Thursday, October 29, 2009

LGBT romance SLEEPLESS IN SAN FRANCISCO on Best Seller List at ARE


I received an e-mail this morning that SLEEPLESS IN SAN FRANCISCO just hit number 8 on the allromanceebooks.com web site. So I figured I'd post something. I've received tons of e-mails about this book, and almsot all (you can't have it all :) have been great.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

RIP, Carol McKenzie...A Great Author

I'm in shock. I just heard from an editor that M/M author, Carol McKenzie, lost her battle to lung cancer. I was a fan of her work, and I knew her through one of my yahoo writers groups, with loveyoudivine.com.

When Carol first mentioned she had cancer, I told her to e-mail me privately if she needed any support. I've been through cancer with family and friends, and I've seen enough to know how to offer basic support. I was hoping she'd pull through, even though I hadn't heard anything for a while. I thought she had a good chance. Evidently, I was wrong.

Here's an excerpt from an e-mail sent out by the publisher of Loveyoudivine.com:

Carol is, and I suspect will remain, one of the most successful ebook authors of all time.


RIP, Carol.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This is for Everyone Who has Ever Written...

I know that a lot of people who read my blog are aspiring writers. People of all ages. I get e-mails all the time with questions about publishing and how to get an agent. So this post is for everyone who stops by here and has written something. It's from Janet Reid's agent blog, and I think it's one of the best blog posts, for all writers, I've ever read.

If you've ever been frustrated about writing or getting published, please take the time to read this. I guarantee it will make you feel better.

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2009/10/less-than-zero.html

Thursday, October 22, 2009

THE GHOST AND MR. MOORE, Release Day, and Just in Time for Halloween...



I just saw that THE GHOST AND MR. MOORE was released on ravenousromance.com today. I did a preview post for the book, and today I'm linking and adding the back cover copy. As I said in the preview post, there are a couple of interesting Halloween scenes in this one that take place in Provincetown, MA. And Halloween in P'town is a lot of fun, trust me.

When a famous child actor, Dexter Moore, leaves Hollywood and moves to Provincetown, MA, with his daughter and his longtime housekeeper, he doesn't expect to find that his new house is haunted. And especially not with the ghost of a strong, virile young sea captain who looks like Hugh Jackman and makes love like no other living man Dexter has known.


But Dexter must deal with more important things than ghosts. He soon discovers that his ex-partner lost all his money in a bad investment and Dexter is forced to go back to work. So he reluctantly agrees to do an intrusive TV show, where he is followed with cameras for three months. If he doesn't, he'll have to sell his magnificent new home and move back to Hollywood.
In order to make the TV show more interesting, Dexter's new best friend gets him involved in a heated town dispute. The new president of the chamber of commerce wants to cancel a town tradition and start something new, and half the town is against him. But Dexter doesn't get involved with this for the TV show or ratings. He's only interested in helping people and saving an important fundraiser from being canceled.


While all this is happening, Dexter slowly gets to know the ghost of handsome Captain Lang. He's the only one who can see and hear Lang. They make passionate love together, they spend long hours talking about Dexter's strong feelings, and they start working on a series of books about Captain Lang's notorious adventures at sea that will ensure Dexter's financial future. But when the books are finished and the two men finally admit they are in love, how will they reconcile their feelings with reality?



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Book Preview, Galley Sample...

This is a rare for me to do. But I received permission from the editor, Shane Allison, and decided to post a short excerpt from a book galley. It's an excerpt from my story, "Off Campus, Man," in a not yet released collection of short stories from Cleis Press, titled, COLLEGE BOYS.


off-campus, man 169
Harlan LaRochelle was an attractive young man with a plan
of his own. He didn’t want to go to Morehouse College in
Atlanta like his father and two older brothers. He’d applied to
Morehouse to appease them, but then he’d secretly applied to a
large university in Washington, DC.


A few months later, his father smiled and patted his back
when he’d been accepted to Morehouse; his mother hugged him
and cooked his favorite dinner. But when Harlan announced
during that same dinner that he was going to the large university
in Washington instead, his father dropped his fork so fast
he chipped a dinner plate. The mother clutched her napkin and
gave him a look.


