian government?" while simultaneously generating social comment and satire aimed at Orwell's own (real world) contemporary society. Similarly, the Gene Roddenberry SF series Star Trek went beyond the high concept storytelling of a futurist starship crew, by addressing 20th-century social issues in an abstract and defamiliarising context.

High concept gets a little complicated, but a good example would be the movie, "Snakes on a Plane." In this case now, with my story, it's Four Feet Under with My Buddies. There's no mistake here: my story is about feet. And the "what if?" is all about a young guy who finds himself in a situation that is exaggerated in more ways than one involving feet.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Interesting Take on Gays, Family, and Christmas

When I read the blog post I'm quoting and linking to below, I have to admit that I did identify with everything that was written. I think most gay people experience this, especially around the major holidays.

"The huge amount of responses I got to my last post made me wonder if queers are more likely to feel alienated from their families than straight people are. I mean, if your family doesn't respect your queerness, this is pretty self-evident. But I know a lot of queers whose family is cool with their queerness, but they still feel alienated. Why would this be?"

My family is fine with me being openly gay...but...there's still that unspoken "thing" that I experience, especially during the holidays. It's not something that is done on purpose. I know this for certain. But this feeling of disconnection is why a lot of my gay friends have started their own holiday traditions with other gay friends. Many gays travel during the holidays, in order to avoid these family situations. I'll probably do the same thing, eventually. For now, I'm happy with how well my amaryllis did this year in the photo above. They don't always do this well.

You can read the rest of the post here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ding Dang Dong,c'est Noël

Unpublished Excerpt from The Computer Tutor

I'll be around for the next week working and blogging, but it might be sporadic. I'm finishing up a new novel and when I'm not working regular hours the novel always comes first.

But I wanted to share an unpublished excerpt from The Computer Tutor. In this scene, the two main characters are getting to know each other, and one is showing the other how to bottle feed a newborn puppy.

If you celebrate the holidays, I hope you enjoy them. If you don't, I hope you have a great weekend.

He placed the puppy up against his chest and
cradled it in his arm. “I never had to do this
before. Mindy is a great mom. She usually does
all the work.”

I smiled and lifted another pup out of the box.
“That’s the first time you’ve mentioned her name.”

“I’m sorry. It’s been so overwhelming. I’ve had
Mindy since she was eight weeks old.”

I handed him a baby bottle and said, “Don’t
worry, because you’re going to have plenty of
forms to fill out as soon as we’re finished feeding
these guys. You’ll be writing her name more than
you ever dreamed you would.”

He seemed willing and eager to listen to
everything I said about bottle-feeding newborn
pups…almost curious. When I told him it was
important to turn the baby bottle upside down
and be sure there was a slow drip instead of a
constant stream, he did exactly as told and asked
why. When I told him if there was a flowing stream
instead of a drip and that formula could get into
the puppy’s lungs and cause pneumonia, he
turned the bottle upside down and doublechecked
to be certain it wouldn’t harm the pup. I
explained small details about calorie intake and
how important it was to feed them every three
hours. And he listened, almost without blinking
at all. I was glad to see he wasn’t as stupid as I’d
thought he was. I was, also, glad the puppies were
easy to feed. I’d seen cases where they had to be
finger fed, which wasn’t easy.

By the time they were ready to be fed a second
time, Allan made the preparations and I watched
him do all the work. I wanted him to know what
to do when I wasn’t around. The first week in a
pup’s life is the most important week. It’s a good
thing all the pups were strong, even the so-called
runt, which was my personal favorite. They drank
the formula a second time without any problems,
which didn’t always happen.

Before we knew it, Christmas morning had
arrived. Hours had passed since Allan had first
brought Mindy into the clinic, and she seemed to
be doing very well in recovery. She even lifted her
head up the first time she saw Allan and licked
his hand. It tugged at my heart to watch him bend
over and rest his cheek against her neck. He’d
been so strong and stoic since he’d arrived, it was
as if a flood of emotion overtook him and came out
all at once. He cried so hard and so quietly, his
entire body shuddered. I turned in the other
direction and left him alone with Mindy for a few

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Link to a Nice End of the Year Post

Late last night, I came across a very nice blog post I wanted to share. This is the time of year where most things slow down and we all take breaks.

And I've seen a lot of end of the year publishing blog posts that are very nice, but so far this one is the nicest.

It was written by Miriam, over at the Dystel & Goderich Literary Management blog. You can check it out here and read the entire post. It's not that long, which proves that less is always more.

Here's one line that resonated with me, with regards to why it's so important to read:

"Because it sharpens your wit and develops your capacity for empathy."

These days it often seems harder and harder to be empathetic regarding a wide range of issues. But reading helps bring this back, and if you read a book like The Help, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Philadelphia: Baby Found Inside Cardboard Box

One of the smaller elements in the Virgin Billionaire series is a fictional organization that's very close to Luis Fortune's heart. It's called The Angel Association, and it focuses on helping young women who give birth and abandon their newborn babies in dumpsters, on doorsteps, and, in this case, in a cardboard box on a curb. An infant was left on a North Philadelphia street in a cardboard box, and man out sweeping the street accidentally found the baby. I don't even want to think about what could have happened.

