Monday, January 31, 2011

Protected: Gatekeepers Post – Live Announcement!

Protected: Gatekeepers Post – Live Announcement!

As I mentioned last week, there's a new web site/blog launching tomorrow that deals with the publishing industry. I received an e-mail about it last week and I've been dying to talk about it since then. I just hope the homepage is faster to bring up tomorrow than it is today. Because,, if it's not you'll be losing readers that don't have time to wait three or four minutes for the homepage to open (smile). We want to read it, we really do, but we don't want our coffee to get cold in the meantime.

Here's the press release:

FOR RELEASE: Monday, January 31, 2011
Author and media personality, Jeff Rivera launches The Gatekeepers Post, a new social media community intended to make a significant impact on the conversation of book publishing.
With the decline in print book sales, the increase of eBooks, the rapid closing of independent bookstores and the boom in young adult fiction, the world of book publishing is experiencing a flux few could have anticipated even five years ago.
Industry outlets have struggled to keep pace with the new developments in publishing but the changes are happening too fast for anyone to cover it all. The industry and public’s insatiable appetite for fresh news on the rapid changes has only increased.
The Gatekeepers Post hopes to satisfy that appetite. A cross between Huffington Post and Publishers Weekly, the outlet features some of the most important and respected voices in book publishing.
Joined by an editorial advisory board that includes the likes of print and online magazine editor Neal Boulton;
TechSavvy high-tech consulting CEO Scott Steinberg; New York Times bestselling author and Publisher, Zane; Planned TV Arts’ Rick Frishman; Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives Ed Nawotka; Smashwords’ Mark Coker; Thomas Dunne Book’s Brendan Deneen; publisher and veteran literary agent Richard Curtis; Editor-in-Chief of Richard Blakeley; former Writers Digest Books Editor-at-Large Jane Friedman; Authorpreneur Joe Konrath; and Hachette’s Director of Multicultural Publicity Linda Duggins. The new outlet also features Gatekeepers bloggers that site founder and Editor-in-Chief Jeff Rivera personally handpicked. “The support from the industry has been overwhelming,” says Rivera, “I’m proud of the high caliber of Gatekeepers and guest bloggers who’ll be joining us.” Veteran agents, major editors, librarians, publishers, publicists and authors such as New York Times bestseller Alisa Valdes Rodriguez will be lending their voice to the community as well. Book publishing heavy weights such as Andrea Barzvi of ICM, Keith Ogorek of Author Solutions, Harvey Klinger of the Harvey Klinger Agency, Bill Gladstone of Waterside Productions, Glenn Yeffeth of BenBella Books, Steve Wilson CEO of Fast Pencil and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein of Gotham Group have also joined.
A steady stream of book-centric reviews, headlining news, articles, and op-ed pieces, will be incorporated within the outlet along with forthcoming special events such as virtual panel discussions and online conferences.
Gatekeepers Post officially launches on February 1, 2011 at midnight.

New Blog I Found: Michael-in-Norfolk...

Found a great blog this weekend that deals with all things lgbt, thanks to a local friend who works in NYC as an accountant. Michael-in-Norfolk, Coming Out in Mid Life (I write about characters who come out in mid life all the time: Jase, in The Virgin Billionaire, for example) is a tad on the political side, and I may or may not agree with everything posted in the blog, but I like the way it's written and I'd recommend it to other people interested in all things lgbt. As far as blogs go, this one is well executed.

You can check it out here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interesting Facts

Just in case you weren't feeling too old today, this will certainly change things. Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year's incoming freshmen. Here's this year's list: The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1992.

Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.

The CD was introduced 2 years before they were born.

They have always had an answering machine.

They have always had cable.

They cannot fathom not having a remote control.

Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.

They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.

They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.

They never heard: "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel", or "de plane, Boss, de plane.."

McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.

They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.

They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.

Their lifetime has always included AIDS.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

This Isn't a Blog You're Reading, It's a Blog POST On a Blog

I've written before about this, and now I'm doing it again, hoping to make it easier.

I'm still slightly floored whenever I see an author (or anyone in publishing) talk about their "blog" and not get it right. At first glance, I automatically think they are talking about their blog in other words, the actual web site they call a blog. Like this blog, This individual web address, and the site on which you are reading right now, in a general sense, is considered my blog.

But this particular article you're reading is considered a post I entered on my blog.

You're reading a blog post right now...on my blog.

You're not reading a blog I wrote/entered on my blog.

It's an individual post I wrote about blogging. One of many other posts I've written on this blog.

In the grand scheme of life is this a big thing? Not if you're a dentist, plumber, or fortune teller. But if you're a writer and you don't know the difference between a blog and a blog post, there are people out there who will wonder, and some might not take you seriously.

You can also look at it this way. If you wrote a piece for a magazine, you'd ask people to read the article you wrote for the magazine. You wouldn't ask them to read the magazine you wrote for the magazine. If you did, no one would know what you're talking about.

And a blog post is like a magazine this sense. Although there is a fundamental difference between a magazine article and a blog post, I'd think I'd rather see bloggers refer to their posts as articles instead of blogs. At least this way I'd know what they are talking about.

