Monday, February 28, 2011

My Own Personal Thoughts On Self-Publishing

Though I've never self-published anything myself, I've been watching other authors do this for a while now. I've even read and posted about a few self-published books in the past two years, trying to help support and promote the authors because I loved the books. I meet these authors everywhere, from social networks to personal blogs, and if I like what I read in the cover copy, I'll usually buy the books and check them out.

Ten years ago I would never have recommended self-publishing to anyone. It was expensive and you had to worry about everything from hiring an editor to distribution. But the world was different back then and digital publishing was something print publishers, editors, and literary agents laughed at. Actually, a friend of mine who is a literary agent told me three years ago that digital books were only a half a per cent of the market and they'd never be anything more than that. This was right about the time I started submitting little things to e-publishers. I had a feeling digital books and e-readers would become more popular and I'm glad I didn't take his advice that time. He's usually right about everything. But this time, along with most of the publishing industry (who are now scratching and clawing to get those digital rights), he was sooo wrong.

With the advent of digital books, self-publishing has become a viable option for authors who aren't willing to submit to the requirements of publishers. And now I'm lumping all publishers together this time, including print and e-publishers. Because e-publishers are now reaching the point of saturation as far as author submissions go. I'm hearing more and more that excellent authors are being rejected by e-publishers simply because the e-publishers have too many submissions already and they can't take on any new authors.

So, many of these authors are getting into self-publishing their work and they are seeing good results. In some cases, better results than with publishers. Where this will all lead I haven't a clue. But I do know that if the opportunities for self-publishing had been around when I was first starting out twenty years ago I would have taken advantage of them just out of curiosity.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nice Review For TOUCHDOWNS

I was adding friend requests to my account tonight and noticed this review for TOUCHDOWNS and I wanted to share. The review has been taken verbatim from goodreads and can be viewed there as well. And when I was searching for the link, I saw the same review on amazon too.

As a side note, I'd like to add that my story in this book is actually a lost chapter from THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE SERIES, about Cory Rhodes and what his life is like away from Luis, Jase, and Cider Mill Farm. I wrote it in a day, and enjoyed building upon Cory's character.

I love anthologies - there is always something for everyone and it's a great way to sample new authors without buying into a full-length novel. This anthology has the kind of variety that I enjoy - humor, emotion, varied settings, and lots of yummy sex.

Hall of Famer by Bradley Church is a sexy and ultimately sweet look back over a long love.

The Mascot and Captain by Garland is a hilariously hot scene between the title's namesakes.

The Absence of Shame by Ryan Field combines his trademark erotic prose with a story of friendship turning into something more.

Giving him Fitz by Suleikah Snyder is an unexpected, laugh-out-loud caper between a pro player and his image consultant.

Reunion Game by Rebecca Leigh makes sure that his reunion is worth putting up with bad punch in the school gymnasium.

Halftime Entertainment by Kyell Gold is an erotic race against the clock for two players who take teamwork to a whole new level.

After Party by Ellis Carrington combines humor and hot sex in a tale of new beginnings after the game is over.My only complaint is that the novellas were too short - I didn't want to leave these characters!

Fire At Houston Day Care...

This is one of those things that hits hard when you read it. You know there's nothing you can say to the parents and loved ones of these children that will make anything better.

My heart goes out to each and every person affected by this tragedy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Thing About Publishers, Lending E-books, and Libraries...

Is that the publishers aren't paying attention to the voracious habits of people who read e-books. A craze that continues to grow almost daily. It seems they are still treating e-books like print books, and even worse, treating people who read e-books like people who read print books.

I've learned a lot from the comment threads on my blog posts about why people pirate e-books. In this particular post, people have opened up and shared more than I ever thought they would. I've always been a huge supporter of libraries and I often buy used books. I even bought my Kobo because I can borrow e-books at the library with it. And, I don't just read library books and used books. I buy new books often.

HarperCollins did something interesting with a loan cap on e-books. You can read more about it here, where the details are explained far better than I ever could. Read the comments, too. This one is particularly interesting. "This will hurt the publishers but they don't know it yet. They will lose sales by cutting us out. Readers don't buy all the books they read, but they have always bought enough to pay the bills. We buy books, too. If nobody can share a book, nobody cares. That's not piracy, that's "social networking" before it got trademarked."

All I can say is that as an author I've always supported the public library system. As a reader, I have my own print copy of THE HOTEL AT THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET circulating between two different friends as I write this post. And if publishers continue to make it harder and harder for libraries and readers, no one's going to wind up happy...especially not the authors. And I can tell you right now I've had my own share of grievances with print publishers regarding back listed e-books I've been in. I'm just glad I signed non-exclusives with these publishers at the time, never thinking my work with them would wind up in digital print and I wouldn't be receiving royalties. And now I'm not too thrilled about the restrictions they are putting on libraries.

A Different Brand of Therapy For Homophobia...

I pilfered this from a facebook status update and thought it was worth posting. Whether or not you think it will work is beside the point. It's more about the vivid images it creates that fascinates me.

Revolutionary New Homophobia Immersion Therapy Involves Lowering Patient Into Tank Of Gays

BOSTON—During a widely publicized press conference at the Boston University School of Medicine Friday, researchers announced a breakthrough new technique that cures homophobia by immersing patients in a large glass tank overflowing with gays. "Rather than avoid one's fear of homosexual men, we believe it's crucial to face it head on," behavioral psychologist Dr. Dolph Kleineman told reporters, explaining how homophobic subjects are hooked up to a harness and lowered into a room containing bare-chested men dancing suggestively to the latest club hits, kissing, and feeding one another strawberries. "So far the treatment has been successful, with early test subjects being able to go out into the real world and see a gay couple hold hands without making a bigoted remark." When asked if there was a risk of subjects getting stuck in the tank of writhing men, Kleineman said the gays would be so oiled up that patients would have no trouble slipping in and out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

March 4 Release: JOLLY ROGER - A Different Kind of Pirate Story

Previous posts about pirates here have been about book pirates. This time I'm writing about old time pirates who sailed the high seas. Jolly Roger is a short story, with, I hope, a great deal of tongue in cheek humor. And while it's not exactly a typical romance, there is a happy ending and there is hope for a future relationship between the two main characters.

Did I mention this is a short story e-book? If I didn't, I'll mention it again so no one gets confused and slams me on amazon because they thought they were getting a full length novel. It happens, and I always feel bad (not do that with your hands) for the ill-informed.

But I should warn all you historical types (you know who you are, AB). If you're looking for a history lesson in an erotic romance, this isn't the book for you. While I did check out certain historical facts, I've also embellished, because, let's face it, too much history tends to induce yawning and this is supposed to be fun. If you're not, however, a historical type and you're looking for something with a racy plot and some kinky pirates, you might be in luck.

