Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Guess I've Been Banned, and for No Valid Reason: "Skater Boy"

Before I get into this, I'd like to clarify that I have never written anything with underage characters, bestiality, incest, or any of the other things/topics that have been banned because of the recent PayPal issue. I've heard PayPay is not the blame, and I'm not pointing any fingers at them now. But I've been banned for no good reason and I'm not happy right now. It's one thing to be censored for a reason, it's a completely different issue to be censored for no good reason.

My publisher informed me my story, Skater Boy, has been banned on ARe. And I do, indeed, take offense to having a book banned on ARe or anywhere else...censored...that doesn't contain anything that's considered part of the taboo list. The term "Skater Boy" is widely used in the gay male community as a type of guy who wears baggy jeans, funky hats, and tends to be rough around the edges.

But, I assure you, there are no underage characters in this short book. I don't judge those authors who decide to do things like this, but I've never done it and never will do it. In fact, the main character, Jared, the guy referred to as a the Skater Boy, is only a quasi skater boy. He's in his twenties and is clearly a consenting adult. This is one of the tamer stories I've written.

To add to this, the original version of this story was published in an anthology by Cleis Press in a book, get this, titled "Skater Boys." I didn't come up with that title. The editor at Cleis did. I just released a newer revised version of my story with as a digital short story because I didn't sign an exclusive with Cleis, and I wanted to change the story and see how the story would do on its own. The original title of my story in the anthology was "In This Our Day." Interesting how they failed to check this out before they banned the book.

What infuriates me more than any form of censorship is when the censorship isn't even accurate. The only reason why this book is being targeted is because the word "boy" is in the title. It has nothing to do with content or what's part of the banned list of topics.

Here's the blurb for Skater Boy, and I defy anyone to find a hint of underage content in this story.

When Bradley Klinger (a consenting adult, not a minor) moves from the city to a small town in the mountains of upstate New York, the last thing he expects to find is a hot young skater boy named Jared who never stops flirting with him. They meet in the small restaurant Jared (Jared owns a restaurant; he's clearly over the age of twenty-one ) owns, thanks to Jared’s sixty year old partner in New York with whom he shares an open, sexless relationship. Though Jared is kept by the older man in every sense of the word, from his Bentley Continental to his small restaurant in the mountains, Jared doesn’t waste any time getting to know Bradley much better. And though Jared is the kind of young skater boy, in baggy, low-hanging jeans and loose T-shirts, Bradley has always dreamed about, Bradley is concerned the age difference between them might be too vast. (The age difference is between two consenting adults, not an adult and minor) But Jared doesn’t stop pursuing Bradley, to the point where he actually follows Bradley home one night on his skate board.

I'd really like someone to clarify why this book has been banned. I've also let my publisher know she can change the title to "Skater" if she wants to. I hate to buckle to that kind of censorship, but if one word is going to hurt the publisher I'd rather concede. And I hope ARe and other retail web sites that sell digital books are paying closer attention to the books they are banning. This is an implication and a reflection on me as an author, and the kind of fiction I write, and I'm not fond of being targeted and placed in a category for no reason at all.

(update: Here's a direct quote from the book about the character referred to as "skater boy." "Mt. Saint Hope was a small town; people talked. Over the next week, Bradley heard Jared
was the lucky twenty-one-year-old..."
And, I just learned the Cleis Press book, "Skater Boys," has not been banned on ARE.)

Release: The Virgin Billionaire's Little Angel

In this final book in The Virgin Billionaire series, THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S LITTLE ANGEL, one of the things I wanted to do most was tie up the storyline in subtle ways with the first book in the series. In fact, I wanted to end the last book with the first line of the first book. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.

But I did bring back an integral character that was mentioned in the first book, is mentioned in all the books, and yet never actually appears in any of the books. The character is a woman named Elena. She has a fictional web site in France where she writes about and posts photos of gay men in very tasteful, elegant, and artist ways. It's no secret now that I loosely based this unseen character on Elisa Rolle, who runs a m/m romance book review blog at livejournal from Italy. At the time, I had no idea this book would become a series. I met Elisa a few years ago in person. She came to my home, we had lunch, and our friendship grew after we met in person.

I also tend to think about the future sometimes. I do believe, without a doubt, what Elisa has been doing with her web site will become part of LGBT history. She will be looked upon as one of the pioneers of LGBT literature and digital publishing one day years from now when I'm long gone. And I wanted to put something wonderful about her in writing because she's done so many wonderful things for LGBT authors and books.

Here's an excerpt, without spoilers, from a section of this book where Luis is reading Elena's web site:

After he walked for about fifteen minutes, he decided to sit down on a park bench and relax. This was something he rarely did in the park. He crossed his legs, swerved to the right, and pulled his phone out of his pocket. He turned the phone on and checked his messages. There was nothing of importance that couldn’t wait until later. Then he went to the website where he wrote guest blog posts, Elena’s Romantic Treasures and Tidbits, to see what Elena’s latest blog post was about. He preferred to read Elena’s posts instead of his own, after all these years, because they still made him feel warm and safe in a way nothing else could. This one thing in his life remained his own private secret treasure no one could alter.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cover: The Virgin Billionaire's Little Angel..."Think Wild"

Here's the newest cover for the last book in the Virgin Billionaire series, THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S LITTLE ANGEL.

The reason why I added "Think Wild" to the title of this post is because that's a slogan for an ad campaign in the book that has an interesting twist. In fact, this slogan, "Think Wild," changes Luis's life in more ways than one. And I know, "Think Wild," is not grammatically correct. But this time I was going for a catchy ad and I was thinking the way an ad writer would think, not like an author would think. "Think Wildly" doesn't work, and frankly, it's not very catchy.

There's also a bareback sex scene. It's been done responsibly and the characters all have actual test results and papers to prove they are all, indeed, without sexually transmitted diseases. It wasn't easy to work this into the book in a natural way that made sense. But I wanted to do it for a few reasons. First, gay men enjoy this. Second, if they can't enjoy it in real life they can enjoy the fantasy of it in books. Third, I think it's relevant to the story and the characters involved. For me, the balance in m/m romance comes when a certain amount of reality is mixed with the absolute escapism. Because if it's just absolute escapism it's not going to be very interesting.

To balance out the bareback sex scenes, I also added something which I think is integral to the book. There are a few chapters that get heavily involved in HIV/AIDS, and just how serious it is when someone goes into full blown AIDS. I can't say any more because I'd spoil it for readers. But I didn't hold back this time, and most of what I wrote was loosely based on things I've personally witnessed since I was in my early twenties. In a way, I almost didn't want to do this with m/m romance. I wasn't sure I wanted to share these stories in a m/m romance. But I think the readers will "get" it, and I'm glad I decided to do it.

But this book isn't just about wild adventures and bareback sex. Because it was the final book in the series I wanted to tie things up in a way that I've been hinting at throughout the entire series. No spoilers. But here's a hint. It's something that Luis has been dreaming about all his life. It's probably the most emotional thing he'll ever experience and has nothing to do with sex.

The book will be released tomorrow, and I'll post more then with links that will lead to where the book can be purchased. I'd like to thank the cover artist at ravenous romance for coming up with something so simple and elegant this time. One thing I'm not fond of are those old time looking book covers. I like book covers to depict the time period in which we live now, not time periods from the past that look as if the artist was trying too hard to be "artistic and creative," or worse, "deep and literary."

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Baby Goat Season Again in Sharon Springs, NY

This morning I open an e-mail and it reads, "Baby Goat Bananza." The address reads "Unknown Sender." And I immediately think, "Okay, it's that tired old kangaroo of a "m/m author" who's always complaining about everyone, and has been writing not so nice things about me on her painfully boring blog."

Or, I'm wondering if it could be spam with an attached virus. (It's happened.)

