Thursday, October 31, 2013

Orson Scott Card Anti-Gay; Gay Friendly Alabama

Orson Scott Card Anti-Gay

I've posted about anti-gay author, Orson Scott Card, a few times. And now he's claiming that he's been attacked, savagely, in an unfair way. I'm not going to get into Card's past anti-gay record because it would be too long and involved for a short post. But if you do a simple search with his name you'll be amazed at what you find.

His novels, which I've never read and can't comment on, are being turned into a film and many have been calling for a boycott of the film. Here's how Card views it:

‘I’ve had no criticism. I’ve had savage, lying, deceptive personal attacks, but no actual criticism because they’ve never addressed any of my actual ideas,’ Card told Deseret News.

I'm honestly not certain what that statement means. It's a pragmatic issue for me. As a gay man I have no interest in debating my life with Card or anyone else, or offering him criticism. It's not up for debate, and not with Mr. Card, a fiction writer. I have no interest in debating equal rights with him either. And how I live my life is not up for debate with Card or anyone else who is anti-gay. I don't care what his ideas are. I don't care what he believes. But more important, I don't have to care what his ideas are or how he thinks. I'm not the one trying to discriminate against Card or how he lives his life. And at this point in my life, after being with the same man for over twenty-one years and still not able to get legally married in Pennsylvania, I don't feel the need or have the inclination to offer Card anything more than total complete dismissal.

So if he expects critical responses he'd better stop waiting. Because some things just aren't up for debate anymore. I. Want. Equal. Rights. I'm tired of talking about them.

The natural response to anything anti-gay, or to any author or public figure who is stupid enough to discuss controversial topics in public, is to not support their work if you don't agree with them.

Check out the full article with the link above. It gets better, and the comment thread is interesting.

Gay Friendly Alabama

One huge misconception I've always found about the US is that everyone (including Americans) tends to classify certain parts of the US in set ways. It's like everything between NY and LA is backward, and only those who live in certain places are gay friendly. Of course I've exaggerated that to a certain extent. But the geographic stereotypes do exist, and the south usually gets slammed the worst. And when people think of places like Alabama and Mississippi they tend to think homophobia...or at least not as accepting. This article proves that theory dead wrong:

The actors held hands walking down city streets, kissed in a photo booth at a carnival and acted out a marriage proposal in the middle of a crowded waffle house in both states.

 Instead of being met with jeers or abuse, the proposals received scattered applause and not a single derogatory remark.

The sad fact is that you can find homophobia and hate anywhere in the world, from New York City to Southern California. But it looks like things are, indeed, getting better. I'm old enough to remember when it was shocking to see two men holding hands and walking down the streets of Manhattan.

Gay Halloween; E-book Sales Level; Death of Pen Names

Gay Halloween

My last official post on Halloween for the next full year, I promise. But I saw this article titled, How Gay is Halloween, and figured I'd post one more time. There are a few LGBT historical facts I found interesting as well as an account of how gays wanted to be visible in public post Stonewall.

When Lee started the parade in 1974, gay men were just beginning to gain real militancy. The Stonewall riots were a recent memory, and gay activism was still in its nascent stages. The gay community wanted to be gay in public. Mainstream culture wanted them to be quiet in public. A Halloween parade, then, was a perfect solution for everyone, because it permitted the gays to be as loud as they wanted under certain conditions. For one wild night, the rules of American gender would be temporarily suspended, and gay men could wear all the glitter that they wanted. But come the following morning, the tiaras were put away as gay men prepared for 364 days of heteronormative winter.

The only thing I'd like to add here is that NOT all gay men take Halloween all that seriously. Tony and I used go to Provincetown on Halloween when our one dog was younger and we didn't put on costumes and we weren't concerned with being "public." We were there. We were gay. We had fun watching the bad drag and wearing heavy coats on The Cape. But Halloween isn't a highly significant holiday for us, at least not like it is for some gay men. And we are by no means closeted gay men. I think it's important to point these things out as many times as possible so people who are not gay understand there is a great deal of diversity within the gay community that is often overlooked. And let's face it. Who gets more media attention? The gay attorney who goes to work in a suit, drives a Mercedes, and goes out to a great restaurant on Halloween night to avoid dealing with annoying trick or treaters, or the gay man who puts on lipstick and earrings for Halloween? I'm not being glib about this either. There's nothing wrong with lipstick and earrings. It's just not for all of us.

In any event, the article is interesting, with some solid facts.

E-Book Sales Level

The blog post I'm linking to now is long, but it gets into a few interesting points about the e-book boom we've experienced in the past few years, self-publishing, and how some authors who were making six figures are not seeing those same numbers anymore. It's interesting for both authors and readers. But take into consideration that with all pieces like this it is only one person's opinion and isn't based on anything solid, and the author admits this openly.

I can’t say this definitively. I could be wrong. This is where I’m going out on a bit of a limb, making a prediction based on intuition and only a smattering of anecdotal evidence. But I’ve now heard enough from writers all across the genres that despite working harder and smarter, putting out more titles, getting better, promoting the smart way, they’re seeing a general decline in sales per title, that I can no longer dismiss it. It’s not seasonal. It’s not temporary. Yes, in a business like this one, there’s always going to be exceptions, individual writers bucking the trend but as an aggregate, the long tail affect has finally arrived. The early adopter eBook bounce is over.

Speaking from my own experience, because of the sub-genre where I focus, I've remained basically even with sales for the past five years or so. But I've always concentrated more on building a small readership, knowing that what I write is not going to appeal to the least not yet at this point in my career. In other words, I'm in this alone, and I work alone. I'm a career writer, not a social planner.

The author of the post also gets into the future, and what may or may not happen:

 But if you’re a professional writer, either full time or part time, one who wants to be compensated fairly for his or her work just like any craftsman, things are going to be different going forward. 

Then he gets into quality, and makes it clear his opinions are subjective. The only problem here is that I've already seen several comments about this post, and quality, where people who have a problem being subjective have misinterpreted this and they make it sound as if just because an author is prolific he or she doesn't produce quality books. And that is subjective, highly subjective, and I think it's important to understand that all authors work at different paces. And those who work slowly can put out some pretty low quality horseshit books, too. I've read few.

I had planned to comment more on this post, however, I decided not to do that because it's an opinion piece and the author of the post makes that clear in several places. But the one thing I would like to comment on is that I would like to see this need to label e-books as something different or unique from print books disappear. E-books are books just like print books are books. This need to differenciate between the two is getting tired.

I also think it's going to be important for all authors who want to remain relevant in the future to figure out ways to keep reinventing themselves all the time. Publishing nowadays moves at a much faster pace than it did ten or twenty years ago. And in order to keep up with that pace it's going to mean constant evolution for authors.

Death of Pen Names

This post is also written by the author who wrote the post I linked to above. When I saw it listed on his side bar I couldn't resist mentioning it. I just posted about this topic recently, once again, because I saw an author in the m/m genre in a video introducing himself with a pen name and it took me by surprise. I couldn't figure out why he would do that (use a pen name), and I think the blog post I'm linking to now backs me up. I also mentioned a few of my own pen names, something I wouldn't have done a few years ago.

The post I'm linking to here is a long one, but very interesting. He talks about why he's going to use his own name now, and why he's releasing back list titles that origianlly had pen names, with his own name.