Here's the info from the publisher's web site:

The Untold Story of Jolly Roger, a Pirate Who Either Left Them Guessing or Begging for More…

From the origin of his name to the ways he spent his free time, Jolly Roger had always been able to fool them all, including the best historians. And though there were indeed rumors about Jolly’s favorite way to pass the time, only the strongest and the best men ever knew for sure whether or not those decadent rumors were true. Captain Hargrove was one of those men. On a warm night on an exotic island, Hargrove discovered what all the rumors were about, when Jolly Roger dropped his pants and pulled off his shirt. As Jolly’s handsome young crew members stood watching, Hargrove found something he’d needed for a very long time, something the women in his life had never been able to offer. Left with no defenses and no way to turn back, his only choice was to grab Jolly by the back of the head, yank him to the ground, and plunge into the most memorable night of his life, with his fists braced for battle, his chest heaving, and his pants around his ankles.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Obama Orders End to Defense of Federal Gay Marriage Law

Here's the link to the NYT piece:

Thank you, Mr. President. We've been waiting for this for a long time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm Thinking About Doing This...

I just received an alumni e-mail (below) from the university where I received my BA in English, Fairleigh Dickinson - Florham/Madison campus, in Madison NJ. And I'm seriously thinking about doing it. Unlike high school, I loved college. I could have remained there forever if I didn't have to go out an join the rest of the world.

If I decide on doing it, I'd prefer to do it in my home, where it's more casual and we can talk. Oddly enough, though I'd talk about publishing and writing, I'd probably spend more time talking about the businesses I've owned and sold.

You have a wealth of experiences and advice to offer. Our students want to spend time with you.Dinners for 12 Strangers is a new tradition at FDU - one that connects students and alumni.

During select dates in April, alumni local to our New Jersey campuses will host students in their homes, at restaurants and diners for an evening of good food and conversation.Won't you consider being one of our alumni hosts?

This is a wonderful and meaningful way to stay connected to the University and meet some great young people. Our students are eager to meet our alumni and we hope that you are eager to meet them.Click here to register as a dinner host and view video of University Trustee Donna DelPrete Marki, BS'82, who shares her impressions of the dinner she hosted last year.

Spend some time in the company of students. Share your life stories. Learn from one another. You'll never forget it.

Richard P. ReissSenior Vice PresidentUniversity Advancement

Not A Cool Thing To Do On Facebook...

This is a short and sweet post. And, I am not directing this to anyone in particular. When I harp about facebook and other social networks it usually comes from a discussion I've had with at least three or more other authors about social networking. And though we don't always agree on everything, we did all agree on this one particular facebook rule.

If someone you don't know well clicks "unfriend" and dismisses you, and you happen to notice they are missing from your friend list, do not contact them and ask why. And when I say "don't know well," I'm talking about facebook friends you've never met in person, aren't related to, and probably never will meet in person.

First, it's just not a cool thing to send someone you don't know personally a personal message asking about why they unfriended you. It's confrontational and defeats the purpose of facebook. If someone unfriends you they obviously have their reasons and you have to respect them. I've had people unfriend me on facebook and unfollow me on twitter and I figured it was none of my business and I let it go. And I'm sure there are more I haven't bothered to notice. (Who really has that kind of time?)

I've also unfriended people on my facebook page, mainly for one reason in particular: they got into politics. My own personal rule is facebook is a place for social networking, not political networking (if you don't agree with me, feel free to unfriend me). I don't always unfriend; sometimes I just hide them from my feed. Not all political posts on facebook are offensive. Some are smart, well thought out, and you can learn something from them...whether you agree with them or not. I don't mind those posts. But the ranters and zealots, on either end of the spectrum, turn me off.

And if someone doesn't like what you're doing or posting, they have every right to delete you from their list of friends. Of course you have every right to contact them and ask why, especially if it's your next door neighbor, best friend for twenty years, or your Aunt Sally. But it's not a cool thing to do if you've never met the person. Seriously.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Reviews and Ratings...

I wish I could say I'm one of those writers who stalk the Internet reading my reviews and checking out my ratings. I'm not talking about reviews on review sites. I'm talking about reader reviews and ratings. I think if I wrote mainstream literary fiction I'd be more apt to check them out regularly. But because of the nature of my books, I never see a direct correlation between book sales and the amount of ratings and reviews the books receive. So I stopped checking ratings and reviews a long time ago. And this was way back when I was only writing for print publishers.

In other words, and I'm now speaking in broad terms, the overall sales figures of male/male erotic romance indicate people are buying erotic gay romances but only a small fraction are commenting or leaving reviews about them in a public forum. And, I'd like to add, the small fraction who do rate and review these erotic romances almost always use a fake name and identity. Nothing wrong with that. I wish I could do it sometimes. However, the concept is simply too Internet cliche for me and I'd rather not be part of the large Internet problem of "too much anonymity" everywhere. I wrote a post about this, here, when I was shopping for new granite countertops last September. It has nothing to do with books, but everything to do with anonymous online reviews.

I think there's a reason for the lack of ratings and reviews. Most people prefer to use their real names when rating or reviewing a book anywhere. I know if you check the reviews I've written on amazon or goodreads you'll see that I stand behind my own name and not a pen name. And those who prefer to use their real names would rather read erotic male/male romance in private. And with the advent of e-reading devices, racy book covers can be camouflaged completely.

So if you're an author of male/male romance or erotic romance and you're not seeing as many reviews and ratings for you books as you'd like to see, this might be the reason. I know authors who have sales to back them up, but the amount of ratings don't match up to the sales. I could be wrong on this. There's no way to prove or disprove it. But take a look at the number of ratings for a mid list mainstream literary novel and compare it to a best selling male/male erotic romance novel and most of the time there will be a huge difference.


Don't let the title of this book fool you. We opted for a title like this because it sounded like a lot more fun. But there are some serious moments in this book, about four people trapped in loveless, sexless, marriages. And the only way to break out of their predicaments is to have courage and face their problems head on...without cheating on their spouses in a sneaky, carefree manner. I didn't want to get too "Oprah" with this one, but it has its emotional moments.

Friday, February 18, 2011

For Some Reason, I Can't Get Enough of This...

˙ʇɟǝl oʇ ʇɥƃıɹ puɐ uʍop ǝpısdn ƃuıɥʇʎɹǝʌǝ ɹǝɟsuɐɹʇ uɐɔ noʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ 'ǝlʇıʇ dılɟ 'pǝllɐɔ ǝʇıs qǝʍ sıɥʇ punoɟ ʇsnɾ

¡ǝʌıʇɔıppɐ s,ʇı ʎlǝʇɐunʇɹoɟun

Monday Release: Rough, Naked, and in Love

Monday is the release day for my new novel, ROUGH, NAKED, AND IN LOVE. I've posted an unedited version of the back cover copy below, and I'll post more about it next week, but I wanted to at least get something down now before it gets really busy again...or before I go off on another tangent with a different topic.