So my first instinct is click delete. But it's baby goats. Seriously. I'm going to ignore something about baby goats? I actually do know someone who has goats in Somerville, New Jersey.

In any event, I opened the e-mail and the world didn't stop. It wasn't spam, it wasn't my friend in Somerville. It's actually a newsletter from the Beekman Boys, way up in Sharon Springs, NY. I've been on the fence about them regarding a few things. Here's one post I wrote about gay men being referred to as "boys" back in 2010. However, the more I've been following them the more I "get" what they are trying to do. And, I do, indeed, know more than a few fine gay couples who remind me of them. Tony and I, as a gay couple who have been together for twenty years, are a little different in the sense that we don't focus our lives around being gay or being different. We're a couple and we're here; you like us or you don't and we prefer not to be defined by anyone (even though that's often easier said than done). However, it's nice to see any same-sex couple living, working, and interacting together on national television. And, Farmer John, they guy in charge of the goats,balances them very well.

For those who haven't been following The Beekman Boys, here's a link to their web site. I'm actually dying to take a long weekend and see Sharon Springs. I could drive from New York to Maine blind folded I know New England so well. I've sat in traffic on the Bourne Bridge so many times I've lost count. I know Long Island from Oyster Bay to East Hampton. But I know nothing about upstate New York and I've always wanted to take a road trip there. If we do it this summer, I'll try to do a series of posts with photos while we're there. I think a lot of readers enjoy these personal things sometimes.

If you check out The Beekman Boys web site, you'll find all kinds of interesting things. Dr. Brent is adorable. There are videos, blogs, and pages where you can shop for the products they offer. I've had the goat cheese and liked it. In fact, I'll be ordering more for a dinner party we're having later in March.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"The Trouble with Hairy" by Hal Bodner

This isn't an actual review, because I don't do many reviews here as a rule. A lot of authors ask me to read their books and review them and there's no way I could do all those reviews. There wouldn't be enough time for me to write, and it would change the blog too much.

But I will comment in a general sense on books I love...and authors I respect. I wrote about Hal Bodner's new book a week or so ago and wanted to follow up. The first book of Hal's I read was "Bite Club." I loved it for many reasons...the solid writing, the well developed characters, and the way the gay characters/situations are treated...and when Hal told me about "The Trouble with Hairy," I couldn't wait to see what he'd done this time.

The interesting thing about "Hairy" is that Hal self-pubbed this one on Amazon. I want to begin by stating for those who are looking for books self-pubbed that the quality of this book is as good as anything that would have come from a "traditional" publisher or small e-press. Hal is a well published author and he's had more than one book published the traditional way. He's not new to publishing or LGBT fiction. This time I noticed a few nice additions to "Hairy," like a note to readers at the beginning. And a personal dedication page. I like reading these personal things in books. With this book from Hal, I had a feeling of intimacy I don't see as often as I'd like. (Fanny Flagg does this a lot, with recipes and comments.) Hal's voice, which is a strong voice in fiction, came through with absolute clarity. Maybe I'm carrying this too far, but I had the feeling Hal was doing what he always wanted to do and he knew what his readers would enjoy. And that's a nice feeling!! It's evident this book is all about the readers.

The storyline returns to WeHo, with returning characters Chris and Troy...and gay men are being murdered. Yes, it's suspenseful and chilling at times. But it's done with a sense of humor mingled with suspense...and there's a werewolf. Other enjoyable characters are brought back, and some elements continue where they left off. But this time I found more character arcs...or rather in-depth development that should, indeed, happen in a sequel. I felt closer to them, if that's even possible. Though it's paranormal, there's enough humor and wit to make you smile more than once. A few times I laughed out loud, as I tend to do when I'm reading anything from Hal...even his facebook posts are funny. There's also a little bit of camp, and it's the kind of camp I don't see often enough either. For those who don't know what "camp" is, here's a link. And the pace moved quickly, which for me is an important element in any novel.

Becky, the WeHo coroner, is an interesting character:

Despite her ghoulish profession, or perhaps because of it,
Becky was always quick with a smile, a clever quip and a helping
hand in times of adversity. She was a favorite of the City Council
and adored by her staff and the members of the Sheriff's
Department with whom she worked. Even West Hollywood's
ineffective mayor, Daniel Eversleigh, looked upon Becky as he
would a favorite niece. She was also, to Delaney's further irritation,one of the few people besides Clive himself who seemed to be able to actually get along with West Hollywood's notoriously
cantankerous City Manager.

Hal writes the best detailed scenes/descriptions that help draw the reader into the story, and we and care (and fall in love with) the characters and settings as a result. I especially love old film star references. Here's one good example of what I mean:

Gertie and Ruth lived in a small one bedroom apartment in the
converted old Charlie Chaplin Studios on Poinsettia Place. Each
unit was unique and, to most people, would be uninhabitable with
oddly slanting floors and windows and doors chosen for quirkiness
rather than functionality. In the women's living room, the trunk of a huge avocado tree grew smack dab up through the middle and out
through the roof which Gertie had surrounded with a cunningly
constructed wooden bench adorned by Ruth's needlepoint
cushions. Visitors found their home strange, but Gertie and Ruth
loved it.

All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good fiction, and to anyone who's looking for a good read in LGBT fiction. No spoilers...but I really loved the ending most of all. It's clearly fiction, yet authentic in a slightly larger than life way like all of Hal's fiction. And I'll be recommending this one to my partner, Tony, who happens to be the worst critic I know when it comes to gay fiction. I rarely recommend anything to him because he is so critical (He has what I call "Ivy League Syndrome"). But this time I know I'm safe.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mrs Slocombe's pussy

Logo's Questionable Programming

There's an interesting article by Viktor Kerney in Bilerico about the Logo channel's new programming. You can read about it here in full.

Logo revealed a new concept to their television programming this week. Their goal is to reach a more mainstream audience and shake-up their traditional lineup.

So maybe this is why I haven't been watching Logo? My taste is eclectic and I'm just as likely to watch Johnny Knoxville's "Jackass" (love that show) as I am a PBS documentary about former President Clinton. But I've been missing a lot of the content on Logo and I've been wondering why the programming has been so questionable.

This is what General Manager and Executive Vice President, Lisa Sherman, thinks:

Culturally, we're past the tipping point. For gays and lesbians, it's part of who they are, but they don't lead with it, because many are leading fully integrated, mainstream lives. Our goal at Logo has always been to honestly reflect our viewers' lives. We're now reinforcing our commitment to them with programming that truly mirrors how many of them are living and want to be entertained today.

Blah, blah, blah. The weather channel tried to do something like this recently and failed. They started putting on old movies and everyone screamed.

The author of the article in Bilerico says this:

Really? I couldn't imagine BET revealing a new line of shows that didn't focus on Black issues or the Black community. Could you imagine Friends on BET? No, and I can't understand why the execs would take this route. If they wanted to reach a broader audience, they could start with a few scripted shows that showcase different aspects of our community, reality shows that go beyond gossip and sex, and a serious news show.

I can understand why they would take this route. Because they just don't know any better. As a gay author, you'd be amazed at how many times I'm questioned about gay content and how gay characters would react or behave. I've been questioned and censored by more people than I can even count. It seems to be a trend these days. As a sidenote, this never happened with any gay owned and operated publisher or press I've worked with. And I've worked with them all.

Please take the time to read the rest of this article. At the very least, you'll find out why there are so few LGBT shows on Logo these days.

Friday, February 24, 2012

List of New Releases Coming Out This Spring and a Few Changes

"The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!"

I've had a few e-mails asking me about why my ravenous romance titles have slowed down. First, I love ravenous romance, I love the books I've published with them, and I'll always be there to support and promote them. The main reason you're seeing fewer titles is because I've been working on books with my pen names. The second reason is I've been working on more titles for The third reason is I can't split myself in three different ways. So even though I won't have as many releases at ravenous romance this spring, I have been working even harder to get other new releases out.