It was a bit of work, but it was worth it to me. I can’t deny that maybe a little bit of ego was involved, too. So sue me. My name is my brand. I don’t know what that brand is, exactly, except I can tell you this: You may not like everything I write, but you’ll always get my best effort. I hope that’s enough.

I recently did this myself with several back list titles when e-publisher shuttered its web site after many years in business last June and the rights reverted back to me. I had a few titles with them in different sub-genres and at the time we thought it would be best to use a pen name. I don't see the point anymore, and I've released them with my own name this time. And I'm going to talk with one of my publishers about putting my own name on two books that have pen names.

You can read more here. As I said, it's a long post, but worth checking out if you're an author, especially if you're already branded in one genre and you have a readership. Taking on a pen name is like taking on a completley new career. And unless there are obvious reasons, like with J.K.Rowling, I'm starting to think it's pointless to do unless you truly want to take on a whole new career and distance yourself from everything you've done in the past.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fall Into Romance Contest Winner

Fall Into Romance Contest Winner

Last weekend I was part of a blog tour called Fall Into Romance and I offered a free give-away.

I decided to offer two free e-books from the Bad Boy Billionaire series. These are the most recent I have out, and I'm hoping the winner hasn't read them yet. The winner can choose between any two of them. Here's an Amazon link where they are listed. If the winner has read them all, we'll come up with something else. And, this contest (for me) is open to everyone all over the globe, not just US residents. The contest begins at midnight tonight, so please refrain from commenting until then to keep it fair for everyone.

In order to win the two free e-books I'm offering, just comment here on this blog post and I'll choose the winner at random like I've
done in the past. I might be posting other things this weekend, but this post will be up forever. And please make sure to leave an e-mail address or let me know how I can contact you within the body of the comment. You can comment anonymously, too, and just leave the e-mail address. The winner will be contacted by me no later than November 7th.

This afternoon I chose one of the comments at random and the winner was someone named "Shadow." (I write the names down on pieces of paper and Tony picks the winner.) I'll be in touch by this weekend and the winner can choose any two e-books from the Bad Boy Billionaire series.

I'm also offering a consolation prize to everyone who left a comment. I usually do this with all contests...partly because I hate loosing and I know how it feels :) I'll contact everyone by the end of this weekend.

Steve Grand Slammed; Ben Cohen Strips for Gays

Steve Grand Slammed

Last summer when country/pop singer, Steve Grand, released  a music video I posted about him here. At the time he was so fresh there wasn't much I could find about him anywhere. But the one thing that did stand out about his song was the fact that it was all about a young gay man falling in love with a straight men, and how the young gay man winds up with a broken heart.

With the blog hop for equal rights this weekend I thought it would be appropriate to post something about gay country music star, Steve Grand, because he's making history, promoting equal rights, and breaking the stereotypes at the same time. I saw one post earlier today that linked to a Steve Grand post with a less than thrilling comment thread...pure garbage and filled with the kind of snark I don't tolerate anymore.

Since I wrote that post, Grand has continued to make history and break stereotypes, which isn't easy to do if you are gay because the same old sterotypes that have been following gay men around forever don't seem to go away. And even worse, people who claim to support gay men often seem to be the same people who crave those sterotypes. Because Steve Grand didn't just get heat from the comment thread I mentioned in the excerpt from the post above. He also got slammed for writing a song where a young gay man falls in love with a young straight man. Some seem to think Grand should have made the gay man fall in love with another gay man.

Here's a quote where Steve Grand responded to all this:

'Because this was my experience growing up. Many times,' Grand says. 'I grew up in a predominantly heterosexual world. Most of the crushes I had were straight men. Gay men were not visible. I wanted to tell a story that had been burning inside me.'

'It’s a universal human story - unrequited love. Gay or straight, we’ve all been there. When I started writing music, I was always writing about that. I was always crushing on someone I couldn’t be with.'

I'd like to know what's so difficult to understand about that? Grand isn't writing an m/m romance. He's writing about his own life experience and it's coming from his heart, from his experience as a gay man. This isn't fantasy with HEA. This is reality. And because most gay included...grew up in heteronormative worlds, our first crushes were directed toward straight men. And I think the most important thing to understand here is that Steve Grand, as the gay man, gets the last word about what it's like to be gay growing up in a straight world.

If all gay men had a normal puberty and they dated other gay men as YAs, I wouldn't even be writing this post. But the fact remains that gay men don't get a puberty like straight men and they usually wind up in impossible situations where unrequited love is inevitable.

You can read more here. The piece goes into more detail about what Steve Grand was like growing up.

Ben Cohen Strips for Gays

Speaking of breaking stereotypes and unrequited love, British rugby player and gay activist, Ben Cohen, is coming out with a new calendar where all proceeds will benefit his foundation that focuses on stopping homophobia and bullying in schools. And according the photos on this web site to which I'm linking, he's going to raise a great deal of money and awareness. There's a video, too.

This time he has invited us for a sneak peak into the shower and the locker room for a behind-the-scenes look.
Although Cohen is the perfect example of so many gay male fantasies, he is straight and he's comfortable with his status as a gay icon, so to speak. This also makes sense to me. He's a man. Gay men like men. And guess what, gay men like showers and locker rooms. I probably shouldn't have let that secret out of the proverbial bag, but there you are.
Cohen created The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation to Stop Homophobia and Bullying. You can check out the foundation's web site here. It's really a steller web site and I highly suggest looking at it.
In this article he talks about being on the reality TV show, Strictly Come Dancing, and states that he would be open to dancing with a man on TV. The reason I find that interesting is because I often watch the US show, Dancing with the Stars, and I always wonder why there are never two male contestants dancing in the competition. Too much for liberal left wing Hollywood to handle?
In any event, Cohen said this, in public: 
"I’ve no qualms dancing with a woman or a man," Cohen is quoted by the Mirror as saying. "Kristina [Rihanoff] will be easier to pick up though.”
I've always wanted to learn how to dance.

Shower image above can be found here.  The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One Year After Hurricane Sandy...

One Year After Hurricane Sandy...

This time last year Tony and I were in our basement preparing for a long night of destructive winds, battering rains, and the worst storm of this century so far. We had been following the weather reports all week and we knew what to expect. Or at least we thought we knew. I posted about this last year, here.

As everyone knows by now, the path of destruction from Hurricane Sandy goes on for miles. I have been trying to keep in touch with friends and family in Manhattan via text and e-mail, and it's been difficult at best. Power is out all over NY, NJ and PA and most land lines don't work. So far, everyone I know is OK, thankfully.

Looking back now, I can say this was the worst storm I've ever lived through and there are still parts of Bucks County, PA, where you can see remnants of the wind damage. Many of the large trees that went down still haven't been removed in certain places. In other places where trees had to be cut to make way for roads the stumps are still there, tipped sideways. This past weekend we had the first bonfire of the season, and most the what we burned were tree limbs and branches that came down during Sandy. At the time, we just piled them into a corner and waited for them to season a little. And it was the biggest bonfire we've had in ten years. The photo above only shows the beginning.

We were lucky, though. This part of PA only got hit with the wind, unlike parts of the Jersey Shore where entire towns were ruined and lives were changed forever because of the wind and rain. People are still cleaning up the mess in many places.

When Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast a year ago, it swept away homes and left neighborhoods in ruin. It destroyed roads and flooded subways tunnels. It sank boats and damaged cars. It drenched paintings and shuttered museums. It left millions without power, disrupting hospitals and schools. When it was all over, Sandy had done $68 billion worth of damage.

You can read more here.

We lost power for twelve days, and we had a generator so we were at least able to hook up to some parts of civilization. But even that became an issue because we reached one point after the fifth day where we couldn't even find an open gas station to fill the gas tanks so the generator would run. We finally wound up finding gas about twenty-five miles away, and we waited in line for an hour and a half. And yet, in spite of all the inconvenience, we still knew we were lucky compared to many other people in New York and New Jersey.

And for some it's still not over.

Thousands of New York and New Jersey residents displaced when Superstorm Sandy barreled ashore one year ago are still fighting with insurance companies, slogging through red tape and waiting for government aid – and many still aren’t home.

Sean Hayes Apologizes; What Is a Book Blogger? A Book "Influencer?"

Sean Hayes Apologizes

I love when LGBT people with high profiles back me up this way. I've often posted about how I'm not fond of National Coming Out Day, and how coming out is such a personal thing no one should ever feel pressured about it. And now actor, Sean Hayes, from Will and Grace, made a few recent comments about how difficult it was for him to come out, and why he didn't do it sooner.

"I was so young," Hayes said. "It made me go back in the closet [with the media] because I was so overwhelmed at 26 or 27. I didn't want the responsibility, I didn't know how to handle the responsibility of speaking for the gay community. I always felt like I owed them a huge apology for coming out too late. Some people in the gay community were very upset with me for not coming out on their terms. They don't stop to think about what's going on in somebody's personal life, and the struggles that they're having. It was all very scary. We got death threats. It was a really rough time for me, but I was also having the time of my life."

For me, that's heart wrenching. If I were in the room with Hayes when he said that I would need a box of tissues. But that's not all. It gets even deeper when Hayes talks about how gay news organizations like The Advocate slammed him for not coming out sooner. And what really bothers me the most about this is that those who scream for tolerance the loudest always seem to be the most intolerant. I don't think Hayes owes anyone an apology.

In any event, I hope Hayes knows how much good he did for the LGBT community. And this is the absolute truth: I sometimes post about getting letters and e-mails from closeted gay men who can't come out...or aren't ready to come out. One of these people lives a truly closeted life because of his religion/culture, his family circumstances, and his background. And he's recently been telling me that he has been watching old reruns of Will and Grace and it's helping him a lot. So the things actors like Sean Hayes did for the LGBT community continue to evolve in many different ways so many years later.

You can read the full article here.

What Is a Book Blogger?

Someone asked me this question a few weeks ago and I've been wanting to post about it for a while. First, I looked all over for one set definition of what a book blogger is and couldn't come up with anything definitive. In fact, the places where I'm linking today even state they don't know the definition and it's only their opinion. So it's important to keep in mind not all things have set definitions, at least not at this point.

This web site discusses what book blogging means to her. She makes no claim to define book blogging:

When I began book blogging six years ago, I had no idea just how much of a community there was out there. Suddenly I found myself among likeminded people—people with a passion for books and writing—for talking about those books and other bookish tidbits. While we share in our love for books, our experiences with those books can vary widely. It gives me the chance to hear a different perspective, think a little differently, and branch out to try something new.

This next web site talks about something more definitive, and yet makes no claims to give a set definition of a book blogger. They've also created a book blogging directory, which is discussed with what I thought was a very open-minded approach.

So, what do we all think? Is an author a book blogger, or do they need to at least be chatting about other people's books as well as their own to qualify? What about other types of bloggers who occasionally talk books? What about blogs that are attached to bookstores? Often there are reviews amongst their posts, but really the aim is to try to get people to buy from the store.

I find that interesting because I don't consider myself a book blogger, not with this blog. I'm an author and I present information about my books to readers. I also review books on occasion here. I often discuss books I like. But I keep this blog more focused on pop culture, LGBT issues, and publishing in a general sense.

I even discovered there is a book blogger week, and this web site gives the most definitive answer of what a book blogger is that I've found so far.

Let’s step back, first, and ask, what is a book blogger? The answer is simple: it’s someone who blogs about books. About the books they love, the books they like, the books they hate. It’s someone who usually does it all on their own time: the reading, the writing, the posting, the commenting, the (insert all the stuff it takes beyond reading and posting to be a blogger).

But then what's the difference between a book review site and a book blogger?

I won't even try to define that because I think it's vague at best. But I have always considered book review site more geared toward criticism...good and bad...than actual book discussion. But even then there's a certain amount of book discussion on book review blogs, so it gets even more confusing.

A Book "Influencer?"

Now this was something I'd never seen before: a book influencer. And the blogger I'm linking to here asks the question, "What's the Difference Between an Influencer and a Book Reviewer?"

I'm not exactly sure where or when the term Influencer originated. But in the publishing world Influencer is often used to refer to a reader who signs up to help in the promotion of a book in exchange for a free copy of that book. The author puts together a list of interested Influencers (a limited number), along with their addresses. The publisher then sends the book to those people (usually a couple weeks before the release).

The piece goes on to state that influencers are fans of the author, their goal is to promote the author and the book, and they do it in a variety of ways that may or may not include a book review. Then the term "Launch Team" is mentioned, which is a group of influencers who are strictly out to promote the author. I take this to be the same thing as a Street Team, but don't quote me on that.

Essentially the terms are synonymous, except that an author may choose to keep a Launch Team ongoing via a Facebook Group or Email Loop.

Ultimately, this means that when you...the reader...see your favorite author on facebook getting tons of comments and photos posted to his or her timeline there is a good chance they aren't coming from actual facebook friends or fans, at least no in the literal sense of fandom. There's a good chance they are coming from influencers and teams of people who are only interested in promoting the author as much as they can so they can receive something in return. I don't do this. Whatever you see on my timeline is coming from people that I didn't solicit with gifts and free books. But it is common nowadays with many authors, and it's getting easier to spot the more I see it. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it because in most cases the influencers are fans in a twisted ethical sense. But I do wonder what would happen if the authors who do this didn't offer the influencers anything in return. In an offhanded way it reminds me of circus people who plant shills in audiences.

But this is a very honest article and I found it highly informative, especially the part where the author discusses the difference between a book reviewer and an influencer. She's up front and totally honest, and I think this is one set definition we can trust.

In other words, a Book Reviewer's goal is to help the reader make wise reading choices. An Influencer's goal is to help the author with promotion.

As an author and a blogger it's often hard to get into topics like this because one of my goals as an author is to promote my books and my publishers, and the other as a blogger is to provide honest objective information to readers with regard to any topic. Sometimes I'm not that objective. But when I do post about things like this I tend to lean more toward being a blogger than an author and I also tend to piss a few people off (other authors). A lot of authors don't want you to know they have influencers or launch/street teams. Some of these authors are so promotion oriented they will cut your throat to sell a book that may or may not be a very good book. But in the spirit of full disclosure, as a blogger, I think it's important for readers to know these things, and to understand what these terms mean so they can decide for themselves.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Rolling Stone: American Horror Story's Incest, Bestiality, and Camp...

Rolling Stone on American Horror Story's Incest, Bestiality, and Camp...

When I posted about American Horror Story's most recent episode last week, I failed to mention the camp factor this season. But someone pointed me toward this article in Rolling Stone, and RS didn't miss a beat. In fact, the entire commentary is priceless.

