Wednesday, November 30, 2011

JbDubs - I Hate My Job (Official Music Video)

I don't really hate my job. I love my job. But I love this video, too.

Release Day: Four Gay Weddings and a Funeral

I'm going to do a contest with FOUR GAY WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL very soon. It's just been extremely busy and I want to make sure I have a clear head so all the details of the contest are accurate. But it's going to be simple and ten people will be eligible for a free e-book. I still haven't decided on which e-book I'll give away, but I will soon.

If you want to know more about FOUR GAY WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, please click the title. I'd also like to mention this book cover will probably go down as one of my all time favorites.

I'll post more soon.

When New York legalizes same sex marriage, Neil winds up with more invitations to gay weddings than he knows what to do with! And it's during one of these weddings where Neil meets Andre- the perfect man.

Andre is French, with a romantic accent and a killer body, and he fills Neil with emotion in ways he's never known- he's the perfect man. But Neil isn't ready for marriage, and so he lets Andre go.

As time passes, Neil's life goes on, and he always wonders what might have been with Andre. But when life-altering events rock Neil's quiet life, he may get a chance to find happily-ever-after!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jadette Paige's Blog

I'm working on a blogpost right now for Jadette Paige's blog. If you haven't read anything there yet, check it out.

It's well written and the content is interesting. You can get there from here. And it's simple to navigate.

Seth Godin Ends His Amazon Project

Those who follow this blog know that I'm fascinated with all the changes happening in publishing these days. I try to post about them objectively, and inform readers with bits and pieces I come across in the course of a day. Self-publishing/Indie publishing is one of those topics.

I read in GalleyCat that Seth Godin has decided to stop his amazon project:

"Bestselling author Seth Godin has decided to end the Domino Project, his experimental imprint with Amazon. The books will still be sold on Amazon, but Sarah Kay‘s Why Publish Poetry? will be the last book published by the imprint."

I haven't read anything from this imprint, so I can't comment in that respect. You can read more about why he stopped the project here, in a blog post he wrote on the topic. If you are an author, you should read the entire post and take notes.

I do try to keep my posts like this objective. I really do. I like Seth Godin and I've enjoyed his blog posts. I also agree with a lot of what he has to say. And I can't speculate about why anyone would be motivated to do one thing or another. I wish he hadn't stopped the project. I know how difficult, first hand, it can be to get something like this moving forward. I also know how hard it can be to market and promote e-books. But I don't think Seth will disappear. At least I hope not!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Holiday Shelf Over at

I have to admit that this is one of those things I enjoy about writing and promoting books. And I don't enjoy much about promoting. I always feel awkward about doing it.

But this is more like giving a huge shout to all the Christmas books and stories at one time.

There's a Holiday Shelf over at, where readers can peruse through a list of holiday themed titles. You can get there from here.

I have two on the shelf: One is a novella titled, SANTA SATURDAY. And the other is a new adult genre Christmas novella titled, THE COMPUTER TUTOR.

But check out the entire shelf and see if there's anything you like. This is inside information I don't give out very often. But the authors over at are given almost free range to do whatever they want. It's the ultimate creative process for an author and one I cherish. And the reader is really getting what the author intended him or her to get, without the hype. I've worked with a lot of publishers in my time and I've always had good experiences with them. But I've never been allowed full creative control...until I started working with about six years ago.

Book Trailers...

This is only my opinion, and I could be wrong. I've been wrong before...but I've also been right a lot more than I've been wrong (smile). I've also been doing this for a long time and I've seen a lot of things/trends come and go.

In the past five years or so I've seen authors creating book trailers that are actually very good. You can see these authors have worked hard on them, and I would imagine have spent good money on them as well.

But I always wonder whether or not book trailers work. I've obviously never done a book trailer and I don't see myself doing one in the near future. When I'm shopping for books without a recommendation, speaking as a reader, I'm more interested in reading a good solid book description, reader reviews, and a sample of the book I'm interesting in buying. Sometimes I buy with the process of elimination. In other words, I might not like the book description much. But if the reviews are interesting enough (with me they don't always have to be good reviews...I've bought more books I love based on bad reviews than I can count) and the sample pages from the book are good, I'll ignore the bad description. It's usually a two out of three deal with me...and it's not always about a bad book description.

I can honestly say that I've never been prompted to buy a book based on a book trailer. And I don't know many people who have either. I'm sure there are a few who do. But does that small group of people warrant the time and cost of producing a book trailer? I honestly don't know and there are no valid statistics to prove it one way or the other. So in this case I always trust my gut instinct...and experience...and listen to that little voice deep down.

Now, if you are an author like John Irving or Stephen King, I do enjoy book trailers that are actual interviews with the author. Who doesn't want to find out what a famous author is really like? There's a great interview out with John Irving's LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER. I watched it after I read the book. But notice how I worded this, I watched it after I read the was an added bonus to see what Mr. Irving had to say. I would have bought and read the book whether he did the video or not. And, I don't think this can officially be classified as a book trailer. It is basically the author discussing the book, answering questions.

It would be great if there were some kind of meter that gave valid statistics about book trailers. But there isn't. And I don't think they help sell books or enhance the reading experience in any way. The reading experience isn't like the film experience, where a trailer helps people decide on whether or not they want to see the film.

The main factors to consider, which to me are huge factors, are time and money. I'm not a huge fan of vanity promotion. So far I haven't seen anyone who ever made a book trailer come out and honestly say the book trailer paid for itself and gave the author a lot of extra money in his or her own pocket. If they did, you can be damn sure all publishers would be doing them and the publisher would be footing the bills. And this is why authors need to think like business people all the time...the same way publishers think.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

This might be the shortest book review in history. But that's because I want to make it simple for readers to decide whether or not they want to read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. And, Steve Jobs was the epitome of minimalism.

I enjoyed it. I gave it five stars on goodreads. But I also like/love all the techinical, business oriented information that was so detailed in the book.

In other words, if you're looking for a book that talks about Steve Jobs's personal life and his relationship with family and friends, this might not be the book for you.

But if you're interested in reading about a man who made history and changed the world, you will, indeed, enjoy this book. I couldn't stop reading it...especially the parts about how he changed publishing. In fact, I had a little too much fun reading those parts.

One Last Reminder About E-book Sale at

The Thanksgiving weekend e-book sale over at will continue until midnight tonight. Here's a link to the ARe homepage, where you'll see a banner across the top.

I've seen the prices and they have been slashed in half. I bought a few myself that I've been wanting to read.

Considering that most large publishers are charging 9.99 and up for e-books, this is a deal that can't be beat. I paid a small e-book fortune for the Steve Jobs bio and I'm still pissed about it. I liked the book, which I'll post about soon. But the fact that I had to pay top dollar for an e-book really galls me. And, I will not be paying those prices for e-books for a long time, unless Steven Jobs comes back to life and writes a follow up.

So whenever I do see a sale on e-books, I take advantage of it and stock up.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

If You Want to Get Me...

I was just over at goodreads leaving a few ratings for books I've read, and I checked my messages. I almost didn't. I'm like that with goodreads. I don't get there very often and when I do it's usually fast, to leave a rating or two, and then I'm gone.

I know a lot of people frequent goodreads all the time. I wish I could be there more often myself; I love goodreads. But it's one of those things that I put aside for spare time because there's not enough time in the day.

I almost missed a goodreads message from someone about guest blogging. And I hate when that happens. I'm usually more than willing to guest blog and I always get back fast. But please take note that I don't frequent goodreads as often as I should. If you want to get me send me an e-mail here,, and I'll get back much faster.

Literary Devices/Techniques

I wanted to write this short post as a follow up to the post I wrote earlier about Roman a Clef.

I've always been fascinated by Literary Devices, or Techniques. I remember learning about them in high school...I had a stellar lit teacher in high school...and then in college. I use them all the time when I'm structuring my novels and short stories and I would assume most other authors do the same thing.

And the one thing I love the most about literary devices is that the term/concept is almost a trade secret in some ways. Writers keep this to themselves and they let readers figure it out on their own, which is as it should be. But to the trained, well-read eye, literary devices aren't invisible. I can tell immediately when a book is reviewed whether or not the reviewer knows...has been exposed to the concept...what a literary device is with regard to structure.

When it comes to the "normal" reader, they don't have to know. All they have to do is love the story and the writing. And no writer expects them to know this either. That would take away all the fun in reading if it became too technical. So if you're a reader who is reading for pleasure, you don't have to worry about this.

For those interested, the wiki explanation is here. I particularly like the way this is defined with respect to the word "intentionally." But the definition is a little ambiguous, so here's another link for more clarity.

No writer does anything by accident. It may look that way. Sometimes if it is planned correctly it SHOULD look accidental. But when a novel is being crafted each and every word, sentence, or "device" is there for a reason. And it's always planned in advance.

Roman a Clef...

I was going through a few blogs today and saw that a blogger I follow was posting about a novella that's based on real life. This is what's called Roman a Clef.

