Monday, March 31, 2014

Release Day: The Preacher's Husband; Chapman Jock Comes Out; Gone With the Wind Prequel

Release Day: The Preacher's Husband

Update: Here's the purchase link for

This is the second book in the Glendora Hill series, The Preacher's Husband.

Right now it's up on Smashwords, and I'll keep posting with updates as it becomes available on other web sites where e-books are sold. Sometimes it takes a while to upload these books.

This is a stand alone and you don't have to read the first book to understand this one. It's priced at .99 for the time being and it has 60,000 words.

Here's the back cover copy description:

In this next full length novel from the Glendora Hill series, The Preacher's Husband, cowboy Kelly Barrett takes off on a road trip to join his husband in Texas to begin a new adventure. Kelly has a new job as ranch manager and his gay minister husband just took over a new church on the outskirts of town.

But after a brief stop at the Grand Canyon, Kelly runs into an unusual man on a motorcycle, both literally and figuratively, and they wind up finishing the road trip together where at one point they are forced to spend the night at a remote gay resort in the middle of nowhere. There are even more surprises in store for them, and Kelly's uneventful life as the preacher's husband turns into something far more complicated.

With the help of Sebastian Holt and other recurring characters from the series, Kelly winds up questioning everything about his life. And while he's going through his dilemma, Sebastian's son, Kick, comes out of the closet in a show of rebellion that sends whispers all over town...with a devastating scene at the very end that could ruin all their lives.

Will Kelly figure out how to be the perfect preacher's husband? Will Kick finally see the dangerous game he's playing could kill him? Or will life as everyone knows it in perfect Glendora Hill, Texas change forever?

Chapman Jock Comes Out

Mitch Eby, a football player at Chapman U, recently came out of the closet and found a great deal of support.

He made a speech to his teammates:

He said in part: 'It has taken me years to accept myself for who I truly am, so it's irrational to expect everybody to unconditionally accept me right away. However, the one thing that I hope that I can count on from each of you, my teammates, is your respect. Your respect as a friend, your respect as a teammate, and your respect as a man.'

The team applauded when he finished speaking, some gave him a hug and one even called Eby his hero.

More here. There's a photo of him in football gear, too.

After watching the violent coming out scene last night on the TV show Shameless, this is nice to hear.


Gone With the Wind Prequel

There's a new Gone With the Wind Prequel coming out that was authorized by the Mitchell estate. Its focus is on the Mammy character from GWtW, and it's supposedly going to give life to the Mammy character. Mitchell has been criticized for not making the Mammy character more three dimensional in Gone With the Wind.

The completed book, “Ruth’s Journey,” is the fictional telling of the life of one of the novel’s central characters, a house servant called Mammy who otherwise remains nameless. The story begins in 1804, when Ruth is brought from her birthplace, the French colony of Saint-Domingue that is now known as Haiti, to Savannah, Ga. The Mitchell estate has authorized the prequel, which was written by Donald McCaig, the author of one of two authorized “Gone With the Wind” sequels, “Rhett Butler’s People,” from 2007. (The other was “Scarlett” by Alexandra Ripley, released in 1991.) “Gone With the Wind” won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1937 and has sold hundreds of millions of copies.

I've never been a huge GWtW fanboy. I know I'm in the minority but I've always thought GWtW has more corn than Iowa, and more camp than a drag show.

But I do find these prequels interesting from a writer's POV. I think it shows that anything can be done. But more important, fanfic is okay and you can make millions of dollars with it as long as it's authorized.

I wish some wonderful fanfic author would write a prequel to my book, An Officer and His Gentleman, and talk about Chance's life before he started working for the creepy old man who made him walk around naked all the time. I won't get mad at you. I'll support you all the way. I have no issues with fanfic.

You can read more here.

Gay Sex Party; Magic Mike XXL; 7 Companies No to Gay Rights; Elton John to Marry

Magic Mike XXL

The sequel to the film Magic Mike is in the making and the title is Magic Mike XXL. It will begin shooting this fall.

Rumors of a sequel to Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike have been bubbling for some time now, bringing fans of the original into a tizzy when star Channing Tatum posted to his Facebook page a photo of himself supposedly at work on the script under the gaze of a bust of Matthew McConaughey. Confirmation of the project has now come at long last, along with news of the sequel's vivid title, as The Playlist reports that Magic Mike XXL is indeed in the works, and will begin shooting in the fall.

When Magic Mike first came out I actually put off watching it because it didn't sound like a film that would resonate with a gay men...or gay people in general. And when I finally saw it, I was right. I didn't get too emotionally involved. But I can't say I didn't like it either. Tony despised it. He fell asleep. But I actually found it interesting to see straight men in situations like that where they are so vulnerable to the point of almost being lost.

I just hope this time there's a little full frontal nudity. Seriously. The show's about male strippers. More than half the people who will go to see it won't be thinking about how deep and heartfelt it is. They'll be looking for why this film is titled XXL.

You can read more here.

Seven Companies No to Gay Rights

Here's a list of 7 companies who supposedly don't support gay rights. A few you might already know. But one in particular interested me.

5. Purina If you don't want your dollars to go to a company that isn't exactly gay-friendly, then put down the Beggin' Strips and Fancy Feast. Not only did Purina score a 45 out of a possible 100 on the Human Rights Campaign scale, but they also gave into the demands of the American Family Association. When asked to pull ads from Saturday Night Live because it was deemed "immoral," Purina succumbed to the demand. Yes, this was years ago, but some things never change.

I don't know how accurate that is. Sometimes these lists get exaggerated and sensationalized. However, it's not like I would give my dogs anything Purina anyway.

You can read more here.

Gay Sex Party Nigeria

This is a really disturbing article because a gay man in Africa allegedly went to a gay sex party and afterwards reported the party to the police because the gay men at the sex party wouldn't pay him. As a result, the gay men at the party were all stripped naked and beaten in public.

Five men were detained and taken to the town hall, where in front of a large crowd they were stripped naked and whipped.

When they couldn’t pay a fine, they were reported to the police. At this point a sixth alleged member of the group was also arrested.

You can read more here. I don't know if the photo is the actual photo of the men who were beaten and stripped. But once again, it's disturbing to see that a gay man would turn this way on other gay men. But I guess it's something we see here in the US from time to time as well. As long as there's shame attached to being gay this kind of thing will continue.

Elton John to Marry

I guess now that same sex marriage is legal in the UK Elton John and David Furnish have decided to marry. I actually didn't know they'd never had a wedding ceremony. Evidently, they've been civil partners because civil unions were legal in the UK.

Celebrity gay couple Elton John and David Furnish are planning to get married, following suit of gay couples all over England and Wales who can now legally marry.

British music icon John, 67, and partner Furnish, 51, have been civil partners since December 2005, entering their civil partnership on the day the act was passed.

Before Tony and I were married last January, after 21 years together, I don't think I would have thought there was much difference between civil unions and marriage. However, there's a huge difference. It's something hard to explain that hits on a more emotional level. And it hits when you least expect it.

You can read more here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

NYT: Best Writers Under 40; Readmill Shutters; How We Read/Share News

NYT Best Writers Under 40

This is just one more reason why I'm glad I stopped reading the NYT almost altogether about five years ago. The NYT and Guardian UK are claiming that the best writers are, indeed, under the age of 40. Guardian even titles its post: "Let's Face It, After 40 You're Past It." And the NYT actually said: "They often compose their best and most lasting work when they are young," among other things that will make most sane people cringe. So Randy Susan Meyers did a little research in an effort to disabuse these idiots at these publications and she came up with a list of 41 authors all over 40. Bravo!