On Jessica Lange and the camp factor:

I usually tell them something along the lines of, "Long stretches of fabulous camp punctuated by lurid horror." Most of that luscious camp is provided by Jessica Lange, which is why I cannot conceive of her leaving the show.

Lange has helped make the show a cult classic before its time and it often rivals films like "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." And I can't help wondering if twenty years from now gay men of the future will be imitating Lange, verbatim.

On Incest:

While AHS's horror tends to be violence-related, Coven conjured those moments in the most unexpected and unsettling ways. Like the incestuous Frankenstein abuse!

I just kept sitting there saying, "No, they aren't going there. Tell me that didn't just happen."

And this part about bestiality just made me grab the arms of my chair:

Also, apparently she's so desperate for love that she, well, she tries to lose her virginity to the Minotaur when he shows up to kill LaLaurie.
Yes, Queenie went out to the backyard to cruise a beast.

RS is being kind. There are some films where you remember exact scenes and for some reason they remain in your head forever. This scene, for me, will always be one of them. When Gabourey Sidibe, who plays Queenie, lifted her dress and shoved her fingers between her legs I knew I would never be the same again.

I still think that scene was out of character. I wanted to see Queenie show off her powers and tame the beast. I didn't want to see her touch herself and bend over backwards.

The RS article goes into more detail about making babies witchcraft style, and discusses a scene where Lange kills off a character who is supposed to be the next "supreme." And in the style of classic camp, heartless Lange tells the tongueless guy to remove the body from the living room because... "This coven doesn't need a new Supreme. It needs a new rug."

There's not much taboo stuff left, so I wonder what's next. They even covered rape in the first show. And forget about barely legal. The young women in the show are playing all underage characters.

In case you missed the link above, you can read the full article here.

Johnny Knoxville Penis Bad Grandpa; Taiwan Gay Cuties; Books Sold In A Year

Johnny Knoxville Penis Bad Grandpa

I haven't seen Johnny Knoxville's Bad Grandpa yet, but I plan to see it soon and I thought it was interesting that Knoxville beat Gravity this weekend. I've always had this theory that when films (or books, or even TV shows) are released how they are received depends a great deal on what the competition is. Would American Idol have been such a huge success if there had been something better on TV to compete with it? At the time, there wasn't anything else on TV to watch. In this case, movies viewers chose to see Johnny Knoxville's Bad Grandpa instead of George Clooney in Gravity because they had a choice.  This article goes deeper, and lists what other films did.

Paramount's "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" topped the weekend box office with $32 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, sinking three-week champ "Gravity" to second place.

"Bad Grandpa" stars Johnny Knoxville as an accident-prone grandfather in the hidden-camera comedy.

And though people are still going to see Gravity in theaters, I can't help but wonder which film would have won out had they both been released at the same time. In full disclosure, I'm a huge fan of Johnny Knoxville and what he's achieved. I'm not a huge fan of George Clooney for many reasons, one of which has to do with his political rantings all the time. I don't care what actors who are making millions and millions of dollars think of politics on any level, or in any political direction. And so far I don't think Johnny Knoxville has ever been too political about anything. His goal is to entertain, to make people laugh, and to create physical comedy often at his own physical expense.

In fact, Knoxville has the penis injuries to prove this. This is from a Vanity Fair article.

Says Knoxville of his meat and two veg, “It’s just like a dog’s chew-toy down there. I broke my penis about three years ago trying to backflip a motorcycle. So that did’t help its appearance, although it’s pretty cute. I still have to use a catheter twice a day and it’s been three years now.” TWO TIMES A DAY?!? We just left our bodies and floated up onto the ceiling, that’s how painful that sounds.

For those who are so inclined, you can see Knoxville's penis here at the OMG blog. (It looks okay to me, but that photo could have been shot before he broke his penis :)

In any event, for more information about Johnny Knoxville, you can read about him on wiki. I also think one of the most interesting things he's done is the way he added homoerotic scenes to his TV shows and movies. But most of all I admire him because he's been able to entertain people during some very difficult times in the US.

Taiwan Gay Cuties

This article is more about Taiwan's Gay Pride March, however, when you check out the photo of Taiwan's gay cuties you'll see what I mean. I can't share the photo here, but it is worth the trip over there with this link.

Gay Star News reported an overwhelming show of support for the Taiwanese LGBT community this weekend. An estimated 60,000 attendees took to Taipei's streets to celebrate what is being called Asia's biggest gay pride event.
And, the LGBT community there gained visible support from Google and Goldman Sachs employees. It's being touted in other places as Asia's biggest pride event to date.
Books Sold In A Year
I actually couldn't tell you how many books I sell in a year, or even how many I've sold in my lifetime. I can tell you that all my books have earned out their advances, and I'll be knocking wood and thanking the heavens while I tell you that. Because the fact is that it's impossible to know how many books will sell for anyone. And the only reason I'm actually posting about this now is because I saw an author state on facebook that she sold 100,000 copies ( "100K") in 2013, and 2013 isn't even over yet. This is an unknown author, and a self-published author, and an author who writes in a small sub-genre. Could she have sold that many books? Of course. What are the odds of her actually selling that many books? Slim to zero.
The second conclusion is that a novel will probably sell fewer copies than you think. If a novel sells 10,000 copies in a year it is doing well. For a first time novelist, with little track record, a figure of 2000 copies per year is probably closer to the truth. Granted the figures in the post are based on Literary Fiction, a genre that is notoriously difficult to sell. Certain genres will be more popular and sell more books, but what is important for a writer is that they are realistic in their expectations.
You can read more here. If you do a simple search on this topic you will find more articles like this that say basically the same thing. I've been working in publishing for over twenty years and I can state from personal experience the articles are correct.
There are a lot of statements made out there on social media by aggressive authors we need to take with that proverbial grain of salt. And while it is possible that a self-pubbed author in a small sub-genre on the fringes of publishing can sell 100,000 copies in less than a year because anything is possible in publishing, it's not all that probable. Facts don't usually lie; people sometimes do.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How Do You Feel About M/M Authors Using Different Names in M/M?

How Do You Feel About M/M Authors Using Different Names in M/M?

It's been a longtime standard that when a writer ventures away from his or her own genre he/she often takes on a pen name. It's done for many reasons, two of which are to keep established readers from getting confused and to introduce new readers to an author's work without bias. In other words, JK Rowling recently used a pen name for a book she wrote in a different genre because she's so well known for the Harry Potter series. However, when that pen name was disclosed there were quite a few mixed reactions.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I've written several books with pen names because I was venturing outside of my genre. One was titled "Loving Daylight," a hetero pg-rated romance that was part of a Home Shopping Network collection where I was paid a flat fee up front. I never promoted the book much because of the fact that I made the flat fee and I wasn't counting on sales, and it's still up on Amazon lingering in the middle of nowhere. Oddly, it's one of my own favorite books that I've written. And, one of the few where I actually own a print copy.

I also wrote two gay erotic romance mystery/suspense novels, here and here, and used a pen name for that, too...Dale Bishop. In this case, because they were gay themed books, even though they were mystery/suspense I felt very uncomfortable using the pen name because I write so much in the gay romance genre, and gay erotica genre. It felt sneaky and shady and sleazy to take on a whole new persona and go out there and actively promote these books on social media as Dale Bishop. So at the time I wound up not promoting those books at all and they have also been lingering in Amazon nowhere land for a long time. And, once again, I loved writing these books and I think they were some of the sexiest pieces I've ever done.