Wiki says this about Roman a Clef:

Roman à clef or roman à clé (French pronunciation: [ʁɔmɑ̃n‿a kle]), French for "novel with a key", is a phrase used to describe a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction.[1] The fictitious names in the novel represent real people, and the "key" is the relationship between the nonfiction and the fiction.[2] This "key" may be produced separately by the author, or inferred through the use of epigraphs or other literary devices.[3]

And you can read more about it here...

But what I'd like to know is why we don't see more around these days. I see a lot of memoir and non-fiction. But I rarely see Roman a Clef, and it's something I love. I rarely even see the term used. I often wonder if a lot of the fiction I read is really Roman a Clef and the author didn't bother to mention it up front. But that would be speculation and I try not to do that.

I also read a lot of celebrity bios that are considered non-fiction, and I have a feeling a lot of the content is actually fiction. But that would be speculation, too. I'm finishing up the Steve Jobs bio and I'll post about it soon.

The reason I've never done a Roman a Clef is because I've always focused hard on fiction, especially with respect to character development. That's not to say that I don't draw from my own personal experiences as a gay man. But I rarely ever draw from one particular experience or person I've known. My characters and stories are more like puzzles, in the sense where I take small pieces of everything I've experienced, put them together, and create something/someone that's never existed before. But I would like to try my hand at Roman a long as I don't get sued.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Ravenousromance Titles on Sale @allromanceebooks

They are having a huge sale on all my ravenous romance books over at

Why do I love Not just because my books are on sale there. I love them as a reader because they give what I think is some of the best product info for e-books on the web. If you haven't shopped there before, please take the time to check them out whether you buy one of my books or not.

The titles on sale that are mine are clearly marked. And from what I've seen it's a 50% off sale. You can get there from here by clicking this link. Then you can click my name and a list of my titles will come up.

Bump It With a Trumpet

Working On An Interesting Contest for My Next Release...

With the release of my upcoming book, FOUR GAY WEDDINGS, I've decided to do a contest here on the blog.

This won't be like other contests you've seen. I'm not going to make you hop from one blog to the next and I'm not going to make it ridiculously complicated. In fact, there won't be anything cute and fuzzy and warm about it.

It's going to be a contest where ten readers will be eligible to win one free e-book each. There will be no deadlines and I will keep this discreet. In other words, all you anons are more than welcome to participate. Reading and writing erotica is all about good taste and discretion and I want you to know that I respect (value) your privacy more than you'll ever know!!

I'm still working on the details. I promise, this has nothing to do with "Black Friday" hype and there will only be one small catch. The catch, if you can call it that, will be that you have to read my new release, FOUR GAY WEDDINGS in order to be in the contest. But that's it. I'm not going to make you hop all over the interwebs on a wild goose chase.

Stay tuned for more information, because I'm still working on the details. As soon as Four Weddings is released, I will put this into action. And if it works, I'll do it with every new release.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some Thanksgiving Advice about Web Presence and Web Sites for Authors...

I wasn't going to post again this soon. But then I read a blog post that was handing out advice to other authors about web sites and web presence and I figured that since I've never actually written a post like this, I'd do it right now.

If you are a new author and you are trying to establish a web presence you are going to hear all kinds of advice from people who think they know it all.

But do what is best for you, and think like a business person would think, which means having a strong grasp on reality, not vanity. Especially you guys out there with student loans that have to be paid off. I don't envy you.

The good thing is you don't really have to spend a dime to gain web presence these days, especially with social media. This is wonderful. How much better can it get for an author? Google blogs/web sites are free. You can gain web presence just as easily by using google blogger as you can by paying for an expensive, professional web site.

Now, if you truly want to spend the money on an elaborate web site and you're not looking for a return on your investment anytime soon, have a blast. Hire the best designer and go for it all. That's your decision and your choice. I'm just letting you new struggling authors know you don't have to spend a dime to gain a web presence, and you should probably stay away from people who tell you that you should.

My good friend, a NY literary agent for over 40 years, once gave me a wise piece of advice I never forgot: "Part of the secret of having money is learning how to hold on to it." And I couldn't agree with him more.

Black Friday Weekend Promotion at

First, I'd like to wish everyone in the US a Happy Thanksgiving. Second, I'd like to let everyone everywhere know about a "Black Friday Weekend Promotion" going on over at this coming weekend. Among the books on sale will be my best selling amazon m/m romance, The Virgin Billionaire.

For those who don't know what "Black Friday" is, this is the time of year millions of people in the US scramble to malls, shopping centers, and anywhere goods and chattels are sold to begin the Christmas shopping season. And I think it's nice of Allromanceebooks to offer this promotion, especially for people like me who wouldn't be caught dead out shopping on Black Friday or anytime that weekend. I'd much rather stay in and read a good book I found on sale.

I'm honestly not sure how this sale at ARe is working. But I do have a list of books that will be listed on sale this weekend, as follows:

SEX TOY STORIES Anthology, edited by Lori Perkins
WHAT THIS WOLF WANTS by Jennifer Dellerman
SECRET FLAMES by Adam Carpenter
THREE'S A CHARM Anthology, edited by Lori Perkins

Have a very safe weekend, too.

Random House Does Christmas Promo...

I'm posting about this because I think it's interesting for a couple of reasons. I'll get into them in a second. But first I do think it's nice that Random House is doing something for people who are still reading print books. I know a few people who refuse to embrace digital reading and any time a publisher offers an incentive of any kind I'm thrilled for readers.

I read about this in GALLEYCAT, a blog I frequent often.

"This may be the year of the eBook tablet, but Random House doesn’t want shoppers to forget about physical books in physical stores. To prove its loyalty to booksellers, the publisher is running a special promotion this holiday season to make sure that is books are in bookstores quickly."

I think this is a wonderful idea. But I also find it interesting, considering I just wrote this post about my new tablet earlier this week. Frankly, all I'm seeing are ads for tablets everywhere I look. I even see them being sold in generic drugstores these days. So I'm not quite sure why Random house isn't offering some kind of huge discount on digital books, too. Maybe they are and I missed it? All I know is the e-books I've seen being offered by large publishers range 9.99 and up in price, and I refuse to pay those prices.Like I said, it's interesting. And I consider myself an objective observer on subjects like this. It's hard to think otherwise when you're a writer and your main concern is that people who like to read get the books at the prices they or print. I love Random House as much as I love the smallest press that publishes only digital books.

"“2-Day Transit,” lets indie booksellers order books for their stores with two-day shipping throughout the holiday season. It will work for any Random House title, be it frontlist or backlist."

I also find this post interesting because I've read a lot about whether or not the word "Indie" works for those getting into self-publishing. I know many authors who have self-published books and they refer to themselves as "Indie" authors. But in this post, "Indie" is clearly being used as a name/reference for small "independent" book sellers...which is the way the word has always been used in publishing for as long as I can remember. But that's changed. And again, I find this interesting and I'm not commenting on it one way or another. The one thing I will comment on is that I find the division between print publishers like Random House and all the new authors (and readers) embracing digital books and self-publishing extremely evident in a passive aggressive way...on both sides.

"The publisher explained how it will work in a press release: Orders received in our system by 3:00 p.m. EST will leave the warehouse no later than the next business day, and ship door-to-door in two days or less from the company’s Westminster and Crawfordsville distribution centers to independent booksellers throughout the country.” The effort runs from now through January 12th."

I wish Random House well with this promotion. I hope readers who prefer print books and those "Indie" bookshops that need business have an excellent holiday season. Of course no one felt bad when video stores started going out of business. We all just accepted the end of video stores as a fact of life and there was very little emotion shown. It was considered inevitable; it was technology. But it's different with "Indie" bookshops for some reason.

All I know is I'm thrilled with my two Kobo e-readers and my new Nextbook tablet. In the past two years, since I started reading digital books, I haven't picked up a print book once. My shopping habits have changed, too. I buy more books; I spend more money. And I'll be looking forward to the Black Friday weekend promotion happening over at, which I'll post about very soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cover Preview for Upcoming Release: Four Gay Weddings

Here's the cover preview for my upcoming release with ravenous romance, FOUR GAY WEDDINGS. I'll post more about it, as usual, and give unpublished excerpts.

Here's the back cover copy. I'm actually thinking of doing a contest with this book and I still have to work out the details. I'll post about this more, too.

When the state of New York legalizes same sex marriage, Neil Sparks and his close circle of friends wind up with more invitations to queer weddings than they’d bargained for. And it’s during one of these weddings where Neil meets the perfect man, Andre Lefevre.

Andre is French, with a romantic accent and a killer body. He always says and does the right things and he fills Neil with emotion in ways he’s never known. But Neil isn’t ready for marriage. And though Neil is honest with Andre, Andre doesn’t take him seriously.

As a teacher for the hearing impaired, Neil’s life is full and rich. He loves his friends and he’s never without a good looking date. But something is missing. And when he runs into Andre at another wedding and realizes how happy he is to see him again, he only winds up devastated to learn that Andre is engaged to be married to an older, wealthier man.