We hear about these things every so often. In the Philadelphia area, I haven't heard about it for a while. But every time I do I can't help wondering about how fortunate it was that someone came along, at just the right time, and found that abandoned baby before something terrible happened. Because we also hear about abandoned babies that are found dead. For whatever reason, that thing we call fate didn't intervene and no one came along at just the right time.

There are a few real life organizations out there that focus on infant abandonment, and although I'm usually very private about which charities/organizations I support, I don't have any problem mentioning groups and organizations that provide safety for newborns. When I wrote about The Angel Association in the Virgin Billionaire series, I didn't just pull the concept out of a hat. I truly believe this is important, and it's not something we hear about often in the mainstream media.

Below are a few links to organizations that focus on infant abandonment. Check them out; read what they have to say. And spreading the word would be nice, too.

If you are a woman about to have a baby and you happen to be reading this blog post, you have alternatives. You don't have to abandon your infant. These organizations are discreet; they are here to support you, not punish you. And if you don't trust organizations like this, contact me personally through this blog or my e-mail address. I'll make sure you get personal support, as discreetly as possible.

A Safe Haven For Newborns

Abandoned Babies

The Angel Cradle's Program

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Amazon Link: In Bed with the Boss

They just sent me a link to Amazon, for the kindle edition of IN BED WITH THE BOSS.

For those who didn't read the recent post I wrote on release day, this is a two novella book/anthology I collaborated on with m/m author, Andrew Grey last fall.



Both focus on love in the workplace, where anything that can happen often does happen.

Here are the Amazon details:

Product Description
In these emotional tales of love and attraction at the workplace, two best-selling authors explore complicated -and sometimes steamy!- relationships between employee and boss.

In THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S ASSISTANT, best-selling author Andrew Grey sets the backdrop for successful Christian, a nationally known erotic photographer, and his assistant, David , the efficient but demure type who is always there for his boss... Will these two star-crossed lovers ever find a way to come together?

In Ryan's Field's THE ARRANGEMENT, it's 1962 and Toby has just moved to New York to start a new job in advertising. He's hoping to find a social life, but Toby wasn't expecting his over-sexed boss to use Toby's apartment as a love nest so he can sneak around with young men behind his wife's back! Toby wasn't expecting to fall in love with one of his boss's young men either. With all the secrets Toby's cheating boss is keeping from everyone, will Toby be able to live with the lies and infidelities for long? Or will Toby find the strength to stand up to his awful boss and do the right thing for the young man he loves?

Don't miss these sizzling all-male novellas of passion and romance, or the chance to be swept away in a naughty workplace fling!

Product Details
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 299 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Ravenous Romance (December 19, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Lending: Enabled
Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,743 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Lethal Obsession Blog by Michele Montgomery

Here's another author I'd like to highlight today, Michele Montgomery. She also writes m/m romance, and I like her work a great deal. There's a "real" quality about it, and a lot more emotion than I'm used to seeing. If there were such a genre as "reality fiction," I think this is how her work would be classified.

She also gets into her characters very deeply. To the point where she's created a blog that discusses her character's lives in depth. You can check the blog out by clicking here. I think you'll enjoy what she's doing.

I recently read a comment on a book review site where someone mentioned that authors don't use their blogs enough to discuss their books, their intentions, and what motivates their stories and characters. I tend to agree with this comment. And when you see what Michele has done with this blog, you'll see she's taken this concept to another level.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Marc Broude - Vampire Salt (Unreleased Demo)

Here's a music video sent from a blog reader, Marc Broude. I think it's excellent. In Bed With the Boss

Here's a link for, where they just listed IN BED WITH THE BOSS, a collaborative effort I worked on with author, Andrew Grey.

It's a 50,000 word book, with two 25,000 word novellas that we put together this past fall.

You can follow this link and check it out here. They give excellent product descriptions at allromance.

You can also read more about it here, on this blog.

Merv Griffin: A Life in the Closet by Darwin Porter

I went to a Christmas party this past weekend and everyone, of course, was talking about what book they were reading. One friend who has been in a book club for years, mentioned the non-fiction book, "Merv Griffin: A Life in the Closet."

It sounded interesting to me, and I'd just finished reading a lot of fiction, so I downloaded it to my Kobo on Sunday night. I paid more than I wanted to pay, but celebrity bios seem to command higher prices. They always have, and probably always will. So I didn't mind that part. I also bought the book based on one recommendation and a quick preview on Kobo.

I'm only a few chapters into the book at this point, but so far I'm enjoying it. Although a lot of the book is, indeed, hearsay, it seems plausible to me that each and everything written could have happened. So far, no complaints...all history/bio is hearsay as far as I'm concerned.