This novel is a little different than past novels I've written. I depended a lot on back story this time throughout the book, which is something I'm not fond of doing. I think depending on back story too much is lazy writing. But I did it this time because a good deal of the main character's present situation is so dependent on his past there really wasn't any other way to handle it without writing two novels. But I made the back story short and sweet, and I hope as interesting as possible.

When Carter decides to build a new relationship with dependable, knowledgeable Jeff, he tries to put aside his past and forget the ten magical years of gay marriage he had with his deceased husband, Domenic. He wants to let go of the grief and all the painful emotions, including the imaginary conversations he has with his dead husband when no one else is around.

But when Carter and Jeff move from Los Angeles to New York to begin their new lives as a couple, Carter notices a few basic flaws in their relationship. And when they both begin to realize it’s impossible for two submissive gay bottoms to have a satisfying sex life, Jeff brings home a powerful sex machine he hopes will solve their problems. At the very least, they won’t have to argue anymore over whose turn it is be on top.

For a short time, things calm down and both seem satisfied. Jeff enjoys his new work in New York and he becomes best friends with the neighbor across the hall, a classic fag hag named Celeste. While Jeff is busy working hard and going bird-watching with Celeste, Carter is busy with his new job teaching sculpting classes at The School of Visual Arts. Carter is happy to be back in New York, near his colorful mother again, teaching in the same place where he once went to school.

But when Carter finally wears out the powerful motor in the sex machine and Jeff decides not to replace the machine with another, Carter quietly replaces the sex machine on his own, with frozen zucchini and exhibitionist fantasies on his terrace. He even starts having more imaginary conversations with his dead husband, Domenic. And although these conversations help him deal with his problems, he eventually finds comfort with his new best friend, Bruce, who just happens to be Celeste’s handsome young husband from across the hall.

Though Bruce is seven years younger than Carter, and an ex-professional boxer, they both seem to have two important things in common: they are trapped in sexless, hopeless marriages and both crave emotional affection. But while Bruce is trying to come to terms with his feelings for Carter, Carter is still trying to let go of the horrible events of his past. And as things become even more complicated thanks to a few unexpected life-altering events, neither one of them is sure what the future holds. Or if the strong, emotional love they’ve discovered will be enough to build a lifetime of substance.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mark Zuckerberg, Boxers or Briefs, and Technical Problems With E-books

First off, I just heard the new short story e-book, JOLLY ROGER, will be released on March 4th. Like I just said, it's a short story and it will be priced like a short story...just so that's clear and no one thinks they are getting a full length novel. Amazon isn't always clear in their product descriptions, but online stores like and always give all the details. So check them out, with this book or any other book you're thinking of purchasing.

And, thanks to two facebook friends, Pat and Lisa, I learned there are two Chapter Fives in THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S SECRET BABY. (I don't think there are actually two copies of Chapter Five; just two different chapters with Chapter Five headings.)I don't always read the finished book. After writing a book, going back and forth about edits with the publisher, and triple checking the final copy for approval before it becomes an actual e-book, I know the book so well I can recite passages verbatim. However, there are sometimes technical problems when manuscripts are converted into digital books. And these are usually basic problems that often slip through the cracks. It happened once with the spelling of a character's name in AMERICAN STAR, Terrence and Terrance. In part of the book it's Terrance, in other parts it's Terrence. I didn't even know this until a sweet book reviewer decided to make a funny-ha-ha, twirl-your-finger-in-the-air joke about it.

Unfortunately, it happened again in VBSB with Chapter Five.

I wish I could go into more detail and explain the technical aspects better. However, as I've posted before in Why Make E-Readers More Complicated Than They Are, I know how to write e-books, I know how to turn an e-reader on and download and e-book, and I know how to read an e-book. But if you ask me about DRM, formatting, or anything else that's techinical and worthy of a good long nap, I'm just going to smile and change the subject. In other words, if I were to meet the adorable Mark Zuckerberg in person, instead of asking him questions about how he started facebook I'd be wondering more about whether or not he wears boxers or briefs. Thankfully, I think most of my readers would agree with me. (And I'd bet on boxers.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hawaiian Legislature Approves Same-Sex Civil Unions

I know a lot of people are happy about same-sex civil unions. At least their relationships are validated in the eyes of the law and they can benefit just like married couples.

Hawaiian legislature just approved civil unions. You can read about it here.

But frankly I'm still fighting for equality and the right to marry just like everyone else. It's the only issue I'll ever discuss openly on this blog. And when I read books, like one I just finished by a new author, S. L. Danielson, I'm even more encouraged to fight for marriage.

Like I said, civil unions are okay. At least it allows us to ride in the back of the bus, President Obama/Federal Government. However, I'd rather have the legal choice to ride up front with everyone else instead of being treated like a second class citizen.

Pierre's Chocolates: My Home Away From Home

Everyone has something in which they indulge. Chocolate is mine.

And I happen to live in a town with one of the best chocolate shops in the country, Pierre's Chocolates.

It's on the same order as Sees in San Francisco, only better for me because it's only three miles and one quick left turn.
And there's an online store where you can order anything you like.

Borders Files For Bankruptcy...But Don't Worry About Kobo!

Borders finally filed for Chapter 11. Here's the link from PW: Borders

I don't think anyone is majorly surprised by this. Actually, I don't think anyone would be majorly surprised at anything that happens within the publishing industry these days. It's changing daily, and unfortunately not enough people were smart enough to predict and plan for these changes. And this is one time I don't think we can blame it on the economy. This was a combination of greed, denial, arrogance, and absolute ignorance on so many levels it would be hard to point the finger in any direction.

However, Kobo claims they are financially secure and people who own Kobo e-readers are safe. Even though Borders has a small share in Kobo, it has nothing to do with how Kobo operates. If anything I can't help wondering whether or not Kobo will wind up helping Borders out of their financial problems, by restructuring the business toward more realistic goals and letting go of old traditions that haven't been getting them anywhere. Here's a great link that goes into more depth, with even more links.

And here's something I picked up at I Love My Kindle, which explains it in simple terms.

People with Kobo EBRs (E-Book Readers) would be okay. Kobo is a separate entity, although they have an association with Borders. I don’t think they’d be a part of any kind of liquidation. Kobo owners would lose a source of books for their devices, but that wouldn’t end the usefulness of the devices.

I love my Kobo and I'm not worried. My romance novels are still being sold at as e-books, and I'm not worried about that either. On this link, I read, With the likelihood of fewer stores selling the Kobo e-reader (Borders and Walmart are the key retail locations for the Kobo e-reader), and the possibility of customers being spooked by buying e-books from a troubled retailer, the troubles at Borders definitely have the potential to impact Kobo. But I don't personally believe this because I see Kobo e-readers everywhere. I actually discovered mine at a local CVS Drugstore. In this case, it's a classic example of beware what you read in the internet because it's usually based on limited research.

In any event, Kobo is still the easiest e-reader to use on the market, it's still the most inexpensive, and it still has all the qualities people who aren't completely into e-reading desire. And like I said, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Kobo wound up as Border's biggest hit in the future. But then again, nothing in publishing would surprise me these days.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another Facebook No No...

