Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gay Excerpt from LASTING LUST Anthology...


I promised an excerpt from one of the stories in the LASTING LUST: KINKY COUPLES IN LOVE anthology. So here it is. This one was written by a writer who goes by the pen name Christian Graziedella. In his biography at the end of the anothology, he mentions that he works as an actor and most people would probably know his name. I'm not saying.


In Provincetown, the bars closed at one in the morning. So they showered fast and got dressed to go out. Justin spiked his short blond hair and put on his jeans with the rip up the back thigh. Bill wore low-rise jeans and stuffed his feet into heavy black boots. They both wore tight T-shirts; Bill’s was white and Justin’s red. They were out the door by ten thirty, carrying black leather jackets over their arms.


First they went to a small bar across the street from the guest house. A basement bar, beneath another less desirable guest house, called “The Student Gathering”. The place clearly worked hard to attract a college crowd, but it seemed like all they got were the alumni. It was a slow night. The dark cavern was stippled with twenty or so men who were all over sixty. They stared down at Justin’s ripped jeans and licked their lips. He didn’t make eye contact with anyone, but it was nice to feel like chicken again. When they crossed by the bar, an older guy put his hand through the ripped jeans and grabbed his ass. Justin smiled and backed into the guy’s hand so he could slide it across his naked ass; he didn’t mind being felt up in public for a few minutes.


After a couple of martinis there, they left and walked down to Commercial Street to make the rounds. The Atlantic House, better known as the A-House, was all lit, with beefy bouncers at the door taking twenty bucks a head. But inside, twenty bucks later, they only found about a handful of younger townies all discussing drag shows and Brad and Angelina’s new adoption. The music was excellent, but they’d never been into dancing. So they ordered two more martinis and hung out at the bar for a half hour. Justin was hoping someone decent would walk through the door and slide his hand down his pants again.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

LASTING LUST: KINKY COUPLES IN LOVE...RELEASE DAY


My new anthology, LASTING LUST: KINKY COUPLES IN LOVE, was just released by ravenous romance today. All the authors who contributed were wonderful and professional to work with, and their stories are fantastic. There's something for everyone in this book, with a few gay stories, and one that involves a unique relationship with a hot TV soap star and the transgender he falls in love with.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sex and Taxes...


I promised to post an excerpt of my short story, THE INCOME TAX PARTY, that's in the SEX AND TAXES anthology. So here it is.

Ricky Cushman was tall and bulky and strong. His thick blond hair was cut short, but if you looked closely you could see that he wasn’t a natural blond. He touched up his roots every three weeks; he shaved twice a day to keep his heavy, dark beard from being too obvious.


But being blond suited him well and most people never bothered to notice that it wasn’t real. They were too busy staring at his large, round biceps and the muscular ridges on his forearms. Or the way his massive chest muscles jerked and bounced on their own when he clenched his fists. It was hard to miss the way his thick, floppy penis tended to swing back and forth beneath his gym shorts when he wasn’t wearing underwear.



And he didn’t wear underwear often. He knew that some of his wealthier clients, men and women, secretly preferred it that way. Ricky was a personal trainer, with a small gym of his own. He called it “The North Union Garage,” because it was located at the end of North Union Street in a long, flat building that was really nothing more than a row of faded garage doors. He was hoping to rent a better building soon. The “The North Union Garage” did very well. Many of his clients paid over five hundred dollars a month just so they’d be able to look up his shorts and see what was between his legs when he stood over their heads and spotted them during bench presses. He knew they were looking; he even spread his legs wider and forced a semi-erection on purpose so they could just lie back on the bench and watch it swing back and forth.






He was good at what he did, and he knew how to make money. But he wasn’t always sure about how to handle the money, especially when it came time to deal with his taxes. He would have liked it if more people had paid with cash. But they didn’t. They all paid with credit cards, and he kept all the receipts and paperwork in brown, stained egg crates he’d found behind the local supermarket. He’d always depended on his father to do his income taxes. The father took the egg crates every year and never complained about the disorganization, and Ricky never had any problems. But then his father re-married and moved to Florida and Ricky had to find someone else. So when a client told him about a guy who prepared income taxes on a part time basis, he took the number and called him in early March. He’d seen him around town once or twice, so he wasn’t a total stranger.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Interview with Elisa Rolle, Book Reviewer...