I just checked out the product description and reviews over at Amazon and I found that an editor I worked with more than once, Richard Labonte, gave an excellent review and a nice blurb to the author of this bio that was highlighted with the product description, not with the customer reviews. I trust Richard's judgment because I've been a contributor to his LGBT books, one of which won a Lambda Award.

After I read Richard's review, I clicked over to the customer reviews to see what readers had to say. There are only thirty reviews right now, and most of them are one star reviews written by people who seem almost insulted at the concept that Merv Griffin lived a life in the closet and that this closeted life is now being discussed in a book. It took me back to the shocked comments when people found out Rock Hudson was gay, lived a complete lie, and everyone bought it. It's like they want to put us into this neat little "gay" box, like the two fake characters on "Modern Family," but they don't want to know what it's really like.

Of course we'll never really know what Merv Griffin's real life was like. Only Merv knew that. He made an art out of creating a persona for the public that was filled with deception and self-promotion for the sake of his "image." His goal was making money and maintaining his image, at any cost. I'm not judging him; I can't say I blame him either. But these days, there is still a lot of this going on in Hollywood...and other places, like Washington, DC, with closeted gays...and I think it's time our gay brothers and sisters in power start to speak up a little to make it easier for younger people. Nowadays, as opposed to thirty years ago, it's more about authenticity than deception. In fact, the closet case is becoming so cliche I have trouble even looking at them on television or in films.

But, from the tone of the reviews of Merv's bio, I can still see that people just don't want to hear it. For the life of me, I don't get why either. I'll post more about this book when I'm finished. Maybe there's something I haven't read yet that will change my mind. But from what I have read so far, every single thing in this bio is plausible. And I'd bet there are still plenty of people left in Hollywood who knew Merv Griffin well enough to back it all up...some of whom are, indeed, living the same life Merv did. The gay community is small sometimes. We all know people who work in fashion, theater, film, and publishing. We also know who is gay and who isn't. We just don't talk about it.

My End of the Year Guest Post on Friendzstop

I was asked to do an end of the year guest post over at Friendzstop.

Here's the link, and please take the time to check out the entire web site. There are some interesting things happening over there I enjoy reading about.

The post I wrote deals with "reflections," and moving forward. It was a difficult post to write, which I explain in more detail, and I titled it "Reflections Don't Always Mean Looking Back" because it was so difficult to write.

A huge thanks to Anders for letting me do this!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Bonus by EM Lynley

Throughout the week, between regular posts, I'll be highlighting different authors I really like.

This one is EM Lynley, and she has a new book out: A Christmas Bonus.

Here's the publisher link, and I'm sure you will find it on all web sites were e-books are sold.

Here's the synopsis:

Alec Compton's dream job at a Wall Street investment firm is on the line if he can't close a make-or-break takeover deal by the end of the year.

The buyer is none other than world-renowned billionaire and corporate raider Brant Linton, recently named one of the hottest and most eligible gay businessmen. Electricity crackles at their first meeting, and Alec's thoughts drift far from business, despite his distaste for Brant's business practices.

When Brant takes off early to spend Christmas with his sister's family on the exclusive French Polynesian island of Taha'a, Alec has no choice but to follow if he wants to get Brant to sign on the dotted line. But Brant's sister has forbidden him from conducting business during the holidays and Alec must masquerade as Brant's boyfriend.

Then business turns into pleasure, but neither Brant nor Alec know whether the other is there for the deal, or for something more personal in EM Lynley's sizzling holiday novella A CHRISTMAS BONUS.

New Release: In Bed with the Boss

For the past few weeks, I've been hinting about a new book I've been working on with another author. I didn't want to give out details until it was released because I'm superstitious that way.

But it's just been released today. It's a collection of two novellas that I collaborated on with m/m romance author, Andrew Grey. And, though I've been in tons of anthologies over the years, this is the first time I've ever actually collaborated with anyone this closely.

It was a wonderful experience. Andrew Grey was wonderful to work with, and we worked out the details like blurbs, cover design, and titles with such ease I'm still surprised it went by so fast (we started this back in October). I'll post more about what it's like collaborating and more about the novellas later this week. But here's the blurb, and a link where you can purchase. I'm sure it will be on amazon and all other web sites where e-books are sold either today or sometime this week.

In these emotional tales of love and attraction at the workplace, two best-selling authors explore complicated -and sometimes steamy!- relationships between employee and boss.
In THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S ASSISTANT, best-selling author Andrew Grey sets the backdrop for successful Christian, a nationally known erotic photographer, and his assistant, David , the efficient but demure type who is always there for his boss... Will these two star-crossed lovers ever find a way to come together?

In Ryan's Field's THE ARRANGEMENT, it's 1962 and Toby has just moved to New York to start a new job in advertising. He's hoping to find a social life, but Toby wasn't expecting his over-sexed boss to use Toby's apartment as a love nest so he can sneak around with young men behind his wife's back! Toby wasn't expecting to fall in love with one of his boss's young men either. With all the secrets Toby's cheating boss is keeping from everyone, will Toby be able to live with the lies and infidelities for long? Or will Toby find the strength to stand up to his awful boss and do the right thing for the young man he loves?