If you don't believe me and you think I'm making this shit up, you can check out this web site, which I think gives two great definitions for blog and blog post:

Blog/bloggingA weblog or web page entry. Like an online diary. Written using a simple text editor and posted online usually with a simple mouse ‘click’. By tagging key words can appear in Google search words. (As at September 2007 it was estimated that there were over 108 million blogs)

Blog post An entry made by someone on their blog. As at September 2007, it was estimated near 200k posts were made a day. These can be read by the estimated 1.2 billion people connected to the internet.

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Cleis Press Anthology: Hot Jocks - And Be Honest on the Social Networks

This is one of those duel posts I often do when I'm in a hurry. Today I have to go through 200 e-mails on my yahoo account, write back cover copy for a new novel submission, come up with a few new title suggestions, and give the artist at a few coherent cover suggestions.

So I'll start with the new Cleis Press anthology. Over the years I've been in more than a few m/m fiction anthologies with Cleis Press. And a lot of those have been with editor, Richard Labonte.

And this spring I'll be in another anthology by Richard titled, HOT JOCKS. The book will be a collection of m/m erotic short stories with a theme revolving around sports. And the story I submitted will be about a young college guy and his football coach. I haven't submitted as many stories to publishers like Cleis Press in the past three years because I've been working on contracted novels for e-publishers like But I've missed working with them. As a reader I'm a huge fan of the Cleis Press book list in general, and I love the way they support the lgbt community. So I'm looking forward to this new release, and I'll be posting more about it in the future.

As for being honest on social networks. Well, here's the thing. If you don't keep it honest, sooner or later you're going to slip up, especially on a social network like facebook where readers and other authors are free to leave comments. I've been following one author's facebook posts for a while and I've always had my doubts about whether or not the posts are sincere. In other words, are the things this author says he/she is doing real, or is this author just jerking the facebook readers and fans around. Either way it doesn't really matter. All that matters in the end is whether or not the author's books are any good. But I recently noticed a facebook post this particular author made that had a large slip-up. Most people didn't notice the slip-up. They just replied to the post with more cute comments. But a few did notice, and they commented about it.

The bottom line is this: you can bullshit the troops for as long as you want. There are, in fact, people...politicians...who have built entire careers based on bullshit. But if you're posting cute, heartwarming posts on facebook, with happy faces and too many exclamation points, in order to brand yourself as an author, you'd better make sure the facts you are posting about are accurate. If they aren't accurate, people are going to doubt your sincerity and they'll stop taking you seriously. Most won't say anything (like me), but the doubts will linger with them forever. And nothing you post or say will ever ring true again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

RIP: The Marvelettes' Gladys Horton-Please Mr. Postman(Live)

Gladys Horton of the Marvelettes Dead @ 66...RIP

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weird But Interesting: 2011

This year has 4 interesting and rare dates:

11-1-11 &
11-11-11 gets better.

Now take the last 2 digits of the YEAR of your birth, add the age you will turn this year and it will equal 111.....try it. Too weird eh!

A Halfway Through the Book Review: Jonathan Franzen's FREEDOM

I have to admit that after reading three Toni Morrison books in a row, which I just did last month, any author or book that follows is going to have a rough time convincing me Toni Morrison isn't the best author in the history of the planet.

But I started reading FREEDOM, by Jonathan Franzen, after finishing Morrison's, JAZZ, and it wasn't easy to switch gears. This has nothing to do with Franzen's style or his book. It's just that Franzen is so different from Toni Morrison it was hard not to compare the two authors. The easy part was I'm a fan of Franzen's CORRECTIONS, so I've been looking forward to seeing what Franzen has been up to in the last ten years.

Right now I'm halfway through FREEDOM. (I know no one gives halfway reviews, but it's a long book and it's my blog so I can do whatever I want here.) I've read Patty's autobiography, I've watched her transition from a young adult to a college student to a housewife and mother. I've seen Walter and Richard through their ups and downs. And I've read about Joey's kinky little escapades with phone sex and observed his peculiar little wench of a girlfriend. And if I had to rate FREEDOM on amazon right now, I can safely say I'd give it five stars without even knowing the ending.

I wouldn't rate it this way because I love the characters. In this particular case, I don't think I've ever despised characters in a book quite this way before. They are vapid, self-indulgent, and absolutely fascinating in all their dullness. I'm not even sure I can explain this clearly, but I actually love them because I hate them so much. These characters are everything for which I do not stand and never will stand. The only character with whom I can remotely relate is Joey, because he seems so eager all the time.

And right now, though I can't even begin to predict the ending, I couldn't recommend this book more to anyone looking for good fiction. I also like Jonathan Franzen's writing style. I've seen reviews of FREEDOM where readers have blasted his dialogue. But I disagree. I like the way he pulls it off, and I can't help wondering which character Franzen is most like. If I had to guess I'd say he really wants to be like Richard, in reality people see him more as Walter, but deep down, he's all Joey.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Freedom to Marry: A Great Web Site

If you haven't already seen this, there's a great web site called: FREEDOM TO MARRY. You can check it out here and there's a great post about deconstructing the anti-marriage argument I just read here by Josh Bell.

Reading online articles like this keeps us informed and ready to speak whenever we're in a situation where someone is attacking gay marriage. And if you're not very political like me, you need to know at least the basics in order to stand up for the things in which you believe. Especially nowadays, when it seems as though all the most important politicians we need on our side aren't tough enough to take an actual stand on the issue. Leave it up to the states just doesn't work for me. And I'm sorry, I simply cannot believe that you can reach the age of forty years old and not take a stand on this issue. But more than that, not if you're an ivy league graduate who went on to higher public office.