This is when Neil winds up getting accidentally involved with his twenty year old neighbor, Tom Middleton, a guy who is just as interested in politics as he is in shooting hoops with his horny college buddies. Neil settles into a nice, quiet relationship for the first time in his life, sometimes wondering about what might have been with Andre.

After two life-altering events, Neil winds up doing something he never would have imagined a year earlier. And it’s not until the very end when he realizes the true meaning of the phrase happily-ever-after.

Dialogue Tags With Adverbs: No-No

I see bad dialogue tags all the time in excerpts of published books and I cringe. It really is the perfect example of how readers can tell by the first five pages whether or not they want to buy and read a book. It's been said, not be me, that it's not possible to describe great writing...but it's very simple to spot amateur writing.

I've talked about said bookisms here on the blog before. Though I can't find the link, I've talked about how confusing it can be to readers when there are no dialogue tags at all.

And now I'm referring you to a blog post written by a published author, Nathan Bransford, who makes the point so well about adverbs in dialogue tags I'm not going to bother adding anything but the example below...taken verbatim from his blog so he gets full and absolute credit...and a link the entire post. I've read his book and I know he knows what he's talking about.

Sometimes adverbs can't be avoided...although I've been known to write entire novels without them at all. In my last edit for, FOUR GAY WEDDINGS, which will be released soon, the editor added the word "knowingly" and it's still bothering me. I let her get away with it this time because it wasn't part of a dialogue tag and I was having a great day. But, for some reason, I don't think there is anything that gets me more than "ingly" words. I absoultely despise them. And since it's been bothering me so much I will not let this happen again.

Anyway, below is a satirical example of dialogue tags and adverbs by Mr. Bransford, in bold print. For those doing NaNoWriMo right now, you might want to take advantage of his entire post.

Adverb Central:
“What do you mean I can’t use adverbs with dialogue tags?” Lucia asked questioningly.
“Just don’t do it,” Nathan replied testily.
“But why not?” Lucia asked quizzically.
“It’s kind of a rule,” Nathan said resignedly.
“I kind of like them,” Lucia said poutingly.
“If you keep using adverbs,” Nathan said patiently, “Pretty soon your reader will only notice the adverbs and not the dialogue because the adverbs are doing all the work for the reader.”
“Oh,” Lucia said understandingly.
“Yeah,” Nathan nodded knowingly.

Nextbook Premium 8...

I've posted about how much I love my Kobo e-readers more than once. I have the one with e-ink and the Kobo Lookbook. I love both, and I use both for different reasons at different times. The one with e-ink is easy to slip into a bag and take to the doctor's office or anywhere I have to wait for a long time. The Lookbook is a little bigger, but not heavy, and I like to read at home on that one. Both are simple to use when it comes to downloading e-books and I'm a huge fan of Kobo's web site.

But I wanted a tablet. And I didn't want to spend what Apple is charging for the iPad...I have an iPhone, which I like, but I've never been completely sold on the concept that Apple is the be all and end all of all computers. I just didn't drink the Kool Aide...that time. And I've seen my mother's iPad and iPads that belong to friends. I like them. But again, I'm not willing to spend that kind of money for status reasons.

In the same respect, I've been looking for a tablet that will do almost everything the iPad does. And they are out there. It's not something I'm going to use too often, and I tend to be conservative when it comes to spending money on items I want more than I need.

So I checked out the Nextbook Premium 8 tablet in a few places, and fell in love with it. I've had it for a few weeks now and I don't have any major complaints. The one big complaint would be that I find the keyboard a little difficult to navigate. But that's probably more about my skills than a reflection on the actual tablet. The reading experience is also good. But I will warn people who have never owned an e-reader and are thinking about getting one: if you're just looking for a device that will let you read e-books, go for the Kobo or something like it in the beginning. You don't need a tablet to read e-books. In fact, I find that the tablet is distracting when it comes to the overall reading experience.

In other words, speaking as someone who is not a techie and only wants to push a button to read an e-book, I would highly recommend the Nextbook Premium 8 to anyone looking for a tablet who doesn't want to pay Apple's prices. But I still go back to my dedicated e-reader to get the full impact of the personal, relaxing reading experience I have always cherished.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Facebook First...

Just when I think I've seen it all, something else pops up.

An author on facebook asked his "fans and supporters" to change their profile pics to the cover of his new book release.

Mabey I have it all wrong, but I think that is a bit presumptuous. I love certain books. I have read every Anne Tyler book there is. BUT her book covers are not going to be my profile pic.

I am all for promotion and always willing to lend a hand to someone else. But some things just cross that invisible line. And asking facebook friends to change their profile pics to one of my book covers would be where the line is drawn.

Like I said, maybe I'm wrong about this. But I do think if one person takes it the wrong way, so will others.

Alleged Sandusky Victim Quit School Because of Bullies

This, indeed, is outrageous. One of the abuse victims of the alleged Jerry Sandusky scandal had to leave school due to bullying inflicted upon him by classmates who were outraged that good old "JoePa" was forced out. Allegedly, the bullies were blaming Joe Paterno's firing on the victim.

I've written about bullying before. This isn't LGBT bullying. But it's a good example of how bullies can be found anywhere.

I'll admit I don't live nearby the Penn State Campus and I've never been affiliated with anything west of Philadelphia. I live in Bucks County, PA, and PA is a large state. In this area we have more of a New York/New Jersey influence. But I can tell you this much. No one where I live in this part of PA is supporting anyone connected with the alleged child abuse. And I find it hard to believe that anyone, anywhere, would care more about an old man's football career than they care about victms of child abuse.

There's something seriously wrong if even a small group of people out there in State College feel this way.

How Can a Box and a Basket Screw Up the Entire Book?

I wish there were a way to scream "thank you" to my editor at, Dalia. Because that's what I'm doing right now.

Last night, while going over the final draft of THE COMPUTER TUTOR, I discovered a mistake. It was just one word, and it could have been ignored, but I figured that if it bothered me it's going to bother other readers. And, this is what editing is all about.

The word was "basket." It needed to be changed to "box." If you look at the book cover above, you'll see there is a "box" of puppies, not a "basket" of puppies. "Basket" was in the book, not "box." Both words would have worked within the context of the story. But it bothered me that the cover didn't go with the story. And I like the word "box" more than "basket," even though I originally wrote it as "basket." I think a guy would use a box faster than a basket.

So I e-mailed Dalia late last night and waited to hear if it could be fixed. I've seen this happen before with all publishers, even NY publishers, where the book cover doesn't always coincide with the story. It's not the biggest thing in the world, I wouldn't classify it as coverfail, but those little details can really freak me out.

Thankfully, Dalia was able to change "basket" to "box" and all is well. The reason I didn't catch it sooner is because when you're in the editing process you're busy working on tightening sentences, revising paragraphs, and a multitude of things most people wouldn't even consider while they are reading a book. Most readers only care about the story and whether or not it appeals to them. But there is a lot of work that goes into the writing aspects.

I'm going to write another post about this soon. There is a very loud, critical book reviewer out there who just "edited" an anthology of short erotic stories and all I'm hearing about are how "emotional" the stories are in the pre-promotions. But when I read the few published excerpts released, I'm seeing some bad writing that should have been fixed before this book went to print. We're talking about passive voice all over the place...and amateur mistakes that should be taken care of during edits. That is, if the editor in question is professional and experienced enough to know better. Clearly, this is not the case. And this time the authors can't be blamed. It's an anthology and it all falls on the editor. I know this because I've worked with some of the best editors in lgbt fiction...Neil Plakcy and Lawrence Schimmel to name two...and I've watched and learned while they edited me.

Editing a book or anthology isn't just about picking "emotional" stories you love. That's what readers and reviewers do, not editors. Going for "emotion" is only part of the editorial deal. Real editing is about making the story tighter, going line by line to make sure the author didn't make any mistakes, and creating a finished work that is as close to perfect as it can get, from dialogue tags to semi-colons. In other words, let the readers and reviewers worry about the storyline. It's the editor's job to fix the writing problems so that everything is neat and clean.

As I just proved, two words like "basket and box" can change the look and feel of an entire book. And unless an editor knows what h/she is doing, and what his/her job is, indeed, as an editor, it can be a painful experience for readers and they aren't even sure why.

Thankfully, I've been charmed enough in my life to have worked with the best, like Dalia.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

84 Distinct Works

A reader e-mailed me and asked how many books/stories I've had published.

I went blank. I honestly had no idea. I stopped counting a long time ago. I'm like that. If you ask me the name of a character in a book I wrote a year ago I have to go look it up. I think this is because I believe in looking forward, not backward.

But I wanted to answer the reader, so I checked out and sure enough, they have a round about figure. According the them, I have "84 distinct works." I think there are more published works, but those works would go back to pre-computer days when I first started out. There are also tons of magazine pieces I've done, both in the US and in Europe. (I love working with magazines: they pay great flat fees, the editors are really cool, and you don't have to put up with any bullshit.)

But here's the link to if you're curious. I hope the info there is correct. But then I didn't do it so you can blame goodreads if it's not correct (smile).