Don't miss these sizzling all-male novellas of passion and romance, or the chance to be swept away in a naughty workplace fling!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How Much Is One More Inch Worth?

I posted about my next Nextbook Premium 8 tablet, here, a week or so ago.

I love it. I use it all the time to read, and for many other things. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a tablet.

But I just saw there's a new Nextbook tablet: the Premium 9. At the time, I thought the Premium 8 was the newest model. I purchased it on less than 2 months ago, during a special tech segment, for 199.00, and I thought I was getting a bargain.

According the the Nextbook web site, I clearly did get a bargain, because the Premium 8 is being sold for $299.00 over there. However, even at that price, I wouldn't be disappointed. The few small complaints I have aren't even worth mentioning.

And now the Premium 9, which is an inch bigger than the Premium 8, is being sold for $350.00.

I guess if you think about it, fifty bucks isn't a lot more to pay for an extra inch. But my Premium 8 works very well and I have no regrets, and I'm more than happy with 8 inches. Most people would be. But if you are so inclined to have that extra inch, I'm sure the extra fifty bucks is worth it for the Premium 9.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Trip to a Very Gay Cemetery

It's not really an all gay cemetery, but there are a lot of lgbt people buried there. It's about three miles away from my home, in New Hope, Bucks County, PA, and I usually stop there two or three times a year. I chose (it wasn't luck) to live and work in a community where lgbt people are treated with equality, and I'm posting the photos below, with explanations, to show how diverse everyone is...even in death. I knew each of these people personally for many years when they were alive, it's not something I've contrived.

The photo above is a long shot of the actual cemetery, where people of all nationalities, races, and backgrounds are buried. It's part of a small church on a scenic Bucks County Road. Though I'm not big on decorating graves, a lot of people decorate for all holidays.

This photo above is the grave marker for two people who were very dear friends for a very long time. They were a gay couple who met in l960...long before I was born...and lived together as a "married" couple all their lives. They owned property, a very successful design firm in both Manhattan and New Hope, and shared every aspect of their lives, through sickness and health. As you can see from the dates, one of them passed away almost right after the other. I've seen this with older gay men and women who have been together for many years. They can't seem to find a way to survive once their partner is gone.

As I said, they were both very dear friends whom I spoke with daily and socialized with often. I still miss them to this day.

This photo is the grave marker of a rather colorful local in New Hope. We called him "Mother," or "Josie." But his real name was Joe and he served in the US military for many years. He was the resident cross-dresser/entertainer in New Hope up until the day he passed away. They even laid him out in drag, big hair and all, with sequins and rhinestones. The day of his funeral, cars were lined in front of the church for blocks.

I'm posting these things partially because these people were very dear to me. And also because I think it's important to show people all aspects of gay life, not just the junk that's portrayed in the mainstream media. I also see too many inauthentic things online these days written by people with furtive hidden agendas, which is fine. But I think someone should share the real things, too.

Friday, December 16, 2011

History of Gay Rights Movement in Photos

Someone sent me this link and I wanted to share. It's a visual image of the history of the gay rights movement, from Stonewall to Prop 8.

You can check it out here, at Photo Essys - Time.

Debbie Macomber's Quiet Half Million Dollar Donation to the Salvation Army

This morning I saw a link on social media that led me to this article about an alleged anonymous donation made to The Salvation Army. Evidently, it's not easy to keep a half million dollar donation a secret these days.

BREMERTON — Romance author Debbie Macomber has given a half-million dollars to the Bremerton Salvation Army to help remodel and enlarge its headquarters.

The author, who has a home in Port Orchard and spends time in Florida, gave the money recently in the memory of her son, Dale Macomber, who suffered depression and committed suicide Aug. 11 in his Port Orchard home at 36.

The millionaire author tried to make the $500,000 donation anonymously, and leaders at the Bremerton Salvation Army repeatedly refused to identify her as the donor. But Macomber ultimately confirmed her donation through her longtime publicist, Nancy Berland.

"She just has the biggest heart," Berland said.


I posted the link to my facebook page and a friend on facebook pointed me to this link: The Salvation Army: Ringing Anti-Gay Bells this Holiday Season.

The Salvation Army has long been a Christian missionary association. It would be one thing if they, like some Christians, practiced tolerance and equality towards the LGBT community, but as Bil points out, since 1986, The Salvation Army has been involved in at least 5 major assaults on LGBT equality:

When New Zealand considered passage of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in 1986, the Salvation Army collected signatures in an attempt to get the legislation killed. The act decriminalized consensual sex between gay men. The measure passed over the charity’s objections.


Amazon Press Release: Kindle Products Soar

This comes directly from the Amazon web site.