I tried to resist writing this -- especially after my plea against categorizing authors. Plus, so many of us hide our age in this world of never-get-old, unearthing this information, even in our Google-ized world, was difficult.

I can tell you from over 20 years experience that I don't think it's possible to tell when a writer is peaking. John Irving has been around since I studied his books in college and he wrote the best book of his career last year...In one Person...that won awards. Once again, yet one more reason to stay away from the NTY altogether. And many authors over 40 won't even show you what they wrote before 40.

You can read the list of 41 who are over 40 here. And there's an easier post with the list ads.

Thank you, Randy Susan Meyers for spotting this and putting the list together.

And one thing is both ironic and for certain: the idiots who wrote these articles clearly have not reached their best moment in time.

Readmill Shutters

This is interesting because we've been seeing what we thought were other established online businesses shutter and close all month. Now Dropbox just acquired Readmill and is doing away with it.

“Readmill’s story ends here,” writes Henrik Berggren, co-founder & CEO of Readmill on the company blog. “Many challenges in the world of ebooks remain unsolved, and we failed to create a sustainable platform for reading. For this, we’re deeply sorry. We considered every option before making the difficult decision to end the product that brought us together.”

There's more here.

You can read a full final letter from Readmill here.

For those who never heard of Readmill, here's a good description from their web site.

I think we're entering a new phase, and only the strongest will last. Hint to authors: if you haven't already done this, you might want to look into indie publishing to have that back up plan if your publisher or small e-press doesn't stick around. It would be a shame for an author with a following and a decent readership to be rendered helpless because a press couldn't figure out how to survive. When you're an author you're in business for yourself. I know it's nice to be part of a team of authors with a small e-press at times. But they only look at you as part of a team, not as an individual.

How We Read/Share News

This article talks about how Americans share news stories, and how often they do it.

 The graphic features new research that delves into American news consumption. According to the survey, 60 percent of Americans read or watch 3 to 10 news stories a day. The research also revealed that 56 percent of those surveyed still pay for a print news subscription and 68 percent of those people subscribe to a local newspaper.

I don't know anything about the company that did this survey, but I have a feeling someone who owns stock in the print newspaper business. I could be wrong about that, but it doesn't make sense to me on just a small scale. It states 60% still read newspapers. The only people I know who still read print newspapers are all over seventy. Many are computer illiterate. And just locally we've lost all our print newspapers completely and we can't even get local news anymore unless we go online. And then there's a cost factor. Newspapers aren't cheap anymore; online news sources are in most cases free as of right now. So there's something not right about this particular survey. I hope it wasn't done at Shady Pines Rest Home.

But there are a few interesting things about sharing news. And I do think the TV stats are accurate. Most of us still do look to TV for news.

You can read more here.

Steve-O Is Naked; Bobby Cannavale Full Frontal Nude; Johnny Knoxville Sexiest Actor Alive

Steve-O Is Naked

This is one of those posts that fall under the category of male full frontal nudity in a general sense, and mainly because I find the double standards with regard to male vs. female full frontal interesting. More often than not female full frontal is done, where male full frontal seems so shocking and taboo. There are many social and cultural arguments that could be made about this it could be a text book. I even posted about how male full frontal was so shocking in Germany recently, but female full frontal seems to be almost normal. At least Steve-O of Jackass notoriety is helping to break some of the double standards, and without any reservations. And like him or not, he seems to do this with a good deal of humor.

Steve-O, aka Stephen Glover, is star of the hit MTV franchise JACKASS. Steve-O has also appeared on Dancing With The Stars and is currently the host of TruTV’s Killer Karaoke

You can view the photos here. I can't post them for copyright reasons. And, keep in mind they are NSFW.

A lot of my more judgmental peers who don't like sex, nudity, or anything erotic in books (or anything) won't care for this. But I think the topic of male full frontal nudity in itself is something most people find interesting, and not always sexual in nature. Sometimes it's funny. Other times it's emotional. Unfortunately, you will always hear someone complain that there's too much sex in books, movies, or on TV. But you'll never hear anyone complain there's not enough sex in books, movies, or TV because that's considered taboo, too. Well, not around here (smile).

Bobby Cannavale Full Frontal Nude

When I posted about Bobby Cannavale's full frontal nude scene back in 2012 I had no idea I would get so many e-mails about it...and continue to get them. Cannavale did the scene for Boardwalk Empire. And I remember watching it the night if first aired. It's an interesting scene because Cannavale is very well endowed, very attractive, and the clip itself is nothing I've seen before on TV. But more than that, in like almost any erotic romance ever written this full frontal nude scene from an artistic POV added to the storyline, made the scene more realistic (and interesting), and started a discussion in more than one place about male full frontal nudity.

In my last post about this I didn't have any links to a clip. This time I do. This link below is simple to use, but you'll have to turn off your content restriction for that particular web site. It's simple to do. Just click the green box and the clip will appear. In this case I'm not sure it's NSFW. This one falls under the category of something more artistic. At least I think so. I'm sure some would disagree.

You can get there from here.

Johnny Knoxville Sexiest Actor Alive

Also part of the Jackass fame and fortune is Johnny Knoxville, one of the most underestimated talents around. Knoxville is the creator of Jackass, and he's done several films I've found hysterical...Bad Grandpa was the most recent I saw. To add to Knoxville's list of credits, he's been chosen again as Sexiest Actor Alive by Glam'Mag.

For the second year in a row 2013 and 2014
The magazine has released its annual list of the 100 men who made history hotter, and the honors go to exactly who you thought they would (if you keep up with celebrity news): Johnny Knoxville, the creator of Jackass. For the second year in a row, our gorgeous hottie beat out some other equally hot men for the number one spot! And we can't say we disagree!

You won't see me disagreeing with this any time soon. Though I don't think Knoxville has ever done full frontal nudity I don't think anyone would mind if he did do it. In the film, Bad Grandpa, which is a dark comedy with a deeper message filmed in real places with hidden cameras, it was both funny and hard to watch Knoxville play the role of an older man because he looked so damn hot in those kaki pants. And yet it was one of the most touching films I've seen in a long time because of the relationship between the two main characters.

You can read more here.

Photo Attribution here.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wedding Remarks Beth Robinson; Gay Marriage Ban Ends in England, Wales

Wedding Remarks: Beth Robinson

I received an e-mail last night from Jeff Kaufman in LA who is producing the upcoming marriage documentary about Vermont, The State of Marriage. While going through transcripts he came across the remarks Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson made at our wedding in Vermont last January. I've already posted about what an honor it was to have Judge Robinson perform the ceremony, but I didn't have her exact remarks until now. It's interesting how I actually do recall them, in detail, at the time she made them.

 Ryan and Tony, we celebrate your enduring love. What brings you here today is a deeply personal commitment, but it's also more than that.  This isn't only a commitment ceremony, it's a legal marriage.  I appreciate your thanks to me personally for my role in this, but understand that you and I join together in thanking so many hundreds of thousands of people who have worked so hard including, I'm quite sure, yourselves in bringing us to the place we are today.  Thanks to their perseverance, the hopes you had in the past are reality today.  I'm reminded of the saying, "The personal is political."  The love you two share is profoundly personal.  The law is willingness to recognize and protect that love is profoundly political.  You've acknowledged the work people have done to get us here, but I want to acknowledge the impact that the two of you have had just by being you, by being a committed, loving couple for so many years, seeing each other through the most unimaginable difficult times, modeling the love and steadfastness that everyone has to understand.  It is a model for us all.