I wish I could disclose the pen names. But that would be counterproductive to having a pen name, or names. Pen names for me are more experimental. Frankly, I don't like using them. I always feel more comfortable with my own name, Ryan Field, which I can stand behind. But I do use pen names to see how I'll do in other genres.

One ravenous romance release I'm looking forward to is "The Virgin Billionaire's Little Angel." This title is still tentative and is subject to change. But this is the last book in the Virgin Billionaire series and I had trouble saying good-bye to Luis and Jase.

This will be the final series for a while. I never wanted to do one, in spite of this I had a blast doing it, and I don't want to push my luck right now. The entire Virgin Billionaire series surprised me more than anything I've done before. It's hard to repeat something you loved doing so much and has been so well received by readers.

On March second, I have "Unmentionable: The Men Who Loved on the Titanic," being released with This is a very long short story...or a short novella. I've always been fascinated by this time period in history, and with the Titanic. A psychic once told me I was on the Titanic in a past life. I'm not sure I believe in this :) But it's food for thought.

After these two releases, I have an 8,000 word story being released by titled, "Cowboy Howdy." I've wanted to do another western themed m/m romance for a while and haven't had time. I made time and did it. I'll post more soon.

Right now I'm working on two things at the same time. One is a short story I posted about earlier this week called "Shmacked." The other is a full length novel that's m/m romance tentatively titled, "Chase of a Lifetime." It's about a younger guy who falls in love with his best friend's father. The father has been living a lie all his life; the younger guy has been in the closet and he's a virgin. I'm enjoying the emotions with this book more than any books I've written before. I'll post more details down the line.

And, this is a big one for me. I'm looking into indie publishing with Amazon. I'm not saying I'm doing it. But I'm looking into it, with my partner, to see if it's something I want to do. Though Tony, my parnter, worked corporate sales for fifteen years until he left to start his own business/firm two years ago, he's a tech genius and he would be doing all the tech work if I decided to do an Amazon digital release. Nothing is definite there yet. It's a huge decision because I'll be taking on a lot more work. But if I do decide to do this, I'll post it here first.

Let's just say I'm taking Joe Konrath's advice in this sense: as a career writer I'm thinking about where I'll be five years from now, not five months from now.

Bathhouse Blog: Ad Allegedly Being Censored?

This is interesting to me because I face censorship all the time. It's mostly in small ways, and from those who are way to PC. But it's still censorship, even if their hearts are in the right places. I've learned to choose my battles with care. Ranting makes you feel better for a short time but doesn't solve anything in the long run.

I'm honestly not exactly certain what this means, with regard to the shirtless guy in the ad. I once owned a small chain of tanning salons, before we knew all there was to know about indoor tanning, and my ads were censored from more than one business establishment. The ads were nothing more than attractive women in bathing suits, standard industry photos you'd find in any drugstore where tanning products are sold. Nothing more than you'd see on any beach in America. But certain business owners...those who claimed they were "family" oriented...thought the women in the photos were too risque. Go figure.

Here's the link to Bathhouse Blog.

The Rainbow Book Fair in Greenwich Village: All Male Romance

The Rainbow Book Fair in Greenwich Village is going to be held this March, on the 24th. A lot of publishers and authors have been preparing. I've signed and returned tons of bookplates for, and other authors have been posting and working even harder to make this event something special. I've donated free books, and so have other authors, as free give-aways.

I asked Tristan to send me something that I could post for readers and other authors. Here's her reply:

All Male Romance ( is “a small ‘community’ of writers with one thing in common: We love gay romantic fiction.” It is a website “dedicated to bringing readers of m/m romantic fiction together with the authors they love!!” —SPONSOR—

Come visit us at: Table A8, and take home free handouts and a CD!


Saturday, March 24, 2012 11am–5:30pm

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center 208 West 13th Street NYC

I'm going to be away a good deal of March. I go to South Beach this time each year, where I work most of the time and spend the rest of the time with my brother and my partner, Tony. But we're driving down because of the dogs and my schedule isn't written in granite. So I'm trying to work it out so I'll be back in time to attend the book fair. There is nothing I love more than walking around through book fair in the Village in the early spring (To be honest, I love this a lot more than hot Florida, but when you're in a relationship you have make compromises :). Everything in the world changes constantly, but some things always make you feel as if you've gone home again. And Greenwich Village in the early spring is one of them.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Artist Michael Iskra

I've often written about the gallery I owned for ten years in New Hope, PA. Great times...1992-2002. The gallery allowed me the free time I needed, when it wasn't busy, to write fiction and pursue a second career as a writer. It's always been important to me to be surrounded by great art. I actually crave it.

Born in America in 1947. Michael Iskra studied the fine arts at the Hussian school of Art in Philadelphia and Bucks County Community College. Michael has created a language of art that reduces his forms to their essential elements. His simplicity of design evokes a myriad of mystery for the viewer. Michael's forte is the nude. His work also includes abstracts, portraits, and landscapes. In the milieu of his creations there exists an appeal to all viewers."

I recently ran across one of the artists I represented during that period in my life, Michael Iskra. There's a painting of flowers, "Lavender Pond," on his web site that brings back wonderful memories. I sold several of Michael's paintings over the years. But for some reason this one didn't. I'm almost secretly pleased because I haven't seen it in about ten years. Not a day went by when I didn't open the door every morning and stare at that painting for a few minutes.

I'm still kicking myself for not buying one of his paintings myself of a ballerina. A woman from New York bought it and presented it to her husband-to-be.

Check out Michael's web site for more information about him, and to view other works of art. There's a John Lennon that I think not only depicts Lennon very well, but also captures the time period perfectly. I hesitate to post photos of his work here because I'd rather not infringe on his copyrights. No one, not ever, took photos of my artists in the gallery without permission.


According to Urban Dictionary, this is what "Shmacked" means:

To become intoxicated to the point of not even being able to stand up, know what's going on, or correctly pronounce any word.

The word has been gaining a lot of attention lately.

There's a youtube video and a facebook page.

The reason I'm posting about it now is because I've been working on a short story titled, "Shmacked." It's not exactly formula romance, not by any means. It's more new adult m/m fiction, with adult characters in adult situations...written for adults by an adult.

The story will be released sometime in April or May. I have "Unmentionable: The Men Who Loved On The Titanic," coming out on March 2, and "Cowboy Howdy" coming out toward the end of March. And though I'm still working on "Shmacked," it will be submitted for edits sometime within the next two weeks.

The basic storyline is more humorous than serious this time, where two consenting adults who already know each other meet on a cruise ship by accident. One is an uptight gay man who can't seem to relax and the other is younger and more aggressive who is trying to get the uptight one to relax. He figures the only way to get the older one to relax is to get him "shmacked." They don't drink out of plastic cups in a dorm room. They drink from crystal martini glasses on a cruise ship.

I didn't know what shmacked meant until I overheard my two nephews in college joking around about it recently. I know it's not the most tasteful topic to write about. But context is everything. I've already written about a pot belly pet pig named "Dolly" who ate a roast loin of pork. Had I known better at the time I would have changed the pig's name to Ann (inside joke). And of course there's the infamous burping dick scene, which happens to be one of my own personal favorites as far as satirical erotica goes (you can't take yourself too seriously :). So I figured it might be interesting to see what happens when two grown men, two consenting adults who have good jobs and pay taxes, wind up getting shmacked on a cruise ship for the first time in their lives. For those who aren't sure about this yet, gay men love to have fun. And when we party, we don't screw around.

I'll post more about it as we get closer to the release date. I'll post product descriptions, in detail, so readers know what they are getting and they don't have to depend on retail web sites where e-books are sold. The only thing I'm worried about is the cover. I have no idea what I'm going to tell the cover artist for this one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More About Vetting Reviews...