Customers Purchasing Kindles at Rate of More Than 1 Million Per Week for Third Straight Week

Kindle Fire continues to lead the way as the #1 bestselling, most gifted, and most wished for product across all of since its introduction 11 weeks ago

Kindle Fire sales increase week over week for each of the past three holiday shopping weeks

Read More Here...

Free Christmas E-book!!

For the past month or so everyone over at has been putting together a freebie for the holidays.

I've posted all the info below from the web site, and you can get there by clicking this link to download the free e-book.

An excerpt, from my new adult Holiday novella, THE COMPUTER TUTOR, is part of this. And I'd like to mention it's an excerpt that's never been published before. And, like all the excerpts in this free book, they are very hot and very steamy. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I'm downloading it myself later today and I'll be reading it over the weekend.

Naughty And Nice - loveyoudivine anthology Free Read

Wishing our readers a very Happy Holiday Season and a very safe New Year.

Blurb: lyd Authors team up to put their sexiest best forward. Enjoy this antho of Flash Fiction and hot excerpts.


lyd Category: lyd Anthology
Length: 12677 Words / 68 PDF pages
Rating: 5
Formats Available: pdf, lit, zipped html,
lrf, epub, RB,
Ebook Cover Price: Free Read

T’was The Night Before Christmas – JJ Giles
Silent Night – Max Griffin
After The Office Party – G. Fenton
Christmas Day – David Sullivan
Stranger Desires – Jay Lancaster
The Computer Tutor – Ryan Field
From Penance - Cain Berlinger
From Four On The Floor – Barry Lowe
From Creepy – Jean Roberta
From Hold Me Tight – Dalia Craig
From Heaven and Hell – Bryn Colvin
From Christmas Carol – Jazmine Starr
A Crazy Christmas – Cain Berlinger
From Master’s Dungeon – Alex Morgan
Love and Mink – Kiya
A Long Time Coming – Bryn Colvin
He Knows When You’ve Been Naughty – Alex Morgan

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kindle Fire: Christmas Idea

Since I've been posting about digital readers and tablets all month, I figured I'd better mention the Kindle Fire.

I don't own one, so I'm not speaking from personal experience. But the friend I've spoken about before on this blog, who is a long time literary agent, does have a Kindle Fire and he tells me he loves it.

In fact, he reads queries and manuscripts on it while he's at home or on vacation. And this is big for him. He's never been a huge fan of digital anything. So far, I haven't heard a single complaint.

So here's a link to the Kindle Fire where you can check it out yourselves.

Mitt Romney and His 3-Teir Marriage System for Gays

This is rich. Good old Mitt came up with a solution he thinks will solve the gay marriage problem and hopefully get him elected.

I love the response from The Log Cabin Club below this. For those who don't know, and for those who think all Republicans are against legalizing gay marriage, The Log Cabin Club is a gay Republican organization you rarely ever hear about in the mainstream media. But they've been around for a long time. It's not something new.

Romney Unveils 3-Tier Marriage System For Gays
By Igor Volsky on Dec 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm

During an interview with the Boston Herald on Wednesday, Mitt Romney reiterated his support for a federal amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, but also said that he would establish three different tiers of marriage specifically for gay people:

Expressed support for a constitutional amendment that could create a complex three-tier system of marriage — maintaining marriage rights for straight couples, allowing gays who have already married to remain married, but barring future same-sex marriages.

“I think it would keep intact those marriages which had occurred under the law but maintain future plans based on marriage being between a man and a woman,” Romney said.

The Romney of 1994 would have opposed this system entirely. As candidate for the senate running against Teddy Kennedy, Romney had argued that same-sex marriage is “a state issue as you know – the authorization of marriage on a same-sex basis falls under state jurisdiction.” (HT: Ned Flaherty)

Here's the Log Cabin Update:

Governor Romney is contorting himself into a pretzel trying to avoid the simplest solution to a purely political problem. The best way to strengthen all families is to grant equal access to civil marriage for all couples regardless of their orientation. Governor Romney’s proposal to create a stratified system is a recipe for legal chaos. It is an offense to the rights of states like New Hampshire that have chosen to legalize marriage equality, and would, for the first time since the Civil War, enshrine second class citizenship in the American Constitution. On the state level, California is already struggling to deal with the fallout of multiple classes of marriage rights imposed by Proposition 8, proving that this system simply doesn’t work. Log Cabin Republicans appreciate the governor’s efforts to find middle ground, but this is not an acceptable solution.

Another Reason Why I Love My Kobo E-Reader...

This really isn't my bathroom (mine is nicer, with nicer towels and marble, and I'd rather wear white after labor day than put those bathroom rugs down around my commode). I swiped this on facebook. And I don't know who took the shot. But it would be hard to admit an e-reader doesn't beat this mess.

New Year's Resolutions: Writing a New Book

If you're making a New Year's resolution this year to write a new book, this article might help. I swiped the link from an agent's blog, but I don't think she'll mind.