The example you have set has made this moment as inevitable as all of the protests in the street and the lobbying in the legislature.  So I thank you for that.  I'm honored to celebrate you Tony and Ryan, to celebrate your individuality, who you are as a couple and who you will continue to be as husbands.  All of us know that you are deeply in love, but beyond the warmth and the glow, the excitement and the romance, what is love really?  Real love is caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your partner, as about your own.  Real love is not possessive or jealous, it is liberating.  It sets you free to become your best self. Real love is not total absorption in each other.  It's looking outward in the same direction together.  Love makes burdens lighter because you divide them.  It makes joys more intense because you share them.  It makes you stronger so that you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.

Gay Marriage Ban Ends in England, Wales

The gay marriage ban in England and Wales ended today at midnight. There were civil unions there, but many decided to have midnight weddings and celebrate the many wonderful things associated with the fact that they are now able to legally marry. 

The change is largely being taken in stride, with little rancor from opponents and a sense from supporters that same-sex marriage was long overdue. Britain had already allowed gay couples to adopt children, and gay service members are permitted to serve openly in the military.

Unlike in the United States and other countries that have been roiled by debates over gay rights, marriage equality has overwhelming support here, and was passed by a comfortable majority in Parliament in July.

You can read more here.

When I post things like this I often think of this blog as a personal journal and that one day I'll look back and read all these things again. As of this date, in the US Tony and I are legally married in only the US states where LGBTI marriage is recognized. However, we happen to live in Pennsylvania, where we pay taxes and own property, where LGBTI marriage is NOT yet legal. One mile away in New Jersey, we are legally married.

Photo above are the actual flowers from our wedding in Vermont, dried and arranged differently two months later.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Gay Mormon Son; NYT Angers Bisexuals; Morning Joe Snit

Gay Mormon Son

When I read this fascinating conversation between Rich Valenza and Mormon mom, Wendy Williams Montgomery, I couldn't help sharing it here on the blog. Valenza of RaiseAChild spoke in-depth with Williams Montgomery about her gay son, and about what happened after she found out he was gay. She was aware of what was happening in his life, enough to know there was something wrong, and she did what any good parent would have done...including me...she read his journal.

I spent those two weeks doing nothing but reading everything that I could get my hands on and trying to figure out the best ways to help him. I wanted, when he came out to us, for that to be only love and only support and a really beautiful experience for him and not a horrible, terrifying, scary thing like it is for so many kids. I just wanted him to be surrounded by nothing but love from his parents.

You can read the entire conversation here.

It's very inspiring to see how she put her son first above everything else.

NYT Angers Bisexuals

There was a piece in the NYT about bisexuality that some bisexuals believe fell short on the most important issues bisexuals face and instead focused on the more sensationalized aspects of bisexuality.

the overall focus was on genitalia, bisexual curiosity and what occurs behind closed doors, instead of the much more pressing social, economic, psychological and cultural issues that affect bisexuals nationwide. Considering the fact that every five, 10, 20 years a new article arises that harps on the so-called "trendiness" of bisexuality as it pertains to bedroom routines, perhaps this shouldn't be surprising. But it's beyond time for us to move past this fascination to get to what really matters.

This doesn't surprise me. I saw a discussion on Twitter the other night about the topic of journalists at publications like the NYT falling short in almost everything these days. In many cases if it's not sensationalism about questionable healthcare issues it's just poor grammar. In other cases it's putting a slant on the news to make it what they want and to sway public opinion. The trouble with the latter is that's not how it works with all of their readers. And when they try to pull that on some they wind up losing readers who won't go back.

You can read more here.

Morning Joe Snit

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of TV news show, "Morning Joe," because I think it's always been biased, it doesn't hand out the facts, and Joe Scarborough is full of crap. It's why I haven't turned on anything MSNBC related in years now. (if you look at the ratings I'm not the only one.) But I have to admit that MSNBC did something right when they gave air space to Mika Brzezinski, because this morning she actually said what many of us have been thinking, and it put Scarborough in a snit.

She calls out her co-host for his ratings-driven speculative theories about the Malaysian missing plane by pulling the focus back onto *real* news and facts the public needs to hear. But also...

You can read more here, with a clip of the incident.

You'll also see how a straight privileged man treats a strong woman with patronizing comments and condescending gestures. He told her to "calm down." I wonder if he would have said that to a male co-host. Or better, Barbara Walters.

Of course it still won't get me...and millions of others...back to MSNBC or Morning Joe. They'd have to get rid of Joe Scarborough and hand the reins over to Brzezinski for that to happen and call it Morning Mika. Right now, I prefer Robin Meade.

MA State Rep. HIV+; Sally Field's Gay Son; FREE Gay Excerpt Friday Sexual Transitioning

MA State Rep. HIV+

I think this is groundbreaking for several reasons. Massachusetts State Representative  Carl Sciortino recently disclosed he's living with HIV, he resigned from office, and will soon be heading the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.

'As a gay man living with HIV, I am honored to lead one of the country’s oldest and most effective organizations in the battle against this disease which has raged on over 30 years,' Sciortino said in a statement.

He mentions a few of his plans, which includes lowering HIV diagnosis rates.

But I think one of the least discussed aspects of this announcement is that he actually disclosed his HIV status in public. There's been a long standing unspoken rule within the gay community that anyone who is HIV positive is mentioned with whispers and rarely does anyone ever talk about it openly. I will do a much longer in-depth post on this in the future from experiences I've personally had.

You can read more here.

Sally Field's Gay Son

Although Sally  and I are not related at all (smile), this is interesting because Tony and I recently watched a Barbra Streisand concert on PBS where Streisand's openly gay son, Jason Gould, sang a song with her. Gould came out at the age of 21. According to this Gould was diagnosed as HIV+ in 2003. (He's very good, and the PBS special was actually very good...and I think most people who come to this blog know I'm not normally a huge fan of the torch song thing.) I think when we see high profile celebrities speak openly about *anything* LGBT related it helps people who haven't come out...or are thinking about coming out.

Sally Field, best known for her title role in the 1960’s television series The Flying Nun, has written about her experiences raising a gay son along two straight sons in a letter aimed at bolstering support for the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) efforts to stop state legislatures passing laws that legalize discrimination against LGBTI people.

You can read more here. Field has always been active with social and political issues, and usually does it with grace.

FREE Gay Excerpt Friday Sexual Transitioning

I posted about my upcoming short that will be released by German publisher, Bruno Gmunder, yesterday. It's a short sequel to my erotic romance, Fangsters: Clan of the Jersey Boys, and if I don't post something about it now I might forget about it. Shorts tend to get lost in the proverbial shuffle sometimes...and they are actually my favorite forms of fiction, both reading and writing. The title is Sexual Transitioning. And it is subject to changes I might not be aware of because the publisher edits this one, not me. This is the raw version. A word of warning, though. If you haven't read the novel, Fangsters, there might be a spoiler in this story. For those who have read Fangsters, I think this will only add to the original story line. 

The night Anton and Digger decided to turn Leo would haunt Anton throughout eternity. He hadn’t wanted to turn him that soon. He’d wanted to think about it and talk it over with Leo to see if he was ready to become a vampire. Of course Digger, always the bad boy careless one, shrugged and laughed it off. Digger acted on impulse and made all his decisions without taking consequences into consideration. He’d wanted to turn Leo much earlier and Anton had been the one who had refused.