I recently did a personal interview with Elisa Rolle. She writes tons of reviews about erotic male/male romance, and has been building an excellent reputation in recent years. I've always been interested in her thoughts and opinions. She's reviewed work of my mine the past, and a few recent things. So I decided to contact her in person to see if she'd be interested in doing a personal interview. She graciously agreed, and I think her answers to the questions I asked help give insight to the thought process behind writing book reviews. She lives in Italy, and speaks and writes English very well, but sometimes with an adorable Italian accent.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where you live? Where can we read your reviews?

Always wonder if people are really interesting in me, since I don't find my life really interesting... but well, here a bit of me: I was born and currently live in Padua, a town near Venice. As I always say, Padua has the bad luck to be so near Venice that foreign people always forget its existence, but Padua is the second oldest Roman Municipium after Rome (as Patavium); it has also the second oldest University in the world (founded in 1221), it's the burial place of S. Anthony and the setting of Shakespeare's play, The Taming of the Shrew, and we have one of the more important world fresco, the Cappella Scrovegni by Giotto. So Padua is a really interesting little town and I love it. But Padua is also in Italy, and even if Italy is a beautiful country, it has its cultural boundaries, first of all about homosexuality.

More or less three years ago, when I started to read gay romances (arriving from a more than 20 years experience with heterosexual romances), I was a blogger on a Romance Italian blog with other women. I really don't know why I like so much gay romances, probably a Freudian scholar would have an answer, but I have always had an interested in LGBT art world. I was only a teen when I read Forster's Maurice and then saw the Ivory's movie; more or less in the same period, I saw also The Boys in the Band, Torch Song Trilogy and some years after, Priscilla, Jeffrey, and Trick. I didn't know the existence of the "gay romance" fiction world, probably if I did, I would have started to read them before. Three years before I was bored by the traditional romances and was searching for something new, and the gay romances filled that void.

Unfortunately this new interest, clashed with the other bloggers I was with, they were a bit too much traditional, and in the end I preferred to leave the blog and start my LiveJournal.
Looking back, probably the choice to use LiveJournal instead of BlogSpot or WordPress was not a good one, from a commercial point of view, but sincerely I'm not regretting my choice (since also I have no a commercial interest!); LiveJournal is a social network that, more or less, maintains its integrity, and 90% of the people who friend me are authors or really motivated readers, and so I'm happy with that. Some friends ask me if I'm not continuously bothered by spam or "strange request", being a straight woman who blogs of Erotic and Gay Romances (strange association, since I blog of those matters probably I have to be molested...), and instead, no, my little corner of the world is a nice place where people come to discuss in harmony. I don't deny that sometime an email here or there, or a nasty comment, or spam arrive also here, but I simply click the delete bottom, and voila, matter resolved and my place is still a nice place to be. Ops... I forgot to say where this paradise is, don't I? Well mostly you can find me on:
http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/
I have also a LibraryThing, Amazon, MySpace, Twitter and GoodReads account, but they are all mirror of my LiveJournal, the real place I'm on.

2. When, and why, did you begin writing your reviews?

So, as I said before, I left that Italian Romance blog, and I was all alone in the blogosphere... I had a LiveJournal and some friends, and no idea what to do. As you all will notice reading this interview, or my LiveJournal, I'm Italian and English is not my mother tongue. I'm self-taught in English, forced me to start reading in that language since the Gay Romance I wanted to read were not available into Italian. Three years ago, I didn't consciously chose to start a Review blog on Gay Romance since there was a demand, or to fill a void, I simply started to put down my idea on a book soon after I finished it. I called them "brainstorming" more than "review", and the first I wrote are so childish that even I am embarrassed by them. But more I read and wrote and more authors started to say me that I was the first result on Google search, that when I posted about their books, they saw an increasing in the sales, and I was perplexed... no one commented on my LJ, if you open posts of one or two years ago there is a total lack of reaction, but still, month after month, the stats on my LJ were growing. From a daily average of 10/15 visits (oh yes, I was really all alone in my corner), today I have a daily average of 500 visits. What happened? I don't know. Maybe it was LibraryThing, maybe it was Amazon: I recently went to a Yaoi Convention in San Francisco and some people stopped me in the aisles of the hotel since they read my name on the badge, and they all said, "Oh, you are Elisa, the Manlove Reviewer on Amazon!”