The article gets into "formula," which I strongly believe in...because it works.

I like articles like this because they help motivate people in more than one way. I'm making my own New Year's resolution next month and I'm determined to follow it through.

For the most part, I'm usually good with New Year's resolutions and I think it's because I try to keep them realistic. This time it might be a little more difficult. Even though I have over eighty-five published works floating around out there, I've always wanted to write something for the mainstream/commercial market. Something along the lines of The Nanny Diaries, with commercial potential, and at least one or two LGBT characters. I'm still working on the basic storyline. So we'll see what happens. And I'll be doing this in my spare time, because I have a lot of m/m romance projects already lined up until at least next July.

When it's finished, it should be interesting to see how it's received by mainstream agents and publishers. So far, no one in the mainstream, from my experience, has ever been interested in anything LGBT unless it exploits or sensationalizes. This, I don't think, is discrimination. "They" just don't think LGBT material will sell. I'm sure I'll have more than a few posts on that topic.

And, if it isn't received well, you can be damn sure I'll be putting on my self-publishing cap and forging ahead faster than a steam roller on my own.

But check out the web site I linked to. It's a good read, and extremely motivational.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Personal Stories of Young Gay and Bi Men

I found this web site and wanted to share.

It has personal stories from young men who are bi and gay. The first story alone gives some excellent insight about what it's like to experience certain things at a young age.

Here's the link.

Here's one, by a young guy named Brandin.


I think I've been gay for awhile. I've always been just a little on the girly side, but a lot was going on in my life at that time, so I never really had the time/interest to sit down and think the facts through. But, once I got over the small initial shock, I had nothing Against it.

My first open gay crush was a guy named L, at the RV/Beach Resort my family visits during most summers. I had my own golf cart, and it wasn't rare for me to go on drives lasting an hour or more, so I'd just head over to his camper and hang. We both knew there was something between us, and he accepted it. We dated for two years, till I was 15, when we both realised we were tired of being tied down. We broke it off last month, and he's still one of my best friends.

But, back to the story, I came out to my friends and selective family members at 14, and they were all very supportive. Point of the story: If you're afraid to come out, just tell your closest people. You're gonna have haters, but who the Hell doesn't?

How to Deal with an Editor who Needs a Kick in the...

I smiled when I wrote the title to this post. And I'd like to state, very clearly, this has nothing to do with either of my favorite editors, Janet and Dalia. I love these people and work well with them. I feel like Janet and I have established more than a working relationship: we're friends. I've watched her go through a lot in the past few years, and she's come through it like a trooper. Editing books with these two wonderful people is something I look forward to. I wish everyone in publishing could have editors like Janet and Dalia.

The reason I'm posting about this topic is because an author friend of mine had trouble with her editor, and it sounded all too familiar to me. I once had the same trouble with an editor, and it can make the entire publishing experience frustrating and dismal if you don't know how to deal with it.

The relationship between author and editor can be tricky. Just like in life, you either get along with some people or you don't. And there's no rhyme or reason. And if you don't get along with your editor, it can be extremely difficult. There must be a give and take on both sides at all times, and egos have to be put aside for the sake of the book so nothing is compromised.

In my case, I had an editor who didn't know how to communicate well electronically. She made notes and comments on the side of the manuscript in capital letters, with exclamation points. And she wasn't shy about it. She would write: "WRONG," at the top of the comment, and then go into a pedantic rant about a small detail that wasn't even important to the story, the love, or the romance. A chapter later, she would write, "WRONG AGAIN!!" and continue on with another rant about some idiotic fact that made no sense to the storyline or the book. I simply removed the issues, and rewrote a sentence or two. That's all it took to fix. There was no need for a two page pen pal letter from this editor.

When you're dealing with people through e-mail or electronic communication, you have to choose the way you speak with care. Capital letters can mean anything from arrogance to insult. I take it as a direct message whenever someone uses all caps with me. It's like shouting through cyberspace, and I don't like it when it's directed at me without just cause. I have a long fuse, and I'm not confrontational. But if someone were to shout at me in person, they'd better stand back, grab something, and be prepared for a response that might floor them...something they won't forget any time soon. This is just instinct for me; I think most people react the same way.

But when an editor does this on a word document, while you're working on a manuscript you care about, it's not easy to deal with. Your first instinct is to shout right back, in all caps. But the best thing to do is sit back, take a break, and calm down. Going back with snide remarks and swipes isn't going to make the book any better and you're not going to feel any better. I've learned this through experience, trust me.

I've also learned not to take everything an editor says or suggests seriously. Sometimes they are right. I've conceded many times because editors have been right. But they aren't always right, and you have to know when to stand up for what you believe is right for the book. You know your book better than anyone; you know your readers better than anyone. But you also have to learn how to react to an editor in a nice, professional manner, because you might be working with this editor again down the line. You're never going to like this person, you're always going to think this person is an idiot, but you're going to have to figure out a way to get along with this person.