            Anton hadn’t expected to fall in love with Digger and Leo at the same time. He knew Digger and Leo hadn’t expected they would fall in love with each other, and with him. The concept of three so completely different men loving each other this way could only be described as complicated at best under normal circumstances. But when two of the lovers were vampires it went beyond complicated and veered into pure unabashed confusion.

            The night they were on their way home from the nightclub where Leo had just won first prize for having the best ass in the gay bar changed their three-way relationship forever. If that truck hadn’t come from nowhere, or if Leo hadn’t walked into the middle of the street without looking, there would have been time to talk and plan and organize the future in a more coherent way. Leo would have had time to adjust to the idea being a vampire and maybe his transition wouldn’t have been so intense and violent.

            There were nights after the accident, after they’d turned Leo, where Anton and Digger would talk about what had happened and shake their heads. Digger remembered it differently than Anton. He didn’t remember the exact details. Maybe he hadn’t been paying attention, which Anton knew wouldn’t have been unusual. Digger didn’t even remember Leo in the middle of the street dying, with his leg severed, losing so much blood he could barely speak. But Anton would never forget that night, not a single detail. If he closed his eyes, he could still see Leo look up at him and say, “I love you guys. I think I’m dying, Anton. I don’t think I’m going to live.” Anton would never forget when Leo begged him and said, “Hold me tighter, Anton. Don’t let me go. I love you both so much. Hold me. I’m so scared. I can’t feel my leg anymore.” Nothing in Anton’s mortal or immortal life had ever left such an impact on him.

            Of course Digger didn’t remember it happening the same way. No matter how many times Anton would disabuse Digger’s convoluted recollections, Digger would reply the same way. He claimed there was no way Leo could have spoken those words or said those things with his leg severed that way. Digger would look at Anton and say, “I should know. It couldn’t have happened that way. I worked in the emergency room in a hospital when I took that summer off one year. I saw how humans deal with pain, and I know there’s no way Leo could have been that conscious in that condition and said those things. It’s just not realistic. No sane person would believe it.”

            Anton usually let Digger get away with a lot, but not this. He wouldn’t back down. “I don’t fucking care where you worked one summer, or what the fuck you did in an emergency room. I was there, man. I held Leo in my arms and I heard him speaking to me, begging me. He knew he was dying. He did say those things.”

            Digger wouldn’t agree, but he would back down and change the subject with a dismissive tone. Perhaps because he knew he couldn’t win, or perhaps because he knew Anton needed to rationalize his motives for turning Leo that night. And it’s not that Anton had any regrets about what he’d done at the moment. He’d agreed to turn Leo at that moment to keep him from dying and to save his leg and he’d been prepared to deal with the consequences. It’s just that Anton never in his wildest dreams thought the transition from human to vampire would be so intense.

            After they turned Leo right there in the middle of the street, they brought him back to Digger’s apartment in Newark. They figured he would be safe there. Anton had to deal with some family business for his dad the following night, but Digger could stay with Leo to make sure he didn’t get into trouble until Anton returned. Newly turned vampires often have different reactions. Some are calm and slide right into their new immortal lives without a hitch. Some can be moody and won’t speak for days. Others can be nasty and all they want is to make the first fresh kill and suck human blood. Anton once saw a newly turned vampire crawl into a hole in the ground and refuse to come out for months. He drank the blood of voles and moles. It was always different with each human turned, and no one could predict the outcome. In Leo’s case, Anton didn’t think there was much to be worried about because Leo had been such a sweet, tender, kind human.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Teen Tried Suicide 43 Times; Juhlin Inspired by Michael Sam; Gay Weddings Japan

Teen Tried Suicide 43 Times

This sort of thing just guts me to the core. In a follow up to a post to one I wrote earlier this week about a male teen who committed suicide after having an affair with a well known male TV personality in the UK, this latest news is so shocking it makes the original story even more frustrating.

The jury inquest in Truro heard how a gay male TV comedian, referred to as Mr X throughout proceedings, did ‘sexual things’ to the 18-year-old while he was studying fashion in London.

After the affair, the inquest heard how a psychiatrist said Cowburn was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following his experiences. Around a month before his death, Cowburn was found wandering in the middle lane of a freeway near Longreach.

He told police officers it was the 43rd attempt to take his own life.

You can read more here. The article goes on to mention how the teen was disgusted with himself and how he needed to punish himself (I think we've all been a certain degree). And even though this wasn't a case of least not the clear definition of rape...the teen felt pressure to do certain things. The TV personality has not been identified and the inquest is still moving forward.

We may never know the truth about this. But I can't help wondering how many young men are traumatized by sexual encounters like this and how many do go through PTSD completely undiagnosed. It's not something we hear about often because most young men won't admit it to anyone, nor will they even admit it to themselves...whether they are gay or straight. It takes years of dealing with certain things to come to a full understanding. And even then it never really goes away completely.

I hope they get to the bottom of this one, and without hidden influences that often happen where there is money and power involved.

And why wasn't that child under observation after all those failed attempts at suicide?

Juhlin Inspire by Michael Sam

I hope Michael Sam truly knows what an inspiration he's been to so many gay men all over the world. This next article is just another example of what he's achieved.

Marcus Juhlin, a well-known American Football player in Sweden, says it is Sam's openness that led to his decision to come out as gay.

The 22-year-old Juhlin has told his story QX, the biggest LGBT magazine in Sweden, in a cover story.

The magazine reports that he is the first pro in American Football in Sweden to go public about being gay.

You can read more here.

Gay Weddings Japan

I have to admit that I've always been fascinated by all Asian culture. I've been collecting Satsuma and other Asian antiques all my life, the most important so far being a 16th century mud chair from China. And although I've never been to Asia (yet), I find gay culture in many parts of Asia just as fascinating and this article very uplifting.

Draped in wedding kimonos, standing in a Zen temple built in the 1590s, gay and lesbian couples have a new option for a commitment ceremony in Japan.

The Hotel Granvia Kyoto is offering a full traditional Buddhist wedding at the Shunkoin Temple for same-sex couples.

Even though same sex marriage is not yet legalized in Japan, the hotel joins other businesses around the world taking steps toward social acceptance of LGBTI couples while their home governments lag behind. Thus the ceremony is more of a spiritual commitment, as the couple does not gain any legal right through it.

There's more here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fangsters: Sequel Story; Gay Escorts Talk; Ellen Page's Tweet

Fangsters: Sequel Story

I have a short story included in the upcoming release from Bruno Gmunder, Until the Sun Rises, that's actually a short sequel to my novel, Fangsters. For those who have read Fangsters, I kept all characters, and the story line continues as it did in the book.

You can check Until the Sun Rises out here on Amazon and order a pre-release copy. It should be out by June, and I'll post more about that in the future.

I think they did a wonderful job on the cover. This anthology is what gay erotica is all about, and should be all about.

Gay Escorts Talk

This is an in-depth piece where some of the most sought after gay male escorts (rent boys) talk candidly about their lives and their feelings. There are also photos to go along with the tales. This short excerpt is from the beginning and about Booker Banks, also a porn star.

People think you're just this f--king hooker, someone who's money-hungry, dirty and gross. But that's not my reality," said Boomer Banks on a recent March afternoon, looking up from his sewing machine. "It isn't my be-all, end-all. It's just a way for me to be able to get what I need for the rest of my career."

