Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Release: WHEN HARRY MET SAL...


This is the release day for a new book, WHEN HARRY MET SAL. I'm posting a synopsis below, but I wanted to clarify what motivated me to write this book.

There was a time not too long ago when minority groups rarely ever had the chance to read a book, watch a TV show, or go to a movie where they could actually identify with the characters. At least not in the mainstream. In "old Hollywood," Asian characters were portrayed in films by Caucasians made up to look like Asians. Black face was used all the time and no one ever got upset. And this pop culture fact of life was evident in the LGBT community. And it's still evident. The LGBT characters I see or read about are always people who do not represent me or the LGBT people that I know, and they are usually written by people who know nothing about what it's like to be LGBT.

There are a lot of good things being produced and written out there right now, especially in romance. But still, for the most part, I don't think that there are enough characters out there that represent who we, the LGBT community, really are. And while the books I write are romance novels, with steamy scenes and happy endings, I also draw upon my own personal life experiences to create the characters and situations. I'm gay. I have been all my life and that's how I'll die. So I know what I'm talking about when it comes to being gay. I'm nothing like the characters on "Will and Grace," and neither are any of my gay friends. I don't have a fag hag, and neither do any of my friends. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the point.

So when I write books based on mainstream movie titles like "When Harry Met Sally," what I'm really doing is making a strong statement that says I'd like to see a movie about WHEN HARRY MET SAL for a change instead of what I've been seeing for most of my life. This isn't fan-fic. This is more like "what-if-fic."




Synopsis
When Harry Beckham's best friend asks him to drive her new, casual boyfriend, Sal Sorentino, from California to New York, Harry never expected they'd wind up as lovers their first night on the road. Harry just assumes that Sal is straight, and Harry already has a boyfriend of his own back in San Francisco.



But when Sal explains that he's bisexual and that he's extremely attracted to Harry, everything changes. Harry tries to resist the mutual attraction, but all it takes is one simple kiss and they both wind up having the best sex of their lives on a cross country road trip.


When they reach New York, they agree to go their separate ways and forget about each other. Harry becomes a well known designer who does national talk shows, and Sal becomes a professional poker player who lives in a mansion and owns a pet pig named Dolly. And by the time they meet up again seven years later, their lives have changed completely.


But that doesn't stop the passionate physical connection between them from surfacing again. Though all the odds seem to be against them, their physical relationship evolves into mutual love and respect. And this unyielding love they feel for each other turns out to be stronger than anything they could have imagined.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Comment Moderation For a While...

Unfortunately, I had to start moderating comments. I have one of those sneaky little blog trolls with too much time and not enough balls to leave his or her name.

I hate losing anonymous comments on my blog. But due to the fact that this blog focuses heavily on LGBT content, and I'm an openly gay writer, I can't say that I'm surprised. I was expecting it.

I'll reopen the thread to everyone in a few weeks. And if the troll returns, I may even have a little fun.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A New Review for TAKE ME ALWAYS...


I'm posting this review for TAKE ME ALWAYS because this is one of those times that a reviewer picked up on all the things I had hoped someone would see while reading this book. Though it's loosely based on "The Notebook," in a large sense this is the "Gay Notebook" that was never written by anyone. The characters are loosely based on older gay couples that I've personally known who have had to deal with aging and nursing homes. These are men and women who have never been able to legally wed, but they've remained in love, committed to each other, and have remained with each other right to the very end.


But this book is still a romance with a happy ending. Which made it difficult to write at times. And in the end, even though life itself can be extremely difficult, love truly does conquer all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A New Book is Being Released This Weekend, WHEN HARRY MET SAL


I'm not going to make this a long post. I'll write more about this book next week. It hasn't been released yet. But today I received the cover art and couldn't wait to post something.
Here's a fast plot description: Two complete strangers meet in San Francisco and wind up taking a cross country trip together. On the way to New York, they wind up having a passionate affair. When they reach New York, they go their separate ways. Then, a few years later, they hook up accidentally and begin where they loft off. One is a famous decorator to the stars, and the other is a rough professional poker player on the circuit. They are complete opposites in almost every way, except for the fact that they can't help falling in love with each other.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Showing and Telling...

I hate linking to bloggers I don't know well. I read this blog often, but I don't know the author and he's not a fan of my blog or my work. But when I see something absolutely perfect I like to share and I don't give a damn about blog fans or anything else. Good stuff deserves credit. And this is fantastic.

Period.

