Friday, February 28, 2014

Gay NFL PLayers; FREE Gay Excerpt: Second Chance Four

Gay NFL Players

This isn't something too shocking. But it's newsworthy in the sense that straight men are often stereotyped and people don't even realize they are doing it. In other words, big, strong NFL players are supposed to be straight and follow certain stereotypes. Some people expect this, and when they find out that this stereotype is as far off as any other they usually do wind up in shock. Retired football star, Deion Sanders, proves my point in this article.

'He's not the first gay guy in the NFL!' Sanders told Hall. 'He's the first one to come out, let's get that straight. Every team I've played on, there was someone...we always knew. But he was cool. That was our boy. We had to look out for him. Every team I've played on - five different teams - there was someone gay in the locker room.'

My bet would be on more gays in the NFL...or any pro sports team...we didn't know about, and still don't know about. And I don't think in this case the focus should be on the gay man anymore, or at least not totally. I'm starting to think the focus should be more on how we, as a society, stereotype straight men and fit them into a neat little mold they can't break away from.

You can read more here.

FREE Gay Excerpt: Second Chance Four

This Friday I'm putting up a raw excerpt from my newest release, which I'll have out by next week, Second Chance: The Sweetest Apple. As with all of the novellas in the second chance series, this one is 27,000 words. It's also a love story with a romance that doesn't always work out the way it should. And yet in the end, I still want each story to have a happy ending. Remember this is raw...not completely edited for the final e-book. But at this point nothing in the storyline is subject to change.

Here's the blurb:

Thanks to a choice Matty made in the past, he's living the life of his dreams. He and his partner, Archie, own a chain of French restaurants, a mansion in New Orleans, and have more money than they could ever spend. As one of the most respected gay power couples in the country, they're a team that can't be beaten on the surface.

But deep down they can't even stand being in the same room together. It's reached a point that's so bad they live separate lives under the same roof for the sake of appearances. If they ever decided to split up it could ruin everything they've worked so hard to build.

Then one night while Matty is out sneaking around on his own discreetly, the unthinkable happens and he winds up in the last place he ever thought he would. There he's reminded of the one true part of his life he's been trying to forget for years, and then given the opportunity to change the outcome of his life one last time.

In this fourth installment of the Second Chance series, The Sweetest Apple, there are no guarantees and Matty could wind up reliving a loveless life and repeating the same mistakes all over again. It could also take a different turn, and this time Matty could alter his course. But will he know enough to take advantage of this before it's too late?    

This is from Chapter One:

If Matty Allan lived to be one hundred years old he would never get used to the stifling summertime heat in New Orleans. When he moved there twenty years earlier fresh out of culinary school to work in a brand new restaurant, he thought he’d get used to it. All these years later, from at least May until October, he still found himself walking around the house wearing nothing at all, or a flimsy pair of the sheerest cotton underwear he owned.

Matty’s partner of twenty years, Archie Bartholomew, often frowned in Matty’s direction on hot days. Sometimes he even shook his head and made a face that resembled a cross between a cringe and a foul taste. Archie and Matty now owned a chain of exclusive French restaurants and Archie took pride in his image and the image associated with all that he’d worked so hard to build. The restaurant chain, La Bon Auberge, had been featured globally in the best cookery publications. They’d won culinary awards, had been featured on television nationwide, and had published over one dozen French cookbooks. Celebrities, politicians, and the most privileged had been seen dining at La Bon Auberge, from Los Angeles to Washington, D. C., which created such a demand the waiting list for reservations in any given city was over two months long. And when Archie’s partner walked around naked or in sweat stained underwear around the house Archie often left snide remarks or impudent suggestions about the difference between what he thought of as crude and proper behavior for people who had obtained a certain position in life.

On one hot Monday morning in August, Matty loped into the kitchen wearing nothing but a sheer cotton cloth around his waist. The cloth rode so low along his lower abdomen traces of his pubic hair appeared right above the bulge between his legs. Archie was sitting at the kitchen table sipping tea in his crisp white polo shirt and light blue cotton shorts. He took one look at the way Matty looked and said, “The lawn man is here today. Maybe you should at least put on a robe.”

Matty reached for a packet of coffee above the expensive coffee maker he still couldn’t figure out and rolled his eyes. He didn’t feel like arguing with Archie that morning. It was too hot. Even though the big old mansion had central air-conditioning, the units were all installed in the attic above the third floor and the kitchen and most of the first floor remained the hottest rooms in the house. Those old homes had not been designed for central air-conditioning, but whenever Matty suggested they put small window units in the downstairs rooms Archie would make a face and tell him, “That would look terrible,” in a dismissive tone.

Archie took another sip of tea and said, “The lawn man might see you walking around that way through the window and wonder. You know how people talk.”

While the coffee started to drip into Matty’s mug, he reached for a bottle of vodka he kept on a shelf next to the coffee packets and said, “I’m sure the lawn man will live. Besides, it’s not the first time he’s seen me naked. Last week I went swimming naked in the pool while he was trimming the boxwoods. He didn’t care. I think he likes seeing me naked.” He’d caught the lawn man watching him swim naked in the pool. The guy had been jacking off in the bushes. He knew this would make Archie’s face turn red.

Archie glared at the bottle of vodka and made another face. “Isn’t it a little early for that?”

Matty turned to face him, lifted the bottle, and twirled it around a few times. “It’s never too early, baby, especially not here in happy house.” Then, in a move he knew would really make Archie turn red, he set the bottle down, yanked off the towel, and scratched his crotch in such a vulgar, obnoxious way even he felt a little trashy doing it.

He was also standing in front of the kitchen window, and the lawn guy was right outside the window trimming a juniper into a cone shape. Matty made no attempt to cover his private parts or move away from the window. The lawn guy just stood there with a set of manual sheers gaping at him. Matty didn’t mind the attention from another man. Besides, Archie never looked at him that way anymore. Although Matty was forty-two, he still had the body of a young man. He spent four days a week working out at the gym, he ate less as each year passed, and he knew he could still get as much attention as he wanted when he was naked. But more than that, he knew aggressive men loved him. He’d known this all his life.

Archie stood up, carried his cup and saucer to the sink, and turned the water on so he could rinse them before he put them into the dishwasher. This act of anal retention set Matty’s nerves on edge and he felt like slamming the dishwasher door shut on Archie’s hand. These little things that had only bothered him slightly in the past had turned into silent urges of violence Matty fought to control. But more than that, the satisfaction he would have received if he’d really slammed the nasty fucker’s hand was almost too magical to describe.

It didn’t take long for Archie to notice the lawn man outside the kitchen window. It took even less time for the lawn man to see Archie. The lawn man’s eyes opened wide and he turned fast so he could work on another part of the property.

Matty took the mug with two thirds of coffee and poured in one third of vodka to top it off. As he crossed to the kitchen table he laughed and said, “See what you did. You scared that poor man away. You’re no fun at all. You could have watched him fuck me.”

“You disgust me,” Archie said, turning away from him.

Matty swallowed a large gulp of coffee, and then laughed. He was sitting on the thick glass kitchen table now, leaning back on one elbow, with his flaccid penis resting across the upper part of his right thigh. “Why whatever did I do to disgust you so? I’m sorry if I’m not as perfect as you’d like me to be.”

“You’re a whore,” Archie said, in a deadpan tone. “Just a low rent common whore and you belong in the gutter.”

Matty grabbed his dick and said, “Compliments won’t get you anywhere, handsome. You know what I want.” He spread his legs and his hand went down his crotch. When his middle finger reached his anus, he lifted on leg higher and said, “Fuck me, right here on the table. I dare you.”