Strewn around Banks’ cozy Chelsea apartment are glimpses of this future dream -- scraps of cloth draped on chairs, naked dress mannequins covered in pins. Banks might be an escort and porn star, but he sure as hell loves to sew.

It's a fascinating article that talks about their lives, money, and even compares them to Realtors at one point. I highly recommend reading it. I've always been a big proponent of legalized prostitution for many reasons. This article might disabuse you of some misconceptions and pre-conceived notions.

You can read more here.

Ellen Page's Tweet

Ellen Page got a message from an anti-gay pastor and she replied to him very well.

2 da Pastor who wrote me-Being gay isn't a belief.My soul isnt struggling& I don't want arms of Heavenly Father around me.A girls arms? Yes.
— Ellen Page (@EllenPage) March 22, 2014

You can read more here.

The interesting thing to me about things like this is that you never hear about anyone like Ellen Page sending a private message to a pastor telling him she's worried about him. Very seriously worried about the fact that he can't seem to let people live their own lives in peace. It's always the other way around. And those who should be against hate always seem to be the ones pushing it the most. Interesting.

The Preacher's Husband Cover; Bullies, Amazon Petition

The Preacher's Husband Cover

2014 has turned into one of the busiest years ever. Tomorrow I'll post about a short sequel to "Fangsters: Clan of the Jersey Boys," that will be a part of a new vampire anthology, Until the Sun Rises, with German Publisher, Bruno Gmunder. I get a lot of e-mails about Fangsters asking if there will be more in the series and right now I'm honestly not sure. But right now I'd like to post the cover preview of my latest indie, The Preacher's Husband. This one is part of the Glendora Hill series. The first of which was released at Christmas, Cowboy Christmas Miracle. There will be five books altogether in the series.

I'll post a release date very soon. Edits are in, all is revised, and we're just waiting on tech details.

Bullies, Amazon Petition

Since the beginning of the whole book review bully issue I've always remained objective on the topic because even though I'm a blogger I'm also an author and I stand by the rule of not reading my own reviews...ever. And, as a blogger I do think it's important to remain objective sometimes. In other words, I try to think about what my blog readers want and in this case I think they want information, not my opinions. I also truly believe that most people want to feel good, not focus on negatives. There's enough negativity in the world now and I'd rather not add more to it.

Earlier this week I posted a few things about Anne Rice and the bully petition asking Amazon to make changes to the review system so that no anonymous reviews would be allowed.  And now I'm linking to an op-ed piece that discusses how the fun in reviewing is starting to disappear for some thanks to so much controversy...and several other reasons. It's a popular blog in the romance community, but it's also a blog on the fringes of society in the mainstream. And whenever you get a gathering of passionate people on the fringes of mainstream society, things often get explosive.

You can read more here.

The only comment I will add is that none of this is really all that new. I've been in publishing since I graduated from college and landed my first (awful) job at Conde Nast in NY. I've seen it all before. Years ago something like this would have been in a newspaper or small book review section most people would have missed. The only difference this time is that more people are involved and more opinions are shared now thanks to Internet exposure. Frankly, I'm not sure if that helps or hurts. But sometimes you have to take things into perspective and look at the bigger proverbial picture. If you were to go into any supermarket in the US and ask anyone at random what they think of the bully/review issue I would bet most people wouldn't even know what you're talking about.

Cancer Awareness: Penis in a Sock; Facebook Buys Oculus; Gay For Straight Guys

Cancer Awareness: Penis in a Sock

(Update Below)

One thing in life I never take lightly is cancer or cancer awareness. I've had more friends and family than I can count deal with every cancer you can imagine from breast to pancreatic. I've lost some. I've seen some survive. My mom is a two time cancer survivor, and this past January she was diagnosed with another cancer totally unrelated to the first two. Tony's mom passed away in 2002 from pancreatic cancer. There isn't a thing I haven't seen related to cancer, from stem cell chemo to radiation. And it's of the hardest things. But one of the things I found most inspiring in my experiences at places like Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia is that once people (and this includes families and friends) start to deal with it life takes on new meaning and you look at things very differently. One of the most important things, as hard as that is sometimes, is to have a sense of humor.

The Cock in a Sock Campaign was started by a man in the UK, and it's been sweeping the Internet.

Hello and welcome to the 'Cock in a Sock' JustGiving Page!
This campaign has gone viral on Facebook and is growing across the social network community. Our supporters are amazing, donating and sending in their 'Cock in a Sock' pictures to raise awareness for male cancers.
Please donate anything you can, and help us raise the 5k we need to become a registered charity!!
All donations made go directly to Cancer Research UK

Of course there have been mixed reactions to this campaign, which is understandable. Cancer terrifies people, too. But the bottom line is that this Internet trend is not only raising awareness but also asking for donations and all the money goes to cancer research. And anything that does something this positive, from pink pumpkins to penis in a sock, can't be all that bad.

You can see photos here.

This article talks about some of the controversy surrounding the campaign.

The campaign does not seem to have been completely hindered by the Terms of Service for the social platforms it operates on. According to Queerty, "there are tons of guys being reported for 'violating community standards'" on Facebook. (For those whose images have been removed, they're encouraged to share the photo at left.) The Cock in a sock Facebook page has not been shut down however; neither has their Twitter account or their Instagram account, though a celebratory Instagram account that gathered the best photos from around the web is no longer up.

You can view the latest Instagram uploads here.

This is also the first time I've seen testicular cancer mentioned on such a large scale...or any male related cancer. I know several men who have been diagnosed with testicular and prostate cancer.

(Update: The Facebook page to Cock in a Sock was removed, with this left in its place...

Sorry, this page isn't available

The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.)

Facebook Buys Oculus

Oculus is a company that makes a product called "Oculus Rift." It's a virtual reality device that received so much attention it has 75,000 orders.

Facebook has agreed to buy Oculus for $2 billion, betting that its virtual reality may be a new way for people to communicate, learn or be entertained.

Facebook Inc. said Tuesday that the deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares worth about $1.6 billion. Oculus employees are also eligible for an additional $300 million if the company achieves certain targets.

According to FB, it's all about virtual reality as the next new trend. I tend to agree. I wouldn't be surprised to see people reading books on something like this in the near future. Maybe by then the LLF will have broken down and allowed those old fashioned e-books to enter the Lambda Awards? We'll see.

You can read more here.

Gay for Straight Guys

This next article is interesting because it says one out of ten gay men are on dating sites (or Craigslist) looking for straight men to fulfill the straight man fantasy they have. I think that number is highly conservative.

In research published in Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, it found one in 10 men who use Craigslist M4M section are specifically seeking out ‘sexual partners who do not identify as gay’.

The researchers reviewed 1,200 personal ads posted on Craigslist for analysis. Researchers believe these men are looking to either fulfill a ‘fantasy’ or because it allows closeted men to seek out others for anonymous sexual encounters.

As I said, I think this is way too conservative and if the truth were really to come out the numbers of gay men...or for that matter straight men who are curious...looking for encounters with straight men would be much more dramatic. And I think the millions of adult entertainment web sites geared toward the gay/straight fantasy would tend to agree with me. I have seen some of the most ridiculous porn sites where the actors are clearly all gay and yet pretend to be straight just because of this fantasy. And I'm not even going to get into the straight men who find transgender sex erotic.