Last Saturday I opened my AOL e-mail and found 755 private messages from one author whom I do not know at all. I did some checking and found the author had made a mistake (not sure how yet) and everyone on her friend list wound up getting a personal message. And then everyone also received an e-mail whenever someone else commented on the message, which exploded into the facebook nightmare of her life.

I promptly dropped this author from facebook and deleted all 755 e-mails notifying me about comments. I didn't drop her because I was mad at her. I know she didn't do this on purpose, but I wasn't taking any more chances with her.

I have a personal rule. I don't send out private messages on facebook with multiple e-mail addresses. I don't think readers, authors, or facebook friends appreciate getting e-mails that are not related to them. Nor do they care about what other people have to say in the comments of my personal messages with multiple addresses. Life's too short.

And I don't appreciate receiving personal facebook messages addressed to multiple friends either. It's nothing personal. It has nothing to do with the author or the author's work. But a personal message isn't going to make me buy your book and it's certainly not going to make me want to help promote you as an author. It's annoying at best, downright frustrating at the least. And not only will I get annoyed, I'll back off completely and steer clear of the author.

So authors please take heed. If you think this sort of this is going to help you promote your book, you're seriously wrong. If an overpaid PR goof ever suggests this to you, kick them in the ass. Because the people you are trying to attract with these personal messages promoting your book are just going to start ignoring you.

Aggressive and friendly is one thing. I love friendly, aggressive people. But pushy, presumptuous, and rude-without-a-clue is another story. Don't piss people off. They won't forget it.

Ravenous Romance Valentine

I forgot to post this yesterday. I had good intentions, but the day got away from me. But I think it's gorgeous enough to still post today!!

Donald Trump: It's Time the LGBT Community Boycotted The Celebrity Apprentice!

Last night I was flipping through the 1,000 channels I get, looking for something decent to watch, and I stumbled across the Greta Van Susteren show and stopped to watch an interview she did with Donald Trump.

And in a matter of minutes it turned into a side show. I watched Donald Trump insult and alienate everyone from George W. Bush supporters, Jimmy Carter supporters, President Obama supporters, China, and the entire lgbt community.

Interesting. Especially because I'm not the typical gay liberal Democrat most gay men I know are. I'm a registered Independent and I vote on issues, not according to any party lines.

I'm not going to get into Trump's insults about Bush, Obama, Carter, or China. My focus remains geared toward equal rights for the lgbt community. In this case it's regarding the legalization of gay marriage, which I fully support with my last breath. And when Trump hesitated for a moment during the interview, and then flatly stated he's against gay marriage, that was enough for me.

Up until that point I've always been a fan of Donald Trump. I've respected him on many different levels. I've overlooked the fact that his own respect for the institution of marriage could be questioned, due to the fact that while most of the gay people I know have been together with their partners for the past twenty-five years, he's been getting married and divorced. Frankly, it simply goes against common sense to take anything Donald Trump says about marriage seriously. He's already lost that game and he's never going to win it back.

What I'd like to see now is a show of support within the lgbt community, and this includes their family members and friends as well. (If you don't think you know anyone who is gay, take a closer look at your cousins, your neighbors, or even they guy who fills your oil tank.) Let's all take a small step toward equality that won't cost a penny and won't take up any of our time by boycotting Trump's new season of The Celebrity Apprentice. Just stop don't watch The Celebrity Apprentice. Let Mr. Trump know we're tired of the inequality and we're not going to sit back anymore and take it.

Though I've always been a huge fan of The Celebrity Apprentice, and I always thought Mr. Trump was a decent guy, I won't watch it anymore. I won't support anything Mr. Trump is involved with either. And it's strictly because of Mr. Trump's statements about gay marriage. In this case, I don't have to remain objective. I don't think there's a more important issue out there than legalizing marriage for the lgbt community and it would be ridiculous to support anyone, in any way, who doesn't support it.

And all you have to do is boycott The Celebrity Apprentice this season.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Make E-Readers More Complicated Than They Are?

Here's the first thing about e-readers: they are simple to use. I'm a computer idiot and if I can use one so can anybody.

Here's the second thing: pay attention to half of what you read on the internet about e-readers and all that DRM (or whatever the hell it is) crap. It's only going to confuse you and intimidate you.

The reason I'm writing this post is because I just read another post on a review blog about what readers think of various e-reading devices and I was amazed at how complicated the answers were. Too. Much. Information. It reminds me of this guy I know who always makes everything more difficult than it has to be. Ask him to fix a flat and he'll tell you how spare tires are made.

I don't need to know how spare tires are made. I just need to know you put them on cars and the cars roll. And when I'm reading e-books I don't give a damn about DRM or freaking formatting or any of the other technical nonsense these people are always harping about.

This is what I do when I want to read an e-book. I own a Kobo. I go to, I pick out a freaking book I like, and then I buy it. When it's downloaded to my Kobo, I sit back and read it. Click, click, click, and click. Period.

This is all there is to it.

So don't let these people who love to complicate e-reading devastate you with all kinds of jargon you don't understand and don't want to understand. I don't have to know how a car works to drive one, I don't have to know how toothpaste is made to brush my teeth, and I don't have to know every technical detail about e-readers to read an e-book.


Here's the cover preview for a new book coming out on the 24th of this month, ROUGH, NAKED, AND IN LOVE. I can't believe this one is just coming out and I'm almost finished with the new sequel to my Virgin Billionaire's series: THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S REVENGE.

I'll post more on the release date about RNAIL.

Borders Reportedly to Declare Bankruptcy This Week

Blow is a link to an interesting piece about Borders. I just hope they continue selling digital books online, because I've fallen in love with my Kobo e-reader his year.

I'm actually posting about this because I find some of the statements in the post both encouraging and somewhat disconcerting. Seth Godin seemed to nail it this time with his comment about people discussing books and learning about new books through friends and in conversation, while literary agent Larry Kirshbaum still doesn't seem to get the fact that more and more people are reading digital books now than ever before, and physical distribution of print books is going to become as obsolete as video stores. The smaller titles will start to thrive as long as the online distribution is effective, and newer authors will be able to promote in ways they couldn't have imagined ten years ago.

Regardless of what I think, it's an interesting post that everyone should read.

Borders Reportedly to Declare Bankruptcy This Week

Happy Valentine's Day and Hunter Parrish

Happy Valentine's Day. I ran across this Valentine image and loved the saying. And, I'm posting a photo of my favorite actor, Hunter Parrish, because it's Valentine's Day and there should be at least one photo of a talented, good-looking, smart, tasteful, guy on this blog for Valentine's Day. And even though Hunter is straight, it's all about the dream (smile).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

About Author S.L. Danielson...

I've recently had the chance to read a few works by m/m romance author, S. L. Danielson. Here's a link to one of her books on amazon, where you can check out her work for yourselves, and below is a blurb I wrote for her about a recent book, THE REFUGEES.