“You were trash when I met you, you’re trash now, and you’ll be nothing but trash for the rest of your life,” Archie said. “I wouldn’t come near you for all the money in the world.”

“And we all know how much you care about money.” Matty was only goading him. He knew Archie wouldn’t fuck him on the kitchen table, or anywhere else in the house. They’d stopped fucking a long time ago and Archie either didn’t have sex at all anymore or he’d found a discreet way to find pleasure no one knew about.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Prince Harry's Army Bud; 50 Shades 100M Sold; African American Pastors Attack Obama

Prince Harry's Army Bud

James Wharton, author of bestselling Out in the Army, was up for an award with Out in the City Magazine and he backed out, graciously, to offer his support to someone else.

But now he has pulled out and thrown his support to British Army Major Damian Jenkins.

He credits Jenkins, an openly gay doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corps, with making the top ranks of the armed forces more LGBTI-friendly.

Wharton told GSN: ‘I was at the very bottom of the ranks, I was a trooper. He is an officer. ‘He is in circles that are quite right wing in their attitudes and about how the military should be.

We done, Sir!!

You can read more here.

Amazon link to Out in the Army, above. Here's the blurb:

Seeking escape from the quiet Welsh countryside, James Wharton joined the British Army. Along the way, he faced a battle of his own: finding the courage to tell his fellow soldiers he is gay.

Written with searing honesty, James charts his incredible journey from punch bag to poster boy, along the way describing the tribulations of coming to terms with his sexuality. Late nights in the clubs of Soho to early mornings guarding the Queen; rocket attacks in Iraq to tank rides with Prince Harry on the plains of Canada—this is James's life out in the army.

50 Shades 100M Sold

This is interesting. Fifty Shades of Grey is now the fastest selling book in Random House history. Sales are huge in the US and globally. I'll show how I predicted this months before 50 Shades even started to sell, below.

Global sales are just as staggering. Arrow Books has sold more than 27 million copies in the U.K. (and Commonwealth countries), and one million copies or more in Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, and The Netherlands. The trilogy has been translated into 51 different languages, including Russian, Hebrew, Thai, Serbian, Mongolian, Icelandic, Latvian, Korean, Lithuanian, and Slovak.

And to think I posted about it here months before the mainstream even knew about it. And that's all thanks to a book review that tore it to shreds. The theme of my post was that FS looked interesting to me (at the time) and I didn't like the way it had been reviewed. I was posting as a blogger, not an author. I have that right to freedom of speech as a blogger. I didn't think the review was fair. I still don't. The post I'm talking about is here.

Excerpt from my post:

All this aside, after I read the review I went to Amazon to check out reader reviews for the book in question. Huzzah! The largest percentage of customer reviews on Amazon for this book were five star rave reviews. There were a handful of three star reviews. And one or two one star reviews. (Update 2-2014: The book is Fifty Shades of Grey)

This puzzles me deeply. If all these people on Amazon can read a book and give it rave reviews, how am I supposed to take a "professional" book reviewer seriously? Years ago we didn't have any choice. Amazon didn't have customer reviews and we were subjected to the tastes and choices of book reviewers in print periodicals. In other words, the book reviewer's opinion had more influence on our purchases. This isn't the case any longer. We now have to vet reviewers as well as books.

I also point out in my older post how sometimes bad reviews do, indeed, help sell books. It's the main reason why I bought FS, and probably countless others as well.

I also think this is a good example of karma working at its best.

You can read more here.

African American Pastors Attack Obama

I think most of us know that anything too heavily bible related or too deeply rooted in old time religion is not going to be pro gay. And now a group of African American pastors are attacking the President and asking for the Attorney General's impeachment.

CAAP president the Rev. William Owens attacked Obama and Holder in an interview with The Hill on Tuesday in which he said Obama would not have been able to get away with what he is doing around gay marriage if he were white.

‘If Obama was a white man, he would be impeached,’ Owens told The Hill. ‘Obama has been given a free pass to do what he pleases, but I don't give him a pass. I'm very black, been black all my life. He doesn't get a pass. I don't give him a pass.’

‘He will go down in history as the worst attorney general,’ Owens said of Holder. So far the group has been able to collect a little over 12,000 signatures.

‘The President and his administration are trampling the rule of law,’ the group said in justifying its petition drive.

You can read more here.

"Looking" is Renewed; Paula Deen on Michael Sam; Eric Himan on Arizona Gay Hate Law

Looking is Renewed

HBO gay TV show, Looking, was recently renewed, according to this article. As the show has progressed, the ratings have continued to spite of some negative reviews I'll never understand. Sometimes viewers make the strongest statement, and in this case it's with higher ratings. In my own small way I've posted positive things, and I've tried to pass it on to all the readers I know who love to read m/m romance. (I'm not sure how, but you can watch online, too.)

Nick Hall, the HBO executive behind the show, told GSN at the same event: 'Each of our shows that we do are kind of designed to meet certain expectations. Of course you always want your show to be seen by as many people as possible but I do think it's been really critically revered and it's a show that people are talking about in a good way.'

You can read more here. It's been critically welcomed by all the people I know. And I know I've said this before. But last week's episode turned out to be another story with which I could personally relate in more than one way. They talk about engagement and marriage so casually now. It's refreshing.

Paula Deen on Michael Sam

In what sounds like it's coming from an alternate universe because it's hard to parse at a glance, Paula Deen is trying to make a comeback by comparing herself to Michael Sam. Sam is an openly gay football player who recently came out. Deen was involved in a scandal last summer where it was disclosed she used the N word. She doesn't refer to Michael Sam by name, at least not according to this article.

Deen tells People magazine in a story out today: 'I feel like "embattled" or "disgraced" will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out.'

There's something convoluted about this. Michael Sam never used racist language or did anything wrong, at least not that I've heard. Michael Sam is not embattled or disgraced. If anything Michael Sam has become a hero to many. So how Deen could even compare her situation with his doesn't even make sense. (Too much butter.)

You can read more here, where they go into more detail about the comparison.

Maybe Deen could make her comeback and change the negatives associated with her name if she became a gay activist.

Eric Himan on Arizona Gay Hate Law

Gay singer, Eric Himan, wrote a song about the discriminatory bill in Arizona that will allow business owners to refuse business to gay customers based on the owner's religious beliefs.

 He quickly wrote a song called Not Going Anywhere Tonight, made a video and posted it on YouTube.

 'I couldn't take it,' he writes on the YouTube page. 'I had to write this song and put it out there. I urge everyone to take it seriously. Bills like this could easily find its way across our country.'

'In just a few short hours I wrote Not Going Anywhere Tonight, a soulful musical message to the Arizona Legislature.'

You can read more here, with links to where you can listen to the song.

The people affected by this law in Arizona are infinite.

Update: The Governor of Arizona vetoed the bill last night.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Texas Ban Unconstitutional; Heidi Cullinan on Promotion/Marketing

Texas Ban Unconstitutional

In Texas a federal judge ruled the ban against same sex marriage unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia based his decision on "Supreme Court precedent."

“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” Garcia wrote in the order. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”

You can read more here.

It's definitely a milestone, but also it still feels like the tiniest baby steps.

Heidi Cullinan on Promotion/Marketing

I found a short, interesting blog post the other day by m/m author, Heidi Cullinan that I think affects all authors in all genres nowadays. And indirectly, publishers and readers. Cullinan discusses the way authors have to market and promote these days, and also the frustrations that often go along with it. It's actually a shared post from another blog, which is stated up front.

I strive to lift awareness of not just my work but works like mine, the whole LGBT romance pool, but even that is not the main purpose of why I’m here. I like to thank bloggers with ad purchases and guest posts and ARCs. I’ve made a forum for fans to chat, and if you link/@ reply me on social media and I’m able to see it, I’ll do my best to reply or at least like your post. I don’t buy reviews. I don’t ask people to buy books on a certain day at a certain hour at a certain place to game the system. I don’t send mass invites to “events” on Goodreads or Facebook.