Harlan looked his father in the eye without blinking. “I’m
going to college in Washington, DC,” he said. “I’ve been accepted
already. They have an excellent journalism program there.”
All this was true. They did have an excellent journalism
department at the Washington school. But the real reason he

didn’t want to go to Morehouse College was because the thought
of spending four more years without knowing what it was like
to kiss another man caused his stomach to turn and his knees to
twitch. He needed distance from his prominent Atlanta family.
And he needed to explore his sexuality as much as he needed
to study. He was a smart young man, with soft brown skin, a
nice firm, round ass, and square, firm chest muscles. He already
knew that women were attracted to him, but he wanted to find
out if men were interested in him, too.


A few months after that, at the end of August, when the
shouting and mean stares finally subsided, he kissed both
parents good-bye, started his black SUV, and drove north to
Washington.


The first few weeks he concentrated on getting settled in the
dorms and focusing on his school work. His roommate was a
tall, thin techie type who spent most of his time with his face
glued to a computer screen. Harlan liked most of his classes and
he made a few casual friends. And everywhere he went he saw
good-looking young men. When he passed them by on his way
to class, his penis jumped and he had to stare down at his shoes
so he wouldn’t get a full erection. But he wasn’t sure what to do,
or how to approach any of them.


And then one Saturday afternoon in mid-September everything
changed. He was on his way back to his room when he
accidentally bumped into a guy wearing shiny red running
shorts and an oversized black sweat shirt in the dormitory
lobby. The guy had long, wavy, dark blond hair, was average
height, and hadn’t shaved in about two days. His pale blue eyes
were the color of Harlan’s birthstone, aquamarine. Harlan had
been looking for his keys in his backpack and hadn’t seen him
coming. He’d bumped his elbow and had knocked all his books
to the floor.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Halloween Theme...The Ghost and Mr. Moore


As I said in an earlier post, THE GHOST AND MR. MOORE hasn't been released yet. But there is a chapter in this book that's devoted just to Halloween in Provincetown. I've been there personally, so I know what Halloween in P'town is like. The streets are filled with people dressed in almost every costume you can imagine and the only people who stand out in the crowd are the ones not wearing costumes.


So here's a brief excerpt from one of the Halloween scenes in the book:


Dexter got up from the bed and crossed to the front door. The high heels clicked against the hardwood floors. They weren’t chunky heels, but they weren’t stilettos either. They were in between, and slanted forward. “You’re not going out to frighten people on Halloween?” he said. “I thought that’s what ghosts were supposed to do.”

Lang smiled and waved his arm. “Please. Do I look like an amateur?”

Dexter looked into his eyes. It was a serious look; his lips were pressed together. He said, “There is nothing, absolutely nothing, amateur about you, Captain Lang.”

After that, he went downstairs so he could take Brighton trick-or-treating. She was already out on the front porch with a few of her friends. Since Dexter and Elliot were wearing costumes that night, they had volunteered to escort a few of Brighton’s friends around town. The other parents were thrilled. A lot of the parents in town worked at night in restaurants and the kids would have had to stay home if they hadn’t volunteered.

Kellan and Paige were on the front lawn because they were following everyone into town to film the entire evening. They weren’t wearing costumes. But Elliot was sitting on a wicker chair with his legs crossed at the knee. He was wearing a campy version of a Marilyn Monroe costume he’d rented in town from a drag shop. When Dexter saw him, he couldn’t stop laughing. The red lipstick was smudged; his fake breasts were crooked. Elliot hadn’t even bothered to shave his legs, and he was wearing those awful low-heeled pumps old ladies wore. They were a size too small. His huge, wide feet were bursting from the sides.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What do Oprah Winfrey, Nate Berkus, and Quentin Crisp have in Common...


Absolutely nothing. But this has been going around in my head all day and I wanted to get it all into one blog post instead of two.


First, last night I watched "An Englishman in New York" starring John Hurt. It's a made for TV movie I saw on the Logo channel. I loved it. John Hurt played the perfect Quentin Crisp, and the film did him a great deal of justice. I've seen the documentary "The Naked Civil Servent," and I've read a few things by Quentin Crisp. I'm too young to actually remember him, but I'm still aware that he existed. And I think it's important for everyone in the LGBT community to be aware of people like Quentin Crisp. So if you've never heard of him, click onto the links above and check him out.


Second, late this afternoon I was waiting for the roof repair guy. We had a nor'easter here this past weekend and I had a small leak in the flashing on my roof. While I was waiting for the repair guy, I turned on the TV. I'm usually working at four in the afternoon so I never get a chance to watch Oprah. I was thrilled to see that Nate Berkus was her guest. But I was little confused about the theme of the show.