I'm posting this link because I have a lot of book fans e-mailing me about what they are writing. And I always see the same mistakes when it comes to showing and telling. So here's the link. It's simple and easy to understand.

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/09/showing-vs-telling.html

LGBT Classics...


Last week a blogging buddy, Eirik, sent an e-mail asking about LGBT books. He was interested in reading a few new books, and asked my opinion about some of the books I've read.

So I came up with a short list of older books that I personally think are classics in both LGBT literature and in the LGBT community as a whole. These books were written before there even was a a genre called LGBT. The genre used to be gay/lesbian...the B's and T's were either completely left out or they were considered part of the "group." But as the genre has evolved, anyone who is informed now refers to it as LGBT.

These books are classics. There was a time, before the Internet, that books like these kept members of the very silent LGBT community sane. I'm not exaggerating on this either. Reading books like this helped LGBT men and women identify and come to terms. In many cases, it helped them accept who they are and showed them that there were other people out there just like them.

In many ways, and in many places, things haven't changed all that much. It's not all like we see it on TV and in Hollywood. It would be nice if it were, but it's not. And books are still helping the LGBT community come to terms with who they are. Below are three that left long lasting impressions on me, as a gay man.

GIOVANNI'S ROOM James Baldwin

DANCER FROM THE DANCE by Andrew Holleran

THE FRONTRUNNER Patricia Nell Warren

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Interesting Link...Pole Dancing at its Best...

Though good deal of this blog deals with LGBT books and other romances. Sometimes I come across something I think is iteresting and I share it.

I saw this on twitter today.

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/sex-windy-city/2009/09/highlights-from-the-us-pole-dancing-championship-2009.html

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ravenous Romance is now a Customer Pick on HSN

I thought I'd post this today. Earlier last week the authors of ravenousromance.com were featured in a first time ever event for romance books, on HSN. The segment was called "Escape to Romance," and it looks like it was a huge hit.

Here's a link to the HSN web site where you can read more: http://electronics.hsn.com/escape-with-romance-exclusive-6-book-collection_p-5700283_xp.aspx?webm_id=5700283&web_id=5700287&ocm=sekwcust_picks&cm_re=merchzone_carousel*page1_spot1_image*merchzones

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lunch with Elisa Rolle, Book Reviewer

For the past few days I have been following the blog posts of M/M book reviewer, Elisa Rolle. I saw that she was in the US on vacation, touring the east coast, and I contacted her about possibly meeting in person.

To my surprise, she accepted an invitation to meet me at my home on her way back to New York, from the Baltimore Washington area. Then we started private messaging each other through livejournal.com, where we both have blogs. For some reason, my AOL account kept bouncing back all the e-mails I was sending her and I didn't want to miss out on a chance to meet her in person. I was so determined that I actually posted my home address and phone number on her comment thread, knowing I should not do something like this on the Internet. Thankfully, when she saw it, she covered it up.

I don't remember exactly how long ago it was, but I met Elisa, online, through a review she'd written about a short story I wrote. The short story is titled, "Irene's Cabin," and it was published in an anthology by Alyson Books a few years ago. The story was a romance; the characters were totally in love and there was a very happy ending. And Elisa seemed to like it, so I thanked her in the comment thread.

After that, I started reading her blog regularly. I liked her taste in books and I'm always looking for good recommendations when it comes to my own personal reading. We seemed to connect through the comment thread and we built a nice online friendship without even realizing we were doing it.

This past year I did in in-depth interview with Elisa and I published it here and on gayagenda.com. The questions were geared toward M/M fiction and book reviewing, but the answers I received were detailed and smart. I gained an even stronger respect for Elisa after that interview. I also learned a few things I didn't expect to learn.

I never, not in a million years, thought I'd get a chance to meet her in person unless I actually went to Padua and visited her myself. But it happened today. She pulled into my driveway at one o'clock this afternoon, she sat in my living room and we talked, and then we went out to a restaurant and had lunch.

Elisa was traveling with a good friend, Alessandra, who was doing all the driving and all the navigating. I was amazed to hear how much ground they covered while in the US. They drove between Mt. Desert Island in Maine and Virginia in a record two weeks time. We talked about books, about authors, and about publishers. We probably bored poor Alessandra to death. But the time passed too quickly. When we arrived in the restaurant, the room was filled. By the time we left, we were the last people left from the lunch crowd.

Online friendships can be simple or complicated. It's an entirely different way of connecting and communicating. I've worked for editors for years that I've never met in person. I've never actually met my own agent. My friend, Ryan, has been an online friend forever, and I've never actually met him in person, either. But yet I feel as if I know these people. And that's exactly how it was with Elisa. I only wish the time we had this afternoon hadn't passed so quickly.