Blurb Preview: The Arrangement

I've been hinting at a project I've been working on with another m/m author. I can't give out his name yet, but I can say that we're both writing separate novellas that will be one book. The theme of the book is "bosses." And each novella is around twenty-five thousand words.

The title of mine is THE ARRANGEMENT, and I've been working on a blurb all weekend so I can submit it to the publisher before Thanksgiving. This one is rough, and is subject to change, but seeing it in print on the blog gives me a different perspective. And this time the basic idea is to keep it as short and sweet and neat as possible.

The Arrangement:

It’s 1962 and handsome young Toby MacFarlane has just moved to New York and started a new job in advertising. He’s hoping to find a social life, too, with other hot men who love men just like himself. But Toby wasn’t expecting his married boss to take advantage of his good nature, or for the over-sexed boss to use his apartment as a love nest so the boss can sneak around with young men behind his wife’s back.

With all the secrets Toby’s boss is keeping from everyone, including a nice young man Toby winds up falling in love with, will Toby be able to live with all these lies for long? Or will Toby find the strength to stand up to his boss and do the right thing for the man he loves?

Discover what it was like for homosexuals living in 1962, trying to figure it all out, in The Arrangement!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Christmas Release Excerpt: The Computer Tutor

Here's an excerpt from my new Christmas release, THE COMPUTER TUTOR.
I don't have an exact release date yet, but I'll post when I find out.

This excerpt is from the final draft, in PDF format, which I've been going over for mistakes all weekend.

The Computer Tutor
When I phoned my mom a week before
Christmas Eve and told her I was looking forward
to spending the holidays with the family, I
honestly meant it this year. For the first time
since I could remember, I was smiling at the
thought of going back to Asshat, USA for a few
days. Though I was still waiting for my real adult
life to begin, I knew my young adult life in
Asshat was over for good.
After years of hard work, I’d finally graduated
and landed my first authentic-paying position as
a veterinarian in an emergency clinic the previous
August, and I hadn’t been back home since
The Computer Tutor
Easter. I’d grown up in a small town about four
hours northwest of Philadelphia. In high school,
a group of us had nicknamed the little town,
Asshat, USA and it stuck with me all these years.
In Philadelphia, I’d shared a dingy college
apartment near University City with various guys
for almost seven years, including a full-time lover.
I wasn’t one of those students who went home
every weekend. I only went when it was absolutely
Ever since I left home for college, going back
to Asshat for the Christmas holidays always filled
me with anxiety and made me feel trapped. It was
as if that little town was a magnet, and it was
sucking me back with a force too hard to resist. I
experienced nightmares two days before I left
Philadelphia. My heart raced at the thought of
being locked in Asshat forever, working alongside
my dad in his small veterinary practice, waiting
to die a long, slow death.
Landing my new job at the twenty-four hour
emergency clinic had helped dissipate my fears.
Now, I had my own studio apartment in
Philadelphia, a few bucks in my pocket for the
Ryan Field
first time in my life, and I was going back home
as an adult, not a needy student.
This realization made a huge difference,
knowing that you’re completely self-sufficient and
no one can tell you what to do anymore. Though
you’re not a complete adult yet, you’re on your
way. When you know you’re going home for just
a visit and nothing more, your childhood bedroom
starts to take on an endearing, nostalgic appeal
instead of a depressing, confined look that
tightens your chest and makes you want to heave
Mom and Dad can’t even suggest what you
should do with your life in a nice way anymore…
because they love you so much. Your life becomes
none of their business. I knew my dad would have
loved to have me come home and take over his
small practice. My mom would have loved me to
marry a local girl, settle down, and provide her
with a litter of grandchildren.
The trouble is that wasn’t me. In high school,
when I was supposed to be dating a cheerleader,
I was usually parked on a dark country road with
another guy on the football team. I won’t even

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mr. Belvedere (theme song)

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Christmas Release...

I was reading one of the publishing blogs I follow earlier today during a coffee break from my next book in The Virgin Billionaire series and I came across something that made me wonder. It doesn't matter who said it. What matters is there is still some inaccurate publishing advice going around.

The theme of the blog post was about making mistakes while querying editors or agents (groan,) and one of the examples of what not to do referred to a comment the querier made that suggested the book in question would be ready as a "Christmas release..." in publishing.

The blogger jumped on this. The blogger said there was no such thing as a "Christmas release" in publishing because all Christmas related books are released in October and November. And this is what made me stop and think.

I know this is how it used to be in print publishing, back in those good old days. It also used to take a year or two for a book to actually be published once it was submitted to a publisher. There were slow times of the year in publishing, and people actually took Fridays off in the summer instead of working to get books released faster. Until recently, publishing has been widely known as the slowest industry in the universe.

But all that has changed in the past five years. In the past three years alone I've personally had several "Christmas releases" in December that have sold many copies...some in mid-December. I would never, indeed, release a Christmas story or book in October now because it would be tired by the time Christmas comes around.

Millions of e-readers, iPads, and tablets are sold as Christmas gifts each year. This year I'm sure the numbers will go up as more people switch to e-reading. And the first thing people want to do after they open their new electronic reading device on Christmas morning is download a few books.

In fact, right now I'm working hard on edits with to get a "Christmas release," The Computer Tutor, out by Thanksgiving and I'm worried that might be too soon. We're actually debating about whether or not to hold back and release in mid-December. But more than that, my publishers refer to these books as "Christmas releases." I don't think the advice the blogger gave was bad advice on purpose. I just think it was inaccurate advice and not keeping up with all aspects of publishing.

So yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas release.

Reopening the Natalie Wood Case...

Evidently, the case surrounding Natalie Wood's untimely death has been reopened by LA Police.

You can read more about it here.

I always remember one thing about this case that left me wondering. Ms. Wood allegedly had a huge fear of water. I'm not fond of water myself, so that fact stuck with me. And when people have fears like these, there is no way they spend more time on or near the water then necessary. There isn't enough vodka on the planet to get me to spend time near water for any length of time.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Like I said, certain things about this case didn't make sense to me. And if something doesn't make sense, nine times out of ten it's not true.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sebastian Marshall Writes Open Letter to Simon & Shuester CEO

Below I've quoted, verbatim, the first few paragraphs from Sebastian Marshall's web site. It's a bold letter to the CEO of Simon & Shuester. And very long. I've added a link at the end of the quote so you can continue reading over at Mr. Marshall's web site.

If you're an author, it's worth taking a hop over there to check it out.

Hi Carolyn,

Sit down before you read this.

We’ve got to talk.

Look. This is going to piss you off. This is going to look like I’m causing problems." Read more...

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore Call it Quits...

I read about it here, where you can follow another link to the AP and read the details.

Demi Moore is quoted saying this:

"As a woman, a mother and a wife, there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life," she told the news service."

And I couldn't agree with her more...and I'm not even a woman a mother and wife.

Ashton Kuctcher tweeted this (Oh yes, the idiot tweeted it, in all his tweetified glory):

"I will forever cherish the time I spent with Demi. Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world and unfortunately sometimes they fail. Love and Light, AK."

Love and Light? Who, seriously, speaks this way?

A Young Widow's Promise

I saw this and really liked it. It the publisher's description of A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE on the publisher's web site home page.

Here's the link, and below is the blurb:

Finally, let's calm it down with a historical erotic romance from Ryan Field in the Sugar and Spice line - A Young Widow's Promise. Felecia takes in three wounded soldiers - enemy soldiers. And when her romance with one of them sparks the disclosure of a secret about the other two, she's forced to make some decisions.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why I Love Hillary

I love this video. It's classic Hillary Clinton giving a completely natural response to something unplanned.

Most dumb-dumb politicians, Democrat or Republican, would just stand there gaping, wondering how to react in a way that would be good for their image.

But Hillary just laughs like everyone else would.

For Those Just Getting Into Social Media:

Dance like the picture’s not being tagged. Love like you’ve never been unfriended. Tweet like no one’s following.

And whatever you do, try to stay away from politics and religion.

Something New in the Works That's Still a Secret

I can't talk about it much right now. But I will soon. The contracts are signed and the works are in progress.

I'm going to be collaborating with another m/m romance author I've never worked with before. You all know him well; you all love his work. We're collaborating on a project for Ravenous Romance that I hope will be released before Christmas. It's a novella collection, with one 25,000 word novella from me, and one the same length from this other author.

I will post more about this soon. I just don't want to jump the gun because I'm so excited about working with this author. I'm sure he will say something, too. We actually haven't discussed that part yet because we've been so busy brainstorming about ideas.

But all I can say is that it's been a wonderful experience. And I can't tell you how much I've been enjoying working with this author.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RIP, Barbara Grier

Barbara Grier founded a publishing house that published books for and about lesbians. She was a pioneer when no one else was taking lesbian literature seriously. I have a fondness for all LGBT things that happened during this time because I was a child with a photographic memory and I remember them well.

Barbara Grier passed away recently. You can read more about it here.