This week I've read a few interesting pieces about how to find helpful reviews when shopping for books. One in particular discussed how one self-published author has been allegedly writing hundreds of false reviews with different identities and leaving them on Amazon and Goodreads. No links or names in this post. I did some fact checking and all I could come up with were opinions and hearsay. I'm a proud American: I believe we are all innocent until proven guilty.

I read another post about how retail web sites don't categorize e-books the way they should. In other words, readers will often purchase an e-book thinking they are getting a non-erotic romance and they wind up with a highly erotic romance. I once purchased what I thought was a highly erotic romance and wound up with the equivalent of Daisy-Jane Goes Fly Fishing. The most erotic thing about that book was the category in which it had been listed.

As a reader, what these articles proved to me is that it's not easy to vet book reviews anywhere. I even found trouble with RoseMarie Terenzio's, "Fairytale Interrupted," because some readers actually left one star reviews based on the fact that they were mad about not getting a bio about John Kennedy, Jr. It's clearly stated, from People Magazine to the smallest retail web site, that Ms. Terenzio's book is a memoir about HER life, not John Kennedy's life. And yet people slammed her in reviews for this. Which makes it all the more difficult to decide whether or not to purchase the book. I did buy it and I read it; I left a five star review because it was an excellent memoir...about ROSEMARIE'S LIFE.

I'll admit that most of the books I read are based on recommendations from friends or relatives. I trust their judgment and I'm rarely disappointed. I also read books that have been recommended by publications like People Magazine and Time Magazine. I trust them, too. Most of the time I'm not disappointed.

But no one I know in the "real world" has ever left a review on goodreads, amazon, or any other online web site. They belong to book clubs that meet weekly. They are voracious readers. But none of them have ever left a review online. I know at least fifteen other people who have read and loved RoseMarie Terenzio's memoir, and none have bothered to read or write book reviews. They all heard about the book through word of mouth.

Which makes shopping for books even more difficult sometimes. Although the Internet is growing day by day, the majority of people in the "real world" only use the Internet as a resource for basic information. I've personally learned never to believe any political information on the Internet unless it comes from a proven reliable source or I've triple checked to make sure it is accurate.

But, unlike my friends, I do spend a great deal of time on the Internet. And once in a while I come across a book that looks interesting and I need to check it out. I always go to amazon and then to goodreads first. I often do searches to see if there are any online professional reviews. If the book is erotic in nature, I don't always worry about the number of reviews written. People who read erotic romance are discreet and they don't all leave reviews, especially with their names.

And then after I've done all this, I always do one final check. I go over to either Barnes & Noble or Kobo and check out the reviews left there. Unfortunately, many books aren't on these web sites. But those books I've checked that have been there tend to have slightly different reviews than amazon or goodreads. The bad reviews seem less vicious; the good reviews seem less contrived. I don't know why this is or if it means anything significant. But I do think it's a good way to vet books and reviews if you're not sure about making a purchase.

So the next time you want to get a good overall view about a certain book, don't forget to check out the reviews on Barnes & Noble and Kobo, too. If you're like me, you'll find it more than interesting to see the marked differences of opinion. And then, in the end, sometimes you just have to take a chance and go for it even if you're not sure. Most of the time you can tell whether or not you'll like the writing by the free excerpt, and that always counts for something.

I'm On BestGayBlogs

Someone pointed me to to show me that my blog has been listed there.

Here's the link. I'm on the bottom, pardon the pun.

I couldn't be more thrilled. For a long time, I worked for the two guys who actually started nice couple from Long Island with whom I had a lot in common. I've continued to follow the new owners and I'm always finding gay blogs I enjoy reading. For most, one common thing still occurs: blogging is cathartic.

Check it out to find more gay blogs than you ever dreamed were out there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Literary Agent Mitchell Waters, FDU Graduate, Talks About Publishing

Even though I've gone digital in almost every area of my life, there are two magazines I still read in hard copy: Architectural Digest and my university alumni magazine. You can't get a real feeling for the photos in AD unless you read them in print and my brother is one of their biggest advertisers. And reading my alumni magazine takes me back to great memories when life was simpler for all of us. I'm not ready to go digital there yet.

I never know what I'm going to see in the alumni magazine. But I always find something that connects me back to my days on the Florham Madison Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. This time, in the most recent issue, I read a piece about two people who graduated about ten years before me. One is Curtis Brown literary agent, Mitchell Waters, and the other is an author, Jon Reiner, who wrote The Man who Couldn't Eat. The book title caught my eye first. I'm going to read it because it looks interesting and I like to support fellow alumni. And then I read that his agent, Mitchell Waters, also went to the Florham Madison Campus at FDU.

I didn't know either of them personally, but they both were in the English department and Theater department, which tends to be a closely knit group. I majored in English and spent most of my free time in the Theater department. I'm sure we know the same people (profs at private universities never leave), especially Harvey Flaxman who will always be infamous for this Hollywood classic. I took a fascinating history of film course with Flaxman once and loved every minute of it.

I was curious and did a quick search about both Reiner and Waters. And I found a great interview that agent Mitchell Waters did where he talks about various aspects of publishing and how it's changing. The other day I wrote about about Joe Konrath and he had some pretty harsh words for agents and publishers. I agree with him to a certain extent, but Konrath's big pushy Internet mouth turns me off sometimes. So today I'd like to balance that post with this wonderful interview by Lit Agent, Mitchell Waters. Speaking from my own experience, as an author who is always on guard with publishers because he doesn't have an agent, I firmly believe authors will need agents in the future more than they ever have. Even authors published by small digital presses will need agents. And that's because ALL publishers think in terms of their own best interests, which isn't always in the best interest of the author.

Here's one question from the interview, with Dell Smith. And you can read more here.
I highly recommend reading it in full.

BTM: How has the publishing industry changed since you started working as an agent?

MW: Everything is harder. Somehow I manage to continue to be surprised at how hard it is for editors to acquire books they love. The amount of support they have to gather from amongst their colleagues is daunting and discouraging. An editor can get support from fellow editors, established editors who are legends in their fields, publicity and marketing, and still not be able to convince the publisher to take something on. Of course, that makes our job more frustrating and challenging, but I certainly don’t envy the acquiring editors.

There is a greater divide between the haves and have-nots, which new technology goes some way to ameliorate, but it remains a fact. On the fiction side, there is an intense pressure to be high-concept and/or try one’s hand at a commercial genre. In certain kinds of non-fiction, you seem to need to be a celebrity, or at least have a significant television or Internet presence. While it still helps to be an expert in a field who has an interesting idea, these other factors appear to carry more weight than ever.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Must Read Gay Stories About Coming Out...

I found this web site and wanted to share. It contains links to stories about coming out that I think most gay men can identify with.

Because heterosexuality is so broadly assumed, there is a process shared by gay people of constructing and asserting a gay identity. Most important for gay people is coming out to one's self, but coming out is an ongoing process where a gay person asserts one's identity as a gay person at all levels of a society that assumes heterosexuality and tends to treat gay people with disrespect.

Here's the link. As I said, it will lead you to other links where you can read stories that are fascinating.

The Book That's Destined to Fail...

Just like the fabled Edsel, some great books are destined to fail. Sometimes it's because the cover is wrong. It could be because the title is wrong. Other times the cover copy is off and doesn't describe the book well. And sometimes the reason is a little more complicated and the author has no control.

In November 1956, Ford settled on a name for its new line of mid-priced automobiles: It would be called the Edsel, after the son of the firm’s founder. Launched the following September, the Edsel was an utter flop, and has since become an exemplar of a product gone wrong, of how seemingly omnipotent firms and advertisers can be laid low by grass-roots consumer antipathy.