Whenever I come across a new author who inspires me with positive (and yet natural) ways of looking at lgbt life, without any of the old stereo-types or any pretense, I'm hooked. And that's how it's been with S. L. Danielson. And, her work is tight and well-structured, with few of the writing mistakes I often see in m/m romances that are sometimes bestsellers.

I've come to enjoy certain aspects of S.L Danielson's work, which includes the way she treats family situations in her fiction, the way she freely refers to long term gay relationships as marriages, and the way she makes gay life look so effortless and yet complicated at certain times. It's the kind of positive, well written escapism I love when I'm reading a romance. And The Refugees didn't disappoint me. It's is a structured inter-mingling of gay men and their relationships, with details about their careers, their lives, and their inner-most thoughts. It's life. And I think it's the kind of lgbt fiction that not only offers positive role models without working too hard to get the point across, but is also making it's mark as an overall social statement in an ever-changing world. I read The Refugees in one sitting but I have a feeling the characters, especially David, are going to remain with me for a very long time.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Comment About Astatalk and Other File Sharing Sites

Evidently, there's been quite an uproar over what Astatalk did last week regarding fiction. I've read about it in a few places and a good friend who is a literary agent sent me an e-mail about it last Thursday.

Over the past year or so, I've taken a step back with regard to all things related to book pirates, file sharing, and even Astatalk. I've even written updates to previous posts, stating that I'm more interested now in learning why people pirate books (or anything), and that I'd like to continue to learn by encouraging their anonymous comments and protecting their privacy. There's been an interesting, ongoing discussion on this particular post I wrote a while ago.

And just so everyone knows this for certain, don't blame me if Astatalk won't let you download fiction anymore. I haven't filed an abuse form, made a single complaint, or written a negative post about book pirating or Astatalk in well over a year. I decided, after reading many of the comments to my pirate posts, to remain objective about the entire topic, making only one claim, which is that I personally do not, and never will, pirate books or anything else myself. Whatever decision Astatalk made, or whatever prompted them to make this decision, had nothing to do with me. I'm just one small writer in a large sea of many, and I don't have that kind of power.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quora...How Does Goodreads Make Money...Otis Chandler, Founder of

I've already posted about Quora once this week, so I'll keep this one short. In case you haven't heard, Quora is a new question and answer information/social network, and I'm really enjoying it. Very simple to join and easy to navigate. You can add questions of your own or answer previously posted questions by others. You can also interact by leaving comments to answers.

You never know what you're going to find. Like this morning I found out how makes money. It's actually something I've always been curious about. And, you get to see what Otis Chandler, founder of, looks like...the photo above is what was posted at the comment on Quora, so if it isn't really Otis (you never know on the web), not my fault.

How does Goodreads make money?

Otis Chandler, Founder of Goodreads
Founder of Goodreads Goodreads
6 votes by
Joseph Quattrocchi, Spencer Thompson, Patrick Brown, (more)Joseph Quattrocchi, Spencer Thompson, Patrick Brown, Kevin Smokler, David Creechan and Colette Dill Lerner
We are a media business, and make money primarily on advertising and affiliate revenue (a cut of book sales from major booksellers such as Amazon). We work with all major book publishers and many mid-majors to help them launch their books to our audience of book readers. We are really focused on the problem of helping authors connect to readers - which is super important, especially as self-publishing and the internet are stripping away tradition book filters and ways people find books.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Thing About Rejection...

We all go through it at one point or another. Getting rejected is part of the publishing experience and there's no way around it. Even when you're published, you're still going to get rejected.

But the funny thing about rejection is this: it's never permanent. A new writer whom I love recently e-mailed me and told me two publishers had rejected her manuscript. I've read her work and I personally think it's excellent. The characters are likable, the writing is tight, and I can't find any viable flaws. And yet there could be a myriad of reasons why her book was rejected, all of which have nothing to do with the writer or the work on a personal level.

So I consoled her and told her to just keep trying. Change the book around a little. If possible, put it aside for a few weeks and then go back and do a few revises. Rejection isn't forever and eventually, if you keep trying, someone will fall in love with what you're writing and you'll get it published.

It's happened to me more times than I can count. It's happened to other authors I know more times than I can count.

The secret is to just keep trying, and to remember that rejection isn't anything personal, it's not something that's going to last forever, and eventually you will get published. And, nowadays, with all the new digital technology, there's always digital self-publishing. I've read more than a few great books that have been self-pubbed in the past two or three years. And although I never would have recommended this route ten years ago, I think it's perfectly fine now to take advantage of all the opportunities out there.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More About Astatalk: Posting Fiction Is Forbidden

I've written a few posts about book pirating and the file sharing site, Astatalk. I've tried hard to be objective and not add my opinion to the topic. I've learned a lot about why people share files and I hope to continue to learn.

This morning someone left an anonymous comment with this information:

This is posted on the Astatalk home page:*Dear Astatalkers,posting of Fiction related releases (downloads) is strictly forbiddenbecause in most cases it turns to the problems for copyright owners.Everyone who creates fiction related release/request will be banned.Thank you for understanding*

I just checked out the link to the astatalk announcement above and read it for myself. Looks valid to me. I heard a certain organization applied enormous pressure to have this done. But I can't divulge the details on that because I'm not certain what happened.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Artist Paul Richmond Has an Online Store!!

I'm a huge fan of Paul Richmond's art, from his book covers to everything else he does.

And I owned and operated my own high end art gallery in New Hope, PA, for over ten years, representing over 200 artists, so I think I have a pretty good eye when it comes to good art.

It's lgbt oriented. But not exclusive. Check it out here and see for yourself....

One Reason Why I Love Facebook...

Me posting an update on facebook: "Big fun tomorrow: updating the will."

Someone commenting on the update: "It could be worse - someone else could be reading it! ;)"

Authors Keeping the Blogs Real...And Those Nasty Said Bookisms Again...

Here's a slight rant tonight. I've been good lately, only posting about things I'm interested in. But I couldn't let this one go, so indulge me. It's my own private kind of therapy, and no one gets insulted.

One of my main goals with this blog is to keep it real, which is also why it's often boring. And, sometimes why there's mispelled word or two (I type too fast). But at least, I hope, readers know I'm not talking out of my asterisk. I'm posting what I think are valid posts about writing, life, and the lgbt community.

And sometimes I come across a blog post written my another author and I'm willing to bet the blog post is absolute fiction. Only the author tries to pull it off as being real. And, the only reason I'm guessing this particular post is fiction is because I've quietly caught this author in other lies in the past. Therefore, even if this blog post happens to be real, it gets cancelled out because I've read other posts by this same author and I know for a fact they weren't real.

There are authors out there who are so desperate to get attention and to get people to read their books they will do anything. They will create fake facebook posts and fictional blog posts. Thankfully, there are only a few. Most of the authors I know agree with me and they keep it real, too. Some keep it so painfully real we know too much about them. But, frankly, I'd rather have it that way than to be insulted with a phony blog post by a desperate author who is faking it all the way.