I remember Naiad Press with fondness. When I first started submitting stories and novels to publishers and small presses there weren't many choices for LGBT writers. This was before the Internet, before e-mail took off, long before snarky romance review blogs existed, and when we were still submitting in hard copy.

I once submitted a lesbian story to Naiad and they rejected me. I was very young, probably too young to have the audacity to write a novel let alone submit one to a publisher. The rejection letter I received was from Barbara Grier and she told me she liked the writing but thought I should focus on gay male fiction instead of lesbian fiction. It was probably the nicest rejection letter I ever received. And I took her advice.

Ms. Grier once said this, with regard to the books she published “about lesbians who love lesbians, where the girl is not just going through a phase.”

It's been said Ms. Grier felt this way because all the lesbian themed romance novels she read growing up were focused on women who fooled around with other women, but always wound up with a man in the end...this, so publishers thought at the time, was the only way to achieve the happily-ever-after ending.

I love this, when someone has a serious, valid reason for doing what they do. It's why I decided to write gay themed novels based loosely on storylines about straight lovers. I grew tired of reading and watching stories about straight people falling in love and living happily-ever-after, and just as tired of gay literature that was too artsy and ridden with dark, depressing storylines like "Brokeback Mountain."

What Is An Aging Gay Circuit Boy?

In my soon to be released novel, FOUR GAY WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, one of the main characters is referred to, as an aging gay circuit boy. So I decided to explain this for those who don't know what a circuit boy actually is. I honestly believe I've ever heard it mentioned anywhere in the mainstream.

Here's a definition from Urban Dictionary: "A gay man who attends circuit parties on a regular basis. It is usually a very expensive endeavor, since tickets to the parties are generally around $100 per event, and circuit parties usually take place on three to five consecutive nights in the the same city. The term often has a negative connotation."

Here's the definition of Circuit Party from Urban Dictionary: "A large, gay dance party, something like a gay version of a rave, but with a gay-oriented music selection (usually pop, progressive house, and tribal). Events are well-promoted, publicized, advertised and organized, are often attended by thousands, can be big charity fundraisers, and are usually expensive to attend.
Since each circuit party occurs on a specific weekend and in a specific city once a year, and there are many parties on "the circuit", travel and planning are required. Travelling from party to party becomes part of a circuit boy's lifestyle of travel, networking and partying.Some examples of circuit parties: White Party in Palm springs (April), Black Party in New York (March), the Black and Blue Ball in Montreal (October), the Blue Ball in Philadelphia (January).These are often all-night and multi-day events, and party drugs such as ecstasy, GHB, ketamine and crystal are frequently taken by partygoers.It's only August, but circuit boy Dave can't wait! He has already booked his hotel for his favorite circuit party, White Party Palm springs next April."

Circuit boys are often referred to as "Circuit Queens," too. In many cases, from what I've personally experienced, the lives of some gay men at one time revolved around the next circuit party. It's almost a counterculture lifestyle. I went to a few circuit parties myself back in the 1990's, when circuit parties seemed to have reached their peak. And, I personally wasn't impressed. I've never been into drugs; I've never cared about gay peer pressure or competition. And a large part of circuit parties were all about competition. I knew men in New York who were embarrassed to say they'd never been to a circuit party, so they lied to keep up with everyone else.

To be a circuit boy you didn't have to be wealthy. You just had to be smart enough to know how to work the system and max out your credits cards. I did know a few wealthy professional gay men who often frequented circuit parties, but for the most part the circuit boys I knew weren't considered well off. I dated a guy for about six months who planned his entire life around the next circuit party...he never missed one...when he should have been planning how he was going to pay his rent.

Around the year 2000 I remember hearing less about circuit parties. They still have them now, but I don't think they are as popular as they were in the 1990's. Part of this is because there are a lot of aging circuit queens now. They've migrated to places I won't name specifically because I could get into trouble. But these places are warm all year long, they have palms trees everywhere you look, real estate and the standard of living is cheaper, and there are plenty of younger men around to play with.

A lot are still doing steroids and making daily trips to the gym. You can spot them a mile away. You can't miss the short salt and pepper hair, the Botox, or the tight Spandex shirts. In some cases it's a mad attempt to stop the clock and recapture youth. And when I was creating my character for FOUR GAY WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL I wanted him to have something that a smart, professional younger gay man would frown upon.

I just hope I did it objectively. I didn't want this character to come off as a bad character just because he's an aging gay circuit boy. He's a product of his younger days when he was a circuit boy in the 1990's. And there's also something charming and endearing about him I hope most people will recognize.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cover Preview for New Adult M/M Christmas Story: THE COMPUTER TUTOR

Here's the cover preview for my new adult m/m Christmas story, THE COMPUTER TUTOR, that will be released through Once again, Dawne Dominique nailed it. I didn't even have a clear image, not a clue. I just said: "A white Christmas tree and a box of puppies," and she got it on the first try. That's what I call talent!!

I've already posted about this here. And I'll let you know when the release date is soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Penn State: You Get One Childhood in this Life; Just One

You only get one childhood in this life. Just one. And when someone comes along and crushes it, you don't get a chance to do it over again.

Where I live, an hour and a half from New York and an hour from Philadelphia, we don't usually hear much about Penn State. I think it's something like five hours away, which in a state the size of PA is like Iowa to people who live around here. I know more about New Jersey than I do about PA. Hell, I know more about LA than I know about Penn State.

But the Philadelphia news channels have been focusing on what's been going on at Penn State, with regard to alleged child abuse and the alleged cover ups that occurred. And it's been both saddening and shocking to see how students at Penn State have reacted.

One of those people who allegedly covered the child abuse scandal up was Joe Paterno...AKA, "JoePa." Good old "JoePa" allegedly knew about the child abuse and never contacted the proper authorities.

And the faithful students at Penn State didn't like the fact that their storied, flawless "JoePa" was allegedly involved in the cover up, so they went berserk and rioted when they found out good old "JoePa" had been asked to resign by the board.

I think this rioting is what might also be called a young adult temper tantrum, where college age people jump up and down, stomp on the ground, and kick and scream, when things don't go their way. This time, mom and dad weren't around to give them a "time out."

These students obviously had very little concern for the helpless victims of this alleged child abuse on the night they rioted. If they had, they would have waited until all the facts were presented before they formed opinions about good old "JoePa." And I honestly find it difficult to believe that anyone in their right mind would riot until all the facts have been presented, especially when the allegations are so serious and children are involved. There's something seriously wrong going on over there. And it makes me wonder what kind of Kool Aide they are serving in the Student Union.

You only get one childhood in this life. Just one.

Publishing Credits...Putting the Cart Before the Horse

This is one of those posts I'm on the fence about writing. Partly because I understand eagerness and partly because I also get a little frustrated when I see too much enthusiasm and not enough product. And I don't want it to sound like a rant; it's not.

In other words, I've been reading about a gay m/m author for the past three weeks or so who sounded interesting. His creativity with social media impressed me and I thought his work might be interesting.

But when I did a search on amazon to check out his work, there was nothing there. Not even his name came up. Then I checked google, Kobo, smashwords, and goodreads and found nothing in any of these places either.

I started to wonder about this and asked a friend. It turns out this guy isn't a published author, a self-published author, and he hasn't even written enough to viably query an agent. He doesn't have a blog, a newsletter, or a pen pal. It reminded me of an episode of The Golden Girls, where Blanche decides she wants to become a romance writer. But then she realizes how difficult it is to actually write a romance novel and claims she has "writers block." That's when Dorothy replies something to the effect of, "Blanche you can't have writers block. That's impossible. You have to have written something first in order to have writers block. If that were the case, we'd all have writers block."

Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing. I can't wait to read and help promote new authors I love. I do it all the time. It's important for authors to build publishing credits, too. And it doesn't matter where you build them, just as long as you actually write something that people can read.

But I do fall short on patience when I find out someone is so enthusiastic they start promoting themselves before they've written or published anything. People like me, who have worked hard for the last twenty years as writers take this seriously. We know rejection; we know how hard it is to sacrifice long hours of our lives even when we don't know it will pay off in the end. We know what it's like to query agents and suffer more rejection in a year than most people experience in a lifetime.

So before you start talking about being a writer and promoting yourself on social networks, write something. At least start a blog and put a little effort into it. Otherwise no one's going to take you very seriously.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just A Quick Thank You For A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE

I'd like to thank all those who have been reading A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE.
I've been receiving e-mails about it all week and I can't thank you guys enough.

When I decided to write a hetero historical set during the Civil War, I wasn't sure how readers would respond. Even though I did write a gay subplot, I was worried the novella wouldn't resonate with readers because of what I usually write.

But so far it's been doing better than I thought it would. And that's nice to know.


From Freedom To Marry: Veterans Day Post

Here's an e-mail, and links, that I receive regularly from the Freedom to Marry organization. If the links don't work, you can copy and paste them into your browser.


My name is Jeffrey Correa and I am Development Director for Freedom to Marry. I'm also a veteran of the United States Air Force.

It was nearly 20 years ago on an otherwise unremarkable November day that I began my life-changing six years of serving in the Air Force. Each Veterans Day, I remember the proudest moment of my life: the day I stood up in front of family and friends, raised my right hand, and took a vow to defend my country.