3. If you really don't like a book or story, do you ever hold back, or do you just say what's on your mind?

I try to say what is in my mind without being snarky. Usually I started the post saying that the book was challenging for me, or pointing out the reason why it was probably not my cup of tea. Recently I read a book by a well known author, it was a BDSM story about torture and the use of pain as sexual play... it was really hard (no pun intended) for me to read and even more to post about it. You will say, why do you posted about it? Well, since, first of all, there were something in the book that I liked, and second, mine was only an opinion in the big world, I'm a person with her preferences, but my like and dislike are totally personal, and out there probably there are readers that are at the opposite of me in their like and dislike, and they have the right to know that there is an author that maybe is more their cup of the tea than mine. And then, as a good friend of mine said about the author of the book above, "And everyone, except for readers stuck in a rut, would do well to give his writing at least a try, somewhere down the road (variety, after all, the spice of life). Who knows but that someone, with enough daring, may -- gasp! -- like it!" (if you want to add my friend is William Maltese, an author that probably you know; the author of the book instead is Jardonn Smith).

Something like that happened to me. I was contacted by a publisher who wanted to promote his books; he has a publishing company that only releases Anthropomorphic novels, both heterosexual than gay, and he had a coming soon book that was a Young Adult Gay Romance, and Anthropomorphic of course... he was wondering if I was willing to read it, due to the matter: the problem in this case was not the "gay" issue, but the "anthropomorphic" nature of the book. Well, I always say that I will not deny a chance to anyone, even more to an almost new publisher and author, and so I read it, and, gasp, I like it! No, more, I love it! I read all the following books from that author, and I'm still eager to read more.

4. I've read your reviews for both print books and e-books. Which do you prefer, an e-book or print book?

I love printed books! I have thousands of books in my house, my bedroom is completely filled of bookshelves, but I really can't buy all the printed books I like, it's more a question of space, than money, even if the money factor is not to neglect. Anyway, now I only buy printed books by some authors, more or less authors I can meet in some way and have them signed the book, since if there is a thing I love more than printed books are SIGNED printed books. I went to a reading at A Different Light in San Francisco, alone and the only woman customer in the bookstore (let me say that I had courage, the only other woman was the shop assistant), only to have the author sign all my Gay Romance novels, and he was there to promote another book I didn't buy! (it was not a romance).

5. When does writing book reviews become most difficult?

The answer is simple: when I know the author, and I know how much he/she worked for that book, and I didn't like it. But fortunately, this doesn't happen so much, I believe the quality of the Gay Romances, and Gay Novels for that matter, out there is really good. I have a great respect for authors, I envy them for being able to come out (no pun intended) with a whole book, and it's really hard to not find something good in it. I prefer to point out the good aspects of book rather then the negative ones.

6. What type of schedule do you keep? Are there a certain amount of reviews you'll do each month, or does this vary?

I read by night, a bit before dinner and a lot after. I don't watch television and so, more or less, I read 200 pages per night. Most of the time they are enough to finish a book per night, and I post about it soon after (so are explained all my typos, I post in the few hours of the night when instead I should sleep ;-) ). To choose what to read I divide the books in reading order folders, trying to fill up every folder with a mix of "old" and "new" authors, and different genres. Every folder has more or less 40 books and I try to not put in a folder two books from the same author, to give, as I said before, at least a chance to every author as fast as I can.