I think what she's saying is what many of us try to do. She also mentions the pressure all authors are feeling now to market and promote even harder...if that's possible to do. (Where do you cross the line?)

In any event, the post touches on a lot of feelings we all have. You can check it out here. I often find myself shunning more aggressive approaches to marketing on a daily basis.

Side note: The post is on a review web site I didn't know was around until recently, Live Your Life, Buy the Book. From what I can see, it's fast, it's detailed, and simple to navigate. And I don't think they've ever actually reviewed me so no hidden agenda on this end. My biggest fail is in submitting books to reviewers. I just feel awkward doing it.

Alec Baldwin Article New York Magazine; Gay Marriage Gains Support; Oscar Poll & Judy's Kids

Alec Baldwin Article New York Magazine

Last summer seemed to be the perfect proverbial storm for celebrity mishaps with regard to questionable statements and comments. I posted about Alec Baldwin here several times, and about Paula Deen, here. Since then, both have been dealing with fallout from these incidents. And now Alec Baldwin has an article coming out next week in New York Magazine explaining himself in detail, with a few interesting observations that are hard to ignore.

'Am I a homophobe? Look, I work in show business. I am awash in gay people, as colleagues and as friends. I’m doing Rock of Ages one day, making out with Russell Brand. Soon after that, I’m advocating with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Cynthia Nixon for marriage equality. I’m officiating at a gay friend’s wedding. I’m not a homophobic person at all. But this is how the world now sees me.'

However, even in this article he's been branded politically incorrect once again because he used the word "Tranny."

He writes about an LGBTI group he met with in Hawaii shortly after the photographer incident and starts a sentence this way: 'One young man, an F-to-M tranny … '

 Tranny is considered an offensive term when referring to transgender people.

That's questionable. I've posted about "tranny" as a word or reference here in the past, with examples of how the word is still a huge part of gay culture in some places and many do not take offense to it. Here's what I posted about. This quote comes from Babe Trust, a professional drag performer in Brooklyn.

Tranny means different things to different people. Do I know some people who feel more comfortable with explaining their gender and sexuality as "tranny"? Yes. Its that okay?

By one "community" effectively silencing and oppressing another to "not say" certain words or be so untrusting of people that you believe that everything comes from a place of violence, is sad.

If someone identifies as "tranny," the people who attack the term as offensive are oppressing the people who have a valid claim over the term.

My only comments are now that a lot of this mess with Baldwin has settled is that he might be TOO familiar with the gay community. He seems to know the terms/jargon well enough. When he got slammed for calling Anderson Cooper "a toxic little queen" he really didn't say anything most of the gay people I know personally don't say regularly (not about Cooper, in general). Does that make these gay people homophobes? Is there yet another double standard? Gay men refer to each other as "queens" often, and sometimes in endearing ways that mean no offense, and no offense is usually taken. Trust me, it's not the first or last time Anderson Cooper has been or will be called a "queen" in the gay community.

Baldwin is also being scorned in the article for a small slam against pundit/entertainer Rachel Maddow.

'I think Rachel Maddow is quite good at what she does,' he writes. 'I also think she’s a phony who doesn’t have the same passion for the truth off-camera that she seems to have on the air.'

I've never been a fan of Maddow, or her brand of million dollar pundit fakery. But I'm no fan of any pundit who gets paid millions of dollars to sway public opinion in either direction, liberal or conservative. I just don't like them and would never trust them. And I think they are fakes, too, all of them. Think Rush Limbaugh.

I personally don't use the words Baldwin used, like tranny or queen. Not in public or in private. As a writer I know how powerful words can be and how often misconceptions can be drawn...especially in these politically correct times we're living in right now. I don't think Baldwin is a homophobe either, not after reading some of the things I've read from him in the past six months. Calling him homophobic for using the wrong words and terms just doesn't make sense, considering the scope of his life and his past experience. The real homophobes in places like Arizona who want to discriminate against gays by turning them away from public places don't use any offensive words or terms in public, but they're still homophobes of the worst kind. The religious folks who refused to make a gay wedding cake recently didn't use the words, Tranny, Fag, or Queer.

I do think Baldwin is guilty of not being able to play the game as public personality as well as someone like Rachel Maddow, which is a shame. But then again, there's a reason why MSNBC ratings are so painfully dismal.

You can read more here.

Gay Marriage Gains Support

Many polls have been suggesting there's been a rise in support for gay marriage, but this is the first I've seen that actually goes into more detail. Some of the results are even surprising.

A survey by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute released today (26 February) shows some 53% of 4,509 Americans support same-sex weddings, compared to 32% in 2003.
This is the most interesting part for many:
Jews were its biggest supporters with 83% positive feedback, followed by 58% of white Roman Catholics and 56% of Hispanic Catholics. Some 46% of Hispanic Protestants favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Most practicing Catholics Tony and I know not only support same sex marriage, they all know or are related to someone who is gay. That's just a personal observation, not anything scientific. We also know many gay Catholics.
I hope all the folks over at social media check this out when they start slamming all Catholics. I get really sick and tired of it sometimes.  
Oscar Poll
This is interesting about the Oscars. There's a survey that says most Americans haven't even seen best picture nominees yet.
It may be one of the best years in recent memory for high-quality Hollywood film, but two-thirds of Americans have yet to see any of the movies nominated for the best picture Oscar, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday.
To be honest, we haven't seen any yet. We barely have time for a social life so we don't put going to the movies as top priority anymore. Plus, we either stream or rent movies on demand these days. If there's a choice between sitting in my own comfortable home and watching a film or sitting in a cramped seat next to someone who is sneezing and coughing, I'll choose the former. The odds are we will see the films nominated eventually, at least some of them. But not before the Oscars. And, not because they were nominated or won an Oscar.
Side note: Here's a link for those interested in Judy Garland's children doing some kind of tribute to Garland at the Oscars.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Extent of AZ SB 1062; Cutting Aid to Uganda; LinkedIn for Publishing

Extent of AZ SB 1062

I'm sure most have heard about Arizona law, SB 1062, but like me most don't know the extent of this law and how many it could affect. Or what the ramifications could be.

I'm not even going to try to paraphrase all this. It's something that could be a legal mess if AZ Gov. Jan Brewer doesn't veto it this week.

Second, SB 1062 does much more than ADF admits. Businesses of course must comply with state and local law. SB 1062 radically expands RFRA’s limit on government action to include action by private parties that are merely complying with the law.

That means that if an employee believes his employer’s compliance with a local law would violate the employee’s religious beliefs, SB 1062 allows the employee to sue the employer.

You can read more here.

The most startling thing about this law for many is that it's using religion to base a state law in a country with a firm stand that has always separated church and state.

It should be interesting to see what Gov. Brewer does. Aside from everything else, this could be the defining moment in her entire political career.

Cutting Aid to Uganda

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda signed a bill that would allow gays to be jailed for life. As a result, several countries have aggressively stated they will cut AID to Uganda.

Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands have become the first countries to either redirect aid away from the Ugandan Government or freeze aid.

The Netherlands froze $9.6 million in aid to Uganda’s legal system, saying that if Uganda’s courts were to enforce the country’s new harsh laws further criminalizing homosexuality then they did not want to assist that process.

Denmark and Norway have also said they both planned to redirect around $8.5 million in aid, to a combined total of $17 million, away from the Ugandan Government – with that money instead going to Non-Government Organizations and human rights groups in Uganda

US Secretary of State John Kerry stated the US will do a full review now, too.