This Veterans Day, I am asking you to stand with me and other veterans and support Freedom to Marry's work to overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the last remaining direct discrimination by the government itself, now that we have ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Because of DOMA, servicemembers, veterans, and their families still experience discrimination -- the sting of inequality, the burden of actual denial of tangible protections - while serving our country. Will you make a donation today in their honor?

I know firsthand how it feels to be treated differently in the military. Halfway through my enlistment, I came to terms with the fact that I am gay. Serving under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," I became immediately aware of the additional dangers I faced because of sexual orientation discrimination by the government -- losing a job I loved and the only life I knew.

After serving in silence for a number of years, I knew that I could not continue to work and prosper under such government discrimination. I had no choice but to leave the Air Force. Shortly after, I started on a new path, attending college on the GI Bill, starting my career in non-profit management, and, so luckily, falling in love.

In 2008, I found myself living what would be the next "proudest moment of my life." It also took place on an otherwise unremarkable November day when I again stood up before friends and family. But this time it was to vow to love and honor my husband for the rest of my life.

We were one of the lucky 18,000 couples that got married in California before the passage of Prop 8. Within days we went from the joy and elation of celebrating our wedding to watching as voters stripped away the freedom to marry in California.

In that moment my life changed forever and I became an activist, dedicating all my strengths toward one goal: equality. But whether or not I am successful in my new mission here at Freedom to Marry depends on you. We both know the truth: our triumphs can only be achieved if we secure the resources we need to make our case. Can you help make sure Freedom to Marry has the dollars we need from you to win this battle?

As a community, we've made incredible strides over the past year as we challenge both military and marriage discrimination. Many thought we could never get Congress to act. Many uphill battles were waged in the courts. And when he signed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal bill into law, President Obama honored the sacrifices of so many who had served in silence all these years, as well as those of us who raised our voices and did the work that brought this discrimination down.

And yet families that are putting their lives on the line for our country still continue to be treated differently, which means we have much more work to do.

I hope you will join me by making a donation today.


Jeffrey Correa,
Development Director, Freedom to Marry

If You're a Writer, Read This With Caution...

If you are a writer and you're struggling to get published, read this post with caution.

I suppose there are two ways to look at it. In the blog post where I read it first the blooger seemed to think it was something writers should read for inspiration.

Frankly, I don't buy into that. I think it's just more babble to confuse writers. I prefer my inspiration to come from success, not from failure and rejection.

But that's just a matter of opinion. And there are obviously people who would disagree with me.

New Adult Fiction: The Computer Tutor

I don't have a cover yet. If I did, I'd share it. But I posted the generic photo above because there is a basket full of Christmas puppies in this novella. I had to add the puppies to balance all the sex in the book. There's enough to make a certain book reviewer shudder and cross her legs again. You can read more about that below in the blurb.

But I did just get the edits for this new Christmas Novella, THE COMPUTER TUTOR.

I will continue to post about it as I go through the long editing process. Something of interest might be that I'm calling this New Adult Erotic Fiction. I'm growing fond of New Adult fiction across the board, and I'm going to be writing more of it myself in the future. I'll also be working well into the night many nights in the upcoming week on this novella so this story will be out by December.

I'd like to see THE COMPUTER TUTOR out by Thanksgiving weekend. But I can't promise that. There's a lot of time and effort that goes into putting out a novella like this and it also involves a great deal of collaboration.

And I love my editors at, Janet and Dalia, and I'd rather they take their time and do what they have to do to help me get this book out as a quality e-book.

For the first time in young Drew’s life, he can’t wait to go home for the holidays as an adult instead of a college kid. He’s just started a new job, working as a veterinarian at a 24 hour emergency care clinic. But his boss at the animal clinic tells him he has to work Christmas Eve and a good part of Christmas Day because the other ER vet broke her leg. Then it starts to snow on Christmas Eve and Drew’s assistant asks if she can go home to set up gifts for her children, leaving him all alone in the clinic with two older dogs who are recuperating from surgery. Drew is bored out of his mind, feeling sorry for himself because he’s all alone on Christmas. But it all changes fast when a handsome young man with black hair storms into the clinic with a basket full of newborn puppies in his arms and he begs Drew to save the mother’s life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Konrath, Self-Publishing, and a Different POV from Tobias Buckell

I'm remaining objective here. I'm still curious about self-publishing and I want to learn more about it. And this isn't because of Konrath or any other self-pubbing success stories I've heard about.

My interest is strictly one of curiosity with regard to author control and empowerment. When it comes to publishers, I've had to concede more times than I've won on issues I've felt strongly about in the past twenty years. And although I was right every single time, I've had to smile and move on for the sake of keeping the peace. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it stings and you don't forget it.

This is an interesting blog post by Tobias Buckell. I don't agree with all of it, and sometimes it's all over the place with regard to the central theme of the piece. But it's an interesting take. You can check it out and see for yourselves. And if you're so inclinced, here's a link to Joe Konrath's blog.

Whether you are a published author, a new author, or an author thinking about self-publishing, I think you'll find Konrath's blog more than interesting.

How To Get People To Unfriend You On Facebook...

I've seen a lot of people in the LGBTQ community get blocked, reported, and basically, kicked off facebook for very ridiculous reasons. Some posted risque photos, some made risque comments, and some just posted about something that had gay content in a general sense that had nothing to do with sex.

In most cases, the photos and comments were all in fun. This isn't hearsay. I know this because I've seen the photos and read the updates myself. And, just for the record, I was once kicked off facebook myself and I was never given a valid reason. The kind people over at Facebook restored my account and apologized. But I can tell you for a fact that I've never even posted the slightest hint of anything risque or sexual...unless it's a book cover. And these books covers, in most cases, are about as risque as an underwear ad in GQ Magazine. I recently saw an ad in my latest Architectural Digest for a design firm, with two naked men and a naked woman playing cards in bed. My covers are tame compared to that.

But last night, after dinner, I signed into Facebook and the first status update I read went like this: "I have had my *blank* eaten *blank* so many times in the last ten years..." You can fill in the blanks yourself. You can finish the thought yourself, too, because I'm not going to quote something like this on my blog. But I can tell you it was the most out of context, offensive comment I've seen to date on facebook and I didn't appreciate it...especially not on a full stomach. Needless to say, I unfriended this person fast. I figured if he can write something like that in public, there's no telling where he's going to go next. And this wasn't the first time this person did this. It was the fourth or fifth and I'd had enough.

And I'm no prude. My books speak for themselves and I never make any apologies to anyone regarding the content of my fiction. But it's fiction, not real life. I write erotic romance novels and each one has a storyline that's strong enough to support the book without the sex scenes. In other words, if I was asked to remove all the sex scenes in every book or story I ever wrote and re-write them as pg-rated scenes, the storyline would still be able to support the book.

As an erotic romance author, I take this very seriously. And I take the way I conduct myself in public just as seriously. I don't make highly charged sexual comments on social media just for the sake of getting attention. I could. But I don't. I think that diminishes the genre and lowers the expectations of readers in the long run. And the erotic romance authors I know and like, including erotic romance editors, know how to conduct themselves professionally in public.

I'm not saying funny, sexy photos and comments in social media shouldn't be done. I laugh every time see one and wish I'd thought of it first. And if it's done in the right context, smutty, funny things are absolutely harmless. I have one good friend, my blogging buddy, Ryan, who has literally made an art out of posting hysterical photos and comments on social media. But he does it in good taste and he makes people laugh. And I've never been offended.

But I couldn't care less if a budding erotic author has had his *blank* eaten *blank* a million times. Just the thought of that makes me cringe, especially when I have to see his photo at the same time. Some authors might think this is a way to get attention. And they might be right in the beginning. But in the long run it just might be the best way to get people to unfriend you on facebook. And you certainly aren't going to score any big points within the publishing industry.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Guess Everyone Has An Expression or Word They Hate

For some reason, words and expressions have been following me around all day.

I read a rant on a comment thread earlier today where a person used a word a lot of people didn't like. I knew it was a joke. It reminded me of the time I read a phrase about two gay men "sharing coitus" in a m/m romance and I posted about it on facebook. One gay guy I know, who has the biting wit only a gay man can have, left the comment, "Isn't coitus something you fry up in a pan with brown sugar?" I couldn't stop laughing, both at my facebook friend's comment and that anyone would write about gay men sharing "coitus."

But I know a lot of people wouldn't laugh. And I often wonder when people lost their senses of humor. I didn't find the word I saw earlier today offensive and I'm a gay man. But the people who jumped all over this comment were braced for battle.

Sometimes I think we've become a little too PC. Other times I think people who frequent the Interwebs don't take their meds on schedule.

Then I signed on this evening and I saw that a well known reporter made a comment and everyone was jumping all over him. He only said two words, and he clearly didn't mean to offend anyone. But the media jumped on him, along with a few loud groups who I think sit and wait for people to slip up, and he issued an apology for something he never intended to hurt anyone with in the first place. And, I don't think the words were bad. In fact, I wouldn't have even "gotten" the implications if someone hadn't called attention to it.