An author friend contacted me about a year ago about something he was going through. Here's the abbreviated version below. No names, but I do have his permission to write about it now.

Author friend: My publisher wants me to use a pen name for my next book.

Me: Okay. Are you switching genres? That makes sense.

Author friend: No. The book is in the same genre.

Me: But you already have a few books out in this genre and readers know you. Why would the publisher want you to use a pen name?

Author friend: They think I have too much exposure.

Me: Seriously? No offense, but you're not exactly Ryan Seacrest. You're writing in a sub-genre, m/m romance, that's on the fringes of publishing. How could you possibly ever get too much exposure?

Author friend: I don't know. That's what they said. They brainstormed about it and decided I should use a pen name.

Me: You don't sound too happy about it.

Author friend: I don't totally get it. And I can tell you right now there's no way I'm going to be able to promote this book the way it should be promoted. I feel creepy about using a pen name in my own genre. It's uncomfortable and I'll probably wind up not doing a thing to promote the book.

Me: That's a shame. Can't you talk to your publisher and reason. You know your readers better than they do. Maybe they'll listen.

Author friend: They won't. I love them and don't want to hurt their feelings. When it comes to these things they always believe they are right. They have PR people giving them advice. They have a lot of experience.

Me: Well, maybe they are right. You never know.

Author friend: That's what I've been telling myself. But deep down, I don't have a good feeling.

Me: Let me know how things work out. It's not the worst thing in the world.

Author friend: Okay. Thanks for listening.

Six months later I spoke with my friend again and he told me the book did, indeed, tank. He said he started a blog and tried to do as much basic promotion as he could. But in the end, he was a brand new author with a handicap. He didn't feel comfortable promoting a book in a genre with a pen name where he was already established with his own name.

When I asked him what the publisher said about all this, he told me the publisher said the book just wasn't strong enough. They said it had nothing to do with the pen name. Of course my friend didn't agree. Not enough people ever read or reviewed the book to know whether or not it was strong enough.

And this is how some books fail. If anyone has ever experienced anything like this, feel free to comment anonymously.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hearts on Fire Book Reviews: All About Yves

Someone e-mailed me about a review for All About Yves. From what I gather, it was posted a week ago. Don't shoot me, but I don't do google alerts, so I rarely ever know what's being reviewed...or said. When I factor in writing time, editing, social media, and personal life (which usually suffers the most), there isn't much time left. The good thing is I have a network of good friends and we all tell each other about these things whenever we see them.

I'm linking now because there were never many reviews done for All About Yves. And also because I'd like the thank the reviewer for being so kind.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Joe Konrath: "Amazon Will Destroy You"

Here's an interesting blog post by Joe Konrath. It's not a long post; it gets right to the point. I recommend reading it, especially if you're a new author.

I agree on some things, I'm not sure about others. I'm not sure because I still haven't tried out self-publishing with Amazon. This doesn't mean I wasn't one of the first to get into e-publishing. I don't know when Konrath started looking into digital publishing, but I started with one e-publisher nine years ago who was bought out by someone else. Three years after that, I moved on to (where I remain), and then started writing genre fiction for Including all the work I've had published with traditional publishers over the years, I have about 90 different published works out there (I'm honestly not completely sure about the exact number), most with my real name.

I have no regrets. I'm glad I made the switch to e-publishing in spite of more than one piece of advice from publishing professionals who told me not to waste my time with e-publishing. I'm glad I didn't listen. The switch to e-publishing has allowed me to write more, release more, and build my reader base.

My overall experience with e-publishers has been very positive. Even though I'm not self-published and I don't have complete control, I don't have any complaints. More often than not the advice I receive from my publishers has been something that has helped me move forward. I'm not sure I could have done that alone. This doesn't mean I'm still not curious about the self-publishing program at Amazon.

Last Book In Virgin Billionaire Series...

Earlier this week I submitted the tenth, and last, book in The Virgin Billionaire series. I titled it, THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S LITTLE ANGEL, because I wanted to go for something more emotional this time. We'll see if that title remains. Publishers often decide to change titles and they have the final say. As it turns out, many times they are correct and the author was glad he listened.

Though I'd never planned to write a series, it was an interesting experience to write one. It gave me a chance to show the main characters, Luis and Jase, grow with each book I wrote. In the first book, Jase is a closeted gay virgin who moves to New York to find his late thirties. He's already been married and divorced, built a billion dollar empire, and has been around the block a few times. Luis, on the other hand, is a flighty young gay man in his early twenties living in New York as a silly escort who dates much older men. Though Luis never has sex with any of them, his only concern in life is what new shirt he'll buy for Saturday night and how his hair turns out.

With each book I tried to show how they grow, sometimes in large ways and sometimes in small ways. And by the time I reached the last book, Jase and Luis are starting to think about things like growing older and building a family. They don't change as people. I don't believe people can change. We are who we are from birth. But Jase and Luis grow and mature in ways I hope readers will think are viable.

In this series, I had a chance to do a few things I normally wouldn't do. For example, Jase isn't the cliched gay man who is a left wing political zealot. He's more on the conservative side and he's not ashamed to talk about it. Luis, on the other hand, tends to be more of a cliche in the sense that he follows trends, and he's not afraid to talk about his liberal values either. It's this balance that keeps their lives interesting. I've always believed opposites do least from what I've seen from my own personal experience it seems to work.

I also wanted to tackle a more serious topic in the final book. As with everyone's life, Luis and Jase find themselves dealing with something so serious Luis isn't sure he can get through it. For most people what Luis goes through would leave scars for the rest of their lives. I'm not going to say exactly what I did because I never give spoilers, but it is something that changes almost everyone in the book in one way or another.

I'll post more about the final installment as I get closer to a publishing date. Right now we haven't even started edits on it and I'm not certain when we will. It's also a little longer than most of the other Virgin Billionaire books, with 65,000 words. Most of the romance novels I'm contracted to do are for 50,000 words, which seems to be a standard in e-publishing. I prefer to write novels that are not less than 60,000 words and this time I think I would have done a disservice to the reader if I'd skimped. Thankfully, publishers don't mind this. If writers go over a word count, they are usually fine with it.

Here's an unedited raw excerpt from the manuscript I just submitted. It's a dream/nightmare scene, where Luis dreams that he's been impregnated and he's acting as a surrogate. The stress Luis has been under, because Jase insists on building their family through surrogacy, has stressed Luis out so much he actually has nightmares about it.

When Luis opened his eyes again, he was standing in the kitchen at Cider Mill Farm in his bare feet in front of the sink. He was wearing something he would normally never wear, not even to work outside in the garden: a loose baggy T-shirt with a character from Sesame Street on the front and over-sized cut off jeans that had long strings hanging down to his knees. The T-shirt had stains and the jeans hung low on his waist. He glanced through the window and saw Isabelle and Mary sitting on the patio in white dresses, fanning themselves. Hunter was running around on the back lawn with a puppy Luis had never seen before. But it wasn’t a cute puppy. This one had green-gray patchy fur, bugged, lopsided eyes, ears that came down to his paws, and saliva dripping from his mouth. He pressed his palm to his torso and felt something peculiar. When he glanced down at his waist, he saw a huge mound that had to be at least forty-four inches round.

Jase came up from behind, looking sexier and better than he’d ever looked before. He reminded Luis of the young version of Jase he’d once met after he’d dreamed he went back in time to when Jase was eighteen years old.

Jase gave Luis a playful pat on the behind and said, “How’s my chubby little husband doing today? Did I tell you today how much I love all the cellulite on the backs of your legs?”

Luis’s jaw dropped. He pressed his palm to the huge mound that used to be his perfectly thin, flat waist, and said, “I’m not sure how I’m doing.” He remembered being in the clinic and having The Procedure, but nothing in between then and now.