You can read more here.

LinkedIn for Publishing

I'm usually a big fan of the old phrase never say never these days as so many things continue to change in publishing. I posted a while back on LinkedIn and how I wasn't a member because I always thought of it as more of a place where people in business, mostly corporate, went to network. However, I recently joined after I got a few requests from other publishing professionals I know...including two agents and several authors. I'm not certain, but this might be the reason why.

LinkedIn is opening its publishing platform to all its members. Last week, the platform was opened to about 25,000 users. More will be added gradually until every member has publishing privileges. Multiple languages will also be supported when the service is fully implemented.

Until recently, the ability to publish articles was reserved for well-known leaders like Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, and Richard Branson. With publishing privileges being opened to all members soon, LinkedIn can become a place where you build your brand and share your expertise too.

I haven't looked into it much yet, but I will check it down the line and post more.

You can read more here.

J. K. Rowling Gets Slammed; Shame on Davey Wavey; Eric Holder on Marriage Bans

J.K. Rowling Gets Slammed

(Update, below)

An unknown novelist/copywriter, Lynn Shepherd, wrote a post in Huff Po recently and titled it "If J.K. Rowling Cares About Writing She Should Stop Doing It." I think this might be a way for a desperate unknown to get attention, and the article might have been geared this way on purpose, to garner comments. I've been seeing a lot of that lately with the entitlement set, usually in Huff Po, and it's really getting tired. But even if that's not what this is, it's one of the most pointless pieces I've ever read. And also a good example of what not to do if you're trying to build a name as a writer. Notice I didn't say author. I said writer.

She discloses she didn't read anything Potter, but then she gets into The Casual Vacancy.

It wasn't just that the hype was drearily excessive, or that (by all accounts) the novel was no masterpiece and yet sold by the hundredweight, it was the way it crowded out everything else, however good, however worthwhile. That book sucked the oxygen from the entire publishing and reading atmosphere.

The Casual Vacancy did get a lot of attention, and rightly so. It was so far out of Rowling's typical genre everyone was curious. It also got a lot more criticism than most books, and for reasons I didn't think were fair. I reviewed it here not long after it was released. I also mentioned in the review I'd never read anything in the Potter series because it's not my genre. Frankly, I was amazed at how well written TCV was. I hadn't expected this, and to me it confirmed that J.K. Rowling is more than an author. She's a writer.

From my five star review, excerpt:

What some readers have commented on is that there's a dark side to this book, and I just didn't see that. There's a realistic side. I saw that very plainly. But I didn't see all the darkness and gloom. Like I said, it's real and sometimes it's intense. And sometimes there's some wit and humor worked into the book when you don't expect it. It's also gossipy in the way many small towns are. But I just didn't see all that darkness and gloom others talked about.

After a few more comments about TCV, Shepherd then comments on Rowling's mystery, The Cuckoo's Calling. I didn't read that one, again, it's not my genre. For those who don't know, Rowling released TCC with a pen name, and some lawyer's wife leaked the truth about Rowling being the author and Rowling wound up suing, winning and donating the money to charity. In her quest to criticize Rowling for being successful, Shepherd doesn't mention this in detail.

In any event, the point of Shepherd's post is that thanks to Rowling other unheard of writers like Shepherd get lost in the proverbial shuffle and don't get any attention because Rowling is still getting it all. Shepherd suggests Rowling should retire now that she's made her fortune and give other writers, like Shepherd a chance at their shot for fortune and fame. It's a dumb point to make. And clearly Shepherd isn't aware of the fact that not all writers are in this for money and fame. We're not all out there trying to compete with Rowling or anyone else. We're writing because that's what we do. That's what we love. And if fortune and fame come along, fine. But if they don't we'll still love what we do.

Shepherd, unfortunately, seems to be looking for a brass ring that may or may not exist. She seems to express a sense of entitlement...that she deserves her fame and fortune and Rowling is getting in her way. It's a vulgar attitude at best. Rowling, in the other hand, has proven that she's more than an author. She's a writer who can hop genres and I would imagine write on any topic in any genre she wants. In other words, even if she didn't have fame and fortune, as a writer she could still mop the floors with the likes of Lynn Shepherd.

The problem these days with a lot of "authors" I see is that they're doing it for all the wrong reasons.

You can read the entire diatribe here.

Update: I was curious. Shepherd is a trad published writer. Web Site here. According to her bio page, she also has a strong background in public relations. To her credit, it all looks highly legitimate and the web site is well executed.

Shame on Davey Wavey

This isn't recent, but I found it interesting from a cultural POV. There's a blogger on Youtube who goes by the name Gay Family Values and he once made a video slamming Davey Wavey.

Ok, so I hate making videos attacking other YouTubers but I have had a bad day and the last thing I needed was for a Gay YouTuber to block me and remove a comment about equality. Today I logged on to YouTube to
see who had posted videos and I came across a new video from Wickedkewl = Davey Wavey. The title of the video was: "Ask A Hot Straight Boy". I left a comment: "Davey I am disapointed that you didn't make a video about Maine today". Davey's response to remove the comment and block me from his channel. WTF?

No comment from me. I expect serious, intelligent social and political comments from Davey Wavey like I expect Pat Robertson to marry Rush Limbaugh. And Davey Wavey never has portrayed himself as anything more than a pop culture figure who works hard to create his own brand of parody many find amusing. I also would never try to contact him because flighty superficial gay men like Davey Wavey tend to live in their own trumped up world and he would just ignore me. It would be a waste of my time. In other words, it makes no sense to take him seriously.

You can check out the video here. I also recommend checking out more Gay Family Values if you haven't seen it yet. I think it represents a segment of the LGBTI community we don't see often.

Eric Holder on Marriage Bans

Eric Holder is the most important law enforcement officer in the US. And his recent comment to attorney generals in many states about not having to defend marriage bans basically says what most courts have found, which is marriage bans with regard to equality are unconstitutional.

U.S Attorney General Eric Holder today issued guidance to state attorneys general on same-sex marriage bans, announcing they are under no obligation to defend a ban they believe to be unconstitutional. Since before his election, President Barack Obama had said he believed DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional, and later, as president, joined with Holder in deciding to not defend that ban in federal court.

The key word is unconstitutional. It has nothing to do with religion.

You can read more here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

iPad Security Flaw; Rush Limbaugh on Matthew Shepard

iPad Security Flaw

I titled this post with iPad because I know so many read this blog on an iPad, but it's a security flaw that's with other Apple devices, too. If you haven't been reading or listening to the news to learn about an update that hopefully fixes it you might have to deal with what's called a cyber "man in the middle attack." I updated immediately. It's a really a quick fix that doesn't take long. And from what I've read it's mostly for people who use unsecured Wi-Fi connections.

Some people have issues with the update. I didn't have a problem. I highly suggest reading this article below for more information.

The iPad upgrade, though, was something of a disaster. The device disconnected itself in the middle of the upgrade for some reason (I really don’t know why; I had it sitting off by itself on the corner of my desk; all I can think of is the cable got bumped). Interrupting the process is never good, and in this case it totally freaked out my iPad. I lost everything on it and it wouldn’t even show me my home screen!

I didn't have any issues when I upgraded, knock wood. But evidently that's not the case with everyone. If you are tech challenged you might want to check it out with an Apple rep.

You can read more here.

Rush Limbaugh on Matthew Shepard

Faker and multi-millionaire pundit who will do anything for a buck or to get attention, Rush Limbaugh, recently commented that the death of Matthew Shepard was not a gay hate crime. His highly disorganized sentence doesn't even make sense.

'Jason Coll(ins) - who by the way took number 98 in solidarity with Matthew Shepard, who was, it's now been proven didn't happen, but reputed to have beaten up by a bunch of anti-gay bigots.'