What prompted me to write this post was a link I found where a few established m/m romance authors were speaking in a video for a few minutes. It wasn't anything long, but it was long enough to make me wonder when they clearly and proudly introduced themselves, on camera, as completely different people. I had to go back and watch again to be certain I hadn't missed anything. And when I saw that I was, indeed, correct I did a quick search to see if I could find an explanation. Evidently, these established m/m authors are now writing YA m/m. I guess that's considered a different genre in m/m. I'm not that familiar with m/m to really know.

I just thought it was interesting to see authors go on camera and actually introduce himself and herself as completely different people than what we've always known them to be. I can't even describe it well in this post because I've never seen it done before. JK Rowling didn't do that with her pen name. She worked hard to keep it a secret until someone with a huge mouth outed her. She actually filed suit and won...the money went to charity. But more important, she really was reaching out to a new audience in a completely different genre, not a related genre or sub-genre of Harry Potter.

Rowling sued Chris Gossage, a partner at her former law firm, Russells, and his friend, Judith Callegari. Gossage had revealed to Callegari that Rowling was the real author of The Cuckoo’s Calling, which she wrote under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Callegari then passed the information on to a Sunday Times columnist via Twitter, leading the newspaper to investigate, and eventually confirm and publish, Rowling’s true identity.

Rowling made a gracious statement about it.

“I always knew that if and when I was discovered I would ask for my royalties to be paid to ABF The Soldier’s Charity,” Rowling said in a statement. “This is partly as a thank you to the people who helped with research, but also because researching and writing the character of [detective Cormoran] Strike has given me an even greater appreciation and understanding of exactly how much this charity does for serving soldiers, ex-servicemen and their families, and how much that support is needed.”

I have seen authors who use pen names introduce themselves with their known identity and then explain they are writing with a pen name for various reasons. And those reasons are usually valid, just like Rowling's reasons. I've seen it in bios and I've seen it in articles about the writer, but always with an explanation. I just never saw it done on camera, and without an explanation, and it took me by surprise. I think I even blinked a few times. And now I'm wondering how readers feel about this. I'm guessing it's okay? If I were to go on camera (or use a photo with my image) and introduce myself as Dale Bishop without an explanation you guys wouldn't mind?

But I'm still debating on whether or not to change my bio and add the pen names. At the time, I felt like I was doing something underhanded by writing as Dale Bishop with the Manhandled series because it was gay themed, and yet at the same time mystery/suspense. I guess I was just being too careful? Notice the questions marks I keep using. I'm still not sure yet. And I'd really love to know what readers think. Feel free to e-mail me in private... 

Bad Boy Billionaire Series Ryan Field

Bad Boy Billionaire Series Ryan Field

I like to post these things as points of reference in case readers have any questions. And up until now, though I've posted about the individual books in the Bad Boy Billionaire series, I've never posted about the series in a general sense.

Unlike my Virgin Billionaire series, or the Chase of a Lifetime series, the Bad Boy Billionaire books don't have the same characters and the series is not a continuing saga. When we (the publisher and I) developed the concept we thought it would be too restrictive to maintain the same characters, and being that the theme of the series revolves around rakes...bad boys...we wanted each book to have a happy ending, which meant that the bad boy had to redeem himself at some point in the book. And he had to redeem himself as a result of falling in love. I've always loved the trope where only one person, and one person alone, can turn a bad boy into someone decent. Even though we all know this doesn't happen in real life, it's nice to dream about it in books sometimes. If I'd tried to keep the same characters in each book and continued the bad boy theme it would have been difficult for the bad boy to redeem himself. You can only go so far without going overboard. And as it stands, some of these guys really are pretty bad in the beginning of the books.

So that means none of the books follow any order, and each book in the series has different characters, a different storyline, and a very different setting. It doesn't matter which book was released first, or last. You can start reading the last book and finish with the first if you so desire because they are all individual novels.

Here's a link to Amazon, and here's one to the publisher's web site. There are eight books in the series, and if you want to read them according to how they were released the Amazon link lists them in order.

And, here's a list of all the books in the Bad Boy Billionaire series. Six have been released, and there are two to go that I submitted weeks ago. The last book in the series is over 118,000 words long in spite of how hard I tried to make it shorter. But this book, Small Town Romance Author, just kept getting away from me and I kept losing track of the word count. 

The Ivy League Rake

The Wall Street Shark

Cowboy in Love

The Actor Learning to Love

The Vegas Shark

Silicon Valley Sex Scandal

Palm Beach Real Estate Mogul

Small Town Romance Author

My next series...I've already begun and finished the first going to focus on four western themed cowboy books with different characters, but all from the same town set in Texas Hill Country. It's a fictional town called, Glendora Hill, not far from Austin. And even though each book will revolve around different main characters many of the original characters from the first book will continue to return with smaller story lines and scenes.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

13 Gay Halloween Costumes; Drag Halloween History; Zac Ephron Nude That Awkward Moment

13 Gay Halloween Costumes

This is actually an article with photos that's geared toward gay couples who are thinking of dressing up for Halloween this year. And like the article says, it really is more fun if you have someone to dress up with. And even more fun, like a anything typical of the Internet these days the comment thread is highly amusing. You'd think this was a perfectly harmless article...until you read what some people had to say.

This is my personal favorite:

Firemen (and we mean legit uniforms): The only thing you need to pick up here is the helmet. The rest you can fake with a blue T, red suspenders and black or yellow pants. Of course, if things get hot, you can always lose the shirt…

I have to admit that Tony and I have never been big on Halloween, at least not for dressing up. First, we live on a rural road three miles outside of town and we're a long distance from the road, so we never get anyone knocking on the door on Halloween night. Second, we've always been working too much...literally the entire twenty-one years we've been find the time to get costumes ready.

But I'm starting to think it's time to change that, especially since I've been told Halloween is the Gay Holy Day. I don't know who delcared it that. But that's what I've been told. Pardon me if a yawn.

If you choose to do so, you can buy costumes here.

Drag Halloween History

I found this article fascinating because I live in a northern suburb of Philadelphia and never knew about it. Evidently, drag parades were a huge event in Philly at one time and then they stopped, without reason, in the 80's. The article is written from a first hand POV by someone who used to write for Philadelphia Gay News, PGN. His web site is titled, "Somebody Has to Say It."

I had no idea that "impersonating the opposite sex" was against the law in some places, including Philly. In order to avoid getting arrested those in drag wore two articles of men's clothing...another one of those gay loopholes I'm always talking about.

Those parades were, I believe, the first gay pride marches in the city, pre-dating the official event sponsored by a coalition of queer organizations in 1972. I was a member of that coalition, representing the Gay Liberation Front at Temple University where I was a student. We thought we had invented pride, but obviously someone beat us to the punch. Queens have always led the way in the queer community (the Compton’s and Stonewall riots, for instance) because they were not able to hide in the closet. 

According to the article, the parades stopped in the 80's after the alleged murder of someone in drag. There's never been evidence of a murder taking place during one of the parades.

You can read the piece in full here.

For anyone interested, you can purchase a gay pride corset here on Amazon. Yes, Amazon.

