Sunday, March 31, 2013

Evolution of Gay Rights Through Magazine Covers

When I saw an article about the evolution of gay rights through magazine covers, I thought I'd share. It's interesting to reflect on how much has changed in the last fifty or so years, and to also see it in such an organized, uncomplicated way. At the time, I don't think anyone thought he or she was doing anything this significant, or working in a step by step process that would take this long.

You can measure how quickly public opinion on gay rights has changed by looking at poll numbers, or you can see it on the covers of national general interest magazines. As the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over California's gay marriage-banning Prop 8, we wondered whether the justices, whose average age is 67, would vote in a way that reflects current public opinion. They should be especially aware of how quickly our views of gay people have changed in their lifetimes. In the 1960s — when Anton Scalia was a young lawyer in Cleveland and John Roberts was a grade-schooler in Indiana — gay people were primarily portrayed as weird and alien.

I've written a lot of posts on the topic of gay marriage, and last year I finally understood what President Obama was talking about when he said he believes gay marriage should be legal, but it's ultimately up to the states...and that it's ultimately up to the people to decide this. I'm not saying I've always liked it, but I do understand it. In the past week or so, we've seen how public opinion has changed as opposed to five years ago...or even one year ago. As hard as it has always been for me to grasp that concept of acceptance, I finally *got* it when the President spoke about gay marriage during an interview with MTV. And when you look back at the way events have unfolded, it's interesting to watch the evolution of the process.

You can check out the article here, where there are photos that show magazine covers that have focused on gay rights through the years. And though no one is certain on how SCOTUS will rule this June with regard to the hearings this past week, I do think we've reached a point where gay marriage will continue to move forward.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

What's a Booty Bong; "Cherry Soda Cowboy" Release Day

The past two days I've spent going back and forth with an editor at discussing edits for my upcoming erotic gay romance, "Fangters." And sometimes these discussions can get amusing, with regard to erotic romance, if the editor isn't familiar with me. This time a few interesting questions came up, one of which was "What's a booty bong?"

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't have known what the hell a booty bong was if I hadn't heard it mentioned on the TV show "Shameless," a few months ago. They used a slightly different term, but it's the same thing. I was watching with Tony, so I asked him and he just shrugged. Later that night I went out to the dining room and sat down with my tablet. I googled the term I'd heard on "Shameless," and found the most interesting definition over at Urban Dictionary.

Evidently, this booty bong thing is highly popular in some circles. So when I started to write "Fangsters," I decided to use it in one of the sex scenes. In my book, vampires don't eat or drink anything but blood. But I also wanted to write a scene where the vampire could enjoy the pleasures of alcohol, without actually ingesting it orally. In the scene, the character with whom he's about to make love doesn't know he's a vampire. And when the character asks him if he wants a martini the vampire lies and says his stomach can't tolerate alcohol. It makes him sick to his stomach the instant he drinks it. That's not a total lie, because vampires can't drink alcohol. But to make the scene a little more interesting...and funny...the other character came up with a little surprise so the vampire could enjoy the benefits of alcohol, and still not have to drink it orally. It's very amusing, especially because the vampire himself had never heard of booty bang.

For those of you who haven't heard of booty bong, here's link to urban dictionary where you'll get a good description. As a side note, it was even more amusing to answer the questions the editor from Riverdale had about booty bong (Is it even possible?). I can't even imagine his face while he was reading it. I'm sure it's something that will make some reviewers shudder and cross their legs. But I'm not writing for book reviewers, I'm writing for people who I think want to be entertained with a few silly little things sometimes, like booty bongs and burping penises. Check out the booty bong link and you'll see what I mean.

"Cherry Soda Cowboy" Release Day

This is the first self-pubbed .99 e-book I've released for a while. It's been a busy year so far and I haven't had as much time to devote to self-publishing as I'd like to have.

I orignally planned to release this one around Memorial Day Weekend. But I've changed my mind. If all goes as planned, and I get a few things out of the way, I'm releasing it much sooner. It's all set and ready to go. I only have to put on my serious editor cap and give it one final read to make sure the copy editor didn't miss anything. As soon as I do this, I'll put it up on Amazon. Frankly, I don't even see the point in holding back anymore. I know some who would disagree. But I think readers would rather have the books out and pick them up whenever they want, and the old concept of a set release date seems kind of poinltess and dated to me now.

So I will post soon about when the book is up on Amazon.

Friday, March 29, 2013

America Ready for Gay Marriage; Free Excerpt; The Virgin Billionaire's Littlest Angel

Here's another post about Freedom to Marry, an organization I've talked about before. I'm on their mailing list, and I pass on the info from my inbox as I get it for those who aren't familiar with them. This time they get into whether or not America seems ready for Gay marriage.

Even before the SCOTUS hearings this week, I've been seeing studies and articles about how things are changing in America and how even some of the most unlikely are now thinking differently about gay marriage. I think it's partly because so many now have gay friends, relatives, employees, etc... And they are seeing first hand that gay marriage isn't going to hurt marriage as we've always known it.

 While the world watched, the Supreme Court held oral arguments on Prop 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and the country talked non-stop about marriage, freedom, and gay couples. While no one yet knows what the Court will rule, this week made it clear: America is ready for the freedom to marry.

The Court is likely to announce its decisions in June, and no matter what exactly the rulings are this time, all of us at Freedom to Marry feel great confidence, pride, hope, and determination. We know we have the momentum and the winning strategy. We know we have our goal of marriage nationwide within reach and will get there -- in June or in the next round. And we also know it will only happen if, together, we keep doing the work.

Continuing the momentum we built by winning marriage in nine states and Washington, DC -- with more underway -- and growing public support to 58% is how we create the climate needed to embolden the Supreme Court to stand on the right side of history.

The biggest thing we can do to maximize our chances of good rulings in June is to keep winning more states. There are four states we could win while the justices are still writing their opinions, and Freedom to Marry is playing key roles in the campaigns to pass marriage bills in Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota and Rhode Island.

Will you help make a difference when and where it counts? Make a donation to Freedom to Marry today and we'll put your money to work right now.

Free Excerpt: The Virgin Billionaire's Littlest Angel

This is an excerpt that has never been pubbed for free before. It's from the final book in the VB series, and it gets into a topic I've always felt strongly about: infant abandonment. The big argument between Jase and Luis is that Jase wants to adopt or do surrogacy. Because Luis is still so heavily involved in charity work for infant abandonment, he's waiting to find an abandoned baby. Is it realistic? No. But this is what he believes. And he believes it so thoroughly he's willing to risk his marriage with Jase.