“You’re looking hot this morning,” Jase said, as he grabbed Luis’s ass and squeezed it. “I love the way your ass got so big with this baby. It’s the biggest, fattest, hottest ass I’ve ever seen.”

Luis glanced down at his thighs and gulped. They seemed to have quadrupled in size, to the point where they would rub together if he started to walk. “Hot. You think this is hot. I look like a goddamn whale. My entire body is swollen, my feet are killing me, and there’s a strange, hideous animal creature running around outside with my son. Where did that dog come from? And where is Camp?”

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Another Indie Book by a Traditionally Published Author

This week I received a surprise e-mail from an author I've known for a few years now. His name is Hal Bodner and I read his book, Bite Club, and loved every single word of it. I might even have posted about it here somewhere. I'm not sure now.

He's been published by Alyson Books and I met him after he wrote something for Ravenous Romance. We both have a lot in common because we've both been published by "traditional" gay presses before we moved into digital publishing. We can sit and remember the good old days when things get hectic.

I would consider Hal a classic gay author, and in more than one way. He has the voice of a gay man, the wit and humor of a gay writer, and the ability to convey his message without coming off too harsh. He writes smoothly, with tight narrative, and his characters jump from the page with authenticity. The wit and humor of some gay authors is not something that can be duplicated. It comes from within. Sometimes it can be cutting; other times downright hysterical.

Now Hal has decided to do something different. I had no idea he was doing this and I couldn't be more thrilled for him. He just released a book through Amazon Kindle titled, The Trouble with Hairy. I've started reading it, I love it, and I'll post more about it in a week or so, depending on how much time I have to read for personal pleasure right now.

But I wanted to do a short post to let people know The Trouble with Hairy is out on Kindle and that it can be purchased here.

Those who read this blog regularly know how interested I've been in indie publishing, particularly published authors who have decided to take control of their careers and go that route. Though I'm still on the fence about doing it myself at this time, I am thrilled for the authors who've decided to do this. And I couldn't recommend an author like Hal Bodner more. This is one case where I know an indie e-book on amazon isn't going to disappoint the readers who purchase it. In other words, you're getting a book by a seasoned author who knows what he's doing.

Here's the blurb:

Oh, Bloody Mary – with a twist!

Cruel, sharp teeth hunger for a taste of human flesh. Powerful jaws salivate at the thought of innocent victims. And twisted, gnarled claws are just dying for a manicure!

Something not-quite-human stalks the city streets under the full moon after the gay bars close. As the ravaged corpses start piling up, coroner Becky O’Brien and her unlikely allies realize they are the only defenders who can protect scores of unsuspecting pretty boys from a grisly, bone crunching Death by Werewolf.

Welcome back to West Hollywood, where the drinks aren’t the only things that are stiff! Get ready to howl with laughter under a full moon when Becky, her best friend Christopher Driscoll – who happens to be the city’s resident vampire! – and his quirky boyfriend Troy battle to save West Hollywood’s hottest men from a vicious monster’s hunger.

Brace yourself for another runaway macabre black comedy from the author of Bite Club where you, too, will find yourself trying to discover just what, exactly, is… The Trouble with Hairy.

Hal Bodner’s previous book in the Chris and Troy series, Bite Club, was a genre best seller. A widower, he lives in West Hollywood with several dogs, a veritable flock of parrots and a new boyfriend barely half his age who was astonished to find out that Liza Minelli is Judy Garland’s daughter.

So Rosie O'Donnell is Afraid of Little People

I had a completely different post in mind for today, but this piece about Rosie O'Donnell and Chelsea Handler popped up this morning and I changed my mind.

In this article, it states that O'Donnell and Handler have offended little people. O'Donnell said this:

"I'm a little ashamed about it [but] I have a mild fear or anxiety around little people," O'Donnell confessed before asking Handler point blank: "Would you ever do a little person?"

Okay. I'm sorry. But I had a WTF moment after reading that the first time. Who says things like this? And on national television? Just imagine switching the subject from little people to any other minority and see how awful it sounds.

Handler went on to say this:

"I love little people," she said. "I want to tackle them. I see them and I want to hold myself down. I bite Chuy [Bravo] sometimes. ... He's so cute and that's my ultimate body. If you're going to have a little person, I want that shape, the corpulence."

If you watch the clip, you'll see it was a really bad interview. I actually felt sorry for Handler this time. Again, take this subject and switch it to any other minority and see what you get.

Little People of America have responded with this:

Spokeswoman Leah Smith says both viewpoints are equally offensive, but in different ways, so the group has taken the steps of sending separate open letters to Handler and O'Donnell to make their concerns known.

"We decided to separate the two because they are both equally offensive, but separate," Smith told HuffPost Weird News. "Handler used a lot of 'pity rhetoric' when discussing Chuy, saying he couldn't get a job if not for her.

"For the record, we're not in need of 'getting saved.' We are capable of being successful in any job."

Leah Smith also states that their organization, Little People of America, isn't going to make a huge thing out of this. They aren't going to ask for a boycott of the entertainers. They sent the letters and they are more than willing to sit down and discuss that matter with O'Donnell and Handler.

What I find interesting is that it seems the only way for O'Donnell to get attention these days is to do or say something that sparks controversy. Given her stand on LGTB issues, I would like to believe O'Donnell would know better when it comes to insulting any minority group. So I'm not quite certain why she would even bring up something like this. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gay Civil Rights and Chick-fil-A

It seems there's a problem with Chick-fil-A now. Evidently, they've allegedly contributed money to groups that don't support same sex marriage...and groups allegedly considered anti-gay. I don't know anything about Chick-fil-A. I've never been to one, so I can't comment on the product.

But I'm in the minority here. I've had e-mails from friends locally who want to disassociate themselves and all local community events from Chick-fil-A. I've read other e-mails that take this to a national level.

If you read this article here, about the situation, it's amazing how slanted it is on one direction.

Protests like the one aimed at Chick-fil-A are partly or even mostly attempts to exhibit the power of the protesters. That aim has nothing to do with winning the argument—is gay marriage a good social policy or a mistaken one?—and everything to do with controlling the narrative. Only those who agree with the protesters are granted a legitimate voice hereafter. Roar loud enough and you may intimidate the target, but that’s of less importance than pumping up excitement among followers and creating a secondary wave of self-censorship among others who correctly surmise that it is dangerous to disagree.

This makes little sense to me. Is this person saying people are dumb and can't form their own opinions? The objective of protesting is, indeed, to gain power in numbers and to obtain a louder voice. Without protests, and groups protesting in large numbers, there wouldn't be a glimmer of a chance to change things. As far as I know, no one in the LGBT community is telling anyone they have to agree. No one in the LGBT community is telling people how they should think. What I'm seeing and hearing is that those in the LGBT community and those who support same sex marriage simply aren't going to support a corporation that supports organizations who are openly against same sex marriage. This is the risk any high profile business runs when it decides to support something that's highly charged with politics and emotion.

In this article there's more information, based on facts, and lists of anti-gay organizations that Chick-fil-A has supported.

Chick-Fil-A's Employment Practices Are Hostile Towards "Sinful" Candidates. Chick-fil-A requires potential franchise operators to disclose their marital status, number of dependents, and involvement in social, church, and other organizations. Employees may be fired for engaging in "sinful" behavior, and Truett Cathy has said he aims to hire workers who are married.

And then here's the controversy that sparked a lot of what's been happening locally in the past few days.

In January, a local Chick-fil-A restaurant in Pennsylvania donated food to the group Family Life to put on an event called the "The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God's Design." Both Chick-fil-A and co-sponsor Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI) were originally listed as sponsors of the "Art Of Marriage" event, although Chick-fil-A scrubbed its name from the event's advertisements after the controversy began. Both PFI and Family life are virulently anti-gay. [New York Times,2/14/11; Joe. My. God., 1/4/11]

I haven't heard anyone in the LGBT community try to stop this group. All I've heard is that anything even remotely associated with Chick-fil-A will now be boycotted by the LGBT community because of who Chick-fil-A chooses to support. That sounds fair enough to me. It's called making a qualified decision based on the information given to you. And the LGBT community shouldn't be expected to support a company that supports organizations that are outright against them.