But the one thing that bothers me most about the kind of author who will write a phony blog post is they always seem so transparent when it comes to the craft of writing fiction. I saw this in the blog post I'm talking about above. There are telltale signs another author can spot immediately. One of which is using said bookisms and bad adverbs with regard to dialogue. I've written about said bookisms before. But here's a good example below:

said bookism... "Where are you going?" Joe barked hurriedly.

good dialogue tag... "Where are you going?" Joe asked. He spoke fast, with a hint of panic.

I'm not saying there isn't a time or place to use said bookisms or adverbs. (And I'm not even going to get into how the awkward word "hurriedly" crawls under my skin and tortures me.) Sometimes, within the right context, they work well. But when you read a section of dialogue and all the dialogue tags are laced with said bookisms and bad adverbs, nine times out of ten the author is a fake. And so are the author's blog posts.

Cover Preview: Jolly Roger

New cover for pirate story coming out soon...thanks to Dawne Dominique...

I Wish Someone Would Invent a Way to Poll This...

The other day I was discussing "publishing events" with another author. We started out talking about whether or not writing conferences and conventions are of any use with regards to helping an author get published. Or, for that matter, helping a published author establish a fan base.

The author I was discussing this with tended to believe going to conferences and conventions made all the difference in the world when it came to getting published. And I tend to be on the fence with regard to all this because I've never gone to a conference or a convention and I've been getting my work published for almost twenty years. I also didn't point out that even though this author spends a great deal of money and time traveling to conventions and conferences, he rarely ever meets anyone who will help him with his writing career.

I know there are cases where people have done well at conferences and conventions, which is why I'm on the fence. Just because these events never worked for me, they've obviously worked for a few other people. But I also have one pretty big ace in my pocket that gives me an advantage when it comes to the publishing industry. One of my best friends, for over fifteen years, is a New York Agent who has sold many big books. And I respect his opinion more than I respect anyone else's when it comes to these things. He's not my agent. He's my friend. We agreed years ago in order to keep a good friendship we'd never work together. Besides, I don't write in the genre he reps. But we do talk about publishing in general, and I've always heard him say he's not a huge fan of conventions and conferences. He used to go to some. But he doesn't even go to BEA anymore. And if his associate wants to go, she has to pay her own way. And not going to conferences and publishing events has not hurt him in the least.

So, without coming to any conclusions, my author friend and I moved on to the topic of book readings. He's all for them. I'm on the fence. He believes that book readings help promote the author and the book. And I believe that if an author is writing e-books and the author's fan base is strictly online, than book readings aren't going to help build the author a following. But there's also more to the story. This author is more laid back than I am. He writes one or two books a year. I write over a dozen books a year, which leaves little time to run around to conventions, conferences, and book readings. I'm all about the writing and the work. This is what motivates me. The work itself is the muse. However, it's a different process with all writers, and some are far more social than others. Like this author friend of mine. He loves doing book readings whether he attracts more readers or not. For him, it's a social event, where for me it's just taking away from valuable writing time that I think will benefit my readers more.

We didn't come up with any solid conclusions at the end of the discussion. We agreed to disagree...although I have to say I was far more open than he was. I admitted that conventions, conferences, and things like public readings might help. But he refused to back down at all, believing that anyone who wouldn't go to an event was missing out on opportunities.

I just wish there were a poll to validate this one way or the other, because I'm still leaning toward the fact that book readings, especially with regard to e-book authors, don't do much other than create a nice little social night for everyone concerned. Same for conferences, which at one time were far more important to prospective authors with regard to networking than they are nowadays. And, frankly, it may all come down to the individual authors. Some would rather be networking and others would rather be writing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quora: Could This Be the New Facebook?

I found a great new social network today called Quora, which you can check out here.

And frankly I'm surprised I haven't seen more buzz about this site on facebook and twitter. I've been on it for a couple of hours this evening, when I should be working on back cover copy for a new book, and I can't stop checking out the questions and answers.

From what I can tell, and humor me now because I'm still new at Quora, it's a social network where people post questions about everything and anything and other people answer them. I've already checked out important information on topics like Nutella, vodka, and chocolate chip cookies. And I can't wait to read more about cupcakes tomorrow.

But it's not all fun and games. There are some serious questions and some serious answers. The only downside I've found so far is it takes a while to bring the page up. And, unfortunately, whether or not the answers to any of the questions are correct is up for grabs. I know, just what we need, more inaccurate info on the web. But it is fun and I'm going to stick with it for a while.

Borders is Having a Sale on Romance Books...

I'm getting a lot of e-mails now from Broders because I recently bought the Kobo e-reader. I've been downloading many of the free books they are offering so far.

But this sale looks interesting and I'm taking advantage of it myself:

Buy Four Select Romance Titles and Get a Fifth Free

Valid 1/25/2011 – 2/28/2011. Use promo code ROMB4G5 at checkout.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Link To Confessions of a Book Pirate...

I ran across this interview the other day and decided to post a link. It's titled, CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK PIRATE, from web site, and I think people on both sides of the book pirate issue might be interested in reading it.

Once again, the person in this interview makes some interesting points. Some of which revolve around a "moral" issue, not a legal issue. Especially when he makes this comment:

In truth, I think it is clear that morally, the act of pirating a product is, in fact, the moral equivalent of stealing… although that nagging question of what the person who has been stolen from is missing still lingers. Realistically and financially, however, I feel the impact of e-piracy is overrated, at least in terms of ebooks.

To me, personally, speaking as a reader and not a writer, it's more than a moral issue. It's a legal issue. Frankly, I believe in the law and I follow the law, whether it be speeding down the highway or downloading an illegal file. For me, there are no gray areas when it comes to the law. The law is the law, I have respect for the law, and I don't care about the moral ramifications one way or the other. Evidently, though, a lot of people don't agree with me.

I also found this comment interesting, when the pirate was asked whether or not he worries about getting into trouble for scanning and downloading books:

I’ve debated doing some newer authors and books, but I would need to protect myself better and resolve the moral dilemma of actually causing noticeable financial harm to the author whose work I love enough to spend so much time working on getting a nice e-copy if I were to do so.

Here we go again with the moral dilemma. I'm glad this person at least considers the fact that he is taking money out of the pockets of some very poor people, because new authors rarely have enough money to pay their rent. And when a book they've written is pirated every single penny taken from them causes noticeable financial harm. I know some authors who become physically and emotionally sick over it. Actually, the statement, "noticeable financial harm" sounds rather glib to me. Who is this guy to judge what constitutes noticeable financial harm to anyone?

Anyway...if you're interested in this topic, please check out the link above and read the entire interview. I'm not weighing in with any specific opinions and I encourage anonymous comments. This is partly because I think everyone seems to have a different opinion about book pirating these days, and partly because I'm struggling to come to terms with this myself.