Zac Ephron Nude That Awkward Moment 

This next article gives eleven reasons, with eleven hot photos, of why you should see That Awkward Moment. The movie hasn't been released yet, but you can read a little about it here. There's one photo I would love to post where Zac Ephron is sprawled out in a bathroom, naked and stretched over a toilet face down, while he's on the phone. But you'll have to check the link here. Trust me, it's worth it.

This is reason 11:

11. And Zac Efron’s butt.

There's also a trailer. The film is due for release in January 2014.

And, once again, the comment thread that goes with this article is priceless.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Into Romance Free Give-Away

Fall Into Romance Free Give-Away

Update 3: Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. I've heard it's been a huge success. And I'll be posting a winner this week in a separate post, and then contacting them!! And like usual, I also have a few surprises in store for everyone who commented.

Update 2: I'm 99.9% sure all the comments from comment moderation are up. There was a little issue because one comment kept coming up a few times, but I do have back up copies and I think it was fixed. But if in any event your comment did not show up, please check this out and post again.

Update: I've been told there were a few additions to the guest list and in order to be certain what they were...or if there are any more additions to the list...check the link I've provided at the bottom of the post that will lead you to the Personal Marketing web site. The more additions the more chances to win. And all updates will be at that link for certain.

I wanted to put this post up early even though the event doesn't begin until tomorrow. But I'm not sure I'll get a chance to post anything until later tomorrow. Basically, it's a fall event for romance readers where different authors gather and write short blog posts about all things love and romance. I'll provide a link below, with detailed directions. The contest will run October 26, 27, and 28.

First, this is the short post I wrote, about a character I wrote for a book in the Bad Boy Billionaire series, The Vegas Shark. For some reason, he's one of the most memorable characters I've ever written and his approach to love and to life in spite of his circumstances is always positive. This is the only post I'll be doing because I have a lot of other blogging to do, so it's really very simple.

When I started the Bad Boy Billionaire series the publisher and I brainstormed about themes and titles. And when she suggested the Vegas Shark title, I agreed but wasn't totally certain how I would do it. Vegas is one of the places in the US with which I'm the least familiar. So that made is difficult for me to feel emotionally connected at first.

However, once I started writing the story and really started to develop the main character, Treston, I found it much easier to deal with the setting. You see, in spite of the fact that he makes his living in a way that some would find highly questionable, he's also the sweetest, dearest soul I think I have ever written. There is one scene in particular where he is so trusting he winds up getting swindled in a horrible and embarrassing way. A way that would make most of us cringe. After that, he's finished with love for good.

Or so he thinks. He eventually winds up getting saved by one man and accidentally meeting another who turns out to be the worst bad boy billionaire in Vegas. And in the end he's forced into making a choice, a choice he didn't see coming. I won't give out any spoilers, but there is one scene at the end of the book that still makes me emotional to this day. And I think that's because it's really the first time the main charter realizes, and is introduced to, what true love really is all about.

Now, here's the blog hop button:

And  list of participants.

Personalized Marketing's Fall Into Romance Blog Hop

Prize I'm offering:

I decided to offer two free e-books from the Bad Boy Billionaire series. These are the most recent I have out, and I'm hoping the winner hasn't read them yet. The winner can choose between any two of them. Here's an Amazon link where they are listed. If the winner has read them all, we'll come up with something else. And, this contest (for me) is open to everyone all over the globe, not just US residents. The contest begins at midnight tonight, so please refrain from commenting until then to keep it fair for everyone.

In order to win the two free e-books I'm offering, just comment here on this blog post and I'll choose the winner at random like I've done in the past. I might be posting other things this weekend, but this post will be up forever. And please make sure to leave an e-mail address or let me know how I can contact you within the body of the comment. You can comment anonymously, too, and just leave the e-mail address. The winner will be contacted by me no later than November 7th.

Here's a link the main page for the blog hop.

Russian Cops Gay Porn; FREE Give-Away FREE Excerpt

Russian Cops; Gay Porn

Evidently, the treatment of gays gets even worse in Russia than what we read about in mainstream headlines. According to this article in Gay Star News, Russian cops were recently fired for filming gay prison porn scenes and what sounds like the alleged exploitation of prisoners and gay men. According to another article, two films were made, on cell phones, and uploaded online. One involved a drunken prisoner, the other a gay rape scene.

On both occasions, the officers were stood filming the scenes on their phones.

You can read more here.

The officers were fired last year, and charged with negligence and illegal production of pornographic materials, punishable with up to two years in prison.

However, they eventually got away with fines of between 25,000 rubles and 45,000 rubles ($790 and $1,420), the report said.

And more here.

It's hard to comment on this because there are so many different angles. But I do think it's interesting that there's a market for this kind of gay exploitation in Russia and I can't help wondering if that has something to do with the fact that the Russian government treats gays so poorly. In other words, the more taboo something is the more in demand it usually becomes. Frankly, I'd like to know more of the back story. But I doubt we'll get anything in detail on this topic from Russia.

FREE Give-Away FREE Excerpt

I'll be posting about a free give-away I'm doing this weekend with a romance marketing company, Personalized Marketing. It's actually a blog hop called Fall Into Romance, but I hate to call these things hops because they tend to freak readers out. It's really just a way for readers to get a chance to win a few prizes. All you have to do is check for my post later this evening and follow a few simple directions. There's also going to be an early bird contest today to win something for free. Read more to find out how to win a free e-book today.

From my inbox:

Early Bird Prize Contest...

Personalized Marketing is giving one lucky person who comments today only a choice of a Free eBook from one of the Guest List below. To be entered all you have to do is Comment today Oct 25th with the name of your Choice of Author and the Title you love the most!

The winner of the Early Bird will be announced the last day of the Blog Hop.. Good Luck and Have Fun!

As far as I know, and I didn't know about this early bird contest until a minute ago, you can click this link, leave a comment, and choose an author of your choice for a chance to win a free e-book. It's really a bonus prize for readers and no one knew about it until just this morning.

I'll keep updating, and look for my post later this evening about the main contest where I'll be giving away two free e-books from the Bad Boy Billionaire series. (Those books are also subject to change if the winner has already read happens and I'm flexible about those things :)

Free Excerpt: Glendora Hill's Sheriff and the Outlaw

This is from the first book in the new western romance series I'm doing for ravenous romance that's going to be set in the fictional Texas Hill Country town of Glendora Hill. The series, unlike any other I've done in the past, will have books that focus on the little town of Glendora Hill, and each book will be told from a different POV by one of the characters who live in Glendora Hill. This first book, The Sheriff and the Outlaw, is coming from Sebastian Holt's POV. He's a recently widowed young gay man, with a teenage son, very little money, and he's trying to start a new life in Glendora Hill on a limited budget. Many characters will be reappearing in each book. This excerpt, unlike most I post here on the blog, has been through one round of edits, but it's still in revision.

 Chapter Seven

On the Friday of Labor Day weekend, a dozen more round boxwoods arrived at nine in the morning from a local nursery. Sebastian was walking Kick to the front door at the time, and when he saw the nursery truck pull up to the curb he groaned, put his arm around Kick, and said, “I’m not looking forward to doing that today in this heat.” He also wasn’t looking forward to paying for the boxwoods either. His funds were running low and he knew he shouldn’t have ordered more shrubs until the saddle shop was open and money was coming in. But everything in Glendora Hill was so perfect and manicured he didn’t want his place to look dowdy. He’d even repainted the white porch swing one more time that week so it would be brighter and shinier than the others in town.