HSN Update, Ravenousromance.com and Malia Sutton

The HSN segments for ravenous romance aired on Monday and Tuesday. Holly Schmidt, one of the partners, did a great job on television and she looked wonderful. I know that Lori Perkins was working backstage and she worked hard helping Holly prepare for the segments.

My blogging buddy, Malia Sutton, author of LOVING DAYLIGHT, was thrilled. LOVING DAYLIGHT sold more copies than she'd ever imagined it would sell this soon, and she's still basking in the glory of getting national exposure on television. Bloggers have started contacting her for interviews and fans have already started writing to her. Malia's book was one of the few on ravenous that wasn't edited for television. Her book was originally written as a very tame, PG rated romance, without explicit sex scenes or foul language. It was about love and happiness, and finding true love within, and, with someone else at the same time. And, there were strong gay characters to offset the main plot.

I'd like to congratulate Malia and everyone else who was part of the project. It was a huge national boost for all the writers at ravenousromance.com, and all the hard work they've been doing for the past year.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ravenous Romance Books on The Home Shopping Network...


This morning it was officially announced that ravenous romance will be selling books on The Home Shopping Network. This is huge. This is big doings for everyone involved with ravenousromance.com. And a great deal of hard work has gone into putting all this together. I know this for a fact.

Ravenousromance.com is a great friend of the romance community and the LGBT community. It's not just about book sales and making money. The owners of the company have given me a great deal of freedom to publish books with LGBT characters and storylines that very few traditional publishers would have given to me.

I'm not sure about all of the books being sold on HSN, but I do know that a good blogging buddy of mine, Malia Sutton, has a vampire romance in the paranormal group. It's not a total LGBT book, but there are strong gay characters that were written in a very positive manner.

Here's the link to Lori Perkins' blog with more information about the official announcement, http://ravenousromance.blogspot.com/ And here's a link to Malia Sutton's blog if you're interested in purchasing a great vamp novel with strong gay characters, http://maliasutton.blogspot.com/ The times the books will be showcased on HSN are below:

Monday
8:35-8:55 AM
4:35-4:55 PM

Tuesday
3:00-3:20 AM

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11/01...Run North...



I'd just returned from a week long trip to Provincetown, MA. One of the things I remember vividly was the weather. It was one of those rare September days on the east coast where there isn't a cloud in the sky, the sun is shining, and there's a comfortable breeze in the air. I also remember being thankful that the weather was so nice. I wasn't functioning well that morning. The day before I'd driven eight hours from Cape Cod and it was my first day back to work.

At the time, I owned two businesses. One was an art gallery in New Hope, and the other was a trendy little tanning salon in Lambertville, New Jersey, which is right across the river from New Hope. Running two hands-on businesses at the same time and managing a writing career wasn't easy. On the morning of September 11th, I was in the Lambertville salon greeting my clients and getting ready to send out a manuscript to Alyson Publications. Alyson was in LA back then and I was worried about getting the manuscript out on time because it was being submitted in hard copy, sent through snail mail.

Then a client came into the reception area and told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I didn't think much about it. I figured it was a small plane. And then another client came in fifteen minutes later and told me that a second plane had hit the other tower. She didn't know the details, and I was still working on my manuscript and I didn't think much about that either.

After that, It didn't take long for the panic to set in. The phone started ringing and news about the first tower collapsing spread fast. I didn't have a television in the salon so I couldn't see what was happening. So I turned on the radio, found WOR, and listened to the absolute panic in the radio announcer's voice.

My first thought was for family and friends in Manhattan. At the time, my brother and his partner were on East 31st Street and I hadn't spoken to them in a few weeks. I had no idea where they were or what had happened. But when I called their number, I found that all lines going into Manhattan were dead. The entire city was in lock-down and no one could get in or out.

I started calling on my cell phone. Eight years ago cell phones didn't have the best signals and even on the best days they weren't reliable. And while I was calling, I heard about the planes going down in Washington and Pennsylvania. I thought about closing the salon and going home, but I had people coming in who were terrified and I think being there gave them comfort. So I remained where I was.

By some act of pure luck, I finally got through to my brother's partner in Manhattan. He told me that my brother had left early that morning for a business trip to the mid-west. His plane had taken off only minutes before the first plane had hit the first tower. But my brother's plane was safe and he'd just landed in Chicago. His partner was talking to me from his office in mid-town, and he was safe, too.