You can read more here about the Matthew Shepard hate crime, where there are several details about what transpired.

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act  which allows for added charges and harsher jail sentences for those convicted of what is deemed to be a hate crime, a crime against somebody’s race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The article gives an assumption about why Limbaugh doesn't think Shepard's case was a hate crime. But I'm not weighing on that. My point with this entire part of the post is to inform people that Rush Limbaugh is a pundit, a radio personality, an actor, and a personality who will do anything to get attention. In a way, he's an exaggerated clown given far too much credibility than he deserves.  He's laughing all the way to the proverbial bank. And he's not the only one. He's just like the rest of them, even his biggest competition on the liberal end. Don't pay attention to anything these pundit people say. They are getting paid millions of dollars to sensationalize and spin truth and most people don't realize this.

Lazy Beagle; NBA First Gay Player; My Own Book Updates

Lazy Beagle

I've posted about here before. It's a web site for authors and readers and publishers to gather and to gain information about books. The owners are an industrious couple (Patrick and Rondal) who never stop working on the site and I often wonder where they find the time to do all they do. It's simple to navigate, and a good place to go if you're curious about an author or a book and you want fast information with a simple search. I check out books I'm curious about often. There's a book of the month, and an author of the month. You can also click links there that will lead you to other web sites and buy books as well without doing anything complicated. They do promotions and contests and I think it's worth checking out.

If you are an author and you haven't heard of them, check out the links below. They are very friendly and take art into consideration, which I don't see often.

Writing books is a form of art and should not be stifled. Authors use LBE and after your profile is set up, you will have one direct URL to your bio that gives you a link that contains all the links to all your sale sites and social media sites in one easy convenient place. All of this is for free. Visit Author and Book bio submissions page.

I'll continue to post as things come in.

NBA First Gay Player

Football player, Michael Sam, has been making news recently for coming out, and I think it might be setting a new standard for other pro athletes who are gay. The article to which I'm linking now talks about NBA player, Jason Collins, as the first openly gay player in the NBA. I posted about when Collins first came out, here, last April.

In that moment, history was made, as Collins became the first openly gay player to see action in an NBA game. 

Collins, signed Sunday to a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn, was welcomed with a nice ovation when Staples Center public address announcer Lawrence Tanter announced his name.

"Right now I'm focusing on trying to learn the plays, learning the coverages and the game plan and the assignments. So I didn't have time to really think about history," Collins said at a crowded press conference less than an hour before the game.

You can read more here.

I'd like to put this into perspective for people who might not understand the magnitude of it...or the significance with respect to younger gay people who might be thinking about coming out. When I was in high school there were no role models like Michael Sam or Jason Collins. None. We took what we could get in secret about gay culture on the fringes and many of us found it hard to identify with that information. If there had been men like Michael Sam and Jason Collins around when I'd been in high school I think life would have been so much easier.

My Own Book Updates and Surprises

I've been remiss with my own book updates here on the blog. And a good deal of that is because I've been releasing books at a slower pace for various reasons. One, I think the market is saturated with too many books. That's not a bad thing. Think about it...TOO many books. How wonderful is that? I never actually thought I'd make a comment like that. But it is a reality authors need to deal with. As they say in real estate, it's definitely a buyers market.

But the problem is that with so many books out there it's harder to figure out when to release a new book for authors like me. We're also competing against authors who do more than a few questionable promotional things I won't get into now. My writing schedule hasn't slowed down at all. In fact, I have five completely finished, edited novels (one is over 100,000 words long) that haven't been released  yet. I also have one 25,000 word novella in the Second Chance series coming out soon. And, I have signed up with two more publishers for anthologies. So I've been busier than ever, but I've also been releasing books in a more strategic way so readers don't get sick to death of me. I haven't discussed this with my publishers, but I think we're all on the same page. Too much, too soon, isn't always the best thing for authors, publishers, or readers.

As of right now, I'm planning to release a new full length m/m western in March, and also the novella in the Second Chance series. Titles have yet to be fully realized, but I'll post more as soon as I finalize everything with the editor I work with. The novel I'll be releasing is part of the Glendora Hill series (Cowboy Christmas Miracle). I have a few surprises with that series I think (hope) readers will enjoy, and they include something I've never seen done with any series in the least I haven't seen it.

Side note: Vet your books with care, readers. If you notice a book released by an unknown author that's only two weeks old and there are over 100 five star ratings and two or three line rave reviews, purchase with caution. I'm not saying it can't happen. But the odds of a book getting that many five star reviews and ratings that soon are fairly slim. Don't be taken in by snake oil salesmen of the digital age. You work too hard for you money.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

No Gay Queens in UK; Winter Olypmics Poll

No Gay Queens in UK

This March there is a new marriage act going into effect for same sex couples in England and Wales. In doing so roughly 700 years of law is being scrutinized thoroughly in order to prevent any future issues/confusion that may arise with same sex marriage. (I once posted about a law maker in Hawaii who really took this seriously.) From the way it sounds, the issues range in a variety of practical ways. One in particular is a proposed amendment that will not allow the male spouse of a gay King to ever become the Queen.

Additionally, a clause in the Act according gay and heterosexual marriage the same legal rights will not apply to the rights of anyone 'who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen' nor will the male spouses of Dukes, Earls and other male peers be called Duchess, Countess or Lady.

A total of 36 Acts dating back to 1859 and a further 67 pieces of legislation dating back 729 years are expected to be amended. The proposals will be debated by MPs as early as next week. 

You can read more here.

I'm not sure what to make of this yet. I've read bios about many royal men who were allegedly "bisexual." But it sounds to me that if you're a royal, you're gay, and you want to marry someone of the same sex you're basically royally screwed.

Like with US politicians and film stars, UK royalty with regard to anything gay is always a well kept secret. Indirectly, it's a slap in the face and it only promotes shame. What if Prince William were gay? Would that mean he could never admit it in public, or take a male spouse? And this doesn't just happen in the UK. It's all over the world.

Winter Olympics Poll

There's a poll at Gay Star News that asks who has been watching the winter Olympics. I took it and I voted that I've been boycotting it completely. For me, it's not a gay issue. It's a human rights issue that involves everyone. According to the results of the poll most people who read Gay Star News agree with me. 47% have been boycotting, and 18% are not watching for "other reasons." A few times I almost broke down and watched, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

You can check that poll out here. It's on the sidebar and you'll have to scroll down a little.

Of course this is all personal choice and everyone is free to do what they please, but I do find it interesting that some of the loudest so-called liberal left-wing activists I know on social media have been watching and posting about it all week. These are the same people who call for gun control and don't hesitate to offend anyone with their vituperative left-wing diatribes. And here they are supporting an event that is directly related to one of the most serious human rights issues we have faced in the world since World War II.

Just an observation, and why I rarely get political.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

NFL Butt-Patting; Coretta Scott King on Gays

NFL Butt-Patting

You wouldn't think this would ever make news, not in a million years. But retired NFL player, Greg Ellis, has concerns about how it might be received if gay football player, Michael Sam, pats someone on the butt the way football players tend to do that all the time...Ellis made this comment without even realizing the homoerotic undertones related to butt-patting the rest of us have always wondered about.

'If he pats somebody on the butt, how is that to be received?' Ellis said.

The former player, knowing he was stepping into controversial territory, remarked that ESPN might not have him back for what he was saying. But he plunged ahead anyway.

'If he said, "Come on baby?" I called guys baby all the time on the football field, but when you have taken a stand and went and go public and say that, "I am gay," how is that going to be received?'

It devolves from there. There's no mention of Ellis possibly having an IQ in the double digits. Or, how lucky he was to have received such privilege in life.