You Heard it Here First: There's a New Publishing Blog Coming Out Soon

(Update to post: Well, you heard it here second. As is usually the case, word about something new moves fast. And I just read this piece posted yesterday in Media Bistro: Jeff Rivera Discusses His New e-Book Community Site: The Gatekeepers Post But this doesn't make it any less exciting. Check out the link and read all about what's going to happen. The details are still vague, but the press release will be going out on the 31st and I'll link to it then.)

I can't say much right now, but I can say this: there's a new publishing blog coming out very soon that's being touted as The Huffington Post of the publishing industry. From good sources, I hear the blog is in the "buzzing" stages, so I can at least post this much. But that's all I can say now.

I will post as soon as the press release goes public, and very soon. I will also link to articles and pieces that are written in the blog.

From what I hear this new blog has some very impressive contributors, all seasoned industry professionals. And I've also heard it's going to be heavily focused on e-books and how e-books and e-readers are changing the industry.

I know I'm looking forward to my new Kobo e-reader, which was just shipped today. I'll post more about that, too, for anyone interested in e-readers.

High School Senior "Comes Out" in Assembly

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I Try to Make LGBT Characters Different...Not All Gays Are Left Wing Liberals

In my fiction, one of the things I try to do is make my LGBT characters different from the typical formula we're so used to seeing. I'm not even going to single out a publisher or Hollywood this time. It's everywhere it seems. People who read this blog regularly know I remain on the sidelines, and always objective, when it comes to most issues...especially political issues...unlike most personal bloggers who blast and shout their opinions everywhere. And I always will remain objective. This is partly because I want to remain fair to my characters and partly because I want to respect the rights of all LGBT people, not just the loudest, the most visual, or the LGBT's who garner the most attention in the media. For me not to remain objective would defeat the purpose of this blog, which is to be able to write about anything, from a distance, without getting emotionally involved one way or the other.

I've commented many times how I believe the B & T, in LGBT, is often left out of many conversations, as if bi-sexuals and transgenders don't even exist. I even write about them in my books (American Star II has a strong transgender main character).

And now I'd like to comment on something I read recently happening in my own home town of New Hope, PA, where there's a huge LGBT community. And, once again, I'm not weighing in with an opinion one way or the other. I'm just reporting the facts and informing people there are many facets to being an LGBT American, and most people are only getting the bare basics from the mainstream media. This was taken from a new facebook page I saw this evening. And I thought it was worth mentioning, to show the diversity within the LGBT community.

Welcome to Log Cabin Republicans of New Hope, Pennsylvania
A gathering place for Republican LGBT supporters and Log Cabin Republicans of New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania and friends.The mission of the Log Cabin Republicans is to work within the Republican Party to advocate equal rights for all Americans, including gays and lesbians."Log Cabin Republicans of Pennsylvania" and Log Cabin Republicans of New Hope Pennsylvania recognize and endorse each other! Please show your support!What is Log Cabin Republican?We stand for the proposition that all of us are created equal-worthy of the same rights to freedom, liberty, and equality.we believe in conservatismwe believe in comprehensive tax reform.we believe in revitalizing Social Security through allowing individuals to invest in their futures.we believe in a strong national defense.We believe in a strong national defense and support increased readiness for our military so that our country remains fully capable of defending itself against all enemies.we support legal immigration reforms that are fair and humane. KEY WORD: LEGAL.... IMMIGRATION! INCLUDING GAYS!we support marriage equality for all Americans.we believe in a broad, inclusive definition of family in America.we support non-discrimination in employment.we believe in market driven health reform.We are Log Cabin Republican!For additional inquiries, information, and questions, outside of this page, we can be reached at

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Virgin Billionaire's Secret Baby Now on Amazon and The Kobo E-reader

For those who shop on amazon, THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S SECRET BABY just went up with the rest of my books in the kindle store. It's also available in paperback as well.

And I just ordered another e-reader. The price was very good and I decided to get it because from what I've heard you can take out e-books from the library with this one. It's the Kobo e-reader, and it's on sale right now at for 99.00 with free shipping. I've been watching the same Kobo e-reader in my local CVS store for about a month now. CVS has it retailing for 149.00, which is about the average price. But I didn't feel like spending that much, especially since e-readers keep going down in price. But when I saw the same e-reader at Borders for 99.00 I decided to spring for it. And if I can take e-books out of the library with this, I'll save money in the long run. Though I've never actually tried to take an e- book out this way, everyone else seems to be talking about it.
I also noticed I have my own list of books being sold at Borders and didn't know it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Snookie's Book New York Times Best Seller

If you're a fan of Jersey Shore and Nicole "Snookie" Polizzi, you'll be thrilled to know her new book, A SHORE THING, made the New York Times Best Seller List this weekend. I'm including this link to blue centric if you want to read more. If you're not a Snookie fan, too damn bad (smile).

No comment on this end about Snookie or the book. I'm not a critic and don't want to be. As long as people are reading books, I'm smiling.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I partially ripped this off from my friend Ryan's blog,, only he posted the Garth Brooks version and this is by Adele. Check out Ryan's post. It's very romantic because he posted the Garth Brooks version for his boyfriend, Kadin. I'm just posting the Adele version because it reminded me of a love scene I wrote this afternoon in a new book I'm finishing. More often than not, music is one of my greatest muses.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kindle Reader Now Popular In Schools

I don't have a link to this piece. But I copied and pasted below, verbatim. It came from a local Bucks County, PA newspaper, The Intelligencer.