After that, I started to think about my own pet peeves when it comes to words and phrases. I guess we all have them. With me, one phrase I despise is "Modern Woman." It sounds like the title of a bad TVLand sitcom. It's also trite and cliche to the point of me. I think it bothers me because I come from a long line of women who worked and had careers. My grandmother always worked full time. And my mother's career as a full time counselor/therapist kept her too busy to think about whether or not she was a "Modern Woman." My sister works full time in education, so do all the women in my extended family. And, like I said, they've all been too busy working hard to bother worrying about PC phrases like "Modern Woman."

So I guess we all have words and phrases we don't like. But, trust me, I don't go ballistic and pull out the heavy artillery when I see the phrase "Modern Woman." Life's too damn short.

Gay Men Love Their Toys, too!

I'm not talking about those kinds of toys, so get your minds out of the gutter.

I'm talking about how some gay men love the same toys straight men love. For the most part, men think alike, gay or straight. I know I can't pass a marina without checking out at least one jet ski. And I'm fascinated by this "thing" that produces snow...whenever you want much I'm about one step away from ordering it. I know it's just a toy. I know we will probably get plenty of snow here this winter. But what if we don't? I'll have my snow machine to make winter worth while.

There are certain things that make me cringe. I'd rather read an erotic romance that was recommended by a well known book reviewer/blogger whom I won't mention by name than go shopping. This book reviewer has hideous taste in erotic romance, but I'd rather read a recommendation from them than go to Macy's. In fact, shopping makes me cringe so much I can't even look at a parking lot in a mall without getting a little nauseous. When I go to the store, I buy what I need. I don't shop. I don't have the patience.

But put me in the middle of a Home Depot or Lowes and I'm in all my glory. And I'm not even all that handy. It's just being surrounded by all those toys that gets me excited. It's hard to explain. And my latest toy is a home generator. That's what's in the box on my garage floor in the photo above. I wanted to get a close up but I used my phone to take the photo and it was too dark inside the garage to get a closer shot.

I've owned my home now for nine years this month. We had a rough nor'easter come up the east coast about two weeks ago that dumped over seven inches of heavy wet snow where I live, in New Hope, Buck's County, PA. No one was prepared for it. We all lost trees and went without power for days. And when you live in a somewhat rural area and you don't have power that means you don't have heat, water...or anything.

I'm always stocked with plenty of firewood and I have a huge walk-in fireplace, so my living room was nice and warm. I had my Kobo e-reader and my new iPhone to keep busy. And in the past nine years, this is the first time the power has ever gone out for longer than a few hours. But I started thinking about the fact that it could happen again. And then I started talking to other guys I know who have their own generators. So I decided to get a generator, too. It's my latest toy and I'm loving it. I'm having even more fun with this than I am with my new tablet. And this way, if the power ever does go out, I'll be prepared. I'm almost looking forward to it.

Could I have lived without a generator? I guess I could. It's not like I'm living in the middle of nowhere. New York is an hour away; Philadelphia is a half hour. There are many busy suburbs in between. But a toy is a toy, and sometimes you have to have it. Even if you're a gay man who doesn't like to shop.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Literature Map: Is It Up to Date?

I came across a link to something called "The Literature Map" this morning. It's interesting because you can enter in the name of an author you like, it does a fast search, and then it matches other authors with the name you entered.

In other words, if you love James Patterson, when you enter his name a group of other authors will come up that are supposedly the kind of authors that people who like James Patterson will read. Fans of James Patterson read, X, Y, Z authors, too.

But I'm not sure how accurate or up to date it is. I'm not even sure who runs the site. I read James Patterson and was surprised to see Lee Child came up. I don't read Lee Child and probably never will. It's just not my thing. And I wasn't too fond of the other authors that came up with James Patterson either.

And is it up to date? I don't know. I do know that when I typed in the names of my favorite genre and sub-genre authors I couldn't find anything. Clearly, it's not like doing an amazon search. And I know these authors are people with good sales and tons of publishing credits...not to mention readers.

If you are so inclined, check the site out for fun and find out for yourselves. Maybe I'm way off base. But I have a feeling this might be, allegedly, more of a promotional tool than anything else.

Monday, November 7, 2011

About Pen Names

You folks who are using pen names have every right to use them. Authors have always used pen names and they have good reasons for doing it.

Some don't want a conflict of interest with their day jobs. Some don't want family members to find out what they write. Others like to hop genres so they don't confuse their readers. And the list goes on, and in each case there's usually a valid, individual reason.

So if you're using a pen name, you don't have to expose yourself. There's nothing wrong with pen names. I may or may not use one in the future. It all depends on what I decide to write down the line. I have in the past, and I found it arduous at best to keep up with the pen name. I didn't like *not* being who I was. I probably should have used a pen name with A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE, but I decided I'd rather promote it with my real name. Like I said, the pen name thing didn't work for me. Unfortunately, A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE, which is a historical and a genre I don't usually tackle, might wind up tanking. But I was prepared for that and I have no regrets.

I fully understand how authors in the m/m genre feel about using their own names. There's still a lot of discrimination out there. For me, it was a personal decision to always use my real name and identity whenever I wrote LGBTQ fiction because that's who I am. And I honestly don't give a damn what anyone else thinks. Using my own name also gives me leverage when I'm under attack.

But if you are using a pen name and writing fiction, you have nothing to worry about. Unless you are actively deceiving the public and leading them on in an unethical way, no one is going to fault you for protecting your identity. Just don't abuse the pen name. That can be dangerous.

MIKE MANNING on Supporting Fred Karger, Openly Gay Man, For President

What surprises me is that I have yet to see anything about Fred Karger in the mainstream media. He hasn't been mentioned on TV, in magazines, or in newspapers. I know all about Herman Cain's excellent adventures, more than I care to know about, frankly. But not one word about Fred Karger...good or bad.

Fred Karger is gay and he's open about it and he's making serious bid to become President of the United States.

And I haven't heard or seen anything about it in the m/m romance community either. I don't know about anyone else, but as an openly gay man I find it interesting that someone like Fred Karger would even attempt to run for President. I may or may not vote for him. That remains to be seen. But I'd like to be educated about him so I can form a decision based on solid information given to me.

And I think he deserves just as much attention as good old Herman Cain, Bachman, or Romney.

A Word of Advice to Other Authors About Wing Nuts...

This is a general post, and I'm talking across the board because I've seen it happen more than once and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it in the beginning. I come from an old school background, where authors, editors, agents, and publishers never did or said anything in public unless it was done in a professional manner.

And, sometimes the less said the better was the best way to go.

But there are those in publishing, particularly authors, on the interwebs who rant, insult, scream, and shout. They cause trouble wherever they go and they seem to attract a small following, too.

These people are wing nuts. Don't pay attention to them and don't let them get to you. And don't ever trust what they say. They don't matter, and nothing they say ever will matter. Time usually takes care of them.

There are ways to handle situations in a professional manner and ranting with profanity isn't one of those ways. You can write the most wonderful book five years from now, but everyone will always remember that time you ranted and came off looking like a wing nut.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Authors Making Wise Choices

It used to be there were not many choices for lgbt authors. And it wasn't that long ago either. There were calls for submission for short story anthologies and we were paid a one time flat fee that ranged from fifty to sixty bucks, plus those two expected free copies. I'm twirling my finger as I write this. It was the same flat fee almost twenty years ago, and it's still the same flat fee now. In some cases, small presses have even lowered that fee to twenty five dollars.

We did it because we loved what we were writing. We did it because the opportunities weren't there to get our work published anywhere else. And we did it because it gave us publishing credits and fueled our fragile egos.

But things have changed. And they continue to change. We don't have to sign contracts that are one-sided and we can take advantage of e-book royalties that e-publishers are offering. (The flat fees are lower with e-publishers, but there's a chance to make it on the back end...which I prefer, and which also gives me the incentive to promote the anthology.)Or, we can self-publish and take our chances. I would imagine that an author could make at least fifty or sixty bucks self-publishing a short story on amazon and still have the possibility to make more in the future.

I'm not saying there are any set rules. All I'm saying is authors have to think like business people sometimes and they have to do what is right for them. And with the opportunities now, regarding digital sales, it's only to the author's advantage to try self-publishing instead of the "traditional" route where small presses pay one time flat fees.

And, frankly, there are still a few anthologies I submitted stories to where I never even received the flat author fee. The editor is responsible for paying the authors and some of these editors leave a lot to be desired. This was years ago, and I figured that if the editor needed the fifty bucks that badly I'd rather not pursue it. But it does sting. It's like handing over your work for nothing, and without getting an ounce of respect in return.

Choose wisely before you sign any contracts with small "traditional" presses. And if you sign a contract that is only going to give you a flat fee and free copies, make sure it is a non-exclusive. This way, at the very least you can still submit your own work to an e-publisher down the line who is willing to pay royalties. Or you can self publish the same story or novel and make your own opportunities.