          “If you want to wait, Dad, I can do it when I get home from work tonight,” Kick said. This was the last weekend before school started that Kick would be working full time at the hardware store. After that, he would work part time, on weekends and a few days after school, which would mean his paycheck would be less. He’d been saving his paycheck at the local bank all summer, in a savings account Sebastian had encouraged him to start as a college fund. One of the things Dan and Sebastian had discussed before Dan’s death was that they both wanted Kick to go to college and make something of his life. Sebastian was determined to steer Kick in that direction no matter what it took.

          “I thought you were going to the movies again tonight with your friends,” Sebastian said, watching the older man remove the most perfect boxwoods he’d seen yet. At least he was getting his money’s worth. They were identical to the shrubs he’d already planted along the front porch.  

          “I don’t have to go,” Kick said. “I can hang around here with you tonight and plant these. I don’t mind.”

          Sebastian pulled Kick closer and said, “I want you to go out and have fun tonight. This is the last weekend before school starts. Trust me, you won’t be having that much fun a week from now. Besides, I don’t have that much to do anyway. I just dread digging holes in this heat.” There had been a heat wave passing through all week. It was supposed to break that night, and Sebastian was hoping the weather reports were accurate. The grand opening for the saddle shop was tomorrow and although the shop was air conditioned, he’d planned several of the events outside in the driveway under a huge white tent he’d rented.

          “You sure?” Kick said.

          Sebastian gave him a push forward and smiled. “Get moving or you’ll be late. I’ll see you later this evening.”

          Kick hugged him fast and started down the sidewalk. As he crossed the street, he sent Sebastian a glance and waved.

          “Have a good day,” Sebastian shouted, and then he went down to meet the guy from the nursery.

          After he paid the man, he went around back to get the wheel barrow and shovel from the garage. There was a small pile of mulch next to the side door of the garage that had been left over from the previous plantings out front. He was glad he’d ordered a few extra yards of mulch just in case. The pile next to the door looked to be just the right amount needed to finish the boxwoods that would flank both sides of the front walkway.

          This time he decided to wear gloves instead of using his bare hands. The last time he’d planted something he hadn’t worn them and the blisters on his palms lasted for over a week. He knew he’d seen a few old pairs of gardening gloves in the garage somewhere when he’d been placing his uncle’s personal belongings in storage, only he didn’t remember exactly where he’d seen them.

          He rummaged around the dusty old garage, pushing spider webs away, making mental notes about how this mess of a garage would be the next project he would tackle.  But when he shoved a few old terra cotta pots on a shelf to one side, he spotted a black shoebox with a white label taped to the side that read, “Sebastian.” The gardening gloves were on top of the old shoebox and he was surprised he hadn’t noticed the box earlier. He must have been too busy cleaning up to see it. So much of that summer had become a blur because he’d been so eager to get everything in order.

          He pulled the shoebox and the gloves off the shelf and sat down on a wooden stool next to a stack of boxes that contained mostly old clothing that had belonged to his uncle. He’d planned to donate them to the Methodist church in town, but not until he went through all the pockets. Then he removed the lid from the box and gaped as he looked inside. It seemed to be filled with old photos of him that he never even knew he’d posed for. They were photos of him from the time he started kindergarten until the day he graduated from high school. All of them had something written on the back that stated where they had been taken, the date they had been taken, and Sebastian’s age at the time they’d been taken. As Sebastian glanced from photo to photo, as if viewing a consolidated version of his childhood, he remained gutted and slack-jawed.

          Sebastian knew his parents hadn’t taken these photos and sent them to his uncle. First, they didn’t speak to the uncle, and second, his parents never took more than one or two photos of him in his life. They’d always been the practical types: they took photos at major life events like graduations and weddings, and not even then most of the time. But never photos of him playing in swings or running onto the baseball field when he’d been in Little League.

          At the very bottom of the box, Sebastian gasped and shook his head. The photos of him continued through his adult years. There were photos of him with Dan and Kick playing catch outside their trailer in Houston. There were photos of him with Dan and Kick putting up a trellis in a small section of property behind the trailer that caused Sebastian’s eyes to sting. The memory of that afternoon overwhelmed him to the point where he had to stop and take a deep breath. Most of the photos of his life with Dan were digital, and the few he did have he wasn’t in because he’d been taking the photos of Dan and Kick.

          When he finally viewed the last photo in the box, he returned it to the box, closed the lid, and set it on a large cardboard box so he would remember to bring it into the house when he was finished planting the shrubs. But he sat there for a few minutes trying to figure out why his uncle had taken those photos, and why he’d kept them hidden in a shoebox all these years.

          While he was digging and planting the shrubs, he realized inheriting the property in Glendora Hill hadn’t been an accident. If his uncle had been watching him from a distance all those years, he’d known what he was doing when he left everything in his estate to Sebastian. Although he dreaded the thought of doing this, he would have to phone his parents at the ranch to see if they knew anything. He figured they would be the only people who might have a clue.

          But he had too many other things to deal with that Friday, and digging shrubs was more important than digging up the past. By the time he finished spreading a final layer of mulch around the last boxwood with a rusted old pitchfork, he heard a car pull up to the curb and a man said, “Looking good.”

          He turned and smiled before he even knew who it was. When he saw the sheriff smiling back at him, he said, “I do my best, sheriff.” He was only wearing a pair of basketball shorts and running shoes because of the heat. He had a feeling the sheriff was looking at everything but the shrubs he’d just planted.

          “Not bad for an outlaw,” the sheriff said. “And you can call me Avery. Sheriff makes me sound so much older and meaner.”

          Sebastian doubted the man had a mean cell in his entire body. He stuck the pitchfork in the grass and said, “And you can call me Sebastian instead of outlaw. That makes me sound shady and sinister.”

          Avery smiled and shook his head. “I have a feeling you can be sinister when you want to be.”

          Sebastian could tell by his tone he was joking. “I have my moments. Will I see you tomorrow at the grand opening? It wouldn’t be the same without the local sheriff here.”

          Avery put the car in gear and said, “Oh, you can count on it.” Then he tipped his cowboy hat, hit the gas, and made a U-turn toward the other end of town.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fifty Shades Lead Jamie Dornan; Matt Bomer Might Have Made History?

Fifty Shades Lead Jamie Dornan; Matt Bomer Might Have Made History?

I recently mentioned that Charlie Hunnam had backed out of the lead role in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. When Hunnam was first chosen to play the lead the fandom heavens opened up and thousands of people protested the choice. Hunnam eventually backed out stating work schedule conflicts. I also read (link below) he was only getting paid $125,000 to play the part, which is significantly lower than most leading men. So far, the new choice of the hour seems to be Jamie Dornan.

Dornan was among the actors shortlisted for the part after Hunnam bowed out almost two weeks ago, with some reports labeling him the frontrunner. Others speculated that "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgard was the top choice, while Theo James ("Golden Boy," "Divergent"), Christian Cooke (U.K.'s "Where the Heart Is," "Magic City") and Scott Eastwood ("Chicago Fire") almost emerged as contenders.