The Intelligencer
Students said they were more interested in reading books electronically.
Story time now begins with the push of a power button for eighth-graders at School Lane Charter School in Bensalem.
They received Kindle electronic reading devices this month.
Teachers hope the devices awaken a passion for reading in the kids, who are far more familiar with computers than the Dewey Decimal System, which libraries use to categorize books.
Kids can download reading materials onto the device wirelessly, eliminating trips to a book store or library.
Weighing about 10 ounces, a Kindle won't weigh down a student's backpack. School Lane paid $8,450 for 50 devices, which cost $169 apiece with protective casing.
When student Jason Flora of Bensalem doesn't feel like reading, he said he can simply listen to a book. On command, the Kindle reads the text aloud.
Student Daniel Nelson of Bensalem said he "barely ever read anything" before he was given a Kindle. Now he's actively searching for electronic books to read.
School Lane principal Karen Schade said almost all the eighth-graders are requesting books, which can be downloaded only with the permission of parents and teachers.
Although the students' Kindles are used in the classroom for story hour a few times a month, they are used much more often at home, school officials said.
Meanwhile, educators continue to weigh the Kindle's usefulness in the classroom.

A Kindle pilot program at Princeton University significantly reduced paper cost and waste by college students. But some students complained that printed materials are more easily compared, highlighted and referenced than electronic materials.
Some research suggests that the brain processes electronic and print text differently, with electronic text digested in a more cursory manner for the collection of quick information. And as reading becomes easier, it also becomes easier to forget, those researchers say.
School Lane officials said they'll continue to use print materials, such as textbooks, in the classroom.
"The bottom line for us was just to get students energized about reading," said the principal. "One of the purposes of a charter school is to try new things like this."
The school expects some cost savings, the principal said, because students can share books with other Kindle users, and electronic books tend to be cheaper than the printed versions. For example, the new Stephen King novel "Full Dark, No Stars" sells for $12.99 on Kindle and $33.25 in hardcover at Barnes & Noble.
Electronic versions of books also won't get damaged like print materials.

Another Gay Suicide in Miltona, Minnesota: Mediafail

I know I'm suppose to be promoting a new book today. But late last night I read about another gay suicide, this time in Miltona, Minnesota, and wanted to mention it with a link to Utah Pride, and another link to my blogging friend Ryan's blog, here.

Frankly, I've been watching a lot of mainstream media news this week and I didn't see this suicide mentioned much...if at all. Which I suppose is typical, given the state of affairs our mainstream media is in these days. I guess they'll get around to it when and if they decide there's nothing more sensational to report.


The third book in my Virgin Billionaire series was just released today, THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S SECRET BABY. It's a full length novel, it can be found on the publisher's web site ( and all other web sites where e-books are sold, and here's a link to the web site. I usually link there because I think they give the best product description all the way around.

The interesting thing about this book is that I brought back two characters from a novel I wrote about three years ago, PRETTY MAN. The two main characters, Roland and Josh, in that book were deeply in love but had a more open sexual relationship than characters in my other books. But that didn't mean they were any less in love. A lot of people didn't think they loved each other enough, though, so I wanted to bring them back for a few short scenes in this latest virgin billionaire book and show readers they did, in fact, continue with their relationship and they are still thriving as a happily married couple.

To make it even more interesting, the one main character in this third book, Luis Fortune, actually isn't too fond of Roland and Josh's open relationship and he's sometimes very vocal about it. My goal was to show that gay relationships, just like hetero relationships, are not all the same. Not by any means. And not all gay men are going to get along with each other just like not all hetero people are going to get along. Not all gay men hang out with straight women and shop. I find it amazing how this fact is often overlooked in most gay romance...and gay often. It's like all gay men are lumped into a category everyone wants to believe is real, and that's not the case. Believe it or not, there are gay men who are conservative republicans and often remain silent about this because they fear they will be ridiculed. So I try to show an objective difference whenever I can. And, once again, I draw from my own experience as a gay man and from watching and listening to other gay men I know.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gender Discrimination in Erotica and Romance

Yesterday Kathleen Bradean wrote a great post, here, about gender discrimination in erotica and romance. I think it's worth reading partly because this issue is rarely mentioned and partly because it's spot on as far as I'm concerned.

I post a lot about my support for straight women (and men) who write or want to write m/m erotic romance, romance, or fiction. As a writer...not an author...I believe there shouldn't be any limits set upon any writer, especially when it comes to fiction. In other words, just because someone isn't actually gay it doesn't mean they can't write fiction with gay characters and create as much emotion and story as anyone else. I think I've already proven this with a lot of the books I've written in the past two years. Many of my books have storylines that were originally written for straight/hetero characters in films and I turned them around and re-wrote them with gay characters. I believe, when it comes to love and emotion, it doesn't matter whether you're gay or straight. The dynamics are still the same.

But I know there are many who disagree with me. And that's fine. I respect their opinions. But I also know what it's like from the other side of the coin, too. I've personally written more than several hetero erotic romance and romances. My favorite, believe it or not, was a pg rated romance novel with steamy but very tame love scenes. And I chose to use pen names with each hetero story I wrote. Mostly for the same reasons Kathleen Bradean wrote about in her post. I figured I'd play it safe and keep my real name just for anything I write in the m/m genre.