7. Do you think the romance/erotic romance market has changed in the past few years?

I believe that my search of something new some years ago was not only mine demand. The romance/erotic romance market was stalling (even if it was still the second most read genre at all), and people was searching for something new; this explains the proliferation of paranormal genre and subgenres and the death of genre as Traditional Regency or Western Romance. The market was full and bored and wanted something new. The Gay Romance was an available viaticum, the gay romance written by women for women was pretty new (in the romance world at least) and plenty active, and when women started to read it, they also discovered a lot of existing authors, women and men, that were writing Gay Novels and Gay Romances since years. Don't forget that in all the stats, women are always ahead of men as readers, we read more and we talk more, so it's not a surprise that, when we finally find out something, we broadcast it to the world.

8. Where do you see the romance/erotic romance market heading in the future?

A publisher said that the Gay Romance genre is a fad, and that it's fated to die, but I don't believe so; as all the genres, probably in some years it will fade a bit, but it will remain alive, with a steady foundation of followers: for example, the Traditional Regency genre is not dead, it's only no more in the front shelves on the bookstores.

9. You read so many books, all the time, how do you find them and where do you look for them?

I'm a bloodhound of the net ;-) I browse a lot and I like to "click" on every possible link. I never let pass something new that catch my eyes. I frequent chats and blogs, and when I find something new, I always follow that new path. I was always like that, when I was really young (less than 10 years old), and was reading printed books, and the net was not available, I always took notes on the book I was reading if there was some sentence mentioning another book or history event, and then I went to the public library or browsed the books at home to find more on that note. I was very lucky since my mother "collected" encyclopaedias (really, we had one for every argument), and so I had plenty of material to browse.

Anyway now, I shifted my search on the net, but the method is the same. And then, sometime, there are authors or publishers that contact me; strange enough, the big publishers still don't value my LiveJournal worthy of consideration (and so I still buy the books from them, since I really love some authors they have), and the minor or new publishers instead are more active and willing.

10. If you have any advice for writers now in the romance/erotic romance genre, what would you tell them?

Promote your book by yourself and be active. Chat, talk, and be present on the net. It's the best way to spend your free time if you want to promote your book. But be careful, the net and the people who frequent it (me in primis) have long memory, so avoid being nasty or disrespectful.

11. Do certain things immediately turn you off in a book? And what are they?

Mmm, two years ago probably there were more, but now I tried almost all, and sometime I had my surprises. But truth be told, I still don't like very much the M/M/F ménages, the full BDSM books, promiscuous relationships; plus I'm not very fond of fantasy genre in general, and some type of sci-fiction. But this doesn't mean that I don't read a book, only that maybe it's more difficult for me.

12. Do you think the sex in erotic romance is becoming too much?

What do they say? It's never too much? Joke apart, I like my sex scenes, but I do skip them when they are too much weighted on the book length. But if a sex scene is good, I can even go back and re-read it ;-) It depends, I believe. I read a book of more than 400 pages, and a book that I was expecting to be a lot more sexy than it really was, and I arrived to the end realizing that practically there weren't sex scenes... but I didn't miss them. It was right for the story. But I also read a short story where a sex scene lasted 18 pages, and again, it was right for the story, and so it didn't bother me.

13. How much do book covers help you decide what you'll read and review?

If I know the publisher and the author, a cover doesn't influence me in the choice to buy it, but if the cover is really ugly, I have a pang when I post about it, since I really love the aesthetic face of my LiveJournal, and hate when I have to post something that ruin it. Instead to try a new publisher and author, the cover is really important for me, it all depends to my "browsing" system, since English is not my language, when I'm browsing I depend more on my eyes, if something catch my eyes, I stop, otherwise I go on.

14. Do you ever get feedback from writers after you've reviewed their books or stories?

Oh yes, and it's the most beautiful aspect of all my posting and blogging. I love to meet people, and chat with them. For this same reason I hate when an author "friends" me for a short time, only to "defriend" me after I read and review his/her book. Maybe I'm too naive, but probably I will read it the same, maybe not so soon, but at least I will be not disappointed by the behaviour of that author, that probably after that, is slipped on the bottom of my reading list.