What I find amusing is that I talk about a new coffee maker in this chapter. It's really K-cups. At the time not many were using them. And this is only a few years ago. Keep in mind this is from the raw version, before it went to copy edits, as I submitted it to the publisher. I think it's also a good example of how a book should be submitted to a publisher. I rarely have many copy edits come back to me.

After the shower, they dressed fast and went down to the kitchen. While Jase brewed two cups of coffee in the new coffee brewer Jase’s grandmother, Isabelle, had brought for them this time, Luis bent down slowly and picked up his little dog, Camp. The dog had been sleeping beside the huge stone walk-in fireplace in the kitchen. The old sprawling stone house dated back to the 1700’s and Luis and Jase had remodeled it from top to bottom few years back. The large fireplaces and wide pumpkin pine floors were just a few of the features Luis loved about the house.

But he wasn’t smiling that morning when he picked Camp up from the pillow on which he’d been sleeping all night. His body seemed listless, and he groaned a little when Luis cradled him in his arms. The only reason Camp was now sleeping by the fireplace instead in Hunter’s bedroom was because he couldn’t climb the stairs anymore. Luis wasn’t certain exactly when this had happened. It seemed to happen overnight. One day Luis’s little angel was running up and down the stairs with Hunter, and the next day he couldn’t make the first few steps. Since then, Luis carried him outside every morning, until his legs started working on their own.

            Camp was a bald Chinese crested Luis had found in an alley in Manhattan before he’d even met Jase. The little dog had followed him home one night and he’d never left Luis’s side. He’d been with Luis during his single days, during the days when Luis and Jase started to get to know each other, and he’d been at their wedding in Alaska. Camp had welcomed their son, Hunter, into the family as if he’d grown up with him. But Luis was never quite sure hold old Camp was. Luis could have found out but he didn’t really want to know. Luis couldn’t even begin to imagine what life would be like without Camp. He was just as much a member of their family as any of the humans and Luis imagined Camp in his life for the next fifty years.

           Jase popped a small plastic container of coffee into the machine and pushed a button. He turned to Luis and said, “How is he?” His tone went down; his expression turned somber.

            Luis opened the back door and kissed the top of Camp’s head. Though he was bald all over, he’d always had a long, shaggy mop of hair on top of his head. “I think he’s okay.” The vet had recently told Luis that Camp had leg problems due to his age. He wanted to do more tests in the future. Luis didn’t want to hear this; he didn’t want any testing done. He ignored the vet and the details about Camp’s problems and pretended Camp was still the quick, spry dog he’d always known.

            “Maybe you should give him a baby aspirin before we leave,” Jase said. “He looks like he’s having a rough time of it this morning.”

            Luis clenched his jaw. He didn’t want to deal with this. He held Camp closer to his chest and said, “He’ll be fine. He just needs to get his legs moving, is all. I have mornings like this myself sometimes.” He knew, intellectually, he didn’t sound rational. He also knew, in his heart, he couldn’t begin to think about Camp being sick.

            When Luis was outside, he didn’t tell Jase about the way Camp stumbled and fell sideways when he put him down on the grass. When this happened, Luis went down on his hands and knees and righted the dog to a standing position. “Please walk for me,” Luis said. He didn’t even realize he was begging. “You have to be okay. You’re going to be okay and that’s that. Please walk.”

            Camp licked Luis’s wrist and slowly stretched his hind legs, almost as if he understood. He groaned a few times; he almost tipped over again. But he managed to start walking on his own and he relieved himself. It made Luis frown to watch him. He’d stopped lifting his leg a month ago and now he was squatting like a female.

            By the time Luis went back into the house, Camp followed him through the back door and went to his water bowl for a drink. Jase set a mug of coffee on the counter for Luis and said, “How was he out there?”

            Luis smiled and lifted his chin. “He was great. He only needed a little help at first, and then he starting walking around as usual. He’s just getting a little older. There’s nothing wrong with him.”

            Jase sent Luis a blank gaze. But Luis didn’t acknowledge it. He knew what Jase was thinking. Jase had grown up in Alaska and he’d been surrounded by animals all his life. He didn’t believe in seeing animals in pain. He believed that humans had to be smart enough and wise enough to know when they were in pain, so they could make the right, humane decisions. Luis didn’t want to deal with it that morning. So he turned and said, “I’ll go out and get the truck started. Hunter, Justin, and your grandmother will be down here at any minute and we’ll never get to the airport on time if they see us still here. You leave a note on the counter.”

            Luis and Jase were not religious. But in the same respect they wanted Hunter to grow up knowing some kind of religion. So whenever Isabelle visited from Alaska she took Hunter to church on Sunday mornings. She went with a dear friend of theirs, who lived in, and rented, the small cottage at the end of their long driveway. He was a retired minister, and his name was Thomas von Klingensmith…with the accent on the first syllable in THO-mas. He was over eighty years old, had written hundreds of books on spirituality that weren’t very popular, and was openly gay. When Isabelle was in Alaska, Thomas von Klingensmith took Hunter to church on Sundays in his big Cadillac.

New Orleans Gay Easter Parade; BBC Compares Gay to Christ; Gay Easter Atlanta: Priest Banned in Austria

I'm not sure how much blogging I'll do this weekend because we are hosting about fifteen people on Sunday for Easter, but I did want to put up some things that I thought looked interesting for (or about) Easter of which is the Gay Easter Parade in New Orleans.

Gay Easter Parade presents the "4th annual Bunnies in The Big Easy: Put the Good Back in Friday," March 29, 7-10pm. This year the party will be hosted at Bourbon Vieux, 501 Bourbon Street. Advance tickets are $35, and only 100 tickets will be sold. Call Tony Leggio 504.252.5476, or Rip Naquin 504.522.8049.

It's an evening with a hot spinning DJ, special performances, hot Bunny Boys, incredible live auctions, plus complimentary award winning cuisine, vodka cocktails, wine & beer bar, non-alcoholic beverages.
Don't get me wrong, I love hosting holiday events. But this parade looks like a lot more fun at this point in my life. You can read more here at the official web site.
Controversial BBC Easter Message
The BBC is in a firestorm right now because of an Easter message about gays, in which the treatment of gays is compared to the Crucifixion. I just saw this late last night and don't know much about it.
Benjamin Cohen, the founder of a the gay publisher PinkNews, will tell Radio 4 listeners in a talk to be broadcast this week that, just like homosexual people, Jesus was punished “for something he couldn't help”.
He will directly compare the sense of “abandonment” felt by people who come out as gay to being on a cross and speaks about how much gay men have in common with Jesus.