You can read more here.

Coretta Scott King on Gays

In another article that mentions Michael Sam as a pioneer, the writer gets into the things Coretta Scott King did as a gay activist I didn't even know about until now.

Here's what she said at a gay rights rally:

I wanted to join you today to affirm my wholehearted support for freedom from discrimination for lesbian and gay people. It is vitally important for African Americans, lesbians and gay people, the women's rights movement, to work together in multicultural coalitions. We share a critical interest in the election of candidates who will support and protect human rights. We share a concern about candidates who hope to win votes by bashing gay and lesbian people and pandering to the irrational fears and ignorance of the constituents. I want to assure you that I will continue to support you in your efforts to rid our country, and the nation, of all forms of bigotry, racism, sexism and homophobia. So we can create a society where all people can live together with respect, tolerance and a new spirit of hope and opportunity. With this commitment, together, We Shall Overcome.

This really is all about human rights, not just gay rights. As long as there are people ready to discriminate, and some in the name of God and religion, we'll never be free of injustice. And last I heard it's supposed to be "and justice for all."

You can read more here.

Dear Abby on Gays; Gov. Jan Brewer's Hate Bill; Changing AIDS History

Dear Abby on Gays

A straight couple in Florida moved to a new neighborhood, found out two couples in the neighborhood were gay, and refused to invite them to neighborhood social gatherings because they didn't approve of their "lifestyle." As a result, the straight couple found themselves being excluded by the entire neighborhood and they sent Dear Abby a letter asking for her thoughts and she responded in a priceless way.

Replied the columnist: 'I sure would. The first thing I'd like to say is that regardless of what you were told in your previous community, a person's sexual orientation isn't a "lifestyle choice." Gay people don't choose to be gay; they are born that way. They can't change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual.'

After the lesson on sexual orientation, Dear Abby offered this observation: 'I find it interesting that you are unwilling to reciprocate the hospitality of people who welcomed you and opened their homes to you, and yet you complain because you are receiving similar treatment.'

You can read the rest here.

Tony and I would have welcomed them to the neighborhood. But then, Tony and I have also experienced this kind of discrimination before (previous post on that here) when we lived in a town house community about ten miles from where we live now in New Hope, PA. As a result of that discrimination we moved to a better location, a bigger private home, our home is worth more now than the town house would ever be, and those same people that discriminated against us fifteen years ago are still living there and the odds are they'll die there.

Gov. Jan Brewer's Hate Bill

Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, is dealing with what some think is a bit of a conundrum. In short, there are some law makers in Arizona who want to enforce a highly discriminatory bill that would allow business owners to turn away gays based on the business owner's religious beliefs. And everyone is waiting to see which side of history Gov. Brewer will take.

The conservative governor is already feeling pressure from the business community to veto the bill passed late Thursday. A prominent Phoenix group believes it would be another black eye for the state that saw a national backlash over its 2010 immigration crackdown law, SB1070. Opponents also pointed out that the legislation would serve as a major distraction as Arizona prepares to host the Super Bowl next year.

I don't have any strong political comments here. I have always believed that ALL politicians will do what's in their own best interest. But if Gov. Brewer does not veto the bill and a law like this that discriminates against gays and their families (that's right, families are part of this, too...I don't know one straight person with a gay family member who doesn't feel strongly about this) is enforced, I think those who refuse gays based on religious beliefs should be forced, legally, to post a large sign in their window stating this up front. In other words, I want to know where these religious business owners stand without question. The straight members in my family and my straight friends also want to know where these religious business owners stand so they know, and so they don't have to patronize them. If this is what they want, turn them into public examples.

As public opinion begins to shift almost everywhere, it's interesting to see something like this happen. I guess some people didn't learn from the civil rights movement, and they don't know how poorly they are going to look fifty years from now.

What's even more interesting is that I don't know one single gay business owner who would discriminate against anyone based on that person's religious beliefs. Maybe there are some. But I've never met one.

You can read more here.

Changing AIDS History

I have always believed that we've never really been given all the facts about AIDS. I remember reading about a group in Beverly Hills, CA, that worked hard to disabuse many concepts about AIDS during the 1980's and was constantly silenced...or ignored completely. And this next article I'm linking to talks about how drugs like Bactrim were allegedly kept from the public at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Bactrim is the most effective anti-biotic used to fight off PCP, a deadly pneumonia that is usually what winds up killing those with AIDS.

I point to Dr. Fauci in particular, because he was, and remains today, the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the head of the federal government's AIDS research program. In 1987, pioneering AIDS activist Michael Callen begged Fauci for help in promoting the use of Bactrim as PCP prophylaxis and issuing interim guidelines urging physicians to prophylax those patients deemed at high risk for PCP.

The article gets complicated at times, but it's worth reading if you don't know anything about AIDS and you're curious.

Here's the link.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Reevaluating Book Covers, Indie Publishing, Gays at Proms in Alabama

Reevaluating Book Covers

I think I've read every Fanny Flagg novel there is since Fried Greed Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ©. And the reason I'm mentioning this now is because a couple of years ago I noticed one or two of Flagg's older books had been released with covers different from the original. I've noticed the same thing with old Anne Tyler novels, too. So it's not all that uncommon for publishers to change book covers after a certain amount of time, and I know for a fact that many books released in other countries often have different book covers than those released in the US for marketing reasons. And one of the perks of indie publishing is that indie authors don't have to stick with the same book cover if they're not happy with it. You can change that cover just like long as you're willing to go through the time, effort, and expense.

In my case I'm talking about Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street. (The old cover is still up.) I have never been completely happy with the cover. Before I released the book I had four other covers made and couldn't make up my mind. This is no reflection on the cover artist either. All the covers are good, but for some reason they just don't work for me. So once again, I had a new cover made and I'm changing it. I don't think it's going to make much of a difference to readers who've already read the book. In fact, I've had people tell me they weren't fond of the current cover either. (Readers are honest)

The new cover is simpler, and runs more along the lines of my own personal taste. I'm fond of monochromatic color schemes, and not fond of anything that "pops." I would rather eat dirt than wear yellow or even stand next to someone else wearing yellow. I prefer ten shades of beige over anything multicolored. I try to step back with each cover I choose with the indie books so my personal taste doesn't get in the way of my judgment, and also so every book doesn't wind up looking like the other. But when something bothers you that much, and you just don't think you can stand it, you have to act on it and go with what you love...and hope for the best.

This is probably one of the biggest perks about indie publishing. I doubt a publisher would change a book cover unless it were absolutely necessary, or there was a specific reason. And frankly, in most cases I would advise against changing book covers because readers get used to seeing them. But in this case, with Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street, I just can't live with it. I just hope this is the last time.

Gays at Proms

I personally think that proms are right up there with graduations, weddings, and milestone anniversaries as being pivotal moments in our lives. I went to my prom. I took a girl because up until recently gay teens didn't even think about going with a guy, and I still had a wonderful time. When Tony and I owned tanning salons back in the 90's, I used to get excited from March until June because that was prom time and moms would bring their kids in to tan for the prom. (Even though back then we didn't know everything about skin cancer, we wouldn't allow anyone under 18 to tan without a parent's wasn't the law, it was MY law. After we sold the salons in 2004, prom time is what I missed most about not being there anymore) Most parents appreciated our strict rules, and I got to watch hundreds of kids prepare for their proms. I know to some that might not sound all that exciting, but I always knew those kids would remember that prom for the rest of their lives and I was thrilled to be a small part of it. I often run into them, all grown up now, at local stores and they mention it.

In any event, a high school in Alabama just "un-banned" a rule that stated same-sex couples couldn't attend the prom. Even though this isn't as significant as legalized same-sex marriage, I think it's almost as important and it sends a positive message to gay kids and it lets them know there's nothing wrong with them. But more important, the reason the ban was lifted is because other students spoke up and protested it.