You see, Oprah and Nate were giving away one of those wonderful surprises. Some woman's best friend wrote a sob story about her best friend's sad life, and Oprah and Nate decided to give her something to cheer her up. I think that's fine. It's a little bit like "Queen for a Day," but it's a lot of fun to watch. Oprah's cool that way, and that's why people love her.


However, Oprah didn't get this one quite right, sorry to say. When Oprah and Nate described what they were giving this poor woman, I sat back and folded my arms across my chest. I thought the woman was getting money, or a new car, or that Oprah was going to pay off her mortgage. Instead, Oprah was giving her a date with Nate Berkus. Yup, Nate Berkus, an openly gay man. And she was giving the woman a date with him. So I'm like, okay, this is getting interesting.


And when the woman found out that Nate was taking her to her high school reunion, and that he was going to be her official date, she nearly dropped over. She screamed and shouted; her arms went up in the air. Everyone in the audience screamed, too. And I'm sitting there thinking, "not much going to happen on the way home from that date."


The thing I don't understand is why a middle aged straight woman would be so excited about going out with Nate Berkus, a gay man. They couldn't get Hugh Jackman? Don't get me wrong. I love Nate; I own his sheets and his duvet covers from HSN.com. I'll probably buy more. I also like the concept of making people happy with these wonderful surprises. Oprah does a lot of good for a lot of people. But in this case, if I were a divorced straight woman with a sad story, the last thing I'd want to do is show up at my high school reunion with an openly gay man on my arm. People who live in small towns can be vicious about things like that. I can hear the whispers now while she's on her way to the powder room.


Speaking as a gay man who is not very political and has never considered himself an activist, I think it would be nice to give some depressed gay man a date with Nate Berkus, too. There are plenty of them out there, Oprah. If you can't find any, I'll send over a short list of a few that I know. Because there has to be a nice shy queen like Quentin Crisp, who has always been waiting for a "great dark man" like Nate Berkus to show up on his doorstep carrying flowers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween Costumes...


Typically, I don't dress my dogs up in anything. I know they don't like it, and I don't like to force them into doing things they don't like. When I rescued Lex, she came with a shopping bag filled with doggie clothes from her previous owner. The first thing I did was donate all the doggie clothes to my local SPCA, along with the bag of awful dog food there were feeding the poor thing.

But this weekend my nephews thought it would be funny to put Halloween costumes on the dogs. The one on the left without a costume is mine, the one dressed as a leprechaun is my mother's dog, Emma. And if you knew Emma, you'd know how much she hates this sort of thing. She is the female version of "Marley," in the book and movie, "Marley and Me," and there's nothing dainty or delicate about her.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

THE GHOST AND MR. MOORE and Google Wave


In the next week or so, a new book titled, THE GHOST AND MR. MOORE, will be released by ravenous romance in the m/m section. I wrote this one, like a few of the others, as another gay interpretation of a classic romance. I'll keep readers posted with updates about when the book will be released.


Here's an image of the book cover. It was nothing like I expected it to be, and I'm extremely happy with it. The artist captured the images of both main characters in perfect detail.
And, today I'm supposed to be getting a google wave invite. When I do and I start using it, I'll do a blog post about google wave and what it's all about. And if I get any invites for other people, contact me if you seriously want one.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ravenous Romance and HSN.com Escape to Romance Collection


Yesterday I finally got a chance to actually see the printed books in the Ravenous Romance Escape to Romance Collection that is being sold in HSN.com. I'd read the ebook from my blogging buddy, Malia Sutton, titled LOVING DAYLIGHT, but I hadn't read any of the other books in the collection.


I suspected they were all good books, but frankly, I had no idea that they were all fantastic books. I'm not just saying this either. If I didn't like them, I wouldn't be saying anything. I've been in plenty of short story collections over the years by traditional publishers and I haven't always loved the finished books. Most of the time, I just don't like the way the books were edited. So I just sit back and keep my mouth shut.


But this Escape to Romance Collection is absolutely wonderful. I'm a "first page believer." In other words, I always know by the first page if a book is going to be something I want to continue reading. I base this just on the writing alone. And in this collection, every first page was just as good as the other.
And, in LOVING DAYLIGHT, there is something for dedicated LGBT readers, too. There are two gay male characters in the book that crossover into the mainstream very well. And I like to see this.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

CRUISING FOR BAD BOYS...STARbooks Press


I just got my copy of CRUISING BOR BAD BOYS, published by STARbooks Press. This is the first time I've actually seen the cover, and I think it's great.