You can read more here. I have no comment. A lot of minority groups have been persecuted over the years, not just gays. If you look back in time, there's a distinct pattern. The ironic thing is that a lot of this originated through organized religion. I'm not talking about faith and spirituality. There's a difference. I'm talking about organized religion, where people make the rules based on what they think is right, not what they know to be fact.

Gay Easter in Atlanta

Project Q in Atlanta has a list of interesting gay things to do if you are in or around Atlanta this weekend. I lived in Spartanburg SC for six months when I did grad work down south, and I used to drive to Atlanta all the time. It's a great city, with tons to do, and everything's so Peachtree Road.

Just as the weather finally starts to show it, happy Easter/Passover weekend! Even if you don’t acknowledge those holigays, there are plenty of events to squeeze into your gay agenda. Here are our favorite LGBT shows, parties and fundraisers for Friday through Sunday.

Here's a link to read the entire list of events. If you're not thrilled with anything on that list, check out Tanglewood Farm: The Town of Miniature Farm Animals. Personally, I loved it there.

Austrian Priest Banned from Easter for Gay Hate Speech

This was something I didn't see or hear about anywhere this week. Frankly, it's not something I see often either. Evidently, a priest in Austria has been banned and made to retire because of hate speech regarding gays and Muslims.

The move comes after the 75 year-old priest, Karl Tropper, has been repeatedly warned to desist from inciting hate against gays and Muslims.

Last week he called gay people ‘homo-deranged’, he has also described Islam as ‘pure racism’.

It's nice to see other parts of the world taking the issue of hate speech seriously. Hate is hate, and it comes in all forms. I believe in freedom of speech, but do it on your own time.

You can check out this link here, at Gay Star News. I'd also like to add that while the Catholic Church has strong negative opinions about gays, most of the straight Catholics I know don't agree with the Church's opinions on gays. 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Darren Moss Full Frontal Nudity; Free Excerpt "Fangsters"

In keeping with my blog posts about double standards when it comes to male full frontal nudity in films, here's a link to one with Darren Moss. It's from a film titled, X: Night of Vengeance, and I don't know anything about it. But the clip to which I've linked shows a fully nude Darren Moss standing in the middle of a group of women about to have sex with another woman. It's actually somewhat explicit, and you'll have to turn off the age setting on the web page in order to view it. But it looks like it could be an interesting film. And I personally wouldn't call this clip porn. Others would disagree.

To read more about this topic, you can check out this link. I couldn't find much info about Darren Moss. But here's one link with a list of his other films. Here's another one with basics. And here's a link to Rotten Tomatoes about X: Night of Vengeance, film description below.

Holly Rowe's retiring, kissing her callgirl life goodbye. She just has to get through her last night on the job. Shay Ryan's a teenage runaway, broke and alone. She just has to get through her first night as a hooker. Then fate throws them together on a job that goes horribly wrong and they're trapped on an out-of-control roller coaster ride, through the twilight zone of sex-for-sale.

Compost Saves Military Base $300,000

We hear so many negative things in the press these days about how the government wastes money. And though most of them are true, it's nice to see things like this military base that saved $300,000 with compost.

The US military composted 670 tons of food waste at its Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., in 2012, diverting the food from landfills and saving $300,000 in disposal costs, the base’s official newspaper The Northwest Guardian reports.

Revenue and savings from the program support the base’s recycling as well as its programs for family, morale, welfare and recreation.

It's an interesting article. It goes on to mention how compost can save even more money in the future.

Free Excerpt From "Fangsters"

Here's another excerpt from my upcoming gay erotic romance novel, "Fangsters." It's going to be released on April 30th, and this time at the publisher's suggestion, since it's going to be a series I've added the first chapter of the second book in the series at the end of the first book. So it's kind of like a bonus chapter, and it picks up where the first book ends. I will, however, keep the series written in stand alone form. In other words, I'm not doing cliff hangers and readers won't have to read each book in consecutive order to figure out what's going on. Each book will stand on its own.

On any other night, Anton would have pulled over and they would have played around in the woods. Only things were different now with Leo around. It didn’t feel right. “I don’t think we should. I’ve thought about this and I think that for right now we shouldn’t do anything unless we’re with Leo. I feel like I’m cheating on him.”

            “Fuck that,” Digger said. He banged his fists against his chest. “It’s not like you’re fucking around with someone else. It’s me, dude.”

            “We’ll talk to him about it later and see how he feels,” Anton said. “For now, we don’t do anything unless all three of us are together.” He knew Digger would not understand this. Anton didn’t have a problem with fidelity. Digger had different opinions, and he cared about fidelity as much as he cared about the food humans ate.

            “So that means if you’re not around I can’t play with Leo, ever?” Digger asked.

            “I’m not saying anything is certain now,” Anton said. “All I’m saying is that until we all talk this over together, as three people who are about to enter into a serious relationship that could be complicated, we don’t have sex without Leo. It’s only fair.” He would have to explain to Leo that Digger would never be completely monogamous. Digger didn’t have this in him and Anton would make Leo understand. As was the case with most vampires, the links between sex and emotion didn’t exist for Digger. He found sex wherever he could and took it as often as he could…unlike Anton who needed the emotion as much as he needed the sex.

            Digger sat back in his seat and pouted, as if Anton had punished him for something naughty. Not long after that, they exited the Parkway and drove to a dark road at the edge of Atlantic City where the only signs of life were a few dark homes and a small unkempt strip mall that had a tanning salon, a convenient store, a barber, and a bakery. It seemed like an odd place for a meeting, even for Edwin von Sutton. These Pine Barren vampires were so low end.

            Anton parked in a head on space in front of the tanning salon and they exchanged a quick glance.

            “Are you sure this is the right place?” Digger asked. “I’m not sure I want to even go into a tanning salon.” The UV rays from tanning beds could be just as fatal to vampires as the natural sunlight. Digger could be irresponsible, but he wasn’t a complete fool. “Remember what happened to Nicky Pelora and that broad a few years ago.” Nicky Pelora had been one of the vampires in their clan, a hot lanky young guy who liked pussy as much as Digger liked dick. Nicky had been seeing a woman who worked at a tanning salon. One night after the salon had closed and they thought they were alone, they went into a tanning booth and climbed into a tanning bed naked. While they were screwing around, at the exact moment Nicky entered her, the owner of the salon came in to tan unexpectedly and he turned on the tanning bed with the computer at the front desk. The owner had no idea anyone else was in there, until the tanning bed switched on and the young girl started screaming. The owner found her naked in the tanning bed, without a trace of Nicky Pelora anywhere to be found. Nicky had turned to dust and disappeared while they’d been screwing. The girl had no idea what had happened or where he’d gone. And when she tried to explain all this, everyone thought she’d lost her mind and they put her in a mental hospital. She’d been there ever since.