Interim Superintendent Amy Bryan abolished the anti-gay policy soon after she learned of its existence.

"An administrator issued a list of prom rules that included a discriminatory statement," she said, per WSFA. "No one lost their right to go anywhere. It's unfortunate it was in our rules, and all children will be welcome to the Junior-Senior Prom."

I also think it's interesting that this didn't happen in New York or Los Angeles. It happened in Alabama. I guess things are changing.

You can read more here.

FREE E-Books on ARe; Jonathan Groff Full Frontal; FREE Gay Excerpt

FREE E-Books on ARe

I haven't done any freebies since before Christmas and figured it was time. I did do a Valentine's Day giveaway with Queertown Abbey, and Tammy Brewer Parker won a copy of Cowboy Christmas Miracle. The two freebies I'm doing now are from the Second Chance series. Both links are up to date and I've checked to make sure the books are there for free.

Once again, I wish I could put them up on Amazon for free, but Amazon has rules and I can't change those rules. So the freebies will be up on, which is a very simple web site to navigate and downloads are explained well. (I think readers get the best book descriptions there, too.) I know many of my readers tell me they often prefer ARe over most retail web sites where e-books are sold. And most of the time the comments are about the excellent customer service they get at ARe. I can tell you from a publishing perspective, I love working with them.

Second Chance, the first book in the series.

Second Chance, His Only Choice, the third book in the series.

I will be releasing the fourth book in the series very soon...title yet to be determined.

Jonathan Groff Full Frontal

I've been going back and forth all week in e-mails with several good friends about how much we're loving the HBO series, Looking. Last week's episode was about as real as if gets when two gay men first meet and take a strong romantic interest in each other. It's that first time getting to know you deal, with sex included. I don't know how these things work in the straight community, but I do know how they work with gay men and I felt as if I'd gone back in time just watching Jonathan Groff last week. It also validates everything I've ever written in a gay romance.

And Groff, from what I found through a simple search, doesn't follow the double standard rule where only women do full frontal nudity. He's done some full frontal himself, and he looks adorable.

I can't post the actual photos here for copyright reasons, but I love this web site I'm linking to now, and you can view several full frontal photos of Groff showing off there.

You can get there from here.

I think Groff is making TV history and might not even know it. It's the first time I've ever seen a TV series that depicts gay men and gay relationships without insulting them in those subtle ways most people don't pick up on.

FREE Gay Excerpt

Pardon the titles of my free Friday excerpt posts, but I do that for search engines and it works. I'd rather not, but it is what it is and search engines rule all things Internet.

In any event, here's a free excerpt from my novel, Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street. It's probably one of the books I've loved writing the most, and one that I can actually go back and read myself, which doesn't always happen for me.

You can find it here, on Amazon, for .99. And in other places where e-books are sold like Smashwords and

Set Up: This is the part of the novel where Jonah and David are just becoming a couple and Jonah invites his parents to dinner at David's loft.

Side Note: The book cover above is one that I had originally planned to use. I changed my mind at the last minute and went for the one you'll see at the link above.

In mid-July, Jonah invited his mom and Dad to the home he now shared with David on Delancey Street. He’d been helping them pack since they’d returned from their quick trip to Florida. They’d purchased a condominium in an adult community not far from Fort Lauderdale and they had to be out of their house in Queens by the end of the month. The packing after work didn’t bother Jonah at all. It was the bickering over what they would take and what they wouldn’t take that caused a twitch in Jonah’s right eyelid.

When David suggested Jonah should invite his parents to dinner one night before they moved, Jonah glanced at him with wide eyes. “Are you certain you want to go through that? They aren’t easy people to deal with. I’m not joking. They’ve spent a lifetime arguing over things like whether or not green plastic trash bags are better than white plastic trash bags.”

They were in bed watching TV the night David suggested this. He threw his naked leg over Jonah’s and laughed. He pulled Jonah closer and put his arm around him. “I just think that now that we are in a relationship and we are officially a couple I should meet your parents formally. And they should see where you’ll be living. I want to do the right thing.”

Jonah set his palm on David’s abdomen and rested his head on his chest. This was the first time David had brought up the topic of them being an official couple. David didn’t talk about emotions or feelings or anything that caused him to think too hard. He thought like a man would think: no one could fault him for this. Jonah, who tended to be more sensitive, knew David well enough to know pushing him into anything would never work. So this announcement took Jonah by surprise. “I’ll invite them over on Friday night. But I warn you, expect anything.”

David spread his other leg and bucked his hips a little. “I’m sure it will be fine,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’ll tell Carson to have something special that night, but not too complicated.”

“My dad likes prime rib,” Jonah said. He wanted to keep the dinner simple. He knew that if they served something too extravagant with a complicated French name, his parents would frown and exchange confused glances.

“I’ll tell Carson to arrange the perfect English meal: prime rib with Yorkshire pudding,” David said. He bucked his hips again and the head of his dick poked up through the covers.

Jonah glanced down and smiled. “You’re horny, aren’t you?”

David grabbed the back of Jonah’s head and pushed him forward. “I thought maybe you’d like some prime beef tonight. I know how much you like it.”

When David was in a good mood, he often made cheesy jokes about his dick, referring to it as his “pork sword” or his “beef stick.” Sometimes he even laughed and called it his “ram rod.” These were not references anyone with an ounce common sense would ever take seriously. Jonah certainly didn’t; he had a sense of humor. Jonah laughed and said, “You know me too well, David.” Then he went under the covers and gave David a simple, unreciprocated blow job before they went to sleep. Although most of the time their sex consisted of role-playing and other games that involved Jonah being restrained and bound, it wasn’t always this way. Sometimes a simple blow job like the one Jonah gave him that night was all they needed. In a way, this made Jonah smile. He liked what they did in the playroom; nothing excited him more than being tied up and gagged. But he also liked knowing they didn’t have to go to such extremes all the time to be sexually satisfied.

On the night Jonah’s mom and dad came to dinner, David turned out to be the perfect host. Jonah’s mom and dad watched in awe while Carson served them, exchanging glances with each other when they thought Jonah wasn’t looking. He hadn’t told them much about David, his new life, or about his job. When he read their minds, he heard them thinking things like, “What does this David guy see in plain little Jonah,” and, “How lucky can you get?” But he didn’t read their minds too much that night. The things they thought about him, even though it was with love, often tended to depress him.

David played the part of gay son-in-law so well he started calling Jonah’s parents mom and dad without even asking for permission. When Jonah’s mom heard this for the first time, she clutched her necklace and tilted he head. Her eyes filled and she said, “I’m so thrilled to know my son has met someone so wonderful, David. You’re the miracle I’ve been praying for since Jonah graduated from college.” She turned to Jonah and smiled, and then glanced back at David. “I used to worry so much. Jonah’s a good boy, but he always seemed to scare gay men away. It wasn’t easy coming to terms with him being a gay, let me tell you. But when I finally did I realized I had to worry about him meeting the right man. For a while I thought the only hope for him was this nice gay boy from the neighborhood, Stanley Minford.”

“David knows all about Stanley, mom,” Jonah said. “Can we please not talk about him tonight?” Though he loved her, he always felt the uncontrollable urge to get as far away from her as possible. He hoped and prayed David wouldn’t read their minds.

David smiled. “I’ve never met anyone like Jonah. He’s changed my life.”

Jonah’s dad seemed uncomfortable. His face always turned red whenever Jonah’s mom talked about Jonah being with a man, even Stanley Minford. It was okay for Jonah to be gay as long as they kept everything on a surface level; just don’t mention Jonah sleeping with a man.  