I think the worst editorial experience I ever suffered through was with a copyeditor who had a loud, condescending tone/voice. I'm not sure if she really was condescending or not (why you have to be careful with e-mail and electronic communication). But she sure sounded that way, and I don't take well to pushy people. If someone pushes me too far, I'll either push back or pull. Either way, they are going to be sorry (smile). This editor used words like "parse" whenever she didn't like the way two characters were interacting..."This doesn't parse well..." I would look at the comments and think, "WTF?" Who the hell uses the word "parse?" And she loved to change character dialogue. Yup. She did that. And she was only a copyeditor, not a managing editor. Her job was to fix spelling and correct grammatical errors, not add input to the storyline.

And there's only one way to deal with condescending people who think they know it all: total dismissal. You're never going to win with people like this. And there's no point in complaining to the publisher. It only adds fuel to an already smoldering fire. Unless you truly believe that what the editor is doing will hurt the integrity of the book, the small changes don't really matter and sometimes it's just easier all the way around to let them have their way.

So if you ever come across an editor who knows it all, rants about things that don't matter to the book, and you get the feeling she doesn't really understand what you're trying to do with the book, handle it with care. And always keep the integrity of the book as the main focus, not the editor who needs a good swift kick in the ass. A week later, none of it will really matter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Excerpt From "Four Feet Under With My Buddies"

Here's a raw excerpt from a new short story, FOUR FEET UNDER WITH MY BUDDIES.

This is only the second round, so be prepared for a few possible mistakes. But I think it's interesting to post excerpts from raw edits so people see what the process is like.

It's also part of the fun for writers to go through these things.

The day we buried old Clyde, it rained. A slow, steady drizzle began at noon and lasted for the next thirteen hours. And the only thing I could think about was I hadn’t gotten laid in months.

I stood outside beside my mom, dad, younger brother, and housekeeper, Mattie Johnson. We all wore black and held miss-matched umbrellas with frayed edges.

The only one who actually cried was my younger brother. And that’s because we were burying his pet rat, and we couldn’t have cared less. He’d insisted we all congregate in the backyard in a show of mutual respect, and we all decided to support him. He’s only ten; he made up a shoebox to resemble a miniature casket with brown paint and tiny little cabinet handles he’d pilfered from my dad’s tool shed. He even read a short eulogy he’d written on the back of a school essay in blue crayon and expected each one of us to say a few words about Clyde when he was finished.

When I glanced at the expression on Mattie Johnson’s face as she gazed down into a dark hole that looked about four feet deep, I smiled. Her eyebrows were quirked, her lips pinched, as she searched for the right words to describe the pet rat that had always made her either jump or scream.

Mattie Johnson cleared her throat and rolled her eyes. She took a deep breath and said, “Ah well, rest in peace, old Clyde.” Then she shot me a serious, urgent glance, letting me know she was finished and it was my turn.

I reached for my brother’s shoulder and said, “He was a great little guy. We’ll all miss him. He was one of a kind, buddy.” Then I flung my father a look to let him know it was his turn.

My father cleared his throat and glanced down at the shoebox in the hole. He seemed to be at a loss for words until my brother’s little head went up with an unyielding glance that even tugged at my heart. That’s when my father softened and said, “Max is right. He was a great little guy, and we’re all going to miss him, kiddo. He was one of a kind.”

Pop Culture: People Faking to be Gay

I find this fascinating. When people fake being gay, for whatever reason, I can't seem to get enough information about what motivates this kind of behavior.

Very few gay people can get a movie deal...or book deal for that matter...into the mainstream, and yet stupid movies like I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry, sail through without a problem. I see wonderful gay books being either turned down or shunned, and garbage with no real gay authenticity makes headlines and gains tons of praise. The irony of all this, the fact that people who aren't gay can exploit and capitalize on gay people, absolutely amazes me. You would be amazed at how many times I've had to fight straight women editors for trying to change something that is gay and authentic in one of my books because the editor thought she knew better than I did about being gay.

I've even read where younger people fake being gay in order to be accepted or be cool in certain social circles. Personally, I think the gay community at large needs to pull together and find one good strong spokesperson. Someone who is there to speak up whenever something offensive happens. Because when you are a gay person, there is absolutely nothing more offensive or insulting or hurtful, than having a straight person tell you what you are suppose to be like or what you are supposed to be.

I read about this in the recent article below in Think Progress. So I can't be the only one who feels this way. I'm copying and pasting, verbatim, so you can see what I'm talking about in case you can't click or don't feel like clicking the link.

You can read the entire piece here if you choose to do so.

I find this quote particularly interesting, and true:

And they push actual gay people out of the frame.

Dear Pop Culture, Enough With the Faux-Gays
By Alyssa Rosenberg on Dec 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm

The CW, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that its next comedy will be about a young woman who marries her best friend to get around rules about roommates that would forbid said friend from moving into the main character’s “swanky New York co-op.” And I’ve had enough of fake pop culture gay people.