            Anton checked the address again and said, “This is the place. Maybe von Sutton owns tanning salons? Nothing would surprise me with this clan down here. I feel like I’m at the end of the world.” He felt uncomfortable about this; his dad hadn’t mentioned anything about tanning salons. “Maybe I should call my dad and see what he thinks.”

            Digger opened the door and said, “Fuck that. Let’s just go in and see what’s up. If you call Angelo now he’ll think we can’t handle the job and we’ll both wind up looking like idiots.”

            Anton knew he’d made a good point, so he climbed out of the car and followed Digger to the entrance of the tanning salon. Though most of the lights were out and there was a “Closed” sign hanging in the window, they found the front door unlocked and entered with caution. It smelled of sweet tanning lotion and other fresh hells that made them both cover their noses at the same time. The hot pink walls screamed bad taste, the floors had been covered in dark gray industrial carpet, and the plastic palm trees in every corner insulted Anton to the point of hurting his stomach. When Anton glanced at the walls, he saw posters of attractive humans in bathing suits, lying around on beaches with white sand, smiling as if they didn’t have a care in the world. Even when he’d been a human, Anton had never understood the need to burn and darken his skin in the sun.

            They walked slowly to the middle of the reception area and a voice from somewhere in the back said, “I’m back here. Turn left and I’m at the end of the hall.”

            It didn’t sound like Edwin von Sutton. Anton had never met him, but he’d heard von Sutton had a thick German accent. The voice he’d just heard sounded young, and the accent was not German. “We’re here to see Edwin von Sutton,” Anton said. He didn’t want to go back in case this was some kind of a trap.

            “I’m here in his place,” said the voice. “He couldn’t make it tonight. I’m all alone back here and I’ve been waiting for you.”

            Digger said, “We can’t just stand here. We have to go back.” Then he took a step forward and started walking to the back of the tanning salon before Anton had a chance to stop him.

            Anton would have made whoever was back there come out front. But Digger had already gone back and Anton followed him, glancing into the dark small tanning booths he passed, checking to see there was no one hiding behind a door. He tried to breathe through his mouth because the sickening sweet aroma of cheap tanning lotions made him light-headed.

            At the end of the long dark hallway, they found a thick metal door ajar and saw a small light shining inside what appeared to be some kind of a storage room with a concrete floor and cinderblock walls. When they entered, they found a handsome young man sitting on one of those old fashioned gun metal desks that had once been so popular in schools and police stations. The young man had blond hair and wore faded jeans and a black T-shirt. His legs dangled from the edge of the desk and he was tapping the heel of his heavy black boot against the metal desk with an even beat.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Day 2; Free Excerpt; Online Newspapers Charge for Content

In the 1990's the US Government defined marriage as between one man and one woman and called it Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. This came as a result of many things I won't get into now. But today, many years later, SCOTUS is hearing arguments against DOMA, and they will rule in June.

One of the reasons this is so important to gay couples is this:

The DOMA challenge was brought by Edie Windsor, an 83-year-old woman from New York who married Thea Clara Spyer in 2007. After Spyer's death in 2009, Windsor was denied an exemption of federal estate taxes.

What this means is simple on the surface, and yet it's fundamental to gay couples who have been together for a length of time, have owned property together, and have lived their lives as responsibly as any other straight married couple.

Because gay couples are not allowed to marry legally on a federal level, when one partner passes away the surviving partner is left with huge inheritance taxes. It hurts the most with real estate, which is usually the biggest investment most people have these days. When straight couples lose their husbands or wives, they are not responsible for these exorbitant inheritance taxes.

I have seen this many times. Gay couples work their entire lives and then one passes and the other is wiped out financially.

You can read more here.

Online Newspapers Charge for Content

This past weekend The San Francisco Chronicle announced that it would begin charging readers for online content. Evidently, they do this sort of thing by putting up what's called a "Paywall."

In short, you now have to subscribe to read the good stuff:

"Subscribers to the new website will find the newspaper's unrivaled content with brilliant photos, an uncluttered format and the familiar design of the Chronicle," wrote Chronicle President Marc Adkins in an article explaining the change. "Premium stories and columns will update and change with the news throughout the day. Subscribers also will have full access to the Chronicle's most enduring legacy--its columnists."

I've also heard the SFC is not the only online newspaper who will be doing this. Others have done it before, and a lot of small local papers will follow, too.

I'm curious to see how this works out. Frankly, I wouldn't pay for a subscription to any online newspaper at this point. And being that they seem to need to charge subscriptions now, it begs the question about whether or not online advertising actually works. In other words, large social media corporations like facebook don't charge users anything, and they are supposedly based on advertising. So if the advertising isn't working online for newspapers, is it working online for social media like facebook? Just a thought.

I think that if this happens with all online newspapers, we'll see a shift in things as we've always known them...or at least since the beginning of the Internet. When people have to start paying for what they've always had for free, they're going to become highly selective in what they read, and where they read it.

Free Excerpt from Bad Boy Billionaire Series: The Texas Oil Tycoon

This is an excerpt from the next book in the BBB series, and the title is still tentative. But I like posting these things for readers, and I also like seeing how it looks in blog form. I often find out whether or not something works by doing this. And it's also one of the few free things I think we're going to be seeing on the Internet in years to come. It's also set in Texas, and it's a western themed erotic romance this time.

I normally don't like to mention these things, and I never actually mention them in my books...I try to show them without being too obvious. But this time, since I've been reading a lot about how minorities are not often in romances, I thought I would mention that the main character's adopted daughter, Kendra, is of African American descent. Once again, this is never mentioned in the book because I don't like to make a huge focus on these things. I believe in complete integration, not segregation.

After Bailey showered and washed the smell of Nino off his body, he changed into jeans, cowboy boots, and a blue and gray checked shirt he’d had since high school. On his way down the back staircase that would lead him to the kitchen, he grabbed his old rust suede cowboy hat and put it on in the hall. Since he’d stripped out of the clothes he’d been wearing on the plane, he’d been trying not to notice all the familiar things around the house that reminded him of Christopher. And that wasn’t simple, because everything in that house had something to do with him. Christopher had always been so focused on the little details, like the simple white French quilt on their bed and the Regency chairs on either side of the fireplace in the bedroom that he’d had upholstered in the exact same white quilted fabric. Or the way he’d been so particular about all the draperies in the house being lined in white so it wouldn’t look offensive from the outside looking in. Even the second floor hall in that wing of the house had Christopher’s imprint. He’d chosen four different shades of pale taupe for the walls, rugs, paintings, and drapes that reminded Bailey so much of him he felt a pain in his stomach and walked even faster, trying hard to remember the house before he’d known Christopher.