But Jonah’s mom just kept on talking in spite of her husband. She patted David’s hand and glanced in Jonah’s direction again. “Don’t do anything to screw this up, Jonah. You don’t find a man on the street every day like David.”

Jonah felt like stuffing a lump of Yorkshire pudding in her mouth. She made him sound defected, or second hand, as if men took one look at him and ran in the opposite direction. But he didn’t want to argue. They were leaving soon and he wanted to keep things positive. So he smiled and said, “I know how lucky I am, mom. Thanks for being so supportive.”

After dinner, David took Jonah’s parents on a tour of the penthouse conservatory. Jonah’s mom thought it was scandalous there weren’t any window treatments; his dad seemed as interested in this as he did when he went to church on Sunday. When David took them through the rest of the building and said he rarely used most of the rooms, Jonah’s mom gaped at him as if he’d lost his mind. Jonah continued to block out her thoughts. He had a feeling his mom was trying to choose which room she’d take when she came back to visit New York.

At the end of the evening, they walked Jonah’s parents down to the garage and David kissed them both goodbye. Jonah almost laughed when he saw the way his dad’s eyebrows arched. David promised he’d take Jonah to Florida as soon as they were settled, to his home in Palm Beach that he rarely ever used. Jonah listened without speaking. He didn’t know much about David’s home in Florida. He started to wonder about all the other things he didn’t know about David.
They went down to the playroom as soon as Jonah’s parents were gone and David removed all his clothes and put on a harness.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Snapped by G.A. Hauser

Review: Snapped by G.A. Hauser

I think I started posting that G.A. Hauser was an author I enjoyed reading way back when I first started blogging, or at least close to it. But I haven't reviewed any of her books in a while and when I noticed her new book, Snapped, and read the description I decided it was time to take some time off and enjoy reading for pleasure again.

And once again, I wasn't disappointed with Snapped. I hate to even mention this because it seems like such a dull statement at this point with any m/m book, but I used to refer to Hauser as an example of a woman writing gay fiction who does a damn great job at it. I have even used her as an example when I'm writing hetero fiction, hoping to capture in my own work what she's been doing for so long with m/m books. And that's the authenticity factor. With Hauser it's often more intense sometimes than others, and perhaps this is because of her background as a woman working in criminal justice.

In Snapped, I think Hauser touches upon a few things that many of us can relate to these days with regard to sabotage and ethics and books. I don't want to go into detail about that because this review would become a novel itself with regard to reviews alone. But in this case the book discusses an author writing with a pen name who has allegedly written what many would consider controversial topics, but with an interesting catch, so to speak. Then Hauser draws the reader into a twisted plot that includes blackmail, espionage, fakery, and a very interesting romance that kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. I'll stop there because I don't want to give any spoilers.

It's a fast paced book that leaves characters questioning ethics and loyalty, without telling too much too soon to ruin things for the reader. I often tend to predict how books will end and I'm usually right. That doesn't bother me in the least and sometimes I like knowing how books will end, especially if they're done well. However, in this case I kept wondering what would happen...or how something would turn out.

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that I enjoyed reading about fictional writers involved in this kind of suspense because of Hauser's background in criminal justice. The truth is that most writers live somewhat quiet lives and suspense doesn't enter their lives. I know nothing about criminal justice and don't want to know anything about it other than what I'm reading in fiction for pure entertainment and escapism. In other words, I want the author to make it all up as he or she goes along. And I want all things embellished as much as possible to make it larger than life. In this case Hauser took me to another place, and at the same time a slightly familiar place with which I could identify to a certain extent with books. I know intellectually all fiction is embellished, but I can't help thinking (or wanting to think) that emotionally the author was really there doing all this just like his or her characters.

If you're looking for something exciting, with in-depth character development and good solid writing that doesn't hop all over the place, this is one reason why I think you'll enjoy Snapped. I would recommend this book to anyone without thinking twice for this and the sheer fact that it kept me interested/entertained from beginning to end. But I also want to add that there is something unusually sexy about all G.A. Hauser's books I find hard to describe. And I'm not talking over the top sex, or even highly erotic sex. It's in every sentence and every scene, even when the scenes aren't supposed to be sexy...just the sexy tone/voice, or the hidden force to catch readers (for lack of a better word) she uses in all her books. It's something you know is there while you're reading, but not something you can actually pinpoint.

You can find the book here on Amazon.   And also here at where the book has already received a bestseller star.

"Choose" to Publish? Pat Robertson on Gay Sex; Jim Davidson on Gay Marriage

Choose to Publish?

There's a blog post up by a blogger I've never heard of until yesterday, Michael Bunker, who questions whether or not publishing the traditional way is a choice. I don't have any strong opinions to offer about this topic because I'm not sure it's worthy of a lengthy discussion. It's an opinion piece and I've learned that unless I'm literally willing to die for a cause I don't get into online discussions (or rants) with anyone. But I do think it's interesting to see how some self-published writers view traditional publishing these days. In other words, I'm looking at this more from a historical POV with regard to publishing in a general sense instead of actually agreeing with (or endorsing) the blogger.

 Indie Michael would be sitting here today with a shitload of published titles (over thirteen titles) that sell well every day. This Indie Michael sold well over 30k books last year (probably around 35k, but I don't have all the numbers yet.) He made enough to not have to go and get a regular job. At any one time he has over ten titles gracing about 15-30 category bestseller lists. He had three titles in the past year go up into the top 500 books sold on all of Amazon, and two that made it into the top 200. He has been interviewed dozens of times, and has readers waiting anxiously for his next release. You go Indie Michael!

You can read more here.

Once again, this is just for general information and I do not support or endorse anything associated with the link above.

And here's a link to one of Michael Bunker's books, Pennsylvania. The book was released in December. He has over 104 reviews as of this date, 92 of which are five star and 9 are four star. The book, from what I gather, is Amish science fiction.

I'll have to mention this book to my Amish buddy I posted about a while back. We're in daily communication to this day (he e-mails on the sly), and he might find this interesting. He wrote this guest post for me in 2012 and he's taught me a great deal about Amish culture and the realities he faces all the time. He's also disabused me of many misconceptions I once had about Amish culture.

Pat Robertson on Gay Sex

Why Pat Robertson would even comment on gay sex is amazing in itself because it's basically a moot point where he's concerned. Also not worthy of discussion either. But it's also a little convoluted because Robertson claims it's okay to be attracted to the same sex as long as you don't act upon that attraction or desire.

'But when you start having sex with that person...I don’t want to get graphic, that guy on Duck Dynasty got graphic and it got a little disgusting, but when you see what they do, it’s not very pretty.'

If you take anything out of context, especially anything sexual, straight or gay, it's not very pretty and can often appear vulgar. I could give examples of hetero sex that's just as repulsive to me as gay sex is to Robertson, but I think you get my point and I'd rather not "get" graphic.

You can read more here.

Jim Davidson on Gay Marriage

This article caught my eye because it's not the usual thing you read. UK Celebrity Big Brother winner, Jim Davidson, who has been known to slam gays now says he supports gay marriage and he's praising Scotland for legalizing it.

 ‘I think that’s very good. I shared a house with a gay man for a while and I also remember when one of my gay friends’ partners died a good few years back there were all sorts of problems with the will.

 ‘So of course gay people should be allowed to be married. It’s great. And why should straight people suffer on their own?’

It could have something to do with the overall shift in public opinion about same sex marriage. I've been seeing a lot of this kind of thing lately and I wouldn't be surprised if we see more in the future.

You can read the rest here. There's a photo of Davidson. I've posted about the reality show, Big Brother, many times here on the blog with regard to racism, gay hate, and bigotry.