15. You have a very nice web site. How do you see it evolving in the future?

OMG, in this moment I have performance issues ;-) Ok, first of all thank for the compliment, I have a big ego you know, and my LJ is my little jewel, I love when people say it's nice, since I spend a lot of time for make it so. I don't know where and how it will evolve, it's too much mine to let it go, I already refused to posted payed ad on it since it forced me to follow some simple "rules" that I didn't want to follow; on the other hand, I'm alone and I have a day work that prevent me to let it grow more than it already did. I said in the past that, when I see the stats of the LJ grow month after month, I'm almost scared, I feel like my son is growing and sooner or later I will have to let it go, and I don't want... so I really don't know, "Que Sera, Sera, Whatever Will Be, Will Be.." ;-)

16. Do you think a female author can touch the same elements as a gay male writer in male/male erotic romance? Or is there no difference at all in the many books you've read?

Oh, let the bomb falls down! Now I will receive angry emails from authors, male and female, saying that there is no difference between male writers and female writers, but, sorry guys, there is. Again I will bring you my pool example (I already used it in another interview): I believe that M/M romance written by men is more direct, with a little less romance. Once I said that an M/M romance written by a man is like a dive in a swimming pool: a man dives directly on the core of the matter, splashing around like a little kid, and being happy in doing so. Instead a woman lingers at the edge of the swimming pool, first dips one’s hands in water, then maybe a foot, and even if she, in the end, immerses all the body, she is always worried of her hair or about how she appears… of all the details around. Said that, there is always the Limbo, an edging zone between a male and a female writer where they mix and where it's very difficult to determine if someone is a man or a woman. But sincerely, for me it doesn't matter, I like and read both, despite the author being man or woman. I only warn some readers, since, if you are used to some style, more you near the limbo, and more the reading is challenging, and if you dive on the pool... well, it's possible that you have a surprise, and maybe not nice for you (but maybe nice for me ;-) )

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Launch Day for SEX AND TAXES...


The new anthology, SEX AND TAXES, was just released today. The timing couldn't have been better, and the stories are hot. I contributed a gay story to this that's about a sexy personal trainer who seeks help with his taxes from a nerdy accountant. But once they start working together, it turns out the nerdy accountant is interested in much more than just taxes. Below is the intro to the book. I'll post something from my story later this week.
It’s that time of the year again, when we try to make sense of every receipt, credit card charge, and explain how we spent so much on taxi cabs and dry cleaning. I am always fascinated by what I spent and how I spent it, but bored beyond belief at having to go through the process of tallying up these figures and explaining them to my accountant, who is another single woman like myself.
It takes me days to get my personal taxes in order because I daydream about anything but doing my taxes. I also daydream about some hot young accountant doing my taxes, and then about me doing some hot young accountant.
And that’s what inspired this anthology.
Believe it or not, I think the process of doing my taxes leads to erotic daydreams. And that’s the case with these ten stories about desperate taxpayers and the accountants who service them, as well as the IRS agents who take advantage of them, or allow themselves to be taken advantage of. There’s even a true bloodsucking accountant in the mix.
So we hope that after you’ve waited on that long line at he post office to send your taxes to the feds and the state (with your check enclosed), you’ll curl up with this nice ebook and think about what could have been. Or maybe start looking for a hot new accountant for next year (and send us a referral!).
Lori Perkins
April, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Review for PRETTY MAN...


As it happens, I've been working on a personal interview for best gay blogs with the book reviewer, Elisa Rolle. She's been reviewing m/m erotic romances for a long time, and I've always respected her work. And, recently, while I was gathering information for the interview I'm doing with her, I came across this review about the ravenous romance publication, PRETTY MAN. I had no idea she'd written this review when I contacted her for an interview (I NEVER solicite reviews for my own work). But I'm glad I found it. And, best of all, she wrote it on my birthday.


Here's the first part, and the last sentence, of the review, verbatim. I should also add that Elisa Rolle is in beautiful Italy, and her reviews are written in English, but with a slight Italian accent. The rest of the review can be found here.


I had in the past the chance to read something by Ryan Field, and his style is like some of the other gay romance authors out there that I believe are in the field way before it became the last trend. Ryan Field is like Bobby Michaels, Gavin Atlas, Nathan James, Thom Jaymes...