This piece in the NYT describes the entire ordeal best. Check it out here. Some of the comments are interesting.

On the other hand, Rhonda Cline, a dental hygienist in Atlanta and a devout Christian, has only gotten more outspoken in her support. She was one of nearly a thousand people who logged onto the Chick-fil-A Facebook page to comment on the issue.

“I applaud a company that in this climate today will step out on a limb the way the Constitution allows them to,” Ms. Cline said in an interview. “This is the United States, so we should be able to practice our business the way we like.”

I couldn't agree with Ms. Cline more. I applaud her. We all have these rights. And the LGBT community has the same right to back off from anything Chick-fil-A related. The only right the LGBT community doesn't have is the ability for same sex couples to be joined in a legal union that protects them against all kinds of things that range from inheritance taxes to power of attorney.

If you want to read even more, there are tons of links out there. What I just posted is only the most basic information. All I know is that when any company in business for profit supports anything this controversial, they run the risk of losing business and they deserve what they get. And that's just a plain hard fact of life.

Fred Karger Files Discrimination Complaint Against CPAC

As I've stated before, when I post this info I'm doing it objectively, so no political attacks. I really am an independent voter and I don't always follow partly lines in one direction or the other.

But I do think Fred Karger is making history this year. And I want to post about him because no one else seems to be doing this. I could list a variety of reasons why I think this is, but I'll stick to the facts and let Fred do his thing.

For those who don't know, Fred Karger is openly gay and he's trying to run for President on the Republican ticket. But it's been tricky at best, and this is partly because the mainstream media won't even mention his name. As far as I know, this is, indeed, considered making history. I don't know of any other openly gay people who have run for President on the Republican ticket. And in spite of what we often hear from mainstream media, there are a lot more conservative gay men and women than we are led to believe.

Here's the latest e-mail I received from Fred Karger's campaign staff:

It was a very busy five days in Washington. We had lots of meetings, interviews, food and met lots of amazing people. Three of those days were at the American Conservative Union’s (ACU) annual conference – CPAC. About 50% of CPAC attendees are under 30. This younger half is there to hear about balancing the federal budget, foreign policy, national defense and to hear a variety of speakers. Divisive social issues are of little or no interest. The organizers and mega financial backers sadly have a different view.

For the second year in a row I was denied a speaking slot at CPAC, as well as a booth at its trade show. I applied for the booth way back in November, but they were mysteriously “sold out,” just like last year. I was the only Republican candidate for President who was not allowed to speak.

When I am denied my rights, I fight back. Ten days before the conference I filed a discrimination complaint against the ACU. Here is a story in BuzzFeed about it:

Friday was our first meeting with the lead attorney at the DC Office of Human Rights, which is charged with combating discrimination anywhere in Washington, DC. The “Intake Hearing” went well and we will know soon if we will go directly into mediation with CPAC officials. Here's another article from buzzfeed.

I hope to end Chairman Al Cardenas’ "no gays allowed" policy at CPAC. If they refuse to change their bigoted ways, next year they may well be forced to move to a state that does not have any discrimination laws.

We will keep you posted as the case moves forward.

And I'll continue to update as I receive e-mails. At the very least, I would imagine the LGBT community is more than interested in learning more about an openly gay candidate running for President, at least from a historical POV.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One Interesting Kid...

The only thing that frustrates me more than someone who is too pushy and has a big mouth is someone who is too pedantic. I see all three of the above all over the Internet and I often wonder where the normal people are. Where are the friends we all have who don't do social media and rant on blogs and forums? The nice people. The people who aren't mean. The people who believe in good manners. We need more of them online.

Anyway, here's an e-mail that was sent to me by a good friend and I thought I'd share. I agree. I would have given the kid 100%, too.

I would have given him 100

Q1. In which battle did Napoleon die?
* his last battle

Q2. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
* at the bottom of the page

Q3. River Ravi flows in which state?
* liquid

Q4. What is the main reason for divorce?
* marriage

Q5. What is the main reason for failure?
* exams

Q6. What can you never eat for breakfast?
* Lunch & dinner

Q7. What looks like half an apple?
* The other half

Q8. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?
* It will simply become wet

Q9. How can a man go eight days without sleeping ?
* No problem, he sleeps at night.

Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
* You will never find an elephant that has only one hand..

Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have ?
* Very large hands

Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?
* No time at all, the wall is already built.

Q13. How can u drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
*Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.

When Gay Writer's Write M/F Romance...

Though I concentrate more on LGBT fiction, I do write m/f romances once in a while. I always have, always will. Sometimes I use a pen name, and sometimes I don't. With this story, IT'S NICE TO BE NAUGHTY, the publisher and I decided to just shorten my first name to an initial. We were hoping readers who know my LGBT work already would see that something was different and read the details carefully so they wouldn't be mistaken about the content of the story.

There are various reasons why authors use pen names, but in most cases it's because they hop genres and they don't want to confuse their readers. In this case, I wanted it to be clear that INTBN was based on two hetero main characters, not gay male characters.

The interesting thing about my m/f romances that are published with pen names is that I don't spend much time promoting them. And yet I've been happy with the sales results of each one. I often wonder what would happen if I actually spent more time promoting these books. But it all comes down to the fact that there are only so many hours in a day and usually something has to suffer. With me, it's fiction I've published under pen names.

But IT'S NICE TO BE NAUGHTY has surprised me more than once since its release. It's been on more than one bestseller list, and it's remained in the top thirty over at since it's been released. If I had an answer to why this happened with INTBN, I'd share it with everyone. But I honestly don't know and probably never will. I do know I enjoyed writing the story more than I thought I would. I wanted a story with a main character who is a woman, in her thirties, who has been suppressed most of her life. She's not model thin, she's not a raving beauty, and she's not even the most stylish woman. But there is a lot more to her than meets the eye. And when she finally meets a handsome young man in his twenties who sees her as the voluptuous, sexy woman she wants to be (dreams about being), she finally has a chance to act out her fantasies. In spite of the age difference, these two unlikely characters are the perfect balance of opposites do, indeed, attract.

Here's the blurb:

Even the nicest girls have to be a little naughty sometimes. Though Sally Mae Frye has worked hard and played by the rules all her life, she wonders whether she's missed something along the way. She's already in her late thirties, and she's still single. She spends most of her time either working or dealing with her aging mother. And then she hires handsome, young Phil Winston to be her personal assistant at the bank, without even realizing he's a sweet guy with a kinky little fetish that will eventually turn her into the sort of naughty woman she's always fantasized about. Sally Mae can't ignore Phil's rough hands and the subtle bulge between his legs, or the way he tends to notice her when she leaves a room. At first, all it takes is a heavy snow storm and a sopping wet male assistant who likes to strip for his full-figured boss. After that, it's all about the way dirty, young Phil knows how bend Sally Mae over and use the palm of his rugged hand to please her.

Here's a link to fictionwise where the story is now at #27 in the erotic/fetish category. There haven't been a lot of ratings left, at least not compared to the amount of books that have been sold (erotic romance is all about discretion), but it seems the ratings that are there are a balance from people who either loved it or hated it. This story can also be found on amazon and other retail web sites where e-books are sold.

Here's an excerpt:

Though he didn't look like someone who would work in a bank, with his slick leather jacket and his shiny black shirt with a wide collar, Sally Mae appreciated his complete honesty. Another young guy probably wouldn't have mentioned this alcoholic business at all. "Would you be interested in a full-time receptionist job?"