I Love This Web Site

If you're looking for something interesting to read that's LGBTQ oriented, check out Gay City News.

Here's link.

I can't recommend it more highly.

Reframing Case For Legalizing Gay Marriage

This looks promising for gay marriage. Who knows? At least it's still on the table anyway.

Here's part of the actual article in italics, with a byline, and a link to read the entire piece.

Bipartisan group reframes case for legalizing gay marriage

By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAYUpdated 2h 22m ago Comments 50
Reprints & PermissionsWASHINGTON – A group of high-profile Democrats and Republicans who back legalizing gay marriage are calling on advocates to shift the focus on the issue from an argument about equal rights to promoting the value of commitment.

The "Commitment Campaign," which is spearheaded by the centrist Democrat group Third Way and will be publicly launched today, has won support from Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat; Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent and former Republican; former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican; and Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Advocates have long made the case that legalizing marriage for gays and lesbians is a matter of equality. But those who frame the issue that way might be reinforcing a belief among many Americans in the middle on the issue that gays and lesbians want to marry for different reasons than straight couples, according to polling by Third Way and Grove Insight.

When asked why "couples like you" might want to marry, 58% said to "publicly acknowledge their love and commitment to each other." When asked why gays and lesbians may want to marry, the respondents split between "love and commitment" and "rights and benefits."


I'm Real...I Swear I Am...

This weekend there was a slight kerfuffle about a well known author's identity. I love this author's work and I'm not going to comment or link. The author doesn't need my two cents.

But, just in case it's not clear, I'd like to repeat that I'm real. I'm gay, too. I've said it before on the blog and I'll say it again. I swear I am really me (smile). My name is Ryan Field, and I can prove it. Ryan is actually my middle name. But I've been going by Ryan all my life and that's what all my friends call me. That's what the lady in the Post Office calls me. I've met and had lunch with Elisa Rolle; she knows I'm real. The photo you see on the sidebar, and all other photos you see of me online, are really my honest to God image. And I'm not an alien (there was a rumor about this once). I know I write fast, but what can I do (bigger smile)? I learned a long time ago that if I was going to be able to face the vipers of m/m fiction head on, I'd be better off keeping it real all the time so there was nothing to hide.

But I'm not against using a pen name, not at all. Especially not with fiction...and that includes all fiction. And I'd like all authors who use pen names to know that I support them and all I care about is their work.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mr. Belvedere Full Opening September 1989 and All Things Eighties

I'm in the middle of the next book in the Virgin Billionaire series, THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, and most of the story takes place back in the 1980's when Jase was only 18 years old.

It's kind of a cross between "Back to the Future," and "Peggy Sue Got Married," but not exactly like either one of them. And I've been doing research about the l980's all week in bits and pieces. It's weird how you can forget things you've actually lived through. I was a kid and a YA in the 1980's and I wore high top sneakers and parachute pants. I listened to Madonna and drove a Grand National when I got my license in l986, just like the grand national in the photo below. But so many things still need to be researched just to be certain.

And, if you managed to live through the eighties and didn't at least see Mr. Belvedere once, you have my sincere condolences. Just the hair styles alone have been great from a research POV.

Occupy Writers: If You Are So Inclined...

"We, the undersigned writers and all who will join us, support Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement around the world."

I'm not all that political. Basically, I vote independently and always on issues instead of party line.

And I'm not exactly sure what the folks in the Occupy Movement are aiming for, not exactly. They haven't set out a plan or a detailed agenda. And no one is leading them. But I do like the basic, overall agenda I've read and heard about. So I added my name to occupy writers thinking that maybe our illustrious leaders in Washington might get the hint that we're tired of their old time sleazy politics, including the lies, and we're looking for a change. I think most of us are just as sick of corporate manipulation, like outrageous loan shark interest fees where people will never be able to pay off their debts, and greed.

If you are so inclined to join the other writers, follow this link.

Unagented Authors Thinking Like Business People

First, this is only subjective info, and when it comes to these things there are no set rules for anyone. I want to make that point clearly, so no one thinks there are set rules. All authors have to make their own decisions, and mistakes, when it comes to how they handle their careers.

When it comes to conferences, conventions, and other publishing gatherings, I know it's important for agents and publishers to a certain extent. As I've stated before, one of my best friends has been a successful NY literary agent for over thirty years and he doesn't go to any events anymore, not even BEA. He doesn't think it does anything for book sales in the digital age. He doesn't get clients from events either. But he's already well established, with more than one big book on his list, and he can afford not to attend publishing gatherings unless it's absolutely vital to his business.

I've heard that younger agents and new publishing houses believe these gatherings and events and conventions are important. Some claim they find new authors there. Others claim that going to these events helps sell books. I don't know about these things because I'm not a publisher or an agent. I can only speak from an author's POV.

I used to go to events for the same reasons all authors go. I wanted to meet agents, other authors, readers, and publishers. And I always looked forward to big name authors who were guest speakers. But these events were expensive, I didn't really get anywhere with my own career by going to these events, and I found it was wiser to spend my time writing and trying to produce better books.

If you're an author who has big books out there and huge sales, it's probably wise to at least show up at a few events during the year. Established authors can connect with fans, and it might help sell even more books. But I'm not so sure about midlist authors going to these events. And I'm even more on the fence about authors who write in sub-genres like erotic romance. In my case, because I can only speak for myself, I'm in contact with readers all the time...on a daily basis. And all this is done through the magic of technology. And because the m/m erotic romance genre is such a discreet genre...for readers and authors...connecting online is a comfortable way to communicate.

And, it doesn't cost a dime to send an e-mail. Speaking as an author who has been writing for almost twenty years, I've learned to be a good business person, too. I work extra hard to keep an updated blog, I work extra hard to communicate with readers, and I take extra time on social networks because I care about what my readers think and want to know. Next year, I've even decided to get a professional web site for reasons I can't get into right now. And I'm doing it all for the reader.

I would probably feel differently about publishing events if I were older and I didn't have a mortgage and I was looking at publishing events more as social events than work. I know people who are in that position, and it's a nice place to be. But I was one of those people who bought my home ten years ago and I didn't overpay and take out a ridiculous mortgage. I made a lot of money selling a condo, put all the money I made as a down payment for a larger single family home, and took out a mortgage I knew I could afford at the time. I've always owned and operated my own businesses. I have a guest house on my property and I'm a landlord. I try to make responsible choices and decisions. In other words, I care about the fact that my credit rating is the best it can be. And I don't invest money unless I think I'll get a good return on the investment. I also have two dogs, and I don't board them or leave them with anyone. When I took on the responsibility of pet ownership, I took it on seriously.

And when you have a mortgage and other obligations that are important, not to mention the staggering cost of having private health insurance, you tend to look at things differently. When you figure out that air fare to X-romance convention in X-city is going to cost close to a thousand dollars, and then hotel accommodations will cost hundreds of dollars...not to mention rental car fees and travel turns into what could have been a double mortgage payment (I don't do public transportation or fast food at this point in my life anymore). Or at least a single mortgage payment. And if I'm going to spend that kind of money, I want to know I'm getting a return on my investment.

Then there are personal matters. I don't have kids, but I have a lot of family and many family obligations. I have to be in New York soon for a family birthday dinner I can't get out of. I also live in a small gay community where I've been friends with the same people for twenty years. Sometimes there isn't enough time in the week for anything social or family. I'm giving a dinner party tomorrow night and it's the first one I've given since July because of my work schedule. And going to publishing events for most people is work, not a social event. It's nice for those who can go and make it a social event. But most authors, especially those with young families, simply can't do it.

Publishers will argue that all authors going to these events will help book sales. They may be right. I honestly don't know. But my own gut business intuition tells me that even though book sales might spike for a few weeks after a publishing event, they aren't going to change drastically enough to pay for the investment the author made to go to the event. This is just a fact of life. And I've seen too many people in business waste time and money for me to make the same mistakes they did.

But publishers will disagree, bless their souls, and that's because they want to get as much out of an author as they can. Which, in this case, is good business sense for the publisher. You can't blame them for being pushy. However, an unagented author who is representing himself/herself, has to be wise about how much they are willing to spend out of their own pocket in order to accommodate a publisher. This is why I also believe it's always best to keep the relationship between author and publisher strictly business at all times, never personal (it's also why authors will always need good agents). Of course if the publisher is willing to pay all expenses, wonderful. But I've yet to see this happen with small presses. The author usually foots the bill on his/her own.

So be wise about how you spend your money and where you spend it when it comes to publishing events. And your time is important, too. Writing in a sub-genre isn't the most lucrative never was and never will be...and you have to think like a business person at all times. I know that's hard to do for some new authors. They get caught up in the emotional aspects of getting published and they can't wait to attend every event that comes along. But if you're looking to get a good return and better book sales, it might be wiser to open yourself up online with blogs and other social networks and focus on communicating with readers and doing things that aren't going to cost you a dime.After all, we are living in the beginning of the digital age. And we should be taking advantage of the smart opportunities as much as we can.