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Release: TOUCHDOWNS...With My Lost Chapter From Virgin Billionaire Series

Check out my short story in this book, ABSENCE OF SHAME, which is a lost chapter from The Virgin Billionaire's Secret Baby, with Cory the handy man as the main character this time. It's also a book edited by Lori Perkins, who always does an excellent job balancing her time between working as an editor/publisher, and a high profile literary agent. I've only worked with Lori as an editor, not an agent. And it's always been a fair, pleasant, professional experience for me.

Cory was such an interesting character in The Virgin Billionaire's Secret Baby, I wanted to give him some life of his own. And when I heard about TOUCHDOWNS, I decided to write a short story that was a continuation of the Virgin Billionaire book.

It's like a lost chapter, without actually being billed as a lost chapter. And as a short story, it stands alone without the help of the Virgin Billionaire book. I don't do this sort of thing often. But I have to admit I enjoyed doing it more than I thought I would.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kobo E-Reader

I just got my new Kobo e-reader in the mail from Borders and wanted to put up a fast post.

It came in the other day and I've been getting used to it. I've been reading FREEDOM in print all month, and let me tell you the Kobo is a nice change.

It's the lightest e-reader I've ever held, its the easiest to use, and I love the wifi. There's also a quilted back on this e-reader that makes it better to grip. And if I set it down on my treadmill while I'm doing cardio in the morning it doesn't slide around.

So far, I can't recommend this enough, especially if you're looking for just a reading device. I've thought about the iPad and the Tablet. But I spend most of my days on the computer working and the last thing I want to do when I'm not working is spend more time on the Internet. So for now, it's the Kobo. And you can't beat the price. 99.00 plus tax, which also included shipping and handling. The entire amount came out to 105.00. Not bad compared to other e-readers out there.

I'll start posting in more detail as I get used to ordering and reading. Right now I've downloaded a few of the free e-books from Borders and I'm enjoying something free for the first time in a long time ;)

The Difference Between a Freak Show and an Erotic Romance

I've been thinking about writing this post for a long time and putting it off because I wasn't sure what I was going to say. In other words, the thoughts that run through my mind all the time when it comes to erotic romance often clash. And sometimes it's difficult to put it all into a blog post, especially since there's a difference between erotic romance and erotica.

But I'm going to try right now. And I'm going to start by saying that I've seen more definitions of erotic romance in my time than I've seen traffic jams on the freeway in LA. So I don't want to step on anyone's toes with this post. I'm just posting what I think erotic romance is supposed to be. It's just my opinion and it means nothing, and I'm also lumping erotica into this post. I know there's a huge difference between erotica and erotic romance. But I'm speaking in general terms now, when it comes of freak shows regarding both erotica and erotic romance.

For me, one of the most important aspects of erotic romance is keeping it from becoming a freak show. And I'm not talking about porn. I've been blasted by some reviewers for writing porn. I'm fine with this; I respect their opinions. But everyone seems to have a different definition of porn these days. Sarah Palin thought Levi Johnston's nude photos were porn and I thought they were basic and very tame. Poor Levi hardly showed his behind. If anything, it was a disappointment. And I just finished reading FREEDOM by Jonathan Franzen, and I'm sure there are people out there who would say that some of his sex scenes are pornographic, especially those who lean to the far right. So I'm not even going near the word porn. No one will ever agree on a specific definition and I'm certainly not going to try. I'm sticking to freak show here.

And I do think there's a difference between an erotic romance that's a total freak show and a warm emotional story with a lot of graphic sex. Even though I have crossed lines and pushed a little more than I probably should have with regard to sex scenes in certain books, I'm always striving to make my characters normal people with normal desires who always fall in love in the end. I even base most of my characters on gay men I've men who were/are, in fact, involved in long term loving relationships. And I take pride in the fact that no one can say my characters are freaks, unless I purposely want them to be freaks for comic relief or to balance the story a little(the closest I've come to freak is with the latest book, with a character named Jeff, and even he's tame). And if the sex scenes in any of my books were toned down and rewritten with pg ratings, there would still be a storyline and there would still be characters with emotion and love. Even the worst review I've ever received made a point of stating this...the reviewer hated the sex scenes, but she did say there was a solid storyline. And, though the review wasn't great, I was glad she mentioned this, because it's all about storyline for me.

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with freak shows, or erotic romances that are freak shows. A lot of sex bloggers on the fringes of the Internet have found a niche writing about freak shows and they have quite a few followers. But, frankly, I'm not going to put a scene in any of my books where an overweight bi-sexual hero paints his crusty toenails periwinkle blue and presses them up against a sagging pierced breast that's surrounded with fuzzy red hair. I saw an image like this on a sex blog once and I'm still having nightmares about it. If I want to lose weight, all I have to do is think about this photo and I'll lose my appetite. And even though there are folks on the fringes who are into these creepy things, it's simply not for me. I did get lightly into foot fetish once with a few of my characters, but only as a sideline, during a love scene, and it was never the main focus of the story.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm taking love stories about normal people and incorporating sex scenes into them, and hoping the sex scenes move the story forward. Sometimes those sex scenes are graphic, and sometimes they are very tame. Like the book I'm working on right now, the fourth in The Virgin Billionaire series, where the two main characters, Jase and Luis, make love and pretend to have "literary" sex. But it's all in fun and I try hard to refrain from turning the characters into, once again, a freak show. I'd go into more detail about "literary" sex, but this blog is rated pg and I want to keep it that way.

I hope no one was offended by this post. I'm not casting judgement. I'm just stating the motivation behind my own work, especially since I think it's important for authors these days to clarify themselves so they don't get lumped into a category they didn't want to be part of in the first place. Because when it comes down the the final word, the author is the one left standing all alone, and very rarely is there anyone, from agent to publisher, there to stand behind him.

Ravenous Romance: New York Reading Series in the East Village

There's something new that's been in the works with Ravenous Romance for a while. I haven't been able to talk about it until they had everything organized and set up with dates.

You can read all about it below from the press release. Though I will not be able to attend the February reading due to other committments that were planned over a year ago, I will most likely show up at one of the future events. But I probably won't do any readings. There are people who are far better at doing readings than I am, and I'm never too proud to step aside and let them have their fun. As a side note, the event is going to be held in a former illegal massage parlor (Oy!) in the East Village (really Chinatown). I know Manhattan fairly well, but when you get into those name streets way downtown on the fringes it's not my venue and I'm lost. If you are so inclinced to go, here's a link to the web site, Happy Endings, and you can check out the place yourself ahead of time.


Publisher of erotic fiction to launch Ravenous Nights at Lower East Side venue

[Boston, MA – February 1, 2011] – Ravenous Romance™, a leading online publisher of erotic romance novels and short stories has announced a collaboration with New York City literary hot-spot Happy Endings Lounge to host a monthly erotic reading series on the first Friday of every month called Ravenous Nights. Happy Endings, a funky 2-story club that was once a massage parlor, is located at 302 Broome Street. The first Ravenous Night is scheduled for Friday, February 4 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and it is free of charge.