The only problem, with me, was that I simply couldn't get into the pen names and promoting the books with pen names. It's a peculiar experience I wasn't fond of. Other authors who didn't know it was actually me treated me differently with the female pen names, especially when it came to blogging. And I tried everything, from blogging to social networks. I even made the pen names totally opposite from my own personality, creating a completely new identity. The books sold, too. And although I enjoyed writing them all, I didn't enjoy anything about promoting the books with pen names. For me it was too the point of being creepy and often repulsive. And I simply wasn't willing to give up my entire identity for the sake of selling books. I know others would disagree here, too, but this is how I felt at the time. And what ultimately happened is that I gave up promoting the books with pen names and moved forward with my real name.

So check out Kathleen's post. It raises some interesting questions about the difficulties writers face when it comes to being boxed into certain genres or sub-genres because of their gender. And it was probably the first time I've seen it addressed so well, to the point where I could actually identify with it as a writer. And, for those straight women writing m/m romance who take heat all the time. My experiences writing hetero fiction is one of the reasons why I'm always so supportive. I know what it's like. And, frankly, I don't like anyone, not the LLF or any other group, telling me that because I'm gay I have to only write gay fiction. Stepping out of that proverbial box once in a while is a good thing.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Books on the Bestseller List the Year You Were Born

Saw this from a galleycat tweet and wanted to share. Now you can even find out what books were on the bestseller list the year you were born, here. to read the galleycat piece, and here to skip the bullshit and find out. This is what it looked like the year I was born, 1970.

Fiction 1 THE GODFATHER Mario Puzo author info
Fiction 2 THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN John Fowles author info
Fiction 3 THE HOUSE ON THE STRAND Daphne du Maurier author info
Fiction 4 THE INHERITORS Harold Robbins author info
Fiction 5 PUPPET ON A CHAIN Alistair MacLean author info
Fiction 6 FIRE FROM HEAVEN Mary Renault author info
Fiction 7 IN THIS HOUSE OF BREDE Rumer Godden author info
Fiction 8 THE GANG THAT COULDN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT Jimmy Breslin author info
Fiction 9 THE SEVEN MINUTES Irving Wallace author info
Fiction 10 TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT Graham Greene author info
Non-Fiction 1 THE SELLING OF THE PRESIDENT 1968 Joe McGinniss author info
Non-Fiction 2 THE PETER PRINCIPLE Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull author info
Non-Fiction 3 PRESENT AT THE CREATION Dean Acheson author info
Non-Fiction 5 MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS Antonia Fraser author info
Non-Fiction 6 THE GRAHAM KERR COOKBOOK the Galloping Gourmet and Hubert 6 THE GRAHAM KERR COOKBOOK, the Galloping Gourmet and Hubert Sieben author info
Non-Fiction 8 THE COLLAPSE OF THE THIRD REPUBLIC William L. Shirer author info
Non-Fiction 9 AMBASSADOR'S JOURNAL John Kenneth Galbraith author info

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I'm Guest Blogging at "Oh Get A Grip"

I wrote a guest post today over at "Oh Get A Grip!"

It's about m/m erotic romance, women who write m/m erotic romance, and a comment I read where someone didn't think there was enough "emotion" in erotic romance in general these days.

Of course most people know where I stand when it comes to women writing m/m erotic romance, and I had a few things to say about the "emotion" I've found in reading other m/m erotic romances.

I'm not sure how long the post will be up. But if you're interested, you can check it out here.

Friday, January 14, 2011


As the title suggests, this short story stand alone (stand alone means it's not a full length novel for those who might be wondering...and it's not priced like a full length novel either) revolves around surfing in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. It's only a small part of one young man's journey, but it's a part of his life that may or may not have a great deal of impact on him in the future.
When young Stedman graduates from college, he decides to spend the summer in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. He wants to take a well-deserved break from studying, he needs to face his dreaded fear of water, and he’s desperate to work on overcoming a sexual phobia he can’t explain to anyone. It’s such a ridiculous phobia he can’t stop thinking about it. In spite of many protests from his successful Afro-American father and his gorgeous Caucasian mother, he takes the cross country road trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea anyway. The first thing he does when he gets there is sign up for surfing lessons so he can work on his fear of water. And before he even knows what’s about to happen, thanks to the experienced hands of his big strong surfing instructor, he soon finds himself in the perfect situation to work on his sexual phobia as all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Big Thanks to Allmaleromance and Tristan Davis...

To be honest, I'm still not sure what getting tagged on facebook means. I know it's something everyone does. And I'm going to learn. But it's one of those things where I have to set a time and pay attention.

But tagging is a good thing: it's communication. And this morning Tristan Davis tagged me to let me know they've added more of my covers to It's a great site, for both information and checking out book covers. I know a lot of the authors there, and I know Tristan has been working damn hard on this site for a long time.

Check it out here. It's well done and extremely professional.

How Do Other Authors Promote Their Books?