It as one thing to give us I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which managed to be about the unfairness of two sets of laws, one that made it difficult for widowers to preserve pension benefits and another that denied gay couples the same rights available to straight ones, while also putting its two somewhat boorish male characters in a position that forced them to sympathize more deeply with gay people and to understand their own gender roles better. This, by contrast, is about maintaining access to a nice apartment, a kind of fraud that doesn’t exactly help the cause of law-abiding real gay people. The characters get a domestic partnership even though New York is a marriage equality state. And it’s a fake lesbian fantasy, written and acted, in this case, by Sarah Rue, who is in real life married to a man.

It’s a lot worse than that still not-great storyline on Community where Britta fancies herself sophisticated for having a lesbian friend without ever actually ascertaining if said friend is gay (which says volumes about how deep that friendship actually is)—only to find out said friend is doing the exact same thing. But they have some things in common. They’re stories that treat gay people and gay rights struggles like commodities, cool and credibility to be appropriated when necessary for wacky storytelling. Fake gay people let straight people try on tolerance without ever actually having it tested. And they push actual gay people out of the frame. Networks and studios can do better. It’s easy to engage with real gay people than to make up eccentric fake ones.

Book Pirates, Matthew Delman, and Digital Rights Management

When I have more time, I'm going to expand on this post.

But right now I'd like to link to a fascinating web site I just found by a guy named Matthew Delman. It's a wonderful web site, and even though I've only glanced at it, Mr. Delman looks like he knows what he's doing.

You can get there from here, to read about book pirates and DRM. It looks like there's a lot more to read as well.

Monday, December 12, 2011

M/M Fiction: Dirk Vanden

If you're looking for m/m fiction that's slightly different from what you've been reading, check out the work of Dirk Vanden.

Here's his page on the publisher web site.

I would assume Dirk's books, like mine from LYD, can be purchased on Amazon and other web sites where e-books are sold.

Here's the tag line from one of his works, I WANT IT ALL.

One dark summer night in 1969, in a tiny Colorado cow-country town, in the back alley behind Red’s Bar and Billiards, Warren Miller attempts to save a “Queer’s” life, and in the process discovers his own homosexuality.

I have many older gay friends and I enjoy reading fiction set during this period. It was a different world in some ways, and in others it hasn't changed all that much no matter what "they" want you to think. There's no way to explain just have to know it. You can't read about it in the press or watch it on TV. It's something innate.

List of Books in the Virgin Billionaire Series in Consecutive Order

While each Virgin Billionaire book is a stand alone and it doesn't have to be read along with any of the other Virgin Billionaire books in order to be understood, I get a lot of requests from readers about the order in which the books were written and published.

So here's a list, in order, that should help you out.

Book 1 The Virgin Billionaire

Book 2 The Virgin Billionaire's Wedding

Book 3 The Virgin Billionaire's Secret Baby

Book 4 The Virgin Billionaire: Revenge

Book 5 The Virgin Billionaire and the Evil Twin

Book 6 The Virgin Billionaire's Sexellent Adventure

Book 7 The Virgin Billionaire's Dream House

Book 8 The Virgin Billionaire's Hot Amish Escapade

Book 9 (Soon to be published) The Virgin Billionaire: Reversal of

I'm contracted to do one more book in the series. After that, I'm honestly not sure at this point.

Christmas Rlease: Down the Basement II

Last year I wrote a Christmas e-book which is actually the sequel to a short story that was in a Lambda Award winning anthology, DOWN THE BASEMENT.

The title of the sequel is, DOWN THE BASEMENT II, and it's actually a novella and much longer than the original story.

Something Different Coming Soon

I've begun work on edits for a new release that deals with a subject/fetish I've never explored before in m/m fiction/ an author or a reader. I don't know the exact release date. But I do know I will be working with my editor at loveyoudivine until I think it's as close to perfect as I can get it.

The subject deals with foot fetish. And I've never done anything like it before because I don't know much about it. But I've always believed that if you write fiction you should be able to write on any topic...I've also never been a fan of that school of thought that says, "Write what you know." I think if all authors wrote what they knew, we'd have a lot of boring, sucky novels around. For me, I'd rather explore things I've never done before and don't know about. It keeps me moving forward as an author and, I hope, keeps my work fresh. I also think the market for foot fetish readers is larger than most people would imagine. It's still a minor sub-genre, but there have to be people interested in reading it.

This is just one more reason why I love working with a publisher like loveyoudivine so much. They allow me the freedom to do this without asking any questions. Sometimes, when I submit something to them, I'm not sure how they will respond. But when I do hear back, it's always something positive and encouraging. And we move forward with the project.

I'm going to post about a few changes I'm going to be making in the coming new year. Like I said, as an author, there's nothing worse than not having the ability to move forward and venture into new areas you haven't been before. This may very well be my first and last foot fetish story, but that doesn't mean there won't be a lot of new things happening in the future.