            He found Kendra in the kitchen with one of her friends. He had to think fast to remember the kid’s first name was Brian. Kendra and Brian had gone to a private school in Dallas before she’d entered The George School. Brian was a year older than Kendra and he went to Lawrenceville, which wasn’t far from The George School. Brian also lived about three miles away the ranch in one of those massive new mansions that looked as if it had sprung up from the prairie the same way a wart grows on the end of a nose. Brian’s dad had come into a great deal of money with computer stocks in the 1990’s, and he’d been smart enough to get out before the market crashed. Although Kendra and Brian had been best friends since grade school and saw each other often on the east coast, Bailey hadn’t actually seen the kid in over a year and a half. And when Bailey reached out to shake his hand, he couldn’t get over how much he’d grown up since he’d last seen him.

            “You look so different,” Bailey said, noticing Brian had grown at least four more inches and his body had filled out. His unruly dark brown hair was now cut short, with a cute little wave turned up above his forehead. The low-rise jeans that hugged his slim hips looked a size too small and the tight black T-shirt he wore left an inch of his flat abdomen showing. He’d transformed from boy to man since the last time Bailey had seen him. And from the way it looked, things were only going to get better in the future.

            Brian shook Baily’s hand a moment longer than he should have and smiled. “You still look just as hot as you did when I was a little kid, Bailey.” He rubbed Bailey’s sleeve and said, “I love guys in checks and plaid.”

            Kendra’s head went up. She elbowed Brain in the ribs and said, “Hey, that’s my dad you’re flirting with, dude.”

            Bailey smiled and looked down at the floor. They’d always known Brian was gay; he’d never kept it hidden like most kids do.

            Brian shrugged and said, “What did I do?” He reached out and rubbed Bailey’s sleeve again. “He doesn’t mind if I call him Bailey now. I just turned eighteen and I’m going college in the fall.” He’d been accepted in Princeton, which was where Kendra wanted to go after she graduated. He looked deeper into Bailey’s eyes and said, “And he is hot.”

            Bailey’s face felt warm. He didn’t know how to react. The last thing he’d expected that day was to have one of Kendra’s young friends hit on him. And in such an obvious way, too. The only thing left was for Brian to start catcalling.

            Kendra rolled her eyes and grabbed Brian by the arm. As she led him toward the back door, he sent Bailey another smile and said, “Have a good ride, Bailey. I hope I see more of you this summer. Maybe we can go riding when you have the time.”

            Bailey waved and smiled, without encouraging the horny eighteen year old with a reply. He heard Kendra scolding Brian through the kitchen window and he waited until they pulled out of the back driveway to go outside. There was no way on earth Bailey would ever pursue anything with one of Kendra’s friends, even if he was over eighteen years old and looked like a dark-haired version of Brad Pitt in his youth. Though Kendra probably hadn’t noticed anything more than just flirting…straight people never notice…Bailey had picked up on something more than significant in those few brief moments. Not only did his instincts as a gay man kick in when Brian had flirted with him, Bailey could also tell Brian was the aggressive type who preferred to top instead of bottom. It was the way Brian had looked at him, and the way he’d grabbed his hand with such force. And Bailey was certain Brian knew that he was all bottom, too. That sort of thing didn’t always happen, but when it did the impact would hit Bailey so hard his heart would begin to race.

            When he knew they were gone, he glanced down at the old dog and asked, “Do you want to go out before I leave. I have no idea when Harvey will be back.”

            The dog had been resting on a gray doggie cushion next to the eight burner stainless steel stove Christopher had taken months to choose during the kitchen renovation. The dog took one look at Bailey, snarled, showed what teeth he had left, and turned his head in the opposite direction, dismissing Bailey without a backward glance.

            “Well fuck you, too,” Bailey said. Then he turned his back on the dog and went outside.

            On his way to the barn, Bailey stopped and glanced at the property. He noticed a few shrubs needed pruning, and a section of fence needed white-washing. If Christopher had been around, none of these things would have been neglected. Where he’d found the time to do all he’d done, between his job at the counseling center and all the volunteer work, Bailey would never know. Bailey made a mental note to have a talk with Harvey about keeping everything as perfect as possible. If he’d been completely honest with himself, Bailey would have realized he didn’t really care all that much about fences of shrubs. He cared more about running the company and the next board meeting. But he felt guilty when he saw things looking unkempt because he knew how much it would have bothered Christopher. Bailey knew he’d never be normal again, but the least he could do was try to keep things normal on the ranch…the way Christopher would have liked it.

            When he reached the barn, he found a tall young man carrying two bags of grain. Bailey was about five eleven, and this guy had to be over six feet three inches tall. He wore mud-stained jeans, brown cowboy boots with worn heels and scuffed toes, and no shirt at all. It was only about eighty degrees and not hot enough yet to be uncomfortable. But the guy must have been moving and lifting bags of grain for a while because his bare torso glistened with perspiration and Bailey could see beads of sweat trickling down the sides of his face from under his cowboy hat.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ten Dem Senators Who Won't Back Gay Marriage

Update: April 1...Not an April fool joke. Sen. Bob Casey flips on gay marraige and now he supports it. You can compare the date of this update to the date of this article that states he flipped. I'm still not voting for him any time in the future.

In scouting articles about this week's hearings with SCOTUS and gay marriage, I found this interesting article about ten senators who are democrats who won't back gay marriage.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) backs civil unions but not gay marriage.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) continues to back DOMA, in addition to opposing same-sex marriage.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) has not publicly come out in support of marriage equality, although she did oppose North Carolina's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) believes marriage is between a man and a woman.

 Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) supported allowing states to decide what to do about marriage but did not take a position beyond that.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has mostly shied away from discussing gay marriage in public, offering only her support for people's right to "love who they love."

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) opposes DOMA and co-signed an amicus brief last much that urged the Supreme Court to invalidate Section 3 of that law. But the senator has yet to endorse same-sex marriage as a legal right. 

 Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) does not support same-sex marriage.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) opposed same-sex marriage during the campaign. His office said it would send offer a statement of explanation for his current position, though it hadn't done so by the time of publication.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) does not support same-sex marriage.

The article goes on to talk about those who have recently switched their positions...or who have come out in support of same sex marriage.