I'm always curious about how authors promote their books. And I'm not even talking about one genre in particular. In this regard, because my own personal reading tastes are so eclectic, the ratings and reviews on my goodreads profile swings in all directions. In fact, I'm not fond of reading m/m romance for professional reasons. And that's not because there aren't plenty of great m/m romances out there. It's just that I'd rather read books that aren't in the genre in which I write because I don't want to be influenced by anyone else's work. Right now I'm finishing up the last of three Toni Morrison novels I've been reading since New Year's Day...The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and Jazz. All of which are well outside the realm of the m/m romance genre and safe from influencing me.

To be honest, I rarely ever concentrate hard on promoting my own books. I post info about them here in the blog. And I do this mostly so readers have a place to go to get more product description. I read other blogs just like I've always read them and often leave comments. If anyone reads the comments I've left and discovers my books, it's purely by accident.

I'm pretty bad when it comes to yahoo groups. I've tried getting into them, but I'm usually so busy writing and trying to live a fairly normal life I find it difficult to wade through e-mails in yahoo groups and that don't seem to have much significance. I'm also part of all the social networks, from Digg to facebook to twitter. However, I'm one of those people who really enjoys the social networks and I post more personal info there than I do book info. I have one of those facebook fan pages, but I haven't updated it months. I find more enjoyment interacting with facebook friends on my own personal page and the my fan page bores me to death. I've always been very social in this regard. I have fun with it.

And I write mostly e-books. All my books can be purchased as print books. But from what I've seen and heard from readers, it's all about the e-books. So I try to make myself as accessible as possible, and answer every single reader e-mail I receive. I've done blog talk radio interviews, which I love. I recently blogged with several other m/m authors on Jassewave, and enjoyed that just as much. In essence, I'm usually game for anything, from giving personal online interviews to taking them. When an Italian journalist contacted me last summer to do an interview in print about m/m romance and e-books, I was more than happy to oblige.

But the one thing I do turn down are those author readings, usually in New York. First, I'm not a fan of public speaking at all. I'm a writer, a behind the scenes person and I have no interest in speaking before a group of people, especially reading my own work. I've done author book signings, and I love them. I love getting to meet readers in person. But to stand in front of a group of people in some tiny little place in NY and read just isn't my bag. It's also an ordeal as well. I live in New Hope, Bucks County, PA, and it takes two hours or longer, with traffic, to get to these readings. It costs upward of one hundred dollars by the time I factor in gas, tolls, parking and food. And this comes out of my own pocket. I have a mortgage and bills just like everyone spite of the fact that book pirates think all authors are making tons of money. And frankly, I think my time could be spent in more productive places, like writing and editing more stories and books. I know there are people who would disagree with me. They love these author readings and they think it helps promote books. For some, it is part of their social life. But if the majority of my readership lives all over the country...the world, in fact...I honestly don't see how reading an excerpt from one of my books in a small, unheard of bistro in New York is going to help anyone.

If anyone would like to share how they promote...or even share how they feel about the things I've mentioned in the above post, please feel free to comment. I encourage anon comments here, and take privacy very seriously. And, if I don't post a comment right away it's because it probably went to spam and I didn't notice it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Garden Party by Ricky Nelson

With all the critics and reviews authors seem to be dealing with nowadays, I thought I'd share this old song by Ricky Nelson. He wrote it after a negative experience he had, and the words still ring true today.

About This Casting Blame Regarding the Shooting Spree in Arizona

As I've stated many times, I'm not political. I write fun, trashy romantic fiction and don't have to be political. But I do have opinions when it comes to certain things, and I feel very strongly about the way people have been reacting to this horrendous tragedy in Arizona.

I've been wanting to write a decent blog post about it. But I kept falling short. So when I stumbled upon a blog post written by Lit Agent Janet Reid, I decided to pay it forward, so to speak, and link to it here.

In this case, Janet says it much better than I could. And I couldn't agree with her more. It's time to stop.

David Nelson dies at 74; last surviving member of the TV sitcom family

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finally, A Gay Character on TV that Doesn't Make Me Cringe...Shameless

One of the things I try to do with my books is to portray gay men in a variety of ways, hoping to break some of the long standing stereotypes. In this post, I recently commented on how I think the two gay characters in the TV show Modern Family are a classic case of TVfail with regard to the lgbt community. Although I have nothing personal against the actors playing these two characters and I'm sure they are both great guys in real life, I'm tired of watching the most highly profiled gay men in this country being portrayed as effeminate, comical, stereotypes. Hollywood did this 70 years ago with characters of African descent and they did it to get laughs, without caring about how many millions they were hurting or caring about how they were promoting stereotypes. And it seems as though they are doing it all over again with gay men to get more laughs.

The lgbt community is very diversified, and not all gay men are effeminate left-wing liberals who love to shop and listen to Broadway Show Tunes. In fact, I'm probably a good example of this: if you ever really want to torture me, tie me up and make me listen to show tunes. Or worse, make me sit through a Broadway play. I only live an hour from New York, and seeing a Broadway show isn't a big ordeal. I could go anytime I wanted. But the last play I actually saw, and only because the tickets were a gift and I didn't want to insult anyone, was Jekyll and Hyde in the late l990's. And don't even think about asking me to a piano bar/cabaret where everyone is singing along to show tunes. I'd rather eat a bucket of dirt. And as far as shopping goes, if there were only two choices of torture for me, one being listening to show tunes and the other going shopping, bring on the Ethel Merman songs. At least I can groan in private.