You can read more here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

James Franco in New Jersey; Anne Rice, Reviews, Petition

Anne Rice, Reviews, Petition

An article written five days ago talks more about the online petition to get Amazon to make changes in its review policies, and talks more about Anne Rice and how she's been such a large part of all this. The article begins with a comment about reading bad reviews of classic books...Lolita. I can back that up with one star reviews I once read about The Great Gatsby.

But this issue in a general sense seems to be gaining more speed and doesn't seem to be going away.

What prompted Rice to sign the petition were her experiences in an Amazon forum this past January (although she’s been talking about the Amazon problem for some time). She was answering questions while “predatory career bullies” (screengrabbed here) spat venom and abuse, anonymously. She told the Guardian: “They've worked their way into the Amazon system as parasites, posting largely under pseudonyms, lecturing, bullying, seeking to discipline authors whom they see as their special prey . . .  They're all about power. They clearly organise, use multiple identities and brag about their ability to down vote an author's works if the author doesn't 'behave' as they dictate."

You can read more here.

James Franco in New Jersey

Had I known this I would have put on my best underwear and taken a quick ride down to Princeton. It's less than a half hour from New Hope. James Franco is starring in and directing a new historical film, The Sound and the Fury, and he was shooting a scene not far from Princeton University.

Bundled up in a leather jacket, a thick black hat and dark sunglasses, actor James Franco stood near the Washington Road bridge today, sizing up the bridge over Carnegie Lake in Princeton where an actor had just jumped for a scene in “The Sound and the Fury,” an adaptation of William Faulkner’s 1929 novel directed by and starring Franco.

“What do you think about this for B camera? Just look at this first,” Franco said to a cameraman as he made his way around the West Windsor set on the Princeton border and fans gathered along Faculty Road, hopeful they’d get a look at the movie and the man making it happen.

You can read more here...with a photo of Franco suffering through this winter that just doesn't want to end.

There have been a lot of films made around here in the Bucks County area and when I owned my gallery I saw customers that ranged from soap opera stars in New York to Mick Jagger. One well known actor I won't name once asked me back to his hotel room in Lambertville and I politely declined and said I was married. Most people around here aren't star struck and most celebrities feel free to be just like everyone else. But had I known about Franco I might have been tempted to take my iPad down there and have him sign a bookplate on the back for his novel, Actors Anonymous.

In any event, this was the only day Franco will be here, so I guess I missed my one shot in life to be a fangirl. Franco did, however, make the day of a few young women in Princeton.

“It’s so random that he’s here, but I’m a fan and he’s welcome here any time,” Byrne said. “We’re just some girls in love.”

Truvada & HIV Prevention; Elaine Stritch Who? James Franco's New Gay Parody

Truvada & HIV Prevention

I think this is probably one of the most comprehensive pieces I've read yet about the antiretroviral drug, Truvada, as it applies to HIV prevention. The FDA approved Truvada for use in preventing HIV infection, but there's also been a division within the medical community for many reasons, and this article titled, "What Is Safe Sex? The Raw and Uncomfortable Truth About Truvada," by Rich Juzwlak, probably covers everything most people need to know for now.

I know about Truvada not as a prevention drug but from dealing with friends who are HIV poz and take it as part of their antiretroviral therapy. But Juzwlak gets into how it applies to raw sex, the choice to bareback, and a lot of the more emotional aspects with respect to Truvada and HIV prevention. And it's not just for gay men. It's for everyone.

The understanding that I might benefit from using Truvada dawned on me slowly, like I was stuck permanently at 6 a.m. for a few months. It was other guys who helped prompt my decision, like the ones I had the sense not to fuck raw when they assumed that's what we'd be doing on first meeting, or the ones who tried to fuck me bare so casually, it was like they were going in there to check their mail. It was the guy who told me, "Yes, I'm negative—I was tested in February," in October. It was the guy that I hooked up with who then proposed a threesome via text: "My friend said he wants to fuck raw." This was a few texts after I told him, "I play safe," and he said, "Yeah, me too." A few texts later, he admitted he'd already fucked raw with our prospective third.

Juzwlak also mentions important things we don't often see when reading about Truvada, like long term side effects and cost. One prescription costs around $1,389.99 and it can reduce bone density and cause kidney problems. Those who are HIV poz and are on antiretroviral therapy and take ARVs like Truvada have regular blood work done every three months to monitor all these things. It's a way of life.

On top of that, there are immediate side effects:

Unfortunately, I discovered that taking Truvada gave me too many new things to feel. Whatever short-term side effects I could get, I did. Less than a week out, I started to feel a deep sense of fatigue every day around 6 p.m. It was something I could power through and eventually shake, but it made me feel like dropping to the floor and passing out instead of going to the gym or attending movie screenings. I had perpetual muscle soreness, especially in my legs, as if I had squatted way more than I should have the day before. My skin got worse. I developed a disgusting, raised rash on my torso that my dermatologist told me was the result of a nickel allergy (I had been wearing the culprit belt for years). I was gassy.

From what I've seen with friends, I can back all this up...and even add more because different people react differently.

But one of the most interesting things about this piece I spotted was that most people who are on Truvada for prevention don't always take it regularly which could present even more issues. If you talk to any ID doc who treats mostly HIV patients he/she will tell you one of the most common things with people on ARV meds is that they aren't always consistent with taking their meds. I don't know why. It's just a fact that I've heard many, many times from health professionals.

As I said above, if you don't know anything about HIV prevention or Truvada you really should read this article. I only covered the bare essentials here. It's long, but covers so many aspects you'll basically get everything you need to know right there.

You can find it here at Gawker.

Elaine Stritch Who?

Of course I've heard of Elaine Stritch, however, she's never been my icon. I appreciate her work (what little I know of it), so please don't get me wrong. But she's another one I wouldn't stand in line to see on my best day. But she is, according to this article, a "gay icon," and even she didn't know it until recently.

'I'm just becoming aware of it - by articles such as this one,' she admits to PrideSource magazine.

'I really have become very much aware, first of all, what great audiences they are. And it isn't that I finally discovered that gay people understand me and straight people don't - oh, no no no. Not a word of truth in that. I can't tell you how many straight people I know that think I am the cat's pajamas.'

Now go back and read that statement again, but this time replace gay people with African Americans...or any other minority. "What great audiences THEY are..." If she were talking about African Americans or any other minority that would ring of racism. I don't fault Stritch for this. I truly don't, and I'm not getting all PC here now. We are all to blame. And she's right. I'm sure there are even more straight people who think she's the "cat's pajamas" than there are gay people.

You can read more here.

James Franco's New Gay Parody

Last November I posted about James Franco's gay parody with Seth Rogen, and now he's done another for the cover of Vogue. This time the focus is on Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, with Rogen photo shopped wearing a wedding dress and Franco with his arms around him.

In Franco's recreation, Rogen wears the dress as he's 'held' by his best mate.

'Seth! Love you, dog,' Franco writes above the doctored picture.

You can read more here.

I think everyone loves these parodies...well, almost everyone. I've had a few tight-assed reviewers who didn't like my novel take offs on straight romance films. But that's another story. One didn't even have the sense of humor to realize it was a parody. But no harm done. Everyone has a right to an opinion, even those without a clue.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Justice John Roberts in Drag; British Vicar in Gay Bar; Ted Nugent Paid NOT to Appear;

Justice John Roberts in Drag

Gay director, Paris Barclay, actually went to an all boys school with US Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. At a recent HRC event Barclay reminisced about a school play he did with Roberts where Roberts dressed up in drag to play Peppermint Patty.