As a side note, Bob Casey (listed as #1) is a senator from Pennsylvania where I live and I did NOT support him last time and I did NOT vote for him. And I will NEVER support him, not even if he backtracks on gay marriage. It wasn't just because of same sex marriage. It goes back to the 2008 primaries.  

Frankly, I think Casey would be better off as a replacement for a new version of the old kids show, "Mr. Rogers." If you ever get a chance to listen to him, you'll know what I mean.

Zeke Emanuel's Book; SCOTUS on Gay Marriage; Amanda Knox and Double Jeopardy

In Time Magazine there's a question and answer at the back of each issue, and this past week it was with Zeke Emanuel who speaks about his book, Brothers Emanuel, growing up in Chicago, and his life with his brothers, Ari and Rahm.

For those who don't know, Zeke Emanuel is a brilliant medical doctor who teaches at University of Pennsylvania. It's one of the best in the country. I take a very good friend there every three months who sees Dr. Jay Kostman, another brilliant doctor. And we fought hard to get Dr. Kostman to cover this friend.

Emanuel is also involved in national healthcare, from wiki:

Currently, Emanuel is acting as Special Advisor for Health Policy to Peter Orszag, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.[13] The Office of Management and Budget's role is to assist the White House in the preparation and administration of the federal budget.[14] Emanuel entered the administration with different views from the president on how to reform health care, but is said by colleagues to be working for the White House goals.

Zeke Emanuel's brothers, Rahm and Ari, have also done brilliant things with their lives. Rahm served as Chief of Staff for President Obama, is now Mayor of Chicago, and is known for his quick temper and good looks. Ari is one of the biggest talent agents in Hollywood...and maybe the world.

The book is titled Brothers Emanuel and I got it here on Amazon. Although I haven't begun it yet, from what I gather it's a story about how these three powerful brothers managed to build their lives up from humble beginnings. And, from Time Magazine, I especially love this quote:

The one thing I can guarantee, none of us will have taken a cruise, none of us will be sitting on a beach with a pina colada.

This is Zeke speaking about where all three brothers will be be five years from now. Personally, I love that quote because I couldn't agree more. I think I'll pass on that cruise and beach, too.

I'll post a full review when I'm finished reading it.

SCOTUS on Gay Marriage

Today SCOTUS will make history. They will hear arguments about Prop 8, which deals with same sex marriage, and will ultimately hand down a decision about Prop 8 and DOMA.

From the Washington Post:

Over the next two days, the justices will consider two of the weightiest civil rights cases in years, both about the continuing struggle of gay men and lesbians to obtain equal recognition under the law. On Tuesday, the court will consider the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a California initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state. On Wednesday, the justices will turn to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law enacted in 1996 that bars the federal government from offering benefits to same-sex couples, even if they were legally married in their home state.

You can view photos from the court this morning, here on the SCOTUS blog.

And this article is interesting in case SCOTUS doesn't support us. Will this put an end to same sex marriage?

“Even if you lose the case, and I think that’s very unlikely, you would say that the case has been a success because it’s changed public opinion so dramatically,” said Richard Socarides, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “It’s really unbelievable what a successful communications and litigation strategy has combined to do in such a short time.”

Amanda Knox and Double Jeopardy

I don't know much about these things, but I do find them interesting from writer's POV. I've never written any novels with strong characters who are lawyers, but I've always wanted to. Amanda Knox was the American student in Italy who was prosecuted and acquitted regarding the murder of her British roommate.

As far as I know, if you are tried in the US and you are acquitted, you can't be re-tried because of "Double Jeopardy." Evidently, that's not the case in Italy.

The Court of Cassation ruled Tuesday that an appeals court in Florence must re-hear the case against Knox and her Italian-ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the slaying of British exchange student Meredith

You can read more here. And I'll post more when I see it. I'm curious to know whether or not Knox will be forced to appear in Italy. I'm also curious about whether or not her status as a US citizen will help her avoid going back. I would imagine this falls into international law, and it has to be handled with great care. Frankly, though I don't have an opinion about Knox's guilt or innocence, I don't like the idea of being retried for the same crime more than once.

If you're curious, here's a link to wiki on Double Jeopardy.

Double jeopardy is a procedural defence that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction. In common law countries, a defendant may enter a peremptory plea of autrefois acquit or autrefois convict (autrefois means "previously" in French), meaning the defendant has been acquitted or convicted of the same offence.It even discusses European Convention on Human Rights.

No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again in criminal proceedings under the jurisdiction of the same State for an offence for which he or she has already been finally acquitted or convicted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of that State.
But there's a catch:
In many European countries the prosecution may appeal an acquittal to a higher court (similar to the provisions of Canadian law) – this is not counted as double jeopardy but as a continuation of the same trial. This is allowed by the European Convention on Human Rights – note the word finally in the above quotation.

It's going to be an interesting case to follow.

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Book Cover: Fangsters; Hannah on "Girls" Gets E-book Deal; CBS Sunday Morning Barbie Porn

Here's the preview cover for my new book, Fangsters, that's being published with books on April 30th. I've posted about this here. And I'll post more info with excerpts as I get it back in coming weeks. Here's the book description:

When organized crime meets the underworld of the living dead, it creates endless possibilities for intrigue and passion. Combine that with a traditional old vampire clan from Sicily trying to mainstream with humans in northern New Jersey as business people, and it winds up becoming an adventure into darkness of epic proportions.

Anton Pagano is from an old Sicilian vampire clan that migrated to New Jersey in the late 1800's. He lives in a mansion in northern New Jersey with his mom and dad, and he's never had to worry about anything other than his wardrobe, his latest new car, and the secret love affair he's been having for years with another vampire in his clan. At a glance, he looks and sounds just like anyone else between the ages of twenty-one and thirty years old.

But when Anton's dad, the head of their clan, decides it's time for Anton and his vampire cousin, Digger, to get into the family business, Anton's not all the excited about it. Until he meets a sweet young human man named Leo on his first night at work. They wind up spending the rest of the night together, and then things get even more complicated when they bring Anton's secret vampire lover into the picture a few weeks later.

After a bloody battle with werewolves, and the beginning of what Anton predicts will be an all-out war between two vampire clans in New Jersey, Anton and his secret vampire lover decide it's time to consider turning Leo into a vampire so all three of them can be together for eternity. But thanks to fate, nothing is as simple as it looks, and they wind up doing the one thing they ever wanted to do to Leo as a last resort. 

Hannah on Girls Gets a Book Deal

I've made no secret of how much I love the TV show, Girls On reason I love it is because of how it focuses on "new adults" and how I'm a huge fan of the upcoming genre, new adult fiction.