There is, however, hope on the horizon. Last Sunday night I watched a new TV show on Showtime titled, Shameless. It airs at 10 pm on Sundays, ET. It has a great cast, including William H. Macy. And one young character in particular who happens to be gay, Ian, played by a talented young actor, Cameron Monaghan. You can read more about it here, where there are detailed descriptions about the show and all the characters. But I wanted to point out how real this show is written with regards to gay men. This kid, Ian, is more like the gay men...young or old...I've known all my life. Looking back to when I was his age, I can finally identify with a character on TV. At least that's how he's being portrayed right now. In other words, you wouldn't know he's gay just by looking at him, he doesn't wear flamboyant outfits and speak with a lisp, and he's truly struggling with who he is and how being gay is going to affect his life and his family.

I sincerely hope they keep the character real this time (you never know with Hollywood). Nothing against Glee and Modern Family. But after watching Shameless, it was nice to finally see a young gay man who isn't concerned about matching towels and floral arrangements. And there's nothing wrong with matching towels and floral arrangements. It's just that these things aren't what all gay men are into, is all.

Monday, January 10, 2011

About The Lambda Awards and Women Who Write M/M Fiction

It's no secret that I have...and will continue to do so...supported everyone who writes m/m fiction, including straight women authors. Or, for that matter, anyone who writes anything in lgbt fiction. I've become a huge fan of some (Michele Montgomery, EM Lynley), and my TBR list is growing daily.

I came across an interesting piece this evening on twitter about the topic, which I'm sharing now with this link.

This is the first time I've seen anyone attack the subject so openly, and whether you agree or not, it's still worth reading.

Although I've been part of Lambda Award Winning Anthologies in past years, I didn't submit anything to the Lambda awards this year, which is a first for me. But the main reason I didn't submit was because they don't allow authors to submit e-books, which is mainly what I write these days. Though all my books can be ordered on amazon as print books, it wound up costing me over a hundred bucks to submit two books last year. And I wasn't feeling generous enough this year to spend that kind of money again. Believe it or not, we authors don't get our print books for free. We do receive ARCs (review copies) for e-books, but not print.
Here is part of the blog post below in case you don't feel like clicking over there:

The Stonewall Books Awards, given annually to the year's best in children's and teen literature involving the GLBT experience, were announced today at the closing of the American Library Association's annual conference. Brian Katcher's Almost Perfect, the story of a straight boy's relationship with a transgender girl, was named the winner.
But the most interesting development may be this year's decision by the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Awards Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table, which gives the award, to announce it at the same time as the ALA's other prominent awards, which include the Newbery (given for outstanding children's literature), the Printz (given for outstanding teen literature), and the Coretta Scott King (given for outstanding African American literature).
This decision has greatly increased the visibility of the Stonewall Awards (and, perhaps, their clout), and some are saying this is a direct response to last year's decision by the Lambda Awards to restrict nominations only to books whose authors identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
At the time,
I argued that this was very ill-conceived — that the sexual orientation of an author was irrelevant to the quality of a book or the "truthfulness" of its voice, and that, for various reasons, this decision, however well-intentioned, was an unnecessary slap in the face of our strongly supportive straight-author allies.
My friend, heterosexual author Ellen Wittlinger,
makes this case particularly effectively here.
I also argued it would inevitably reduce the quality of the Lambda winners and end up reducing the overall clout of the awards themselves, something the increased visibility of the Stonewall Awards may be hastening, at least with regard to teen and children's GLBT literature.

Billabong Bang: Release Date - Jan 14th

This short story stand alone e-book, Billabong Bang, started the publication process way back in August when the sun was shining and we were in the middle of a heatwave. And for reasons that just kept popping up, the release date kept being delayed time and again. It was partly my fault, because on the last round of edits I decided to cut the entire first third of the story and rewrite it. But I'm glad it took that long, and I think the characters benefited from it. It's multi-cultural m/m erotic romance, with a main character who is of African descent.

Another great cover by Dawne Dominique.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This Is Why I Hate Politics and Stay Away From It...

I'm sure by now everyone heard about what happened yesterday in Arizona. If you haven't, here's a link from AOL discussing the little girl who was shot and killed, Christina Taylor Green. This was an innocent, harmless child, born on September 11, 2001, of all days, who was only at the shopping center because she'd just been elected to the student government at her school and she was interested in meeting a representative. She was even part of a book titled, Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 911.

Everyone else who was there was innocent, too, from the people who were shot to the bystanders who will now have to live with this horror for the rest of their lives.

And in spite of all this sorrow, I've already seen countless numbers of posts on facebook and tweets on twitter blasting politicians and political parties from political zealots who just don't seem to get the magnitude of what happened. I even saw a FB post that was stupid enough to blast Sarah Palin, with nonsense that had nothing to do with this shooting spree and these killings. I've seen these political zealots from both sides, liberal and conservative, making bitter accusations and calling each other names since early this morning, instead of focusing on the tragedy itself and pulling together to offer support to the people who need it most. Or, God forbid, to try to make things better now and focus on intelligent ways to discuss issues and politics.

The vitriol has to end somewhere. And frankly, this is why I stay away from politics in general. The person who shot and killed these innocent people in Arizona is the definition of evil. This transcends politics and crosses the border into the world of criminal darkness most of us can't even fathom. He's rotten and spoiled and vile right down to his very core. And personally, I don't think there's a punishment that would be too severe for him.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of everyone involved in this pointless killing spree and I hope nothing like this ever happens again.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snookie's New Book: Excerpts

Okay, I know this is wrong. I haven't read Snookie's entire book and don't know if I will or not. But ever since Snookie snagged a book deal for big bucks I've been fascinated about what the book would actually be like.