The book was edited by Mickey Erlach, and my short story, "Happy New Year, Man," is on page 109. This particular story is one of my own favorites because I wrote it in the second person, which is something I'm normally never brave enough to do. It took weeks to get it right. But I thought the storyline called for something different, and that's why I did it this way.

This story, clearly, is not something the folks over at dearauthor.com will appreciate. It's much too authentic and it hits a bit too close to certain realities that do not fall under the headline of the current definition of m/m romance. But I really don't care, because I wrote the story to please my editor, Mickey, and the many fans of STARbooks Press :) It is within the context of the entire collection, and in a way it is romantic, with respect to the authentic self-actualization of a gay male character. And, some gay male writers are still writing "stuff" like this for traditional publishers, even though it's getting harder and harder to do these days.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What Do Romance Writers Have in Common with the TV Show, Glee?

Absolutely nothing.

Don't get me wrong. I watch Glee and I enjoy the music. But as far as the storyline goes, I've never seen such absolute poetic license in my entire life. The things these TV writers get away with leaves my mouth hanging open.

This past week I worked on edits for a book that's due to be released before Halloween. It's an LGBT take on the old book and movie, "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir." The book I'm working on is a contemporary, paranormal romance. The main character is a former child star who moves to Provincetown to start a new life. In the original manuscript, I left his financial status open and ambiguous. He was the star of a successful sitcom; he has plenty of money; he doesn't have to work. I thought that was enough. But the editor thought it was too ambiguous and I revised this part of the book with more valid details that were believable. The editor was right, and I think the character's history is more believable now.

This sort of thing happens all the time. When a romance book goes to an editor, everything is triple checked to make sure it's believable. We take a certain amount of license, but we try hard to get the facts right. We do this for the readers, and we never assume anything.

Last night, during Glee, one of the characters got a job as a school nurse. She never went to nursing school, had never worked near a medical environment, and her general background was in retail. But she got a job, on Glee, as the school nurse. If I were to write this in a romance, the romance reviewers would be off to battle and my blond hair would be flying all over the Internet. But more than that, I can say for sure that no public school system in this country would ever hire a retail clerk, in only one day, as a school nurse. School nurses, especially these days, are vetted and interviewed. And it's not a simple process.

Now, this character on Glee could have been written into the storyline as a school cafeteria worker, which would have been fine. It would have blended with her past experience and they still could have worked her motives into the plot. It just leaves me wondering if these TV writers are stupid, uninformed, or they just don't care.

Another one of the many things that make me wonder about Glee, is their approach toward infidelity. If I wrote a romance with blatant infidelity, the readers and reviewers would be ready for battle again. I've taken a few chances in the past. I wrote about a character who had affairs while he was on a break with his lover, and I've taken flack for it. In a romance book, infidelity in any form is a definite turn off.

But in Glee, they don't seem to care about infidelity. One single, flaky school teacher is getting seriously involved with a married school teacher, and the writers make the married guy look like a saint. They portray this guy's wife as a total creep who deserves to be cheated on. And they make the single school teacher appear as a vulnerable, wise angel, with a few unrealistic quirks. The wife really is a creep. But wouldn't it be nicer if they made the husband realize this and leave the creep before he started to get involved with another school teacher on the sly?

On another level, I'm really tired of seeing school teachers portrayed as these pathetic, downtrodden types. In both Glee and Hung, the writers give the impression that school teachers, in general, are nothing more than poor slobs looking for something better in life. It's misleading at best. I know a lot of school teachers. A dear friend, Joanne, is a school teacher in a public school in Brooklyn. She and the teachers I know love what they do and they are far from being poor slobs. They aren't making millions, but they are making decent salaries, with good benefits, in very hard economic times. I know that teachers' salaries vary in different parts of the country, as do living standards. But I also know that most teachers love and respect what they do.

I'll still keep watching Glee. Partly for the music, and partly to see how far they will go. I have a feeling that they are going to raise infidelity to a much higher level. Higher than any steamy romance novel ever written.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Most Haunted Town in the US, New Hope, PA...


Though I rarely set novels in my own hometown, New Hope, PA, I could easily write more than a few paranormals about New Hope.

Like this link, http://www.unsolvedmysteries.com/usm464955.html#, says, New Hope has gained a popular reputation for not only being haunted, but also for having a wide array of supernatural occurrences.