The lineup for February 4 includes:
· Cecilia Tan, best-selling erotic author of the Magic University series
· Caridad Pinero, New York Times best-selling erotic romance author
· Mo Beasley, founder of Urban Erotika, a spoken word performance series
· KT Grant, author of The Princess' Bride
· Debra Hyde, acclaimed writer of BDSM erotic romance, and the author of the BDSM classic, BLIND SEDUCTION.
· Jefferson, well-known sex blogger and author of M/M short stories for RR anthologies.

The Friday, April 4 lineup will be announced in the coming weeks.

In celebration of Ravenous Nights, Barnes & Noble has announced that they will offer free copies of the Ravenous Romance anthology Once Upon a Threesome to the first 100 people to download it. In addition, Ravenous Romance will give each attendee a free Ravenous Romance drink coaster to each attendee and the Happy Endings Lounge will create a special “Ravenous” cocktail which will only appear on the menu during Ravenous Nights.

Ravenous Nights
Friday, February 4, 2011
8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Free of charge
Location: Happy Endings Lounge
302 Broome Street (at Forsyth St)
(212) 334-9676

[About Ravenous Romance™]

An imprint of Literary Partners Group, Inc., Ravenous Romance offers readers engaging and colorful stories with strong plots and character development, but peppered with steamy love scenes. Products are available in iPhone/iPod app, ebook and audiobook format in 12 different categories, including both modern and historical fiction, suspense, paranormal, gay/lesbian/bisexual, and new age, among others. They also sell a limited number of titles in print on the Home Shopping Network.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You Have To Read This: "Got Your Valentine Right Here"

My blogging friend, Ryan, over at, wrote this great post. And in case you're too busy to check out the link, I've copied and pasted his entire post below.

Thank you, Ryan!!

This is how gay kids feel about those tacky little valentine cards we were forced to exchange in school:

Gonna go back to when I was a kid on this post I'm sure ya''ll will recall this in your childhood also just hope the outcome for you was better than it was for me. Remember in grade school at Valentine's how you would make little boxes to hang on the front of your desk so we could pass out Valentine cards to our classmates?

I hated it to be honest back in grade school as most of you know I was bullied so I didn't have any friends. I was the freak they would say I wore glasses, hearing aids was little compared to the other kids so yeah I had the target on me and boy them kids didn't let that pass them. Daily I was called names, hit on my stuff stolen.

Anyway this post isn't about bullying really it's about Valentines. Remember making boxes and exchanging Valentine cards? The teacher would say we had to exchange with everyone. My Mom bless her heart would go out and by them stupid boxes of Valentine cards and would make me sit down and fill them out with my classmates names.

I wanted so bad to write bad things to the people but I didn't. I also didn't want to give them cards in the first place. But I did cause of my Mom and the teacher. Well when it came time for everyone to exchange cards I went to everyones desk and drop the card in there stupid boxes I would get back to my desk and knew what I would find.

I was already threaten the day before when the teacher ask if everyone box was full I better answer yes. I would get like 2 or 3 Valentine cards normally 2 of them were some sort of bullying or hate card made up. There was 1 girl that gave me a card and it was a regular card not sure why she never talked to me.

Guess why I'm even writing this is I seen them Valentine cards at the store this morning and I remember how I use to hate Valentine's day. Course it is much better now with Kadin but I tell ya if I had all of you as classmates I sure would buy a box of them cards and drop one in each one of boxes and knowing when I got back to my desk my box would be full.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

I just finished FREEDOM late last night, the new Jonathan Franzen novel. I wrote a small post about the book when I was halfway through it, here, and mentioned how interesting it was to actually enjoy reading a book with characters I honestly couldn't stand. And now that I'm finished with the book, though I still don't like most of the main characters, I absolutely loved it.

This is partly because I like Franzen's writing style. I know at least a third of the book could have been edited, which would have made the book tighter. I'm a huge fan of word economy and getting books down to the bare minimum for the sake of moving the story forward quickly. It's often more difficult to write a 40,000 word novel than it is to write a 400,000 word novel and to get the point across without compromising anything. But, like I said, I enjoy Franzen's writing style and didn't mind the length of FREEDOM.

And, for me, the ending was a surprise (no spoilers here). Given the nature of these characters, I didn't think the book would end as it did, and I was expecting to be disappointed. In other words, this was the ending I was hoping for. I just didn't think it would happen. To the best of their abilities, the characters do arc throughout the book, especially Patty. And if you can put up with Patty's annoying personality by the time you're halfway through this book, you'll enjoy the way it ends.

Joey, though, was my favorite character. He was the most exciting, the most interesting, and often the most tragic person in the book due to circumstances beyond his control. But he wasn't always tragic, and I found myself feeling a great deal of respect for him more than once. I've seen other reviews about FREEDOM where people didn't think Joey was realistic enough. But first, I thought it was, and that's all that really matters to me as a reader. Second, this is fiction, I said fiction, and the people who leave reviews like this should just sit back, read what the author has created, and stop worrying about whether or not it's realistic enough for them. If they want realism, they should go down to the local supermarket and shop.

The only character who slightly disappointed me was Joey's college friend. I thought he should have been written in as gay. He was so devoted to Joey and hated his own sister so much, it would have been a perfect little sub-plot. Especially the scene where he comes into the room he shares with Joey after Joey has just masturbated and talks about the smell of the room. I don't think a lot of straight guys would have mentioned this aloud. But I'm used to this sort of thing in mainstream fiction, where gays are usually ignored. And this is why I write what I write, so it's all good.

Being that I write erotic romance, I found it interesting to read the way Franzen handled sex in the book. I set personal boundaries with my characters that I never cross, but not nearly as many boundaries as authors who write mainstream literary fiction. I don't have to set these boundaries because my audience expects me to cross lines authors like Franzen won't cross. But that doesn't mean I was disappointed at all in the way Franzen wrote the sex scenes. Actually, this is probably the first mainstream literary novel I've read in a long time where an author had the guts to tackle certain sexual situations in detail. This is especially true with Joey and his sexual needs and preferences. (Joey is one horny little guy who seems up for almost anything.) I would have liked to have read more sex scenes in general, being that I believe sex is what often motivated the characters in was a strong underlying force throughout the book. But I wasn't disappointed either. At least sex was handled, which doesn't usually happen.

You're going to hear a lot of people with opinions about FREEDOM. I've heard them myself, both good and bad. I've read a few reader reviews on amazon and that actually surprised me. And regardless of these reviews, I'd personally recommend this book to everyone, especially aspiring authors. But you have to read the entire book. If you start out expecting a wonderful reading experience and you want it fast, you're going to be disappointed. However, if you read with the intention of finishing the entire book and getting through the rough spots, you will not be disappointed in the way it ends. That is, unless you're a die-hard cat lover.