Well, here's a link to a few excerpts over at PopEater:

And here's one excerpt in case you don't feel like clicking over:

"Gia had never before been in jail. It wasn't nearly as gritty and disgusting as she'd seen on TV prison shows. The Seaside Heights drunk tank -- on a weekday afternoon -- was as clean and quiet as a church."

Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm Guest Blogging Today: Condoms and Romantic Fiction

I was asked to contribute to a blog post on Jessewave Reviews regarding the use of condoms in romantic fiction, along with AJ Llewellyn and DJ Manly. None of us discussed what we were going to write ahead of time, and I think the results are interesting. We all have slightly different views on the topic. And a few of the readers comments, so far, have been even more interesting.

Here's the link.

And here's the intro to the post.

A.J. Llewellyn approached me about a month ago and asked whether he and two other male authors could write a piece for this site on condoms in M/M romances. As you know, I believe that authors and readers should be able discuss topics that are important to them in a non-confrontational environment, so I indicated that I would be happy to post whatever they wrote. Whether or not you agree with their point of view AJ, DJ Manly and Ryan Field have a right to express their opinions on this hotly debated topic. I know how controversial is the issue of condoms in M/M romance, having experienced some backlash from my own post on this topic. Here’s AJ’s, DJ’s and Ryan’s post:

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I received this cover faster than most and wanted to share. This is the third book in The Virgin Billionaire series, with Jase and Luis, where they buy a weekend house in the country to get away from the noise of NY. In this book, they are more settled and moving forward in their relationship.

And readers who have read my book, PRETTY MAN, will recognize the two main characters, Josh and Roland, as Jase and Luis' new friends. I'll post more about the book when it's released, including how Jase and Roland from PRETTY MAN wound up having minor parts in this story.

Reactions to Capt. Owen Honors Navy Video

First off, don't shoot me for this post. I'm just supplying a link, here, to another post I read this morning with some interesting comments from readers. As I said in the post before this, I'm not weighing in on this subject with an opinion at all. But I find the reactions very interesting.

As an openly gay man I find a lot of things offensive these days, and in the least likely places. For example, I find the two characters on Modern Family slightly offensive. I know they have good intentions over at Modern Family (oh, those Hollywood types always do) and I'm sure both guys are great guys in person. I'm even glad to see gay guys being recognized in the mainstream. But seriously, I can't help wondering how many male actors the producers at Modern Family went through until they found the most effeminate gay men on the planet. I'm not like the gay guys on Modern Family. My gay nephew isn't like them, and neither is my gay brother. But more than that, none of my gay friends are like those guys either.

What I'd like to see on TV is a cop show like The Mentalist with a gay lead. Most of the gay men I know are more like Simon Baker than the two gay guys on Modern Family. So let's start breaking some of the stereotypes in the bleeding heart mainstream while we're attacking all this other offensive stuff, too.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Glenn Close Reacts to Navy Video: Don't Mention My Name (or image) Without Permission

If you haven't heard about the kerfuffle going on right now with the Navy video, take a minute to check it out here.

I'm not weighing in with an opinion yet. I honestly don't feel as if I have enough information to blast Capt. Honors, and certainly not enough to support him.

But I do commend Glenn Close for speaking up the way she did. And I can weigh in on this aspect. For them to use her image without her permission gives her every right in the world to denounce the video. They could have created this video without her, and it still would have had the same impact it's getting right now.

If someone were to use my name or image in something this controversial without my permission, I would react exactly the same way. The Internet seems to have given people certain unwarranted liberties when it comes to mentioning names and bringing people into situations they don't want to be in, without asking for permission first. And I'm not sure if this is just stupidity or arrogance. But it sux either way.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lies of Omission: Who Said There Isn't Enough Emotion in Erotic Romance?

Those who read my blog know I rarely ever review books. But once in a while I do comment about a book I've read, even though it's not a formal review. And the reason why I'm commenting about this book, LIES OF OMISSION, is mainly because I read a comment the other day on a well known romance blog where the person writing the post said she couldn't find enough "emotion" in erotic romance, and then went on to say most of the erotic romances she'd read were not well written.

Well, this dear romance blogger should pick up a copy of LIES OF OMISSION, by Michele L. Montgomery. Because this book is filled with emotion beyond what I expected. And the mc, Trenton, is one of the most emotionally charged characters I've read in a long, long time. I've read other books by Michele before (Tony and Ryan), and I've enjoyed them. But I liked this one in particular because of all the emotion...not to mention the modern romance quality. And, it's very well-written.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

VALLEY OF THE DUDES: "Our Favorites of 2010"

When I read my e-mails tonight and saw that VALLEY OF THE DUDES was a favorite pick for 2010 by Michele Montgomery, of Michele 'n Jeff reviews, I was more than surprised. First, because I was just thinking about this book the other day and remembering it was one of the books I've enjoyed writing the most. Second, even though sales have been good, VALLEY OF THE DUDES hasn't received many reviews one way or the other. And sometimes it just goes that way. You can't ever predict these things.

I'd like to thank Michele Montgomery and everyone over at Michele 'n Jeff reviews. This was a nice way to ring in the new year. And definitely something I didn't expect.