'John was a very nice gentleman there, I have nothing against John Roberts,' Barclay said of the George W. Bush appointee who voted against the gutting of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act last June.

Then Barclay shared this gem: 'We were in a play together, it was You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. I played Snoopy and future Chief Justice John Roberts played Peppermint Patty.'

When I posted a book review about Lambda Award winning book, In One Person, by John Irving, I may or may not have mentioned the strong theme in the book that revolved around an all boys school, acting, school plays, and how males who attend all boys school are expected to play the female parts. I hate to do another Sheldon here, but it's not all that unusual. Or even shocking to those who know better.

You can read more here.

British Vicar in Gay Bar

A Vicar in the UK went to a gay bar offering to cure patrons, shocking bar owner, Tony Butcher, and adding one more incident of discrimination to what's already become an ongoing deal that ranges from threats to burn the bar down to alleged harassment by city council.

‘It was our first Sunday when in came this chap in his 30s wearing a dog collar who suggested we should come to his church where he could cleanse us,’ he told KentOnline. 

‘I have no idea which church he was from and we just laughed it off. But it seems to have set the tone of the reaction to the venue which some people clearly don’t like.’

This reminds me of something that happened here in New Hope, PA, when I owned my art gallery back in the 1990's. One of those very high end erotic boutiques opened up not far from my gallery and a local middle aged church woman came walking up the street, spotted a mannequin in the front window wearing BDSM gear  and tit clamps, and the poor woman clutched her chest and fainted dead away. It took fifteen minutes to revive her. And after that the high end erotic boutique faced nothing but discrimination from people who felt they had a right to judge that kind of shop. Small towns are like this. And there's not much anyone can do to change that.

The erotic boutique is still in business today. The middle aged church woman who fainted that day ran off with a twenty-four year old guy.

You can read more here.

Ted Nugent Paid NOT to Appear

I don't know much about Ted Nugent or his political beliefs. I think this article falls under the category of what often happens to celebrities (and even authors) who get too political about anything one way or the other.

The town of Longview, Texas paid Nugent $16,000 to not appear at the town's Fourth of July Festival. According to KLTV, a city spokesman said Nugent was "not the right feel for this kind of community event."

The city had reached a verbal agreement with Nugent, scheduling the rocker as the headliner who would play inside the Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center during the town's Independence Day celebration. To break that agreement, the town paid Nugent half of his guaranteed performance fee of $32,000 from Maude Cobb's annual budget.

I just always feel if you're an entertainer you should entertain. If you're a romance author you should stick to writing about romance. And if you're a politician or what you do is about politics you should talk about politics. And the only reason I'm saying that is because even one snide political comment can lead to a lasting impression that may or may not ever go away. Think Jane Fonda. Now it's Ted Nugent. History always repeats itself.

You can read more here. The article makes it sound as if Nugent was paid not to show up, but in reality he lost half the money he was supposed to get.

Political pundit, Sarah Palin, agrees with Nugent. But she's political pundit who makes her living stirring up shitstorms about politics and she gets paid very well for doing this. She's not doing it for free. That's what she does.

Ways to be Happy; UK TV Star Scandal; Johnny Weir Divorce Gets Ugly

Ways to be Happy

When I saw this article about 27 things we should know about happiness a few days ago I earmarked it for a post because I think it's something that resonates with most people. Without actually getting into the sub-conscious, or even the art of theosophy, it shows how we can make our own happiness in many ways just by following a few simple techniques. But you need to be aware of these things. That's really the secret. Just the same as you need to be aware of negative thoughts that might bring you down. We aren't taught these things, so it's not always easy to reach this awareness. But it can be done.

As much as 40 percent of our happiness levels are within our control, according to some happiness researchers. In order to turn happiness into something you create, adopt small habits -- such as lingering on positive moments and forcing yourself to smile -- and you'll start to feel joy on your own.

You can read more here.

It's a good article for beginners who just want to feel better. And, it's an excellent article for those interested in metaphysics and higher consciousness because it shows how so many are getting more interested this topic without even knowing they are doing it.

UK TV Star Scandal

A teenager in the UK studying at The Fashion Retail Academy committed suicide and he's been linked to an unnamed British TV star. The boy's mother knew it, and it was more than just a casual encounter. According to the mother, the teen had done some styling work for the TV personality...even though the TV personality had a paid stylist. Instead of paying the teen, the TV personality allegedly bought the teen gifts.

Other sources presented evidence about what happened between the teenager and the television star.

DC David Gadsby from the Metropolitan Police said: ‘One evening Ben went to a party at this man’s house.

There was a lot of drugs and alcohol there. ‘At about 4am, Ben wanted to leave but a cab was too expensive. The man offered a room and Ben went to sleep.

When he woke up this man was lying in bed next to him.’ David Taylor, a nurse, said Ben had told him about a sexual relationship he had with a TV comedian.

 ‘He thought he had been groomed. He felt embarrassed, ashamed and used but never said he was raped or abused. It was consensual’ he said.

You can read more about this unfortunate situation here.

Everyone has their own opinions on raising children. But if that kid had been my gay teenage son I would have gone after that TV star within an inch of his life and that would have been the LAST teenager he ever pursued.

Johnny Weir Divorce Gets Ugly

The divorce between Johnny Weir and Victor Voronov is getting uglier and now there are police involved, restraining orders because Weir through a doll at Voronov, and custody of the dog.

Meanwhile, two-time Olympian Weir obtained a judge's order allowing him into the couple's apartment for 30 minutes to collect his belongings.

He was accompanied by police officers.

TMZ reports that Voronov returned from court while Weir was there and sobbed as he took his belongings - including their dog, a Japanese Chin named Tema.

The pair are reportedly returning to court next week for a hearing about the dog and other matters.

My only comment is thank heaven there aren't any kids involved in this. Studies have proven that kids who go through an amicable divorce, even though at the time of the divorce they are traumatized, eventually learn how to cope. Last week we took my dad out to lunch for his birthday and my brother, his three kids, his ex-wife, and his new wife, all went along and it was very nice. It's even better for family members when it's amicable. I didn't want to lose my relationship with my ex-sister-in-law.

In this case, with Weir and Vornonov, I would really have felt very sorry if there had been kids involved. I won't even comment on the poor dog.

You can read more here.  From what I gather, there isn't a third least not yet.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blogger to Bestseller Brandon Stanton; Novel on Sylvia Plath; Publishing Your Book

Novel on Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath was probably one of the most interesting writers/poets of the 20th century...for many reasons. She was a graduate of Smith, married to a poet (Ted Hughs), and suffered from serious depression. She also managed to produce some of the best literature of her time, and won a Pulitzer posthumously for The Collected Poems. And now a YA author, Meg Wolitzer, will be releasing a novel inspired by Plath that sounds like it's going to be a crossover.

It's set to be published by Dutton Children's Books, an imprint of Penguin, on Sept. 30. Dutton says that Belzhar "is the story of Jam Gallahue, who-after tragically losing her boyfriend, Reeve-has been sent to The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont for "emotionally fragile, highly intelligent" teens. There, Jam is placed in an exclusive, mysterious class (Special Topics in English), where the students read only one writer; this semester, that writer is Sylvia Plath. A journal-writing assignment leads Jam and her classmates into a miraculous world they call Belzhar, where the past is restored and Jam can feel Reeve's arms around her once again."