According to this article, filming is supposed to begin in November and they are talking about an August 2014 release date. So it looks as if Matt Bomer, the main choice to play Christian with Fifty Shades fandom, is out of the question. There's never been a set reason why Bomer isn't playing the lead and it could be he doesn't want to play the part. Fifty Shades has not only been a bestselling novel that made publishing history for many reasons, it's also been one of the most hated books in years as a result of some of those reasons. (I liked it; don't e-mail me)

But that doesn't seem to have stopped Bomer fans, at least not according to this next article in Variety. The piece goes on to state that Bomer could have made film history had he been chosen to play the part, but I think that's debatable.

But all those actors primarily work in television. The fact remains that in the year 2013, there is still not a consistent leading gay man or woman on the big screen. Hollywood is still trying to catch up to the BuzzFeed generation, which doesn’t discriminate when it comes to a heartthrob’s sexual orientation. Hopefully, one day soon, a gay actor will crack that glass ceiling.

The reason I think this is debatable is because Matt Bomer would not have made history as a gay man playing a straight lead role. Rock Hudson and hundreds of leading men before Bomer have already proven that gay men can play straight lead roles. The key word here is that Bomer would have made history because he would have been the first OPENLY gay man to play a straight leading role. And as a gay man and an openly gay author I think that calls for debate.

And, if the person who wrote that article in Variety had even been slightly aware of how many women read gay romance...the same type of reader who read Fifty Shades of Grey...they wouldn't have been surprised at how many fans lobbied for Bomer to play Christian. One more proof of evidence that the mainstream media is highly out of touch with what people are doing these days, as is Hollywood.

As a fan of Fifty Shades the books, I can't say that I'm disappointed to hear about Dornan playing Christian. I think he'll not only do the part justice, but I think he has the perfect look for the BDSM parts.

Photo Attribution

American Horror Story: Bestiality, Incest, Pedophilia...Huh?

American Horror Story: Bestiality, Incest, Pedophilia...Huh?

For the past couple of weeks I've been posting about my own experiences with censorship at retail web sites where e-books are sold like Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords. These web sites started censoring self-published e-books thanks to an article in a questionable UK publication called The Kernel. The self-published e-books targeted allegedly contained topics like rape, incest, bestiality, pedophilia, and other topics most romance publishers will not publish. As a result, several web sites removed all self-pubbed titles to suss out the e-books with "taboo" topics. One web site even shut down. Amazon started clearing out their "taboo" topics through search engines, and e-books without the said "taboo" topics were removed for no reason, and without a viable explanation. And guess what I saw last night on American Horror Story: bestiality, incest, and pedophilia.

This article I'm linking to now discusses American Horror Story in an almost light-hearted way. If an author of erotic romance were to do this he/she would be slammed from one end of the Internet to the other.

Death, incest, bestiality, the gang's all here!

We're sure this is going to be a weekly occurence, but American Horror Story: Coven had its most insane outing yet on Oct. 23 with "The Replacements," which found Supreme witch Fiona (Jessica Lange) making her first big kill of the season in an attempt to protect her witchy throne. Plus, the recently-resurrected Kyle (Evan Peters) finally spoke and one of the girls got a little too close to the Minotaur monster for our comfort. Seriously, does anyone have brain soap?!

I did see the show last night and I just sat there watching it wondering how the fuck they can get away with all this on TV and authors like me who don't even go near "taboo" topics like that have been dealing with the worst brand of censorship since PayPal in 2012. I'm not judging American Horror Story and I'm not judging authors, publishers, or e-books that contain these "taboo" topics. However, I am questioning the actions of the large retail web sites where e-books are sold who made these recent mass sweeps of all books without taking into consideration that many of the books in question never violated one single guideline. I had a book removed from Amazon titled, "Internal Desires," and the reason why it was removed was because of words like "young" in the book description. And the characters in that book were all well over the legal age limit and it contained nothing that's considered "taboo." This week I had a book titled, "Young Doughy Joey," taken down at another web site for the same reason. It contained nothing "taboo."

So in their quest to censor the "taboo" topics all authors are now targets of retail web sites where e-books are sold, innocent words like young have become "taboo," and we've basically entered a police state where freedom of speech means nothing anymore.

And the most ironic thing of all is bestiality, incest, pedophilia, and other "taboo" topics are now being treated lightly on television and no one seems to find any fault in that at all. As I said, I'm not judging American Horror Story. They have every right to do what they want. But when I saw one scene where one character lifted her dress, crudely shoved her fingers between her legs, and invited some kind of half man half beast to have sex with her I cringed for several reasons. One, I cringed for the actress. She's not very good, and that scene seemed to diminish her even more. Two, I cringed because the producer of the show took advantage of a young woman's need for love and turned it into something disgusting with an animal. Three, because it took the character completely out of context. And four, because television shows like American Horror Story make millions of dollars and small self-published authors who don't write about bestiality, incest, and pedophilia, and who struggle to make ends meet just to pay for copy editors, can't even use words like young anymore without fearing their books will be censored by Amazon, Kobo, or Smashwords.

It will be interesting to see how this all turns out with e-books. And even more interesting to see what "taboo" topic Ryan Murphy will sensationalize and diminish next.

Photo of Mr. Murphy, here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Amazon Shipping Up, PayPal Shipping Down; Gay Couple Found Dead

Amazon Shipping Up, PayPal Shipping Down

It was announced yesterday and good old Amazon, king of us all, is now raising the free shipping eligibility from $25.00 or more to $35.00 or more. And this comes right before the holiday season.

While Amazon doesn't detail why it chose to increase the order minimum, the decision could be a matter of increased shipping costs and an interest in positioning its Prime service as a more attractive option.

I once ordered book plates from Amazon that cost about $6.00. To have them shipped Amazon, king of us all, charged me $12.00.

You can read more here.

PayPal, on the other hand, sent out e-mails today stating that they are doing a new Free 2-day shipping thing.

 From my inbox:

Congratulations! For a limited time, as a valued PayPal member, you qualify for free 2-day shipping at some of the nation’s most popular retailers. Simply pay with PayPal to automatically receive free 2-day shipping on your next purchase.
Faster shipping just got easier.
- No minimum purchase, no fees, no coupon codes or hidden charges
- Check out with PayPal to automatically receive free 2-day shipping
Act now because this offer is only available for a limited time at select merchants!

I actually do use PayPal often because I get paid by several publishers outside the US through PayPal to save time and money on checking and snail mail.

It's interesting to note that Amazon, king of us all, does NOT allow customers to use PayPal as a preferred means of payment.

I highly suggest, from many years of Internet shopping, you stay as far away from Amazon as possible and check out all the other web sites that are available and perfectly safe to use nowadays. I just ordered something from and they now have an even more secure method of payment. And I purchased my iPad directly from and got the best deal around (even better than with a friend's discount who works for Apple), the shipping was free, and the product arrived within two days at my front door.

I just hope I get to see the FTC checking Amazon out, sooner rather than later, and not only with regard to their fake book review policy.

Gay Couple Found Dead

They are calling this a freak accident, and it truly is one of the worst I've ever heard. A gay couple who were arguing slipped and fell to their deaths at a construction site as a result.

When they leaned against a wooden barrier, they fell into the basement area. This is where they died. Meads’ father Stephen said the police had told the family the deaths were a ‘freak accident’ and were not considering taking action against the development company. -

You can read more here at Gay Star News.