A side note to the setting: with fast and nice details the author recreates the atmosphere of New York in a so good way that I almost felt like I was there with them, walking on the street or perusing the shops.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Surfer Boys...Cleis Press Release


I just received my copy of the new Cleis Press release titled SURFER BOYS. I'm always happy to be in anything published by Cleis Press, because of their high standards in the gay community, and because they know what the LGBT community likes to read.

My short story is titled "It's All About The Way You Think," and the storyline follows the life of a young man who is terrified of two things: water and sex. So he spends a full summer away from home, in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, and works hard to conquer both fears.

The book was edited by Neil Plakcy, someone I follow as a reader and someone I admire as an editor. Each time I work with him I learn something new, and I'm sure that when I read the entire book I'll learn even more.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lori Perkins' Sex and Taxes Anthology...

I just mailed the contract for the new ravenousromance anthology SEX AND TAXES. It was edited, created and designed by Lori Perkins, and I'm really looking forward to reading the stories when the book is launched. I hate taxes: they freak me out until I get them out of the way each year. But anything that makes paying taxes fun, has to be good.

I know a few of the other authors in the book. One contributed two stories to my own upcoming anthology, LASTING LUST: KINKY COUPLES IN LOVE. He's an excellent new writer with a strong male voice and I can't wait to read his version of sex and taxes. I also know a few of the other contributors. Some are seasoned professionals writing with pen names. I've been in books with them before, and I've always liked what they've written.

This is the fourth anthology I've been in that has been edited by Lori Perkins. I was pleased with the first two, and I can't wait for this one. It's going to be out fast, too. Most likely by April 15th.

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Book Release...


It's been a busy week. I submitted another novel to ravenousromance. com last Friday. It's paranormal and it's titled BEWITCHED BUDDIES. The title is tentative right now. But the story is about two hot young guys who take a road trip from Washington DC to Provincetown, Cape Cod. One is a werewolf who is on a quest to have the curse removed, and the other is a warlock who refuses to use his powers because he wants to be normal and live a regular life like everyone else. It's a male/male romance, with tons of twists and turns, but with a surprise ending.


On Monday, I submitted another short story for the upcoming SEX AND TAXES anthology for ravenous romance. The story is male/male and it's about a sexy young weight lifter who calls on a nerdy, but handsome, young accountant to help him sort out all his receipts. They start out organizing box fulls of write-offs, but wind up naked and in the middle of a pile of receipts.


And between getting the story out on time and working on two other stories (I'm not mentioning them, because one has never been done before...at least I don't think it has), I started the latest novel for Ravenous, which I'm hoping to finish by the end of the month. And in the midst of everything else, I just found out yesterday that SURFER BOYS was released by Cleis Press. I have a short story in this book that's titled "Carmel-by-the-Sea," and it's all about a sexy young guy who is out to conquer all his fears, and in doing so he meets the surfing instructor of his dreams.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Promoting Great Gay Writers this week...


In keeping with promoting other things this week. I'm posting about a great new book out right now that's with STARbooks Press. It's titled, MICHAEL'S SECRETS, and it's by Milton Stern. (He's the author of the short story "Kosher Man," from the book "Unmasked: Erotic Tales of Gay Superheros.") I'm in a few anthologies that have been published by STARbooks Press, and I've always been happy with the quality and integrity of their work.


I've also had post-it notes written to order this book myself for two weeks now, and tonight I'm going to sit down, take ten minutes, and buy it. I don't have time these days to read much for personal pleasure, but I know I'm not going to be disappointed with MICHAEL'S SECRETS. I've read Milton Stern before, and I've never been let down.
And, another book I'd like to mention is called WONDERLAND, by Adam Carpenter, published by ravenousromance. I've read this one, and I can't recommend it enough. It's a gay version of Desperate Housewives, and it's currently in the top ten best sellers at ravenousromance.com.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hot Guys Blog...

Here's a link to another really great blog I just found recently. The visuals are excellent and the writing is really good. The author is a writer with ravenousromance.com, too. So check it out and see what I mean. http://thestuffofmythandmen.blogspot.com/