Personally, I owned an art gallery for ten years in a building called "The Canal House." This building was rich with pop cultural history. Jackie Kennedy used to stop there between Washington and New York. She became friendly with the owner of the building, my departed landlord, Johnny Francis Meyer. And I've seen the photos to prove this, too. The list of other celebs that stayed there range from Diana Ross, to "Carmine" from the TV series, "Laverne and Shirley." There were also famous artists, like Bill Ney and Selma Burke. One of the most famous pieces Selma Burke designed wast the face of FDR on the dime. Her home still stands in New Hope, hidden down a narrow road off the main highway.

And one of the most famous celebs who died in New Hope was Jessica Savitch. She was on her way to New York, from Washington, when she stopped at Odette Myrtle's restaurant and accidentally drove into the canal and drowned. I was only a kid then, but I remember that night well. The fog was so thick you couldn't see your feet. It was pouring rain. Savitch's ghost, supposedly, haunts the towpath along the canal.

And I've had my own personal experiences with ghosts. In my gallery, paintings were often switched around in the middle of the night while I wasn't there. I'd leave at six o'clock in the evening and purposely notice where each painting was placed, and the next morning I'd open the gallery to find that everything had been moved around. It was all done very well, too. The new arrangement of paintings was always perfect and in excellent order. So I'd leave them that way for a while. And when it was time to rearrange the gallery a few weeks later, the same thing would happen. I have no explanation for this. I was the only one with a key to the gallery and there were never any forced entries.

I used to do some professional editing for local writers. It was a small list and I only worked with the writers that I really liked...and most times didn't charge them anything. One of these writers was a strong spiritual figure in Key West, FL. His work was always done in automatic writing, which meant that it came through to him from "guides" or "spirits." He was psychic, too. He didn't use his gift for monetary gain, but he did predict a few things, to me, that came true not long after he'd predicted them.

I could continue, endlessly, with more supernatural stories about New Hope that I've personally witnessed. But, oddly enough, I've never written about them professionally. I did write a story in a recent book BOYS OF THE BITE, that is titled, "THE DEVIL'S HALF ACRE." It's a vampire story that is set in New Hope. And a small part of PRETTY MAN is set here in New Hope. But there's nothing supernatural about New Hope in that book.

When you live in a place like New Hope, you tend to take these things for granted. If something strange happens, you don't take it as seriously as you would if you lived somewhere else. So I don't have any immediate plans to write about New Hope and ghosts, but it certainly isn't because I have a lack of valid supernatural material that I've witnessed myself.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Facebook, Twitter, and now there's "Twitteleh"

A friend of mine sent me this and I thought it was both funny and smart at the same time.

I'm on both facebook and twitter and I'm finding that the posts I enjoy most are the ones I see from friends and family and other writers and publishing people I know. These are the posts I care about. I like to know when my buddy Ryan blogged. I like to know when Holly or Lori made an announcement about something important. Dana and the other ravenous romance writers always keep me informed; I love their posts and tweets. And I never miss my nephews' posts. They are both away at school and I don't see them that often. Actually, I even enjoy reading the fan posts from Ryan Seacrest. He's always up on pop culture, something that interests me as a writer, and the posts are always positive and informative.

I've even learned a few things from facebook posts by Neil Plakcy, a writer and editor who knows how to use both facebook and twitter very well.

But the facebook posts and tweets I care the least about are from people endlessly promoting something to me and other people who don't care. And, how effective can these promotional posts and tweets possibly be when they are annoying more than half the people they are trying to attract. I have a rule: I give them a week. And when I start seeing nothing but promotional things, I click "hide."

So the vid isn't just funny, it also has some merit that a few facebookers and tweeters should take to heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhilbbeUc0g

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Boys of the Bite...


I have a short story in a book titled, BOYS OF THE BITE. I've posted about it before. But here is a new review link I thought was interesting: http://whippedcream2.blogspot.com/2009/09/boys-of-bite-edited-by-cecelia-tan.html?zx=7d1139b6f24a29a3


My short story in the book is titled, THE DEVIL'S HALF ACRE. I wrote this story about nine years ago. I did it in hard copy while I was still working on a word processor instead of a computer. One thing led to another, and I forgot all about it until this past year when I submitted it to Cecelia Tan for BOYS OF THE BITE. It's one of the few pieces I where I write about where I live, in Bucks County, PA.
So far, thanks to Cecelia Tan, the entire book is getting excellent reviews.