I also like Hannah as a character. She's annoying and adorable at the same time. She's also smart, and trying to figure things out like so many young people her age.

In an episode last night, she gets an e-book deal and I thought it was interesting how they treated the subject of e-books on the show. For the mainstream, it's obviously something so new the writers have to emphasize that it's an "e-book" deal. When those of us who have been writing and reading e-books for so long now just call them books, not e-books.

It was also interesting...and see Hannah's reaction when they told her she had a one month deadline for the e-book they wanted her to write.  I once had a three week dealine for a 60,000 word novel. Anyone who has ever worked in e-publishing can understand this.Your first instinct is to run. The next is to sit down and start writing, because publishing is NOT the slowest industry in the world anymore. Far from it.

CBS Sunday Morning Barbie Porn

I talked about how CBS Sunday morning was going to do a segment about erotic romance in the mainstream this past weekend. I did DVR it and I did watch.

Of course they did what the mainstream usually does: they made funny haha jokes that aren't really funny, they use terms like "mommy porn" that make no sense to most of us, and they refer to erotic romance as porn instead of love stories with sex added into the storyline. (I proved, once and for all, an erotic romance can be a book without sex when I released "Chase of a Dream" in abridged and unabridged versions last year...with and without sex...and it didn't change much about the storyline when the sex was removed.)

But overall, I found the CBS segment about erotic romance entertaining, especially when 76 year old author, Desiree Holt, gave Bill Geist a first hand example of how she uses physical props in order to get sex positions right in the sex scenes she's writing.

In order to do this, Ms. Holt uses Barbie and Ken dolls. She claims it gives her a first hand account, up close, of the way real people might pose during various sexual acts. And CBS actually blurred out the heads of the dolls during a Holt demonstration. I'm not joking. It was highly amusing. Evidently, Barbie porn isn't okay on TV, especially on Sunday morning.

I thought Desiree Holt was adorable and I thought she did a great job talking about erotic romance, considering how Bill Geist seemed to have a proverbial stick up his ass, and how he kept rolling his eyes. But he could have been joking around, too. The overall interview and segment wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. And, of course, they had to mention Fifty Shades of Grey, once again, as the book that started everything and all about erotic romance. What can I say? I guess they honestly don't know we've been writing books in this genre long before E.L. James jumped out of the Twilight fanfic pile. But you take what you can get, with a great big smile.

As a side note, although I did find the use of Barbie dolls as props entertaining, I have never actually used props like that for my own erotic romances. I draw from personal experience, thank you, and I've created my own positions many, many times.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Great Gay Novel

I had a discussion this weekend with a friend about a blog post where a gay author stated he's still waiting for the great gay novel. It's all subjective; it's all personal taste. But it stunned me a little because I've read "great" gay novels I thought were not only great, but are great classic gay novels.

So I did a search and this is what I came up with. I didn't want to list my own favorites, or what I think is the "great" gay novel. I wanted to show that others have taken the time to write lists of what it most commonly considered great gay literature. And the lists below cover several generations of gay authors, not just older gay authors.

The article lists twenty great gay novels, and you can check out the other fourteen by clicking this link.

"Giovanni’s Room" by James Baldwin -- a man discovers his sexual identity in Paris
"Nightwood" by Djuna Barnes -- early postmodern fiction of women in Paris in love
"Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" by Alison Bechdel -- a graphic novel memoir of her troubled gay father and her own coming out
"Rubyfruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown -- the 1973 tale of a young woman’s coming of age
"Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs -- the focus of a breakthrough obscenity trial, a landmark experimental novel
"Oscar Wilde" by Richard Elmann -- bio of the lively writer whose gay relationship got him sent to prison for “gross indecency”

I've read four out of the six above. I highly recommond "Giovanni's Room" and "Rubyfruit Jungle." In fact, I urge anyone reading or writing gay fiction of any kind to read "Rubyfruit Jungle," specifically.

Here's another web site that lists ten great gay novels. Some lists repeat others, as well they should. That's what makes the books classics and great. One of my favorites on this list is "Dancer from the Dance." I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I read it in college and it was one of the gay novels that changed my life.

And here is yet a third list, where again, some of the books on other lists are relisted. You can see a pattern, and it becomes less and less subjective. But for someone to say he's still waiting for a great gay novel to come along sounds either uninformed, or leaning toward pompous. Or, just highly, highly selective.

As a side note, Elisa Rolle has compiled many lists of great gay books. You can check that out on her blog, here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Focus On Erotic Romance CBS Sunday Morning; Cherry Soda Cowboy Cover

On Sunday, Charles Osgood will focus on erotic romance novels and e-publisher Ellora's Cave, on the TV show CBS Sunday morning.

Correspondent Bill Geist goes under the covers for a report on the boom in steamy erotic romance novels, where e-readers are helping drive sales, for the "The Money Issue" of CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH Charles Osgood to be broadcast March 24, 2013 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network.

Geist travels to Texas to speak with Desiree Holt, a 76-year-old grandmother, who is a prolific author of what's been dubbed "Mommy Porn," one of the fastest-growing segments of the publishing industry. Holt has written 142 novels since 2007 and credits the evolution of the electronic reader with boosting sales.

I know the term "Mommy Porn," has really pissed more than a few people off (I'm not fond of it either), but the mainstream press always needs to categorize something new (erotic romance is new to the mainstream), and they almost always dub it with something stupid. Just read any headline on any Huff Po article on any given day and then read between the lines.

The fact remains that a lot of people read erotic romance and just based on my readers alone I couldn't come up with a set target if I tried. So I'm going to DVR this and watch it later tomorrow. I'm thrilled to see erotic romance getting any kind of mainstream attention...even if the mainstream media gets it wrong once again. At least they are "getting" something about it. It's also nice to see an erotic romance publisher like Ellora's Cave get a mention. I've never pubbed anything with them, but I've read some of their books and I've liked them.

You Can Read More Here.

"Cherry Soda Cowboy"

Above is the almost finished cover for my upcoming self-pubbed erotic romance, "Cherry Soda Cowboy." I've posted an excerpt here (this post will show you how I changed the title, but the story is still the same), I've talked about it here, and I'll post more in the months to come.

The release date is going to be the Friday of Memorial Day weekend in May. It will be a .99 Amazon e-book, and I'm opting into KDP select for three months. I'm not sure what the exact date is yet, but I'll post it soon. I also have one full length novel coming out on April 30th, with Riverdale, titled, "Fangsters," and a new Bad Boy Billionaire book coming out as well.