You can read more here, where there's a question and answer with Wolitzer. The reason I think this will be a crossover is that I'll be reading it, and I think millions of other Plath aficionados will be, too.

Blogger to Bestseller Brandon Stanton

When a blogger makes the transition to books it often doesn't work out...if it even happens at all. I've seen a few highly popular blogs over the past ten years that became books and most didn't do well at all in book form. For whatever reason, it simply didn't resonate with mainstream readers the same way it did with blog readers. This is why I keep a good deal of distance between my blogging persona and my fiction and rarely like to mix the two...which isn't easy to do (also why I keep this blog pg rated all the I can post on these topics). But, once in a while a blogger does make the transition to books well. In this case, Brandon Stanton who blogs at Humans of New York has millions of followers and a #1 bestseller on the NYT list.

And now Stanton is putting out a book for kids titled, Little Humans.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Stanton (pictured, via) talks about his process for photographing kids: “I never even make eye contact with the child until I’ve asked the parent’s permission. But once I’ve gotten the go ahead, I sit on the ground and try to be as playful as possible. I think it’s important to try to get on a kid’s level when taking their photo.”

It's nice to see a blogger who does something positive reach this kind of goal. I don't always comment like this, but sometimes it's just nice to take a break from the cutthroat vituperative world of online writing where so many digital authors will stop at nothing to win a fake award, push a rotten book that never should have been written in the first place, and sell their souls to the devil to get questionable reviews on Amazon.

What Stanton is doing gives me faith there's still hope out there.

You can read more at Galleycat.

Publishing Your Book

One of the most interesting things I've been seeing since I started reading publishing blogs online about twelve years ago is that so many unpublished writers have one book they think is going to send them soaring into stardom, with fortune and fame. It happens. E.L. James is a good example it can happen. But not often. Most of the time writers work years, write many books, and pay all their dues just to get a little recognition. If they are lucky that is.

So I think articles like this one I'm linking to now are helpful to realistic writers who aren't interested in self-publishing. And not everyone is.

However, if your manuscript doesn’t receive interest from a literary agent, the next step is to begin querying the smaller independent and university presses. Don’t fret—this doesn’t mean that your book is destined for obscurity. Keep in mind that a university press publishes more than just school-affiliated writers and academic tomes. Both university and indie presses publish all types of authors from many genres and reach a wide audience.

You can read more here.

My advice is try querying everyone, try independent and university presses, and try everything until you've exhausted all possibilities. And then start all over again. A good deal of getting published depends on perseverance, too. You can never give up.

Tom Daly's Man Problem; Young, African & Gay; Weir's Divorce

Tom Daley's Man Problem

Last year Tom Daley came out, disclosed he's in a relationship with a man, and ever since then he's been amazed at all the attention he's getting from men. They are hitting on him and he just doesn't get it.

"Some people come up to me and say, ‘Do you want to go back?’ And I’m like, ‘What do you mean? The whole reason I did this was because I have a boyfriend,'” he said.

Noting that his fans and fellow athletes have been "so supportive" and "so nice" about his coming out, Daley nonetheless revealed there have been a few odd encounters along the way.

Oh, so innocent and shy. Just a simple, humble gay boy without a clue.

But he does talk about all the support he's received since coming out, especially from grandparents, which compensates for the rest of his unusual comments.

You can read more here.

Young African & Gay

Considering what's happening to LGBTI people in Africa these days, I think the article I'm linking to now might help show people what it's like to be young, African, and gay. It's very well-written, from a first hand POV. It's smart, it's humble, it's painful in some places, and it shows how good, decent, honest people sometimes do get a voice in this world. And I think this voice is helping many others cope with their situations.

When I first came out to my family, most of them stopped talking to me. My father, who I was very close to, stopped speaking to me for two years before picking up the phone late one night to let me know that my being gay was not only an amoral form of psychic and sexual corruption, but also an act of perverse, Western mimicry. I was not only going against my Islamic upbringing, but my African heritage as well.

You can read more here.

There's some back story about the culture, and how his family reacted to him writing about being gay. I highly recommend reading it. I think this trumps many things out there we tend to think of as important.  In fact, I'm going to be focusing on what's happening in Africa a lot more in the coming months. It's just too serious to ignore.

Weir's Divorce

This is a really rough transition, but it will give you a perfect example of things we think about that truly (TRULY) are not important. Johnny Weir's estranged husband (ugh) tweeted that Weir did, indeed, file for divorce months before he actually let the estranged husband know it. There are words for people who do things like this. I'm not going to repeat them. But there are words in the gay community that sums all this up very well.

Yes. I'd like to confirm, It's true: I am only now finding out that my husband @johnnygweir filed for divorce from me months ago.
— Victor Weir-Voronov (@Vweirvoronov) March 20, 2014

You can read more here. You won't need smelling salts. It's pretty much what you'd expect from people like this. Do I sound too harsh? Maybe so, but not when you compare this bullshit to what's happening to gays in Africa. These two really could fall off the face of the earth tomorrow and no one would miss them.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Theo James Gay Superhero; Gay Virgin Fight; Gays in Ethiopia

Theo James Gay Superhero

Theo James is an actor in the UK who says he wants to see a gay superhero in a film. It's interesting because I had this discussion with someone not too long ago about female superheroes. And it's not as if it hasn't been done in gay books already...more below. (Actually, it's been done many times.)

Today there are great shows like Looking, poignant pieces of work that revolve around a central cast of characters that happen to be gay’ he said.

 ‘But I remember when Queer as Folk came out and thinking, Things are changing. Maybe there will be more shows like this.

 ‘And then suddenly there was a drought. Hopefully the day we have a gay action hero isn’t far away.’

Evidently, James isn't aware of my gay superhero story, Captain Velvet's Velvet Box. Or a few gay superhero books I've been part of. I hate to do a Sheldon, but I doubt he reads much.

You can read more about James here.

Gay Virgin Fight
When I saw this on social media the other day I didn't pay attention to it. But it's been popping up in other places so I figured I'd post something. In many ways it could read like a book...if the main characters were older.
A gay London teen who planned to lose his anal virginity ‘in the name of art’ is now being accused of stealing the idea.

Clayton Pettet, a 19-year-old art student, is vowing to perform in April the piece called ‘Art School Stole My Virginity’.

A different art student, 24-year-old John Bingham, has now accused Pettet of stealing his performance piece ‘Art School Stole My Sexuality’.

I don't know how the laws are in the UK, but here in the US you can't steal an idea. Works are protected, but not ideas. This link isn't the best one around, but I've heard this before in many other places that discuss ideas and concepts. With a simple search you'll see what I mean.

You can read more about these two snarky little gay virgins here.

Frankly, since there's no way to prove either of them actually are anal virgins it's really a moot point for me. Unless, of course, there's a lot of screaming during the exhibit. That's usually how the first time works.

Gays in Ethiopia

For gays in Ethiopia it might come to pass where gay sex becomes a non-pardonable crime on the same level as terrorism, human trafficking, and rape.

The act would change Ethiopia’s Pardon and Amnesty Law by grouping gay sex alongside other non-pardonable offenses such as corruption, human-trafficking, smuggling, rape and terrorism.

From what I gather the laws now as they stand are already harsh...someone could even get up to 25 years in prison for infecting someone else with AIDS related to same sex acts.

Pure ignorance. And I can't help wondering if there are any Christian US zealots behind this, or at least helping to push it along.

You can read more here.