When I hung up with him, I called a friend. I knew this friend worked downtown and I wanted to know if he was okay. It took a while, but I finally got his cell phone. What happened next was terrifying. He didn't even get a chance to speak. The second tower went down, he dropped the phone on the sidewalk, and all I heard was the sound of screams and someone shouting, "run north."

Later that day I learned that my friend was fine. But as things started to settle down I started to hear more about other people in my community who had been effected. There are a lot of people who commute to Manhattan from New Hope and surrounding villages in Bucks County. Some lost their lives in the towers, some lost their lives in the planes, and one of the pilots flying a plane that went into one of the towers lived only a few miles from my home.

It was an awful day. But I was thankful that my friends and family were safe and sound. A lot of people I know in Manhattan spent the next few weeks going to funerals. We had many memorials here in Bucks County.
The photo above is a letter I saved from that time. All my mail was delivered to my Lambertville office back then. And all mail that came to Lambertville had to go through the Princetwon, NJ office, which isn't far away. And that's where they had some of the serious anthrax scares. The letter in the photo was delayed. I didn't receive it until six months after it was sent because it had to go through testing to make sure it hadn't been exposed to anthrax. For a long time, we opened our mail wearing plastic gloves.








Thursday, September 10, 2009

HE'S BEWITCHED Hits Top Ten List on Allromanceebooks.com...An LGBT Book No Less..


This morning someone told me that HE'S BEWITCHED hit the top ten list on allromanceebooks.com. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what that means in numbers. But I do know that a lot people are reading e-books, and allromanceebooks gets a lot of new customers every day.


PRETTY MAN was in the top ten for a while last year, too. And now HE'S BEWITCHED. The thing I like most about this is that these are both LGBT books, and I never thought I'd see the day when LGBT books hit any top ten lists that were geared toward everyone. There are a lot of other LGBT books, written by other authors, in the top ten list at allromance, too. They are mixed in with all kinds of romances that aren't LGBT. I think that says something very good about where LGBT books are going in general.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two Nice Reviews for TAKE ME ALWAYS, and Why I Post Book Reviews on My Blog...

I always post book reviews on my blog that I think will be interesting to readers. I'm not doing it because I have this huge ego and I can't wait to post a good review. But nowadays, in this economy, I think people are checking their wallets and watching what they buy very closely. I know I am. The two reviews below are about TAKE ME ALWAYS.

So when I post about reviews like this, I'm really hoping that it helps a reader decide whether or not they want to invest in the book. It certainly doesn't hurt me to have good reviews, but I'm also not out there hocking everyone in the universe to give me good reviews either. The reviews posted below were all unsolicited. They are written by people who have read the book on allromanceebooks.com already and they are offering their unbiased opinion.


From fudrucker00
Overall Enjoyment: 5 This book was wonderful!!

From ordybelle
Overall Enjoyment: 5 OH MY GOD!!! I CRIED MY EYES OUT!. This was a very touching love story with alot of steamy sex. Make sure you have plenty of time to read the entire book in one sitting and a box of kleenex by your side. It was a very close adaptation of The Notebook except the character that was writing the story used a computer. Maybe we should call the book "The Laptop" (tee-hee). Seriously though, it is a great read.




Thursday, September 3, 2009

STARbooks Press...


Even though STARbooks Press is one of the oldest LGBT publishers out there, I'm always amazed that so many people in the LGBT Community don't know them. Their books have always maintained a high standard of quality, they know what the community wants to read, and they publish an assortment of titles each year.


I'm partial because I've been in many of their books. I'm not going to list all the books I've been in, but this fall I'll be in two more of their anthologies, and one is a Christmas book.


So if you've never heard of them, but my post has piqued your curiosity, check out their web site and their list of books. And if you're on facebook, go over to their fan page and join up here. I think it's high time we started to appreciate the few gay publishers we have if we want to see them stick around.


And if you're a writer, they are always posting a submission call for one thing or another on their web site.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Someone Told Me it Was Writer Appreciation Week...


Okay. According the Nathan Bransford, this is writer appreciation week. So I posted a comment on his thread and now I'm posting my own appreciation for the writers who contributed to the LASTING LUST anthology. Without you guys, it would have been impossible to put that book together. It turned out to be a mix of stories and came together as a solid, relevant book.




So thank you all:




Tony Wards


R. Wilde


Randy Buck


Jenyphr Rashad


N. Vasco


Roxanne Rhoads


Hobert Glasse


Shanna Gardener


S.R. North


Christian Graziedella