Friday, March 22, 2013

FS Parody Video with Matt Bomer; Vagina: The New Normal; New Adult Genre

I've been a fan of Matt Bomer for a long time. I've also been following all the articles about him playing the lead in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey with newly conflicted emotions. On the one hand, I think he might be too good for it. On the other, I think it's time *openly* gay actors started playing straight male parts just as straight actors have been playing gay male parts in films like that Busted Back Mountain.

And speaking of parody like Busted Back Mountain, here's a great video parody of Matt Bomer starring in what might be a future trailer from the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Keep in mind, I said parody. It's not real.

You can get there from here.

Vagina: The New Normal

I've written a lot of posts about how I've been on the fence about The New Normal. And I've finally come to the conclusion that I might not love everything about it, but I do love most of it. So I've been watching faithfully each week as they prepare for the new baby. Last week was particularly interesting because Bryan was asked to get more involved with the birth, and he decided to go to these holistic birthing classes to find out what they were like. That alone was parody at its best. Ultimately, they all wound up in the back of a Range Rover on the side of the freeway helping one of the women in the birthing class give birth to her child. And one of the things Bryan mentioned was that he'd never seen vagina before, and he didn't seem too excited about seeing it at that particular time.

Of course I think they handled it well because once the miracle of birth took place Bryan forgot all about his issue with vagina and he discovered there's a lot more to birth than he'd realized, mostly in a deep emotional way. And he forgot all about his phobia...for the time being anyway.

But Bryan's issue I'm talking about with vagina is interesting. I've never seen one. I'm not joking about that. I have never seen a real vagina. Why would I see one? There's never been a need for me to explore vagina up close and personal and I've managed to live a full life without ever seeing one up close. That is by no means a reflection on how I feel about women, not in the least. I'm usually the first to stand up and defend women in all cases involving equality. I was seriously disappointed/devastated when Hillary Clinton did not get the nomination in 2008 after I'd helped campaign for her. So disappointed I've never embraced our current President 100% and I've backed away from anything political since then. And as a gay man I can even relate to women because I know all too well what it's like to live in a world dominated by straight men. Trust me, gay men don't have it much easier than women when straight men are involved. We often even get the same sexual harassment. I think that's changing. I think it will continue to change. But we do, indeed, still live in a world that straight men rule.

Although I've actually never written any snarky vagina jokes or scenes in any of my books because I've always been cautious about insulting women with vagina jokes (I know it's a sensitive issue), I have seen it and heard it all my life from other gay men. So those who read gay fiction, or M&M romance, take into consideration that when some gay men write about vagina, like it was written in the most recent episode of The New Normal, they are not attacking women and not degrading women. They are only reacting to a normal instinct we all share as gay men with regard to vagina itself in a way that's meant to be humorous. It's camp; it's sometimes snark. But it's never meant to denigrate women in a serious or harmful way. I don't think I know one gay man that would not stand behind women's rights. So when you read posts like this one below, where someone doesn't understand the mindset with which gay men think, take it with a grain of salt. She also lacks a sense of humor, too.

Some examples: In the pilot of The New Normal, Nana (Ellen Barkin), whose granddaughter Goldie (Georgia King) will go on to serve as a surrogate for David (Justin Bartha) and Bryan (Andrew Rannells), insists of a lesbian couple with a baby that, "those are ugly men." True, Nana is not very p.c., but while The New Normal pushes back against many of her racist and homophobic ideas, lesbian-bashing sticks around into the next episode. In that half-hour Bryan, who in the pilot explained, "I faint at the sight of vagina. They're like tarantula faces," says that he and David have to have one last wild night on the town "before we fully morph into an old lesbian couple, minus the frowns and the gingerbread man bodies." I agree, I suppose, with my colleague June Thomas, that these might be the kinds of comments that gay men make when lesbians aren't around. But I don't actually think they're funny or insightful, and the stereotypes here were ancient when Alison Bechdel broke them down in her decades-old Dykes to Watch Out For comic strips.

I have many lesbian friends. Two of which I've talked about here on this blog many times before, whom I happen to consider best friends. They are both true feminists, one is beautiful and feminine and breaks all the stereotypes, the other is more down to earth and aggressive. It's really the perfect balance. Both are college graduates, both have professional careers, and both are brilliant and beautiful. When I'm with them, we joke around about things like this all the time. It's not just something gay men do when they are all alone. It's something good friends do when they are alone. My lesbian friends make penis jokes and growl in horror at the thought of penis, and I laugh at each joke and I don't take offense to it. So a clever writer could take a TV show like The New Normal and turn it completely around with two lesbian main characters who make penis jokes. It's all relative.

The point I'm trying to make is lighten up a little. It's not mean to hurt. It's only meant to be funny, just like the sculpture Marie Barone made in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond in the photo above.

New Adult Genre

I have been posting about the new adult genre for a couple of years now. I remember when the concept first came out and so many literary agents blogged about how it would never be taken seriously. I remember how so many others laughed at it and just dismissed it completely.

And guess what? They were all wrong. Not only is new adult becoming a valid genre, it's gaining in popularity all over the place and new adult books are doing well.

I've been incorporating new adult characters into my own gay erotic books for a while, and I haven't been doing this by accident. When I think of new adult, I think of people between the ages of eighteen and thirty years old who are just beginning to make their way into the real world and build their lives. And nowadays that can be an interesting experience, considering student loans, lack of jobs, changing sexual attitudes, and a multitude of other things I could mention that would turn this post into something else. And because a huge part of life for new adults is sex, I've been writing about it in books I've written like "The Computer Tutor." In my upcoming book with Riverdale, "Fangsters," I've even written the main vampire characters as new adult, but in this case they are new adult vampires trying to figure out how to get established on their own spite of older vampires. I know that sounds a little far-fetched, but the concept of new adult is still there in the storyline, and the vampires do have human friends who are also real life new adult characters.

In any event, here's an interesting article I found that defines new adult in more detail. It also gets into romance and new adult. I don't totally agree with everything, but I do agree with most of it.

Enter the New Adult genre. These are the same stories that have always existed about 18-25 year old protagonists, but now they have the label to make them theoretically easier for those college-aged readers to find. Bookstores, especially those online, might create New Adult shelves, as they try to increase the discover-ability of these stories.

Even though there is some speculation on how new adult is being defined, I find it interesting that so many were wrong just a few years ago in the way they dismissed the entire concept. So much for gatekeepers, because this takes publishing to yet another new level. A lot of what we're seeing with new adult (Anastasia in Fifty Shades) is being defined by small e-presses, small indie presses, and self-pubbed authors who decided to push their own gates open. Of course those who have been making the most profit from it, ironically, seem to be those who dismissed it a few years ago. Some things don't change.