He smiled so wide his gums showed. "Well, yes, definitely."

Sally Mae had always trusted her gut instincts when it came to hiring, and she needed a receptionist. The thought of placing an ad, and then going through the interview process caused a lump in her stomach. "Since you don't have any experience, let's try it out for a couple of weeks and see what happens. When can you start, Mr. Winston?"

"Right now if you want," he said. His voice was still deep but more relaxed and smoother. His lavender and blue eyes popped; he couldn't believe she'd just hired him on the spot.

What her gut instinct didn't recognize was Phil Winston had a staid, unfulfilled quirk. His penchant was for pale-skinned, middle-aged women with flat chests and bursting, pear-shaped bottoms. When he saw a flabby ass jiggle in white cotton shorts, his knees nearly buckled. If he happened to be on the beach and noticed a cellulite-ridden rear end in a bathing suit, he'd cover his crotch with a beach towel and wait for the nine-inch erection to subside. But more than that, Phil didn't merely want to fuck these rotund women; he wanted to spank those immense white bottoms until they were reddish purple. Unfortunately, his little fetish went unfulfilled for the most part: he wasn't interested in the skinny young women his own age with boney asses and big tits. And it simply wasn't that easy to find a full-figured, mature woman who knew how to appreciate a good ass whipping.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Gerry Burnie's Tribute to Artist Steve Walker

Instead of doing a regular Valentine's Day post, I figured I'd link to a post written by Gerry Burnie. It's a wonderful tribute to a gay artist, Steve Walker, who recently passed.

Check it out, here.

The Bored Kangaroo

Focus on the background. This won't end well.

Contemporary Romance: Further Explorations by David Russell

Last year I had the chance of getting to know David Russell through a series of e-mails about his books. I read one, Self's-Blossom, and enjoyed it so much I wrote a short blog post about it.

And while I don't review books here often (If I do, it's usually only mass produced books by large publishers and big name authors who couldn't care less about my opinion.) I do like to put in a good word when I do like a book or an author.

This time I'm posting about another contemporary romance from David Russell, Further Explorations. The first book in the series was Explorations. One amazon reviewer said this about Explorations:

This novelette tells a story of emerging or perhaps re-emerging sexual vitality, as told from both male and female perspectives. While it describes adults, it has the quality of being both a projective look by adolescents, toward their sexual future, and retrospective looks by adults, toward their earlier, and now re-awakened sexuality.

I find that David's work is very romantic and his female characters are strong and smart. I like reading about strong women in any romance. The men are just as strong. David seems to have a knack for this...the ability to balance two strong people and pull them together.

You can find Further Explorations here at a publisher web site, or here, on Amazon.

Here's the blurb:

Energised by their lovely liberating experience, Janice and Cedric are determined to ‘spread their wings’ and take the world by storm, a two-person conspiracy. They head off physically in different directions, but remain in constant depth communication electronically, ever comparing notes, monitoring each other’s minds and experiences for a depth of mutual understanding. They may meet again fully equipped with a great depth of self-knowledge, and a knowledge of each other’s depth. They negotiate giddy peaks of high finance; Janice even goes into ‘dreamscape’, making a pact with the devil. Further delights of sensuality are explored by both, with exotic partners; the depths and shallows of life are all embraced …

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another Favorite Author: AJ Llewellyn

Today I'm catching up on a few short posts I've been meaning to write since Christmas. I have two new releases coming out soon, plus a short novella with marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and I'm just finishing up edits for the 10th installment of the next stand alone book in The Virgin Billionaire series...THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S LITTLE ANGEL. In this VB installment, I can promise a few emotional surprises I haven't written about in the past. Lives change drastically for more than one character. No spoilers.

I've been meaning to write about this author for a while. While I've read a number of AJ Llewellyn's books I rarely ever write reviews for anything m/m or gay-lesbian oriented. If I love a m/m book, the review sounds me. If I don't love a m/m book I sound like one of those raving author/shrews who write negative blog posts and sit in front of a computer screen the size of an old fashioned TV dipping into the gin pail between rants about how bad and how dumb other m/m authors are. Dismal at best; I have a rule about keeping things positive here.

So I always keep a low profile with m/m reviews. But I don't mind talking about another author's work in a general sense. I love AJ Llewellyn's work. I've never been disappointed by AJ Llewellyn's books, or what AJ has the ability to contribute to the world as an author. As a reader, I'm always inspired.

So check out this link to Amazon for AJ's fiction, here.

And check out this link to AJ's web site for more information, here.

From what I see on social media, I'm not the only fan of AJ. A lot of readers agree with me, too.

Jill Elaine Hughes: American Playwright

When I first met Jill Hughes, I was more than impressed by her writing style. Like most dedicated career writers, Jill's professional work varies. She has the ability...which isn't easy to switch from technical writing to fiction without making it look difficult. And the one thing that's always impressed me the most about Jill's work is that the tight, well-trained, ability to craft words into sentences and form paragraphs is there.

And I just read where Jill has been mentioned here, as an American Playwright now.

She is currently the only American playwright to have her work included in three consecutive editions of Applause Books' prestigious BEST AMERICAN SHORT PLAYS anthologies, where she is privileged to share pages with such dramatic powerhouses as Neil LaBute, John Guare, David Lindsay-Abaire and David Ives, among others. She is also a member of Chicago Writers' Bloc, a playwrights' collective.

To read more, follow the link above. It will lead you to more links and descriptions about Jill's plays.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Philadelphia Hosts LGBT Health Issues with White House

I recently read where the city of Philadelphia will be the host for a series of discussions with the White House regarding LGBT health issues and concerns. From what I gather, this isn't focused on HIV/AIDS. This conference will be more of an open forum that discusses all health related issues and challenges within the LGBT community.

“This is an opportunity to not only look at what the administration is doing this year but at the entire breadth of what they have done in the last three years in advancing LGBT health,” said Mazzoni Center executive director Nurit Shein. “The secretary will be able to articulate well a lot of things that have happened almost under the radar but that have enabled better access to health care and outcomes for LGBT people specifically. That’s not to say the work is done — there is still plenty of work to do — but it’s really remarkable to see the dedication to LGBT health this administration has that we have never seen in any previous administration.”

One of the most interesting aspects of this conference is that it's not going to just focus on health issues, allegedly it will focus on quality of life issues where LGBT youth and the elderly are concerned. There's still a large amount of confused young LGBT people out there who either get thrown out of their homes or leave because they aren't sure how to deal with their circumstances. I know for a fact there are elderly LGBT people who have health issues, but don't have family to help them out. Where I live, because it's a small town with a large LGBT community, we have our own networks and people help each other out. But not everyone has this kind of network system.

“These will be more conversations than presentations,” she said. “People will be able to say what they feel, what they think the big issues are, and then the HHS representatives will take that back.”

You can read more by following this link to PGN (Philadelphia Gay News)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Risha Namaste...

Namaste is a salutation that comes from India and Nepal which would be best compared to "good day" or "greetings" in English. You can read more about it here, in this short, interesting piece on wiki.

"In Nepal, younger persons usually initiate the exchange with their elders. Initiating the exchange is seen as a sign of respect in other hierarchical settings."

Friends tell me namaste is often used in Yoga, at the end of classes, to mean "I bow to your true self." You can read more here if you wish.

The reason I'm posting about this now is because I have a facebook friend with the name "Risha Namaste" whom I know very little about. I've never seen one person put together so many wonderful photographs on any social media before. If I still owned my gallery I would be knocking doors down to find out who this person is and where I could at least get copies of the prints he/she posts. They are truly spectacular. Here's Risha Namaste's link to facebook. Below are a few examples I'm talking about I found in her albums. They almost have an Andrew Wyeth feel. Check it out and send a friend request if you're interested in the arts and beautiful, wonderful visual things. You won't be disappointed.