Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So You Want to Write a Novel

A friend in Florida sent me this and I was shocked. I've worked for almost twenty years in the publishing industry, following the rules and playing by the book, taking rejection as it comes and reading classic books four and five times to see how proven authors had done it. And I'm still doing it, too. And when I see something like this I can't believe what I'm hearing. Update...I came across the guy who wrote and produced this video, a fellow google blogger. Here's the link http://wahoocorner.blogspot.com/



Ravenous Romance: I Think it's an Anniversary

Okay. I'm not totally sure, but I think today is the www.ravenousromance.com second anniversary. According to this post I wrote last year, it must be. And if it's not, it's getting close.

I'm not even sure about the number of m/m romances I've written for ravenous in the past two years. I don't keep track of each book or short story I write, at least not on a daily basis. But I think it's close to twenty-five. And I'm actually getting ready to submit a brand new book this afternoon...as soon as I get all those paranoid submission day fears out of my head.

But I'd like to take this time to congratulate Holly Schmidt, Lori Perkins, and Alan Penn for creating a romance venue that's usually a little different from other e-publishers. They've allowed me to do a few things most publishers probably wouldn't have allowed. And the responses I've received from readers all over the world shows me they agree, too. But more than that, coming from a background of print publishing, I slipped into ravenous romance without making many personal changes at all with regards to the way the book publishing business operates.

And it hasn't always been easy, not for the writers or the publishers. But it's always been pleasant and professional, which makes all the hard work worth while.

So Happy Anniversary, RR.

Cover Copy for New Book Dealing with DADT and Gays in the Military

From Wiki: In the autumn of 2010, a federal district court judge declared the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy unconstitutional and issued an injunction prohibiting the Department of Defense from enforcing or complying with the policy. The appellate court stayed the injunction pending appeal; thus Don't Ask, Don't Tell remains in effect. On November 12, the US Supreme Court declined to overturn the stay.

Though the book hasn't been titled yet, here's the new cover copy.

The main focus in Duke’s life has always revolved around being the best fighter pilot in the Navy, not the fact that he’s a gay man. Only he’s garnered a reputation for being overly aggressive and far too instinctive. And though he likes to think of the chances he takes as heroic and wise, there are many in the Navy who think of him as reckless and irresponsible.

And when the Navy sends Duke to the most rigorous flight class in the country, he only becomes more aggressive in order to be the big bad top gun everyone expects him to be. But while he’s working hard to be number one, he meets an attractive young civilian flight instructor named Jaime who turns his entire life upside down. Though it all starts out as a series of harmless flirtations, it becomes so intense Duke begins to wonder whether or not he can continue to abide by the rules of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

To make matters even more complicated in his closeted life, Duke’s main competition in his class, an aggressive guy who goes by the call sign, Bullet…who also happens to be gay…discovers Duke’s relationship with Jaime. Bullet decides to blackmail Duke, by bullying Duke and threatening to expose him if he doesn’t come in second. But after a serious accident that leaves Duke so devastated he can barely fly a plane, Duke begins to question his goals, his ferocious need to be number one, and his unyielding devotion to a military that refuses to treat him with respect and dignity and equality.

When Duke realizes the only good thing that has ever happened to him was falling in love with Jaime, he comes up with two plans of action. Both plans have the potential to change his life and Jaime’s life forever, and both plans come with consequences with which they will both have to live. But he can only choose one. And though Duke isn’t sure which plan he’ll go with until the very end of the story, he’s certain that he’ll never stop fighting to keep Jaime in his life forever.

The Debate Between E-books and Print Books Continues at The Philadelphia Public Library

This morning I watched the local news and saw a piece about The Philadelphia Public Library. It was fast, but the gist of the piece said the library was thinking of putting book and DVD kiosks all over the city. This way people can just use their library card and get books or DVD's without actually having to enter the library. The only written article I could find was this one, about the Chicago Public Library doing the same thing.

Now, if I'd heard something like this ten years ago I would have been excited. But I'm one of those people who have made the switch to e-books and I don't see myself going back. I still read a few print books from my own personal library. But I haven't actually purchased a print book in almost two years. And, like I said, I don't intend to purchase anything but e-books unless something drastically changes and I'm forced to go back to reading print books.

But there's still a huge debate going on about what people prefer. At this point, at least half seem to prefer print books over e-books, and the other half, like me, wouldn't even consider reading a print book now. And the debate seems to be more physical than anything else. Evidently, people love holding their print books, they love turning the pages, and they love the way they smell. Even the newscasters this morning started to argue about it. Two said they only read e-books. Two said they only read print books, and they actually became a little defensive about it...while the two who read e-books were almost apologetic. It looked as if it would get nasty for a second or two.

I used to think I'd never make the switch to reading e-books. But then I started reading a few e-books and I found there were so many advantages. I can adjust the print. I can read on bed without using a light. E-books tend to be less expensive and they are immediate. And I can take my entire personal library with me when I travel. E-readers are light and don't take up any space at all.

The main reason I switched wasn't because of my own personal preferences. I just figured I didn't have much of a choice. If you've been around at least forty years like I have, history always repeats in one way or another. Records became 8-tracks, 8-tracks became cassettes, cassettes became CD's, and now I just download all my music to my ipod. Same thing with the film industry. There aren't even any physical video stores left in my community.

Which makes me wonder how this new library kiosk idea will work. Will people actually stop buying e-readers and e-books and start taking books out of library kiosks? Are e-readers just a passing phase like hoola hoops and poodle skirts? Or is someone getting paid a lot of money by these huge public libraries to come up with some very bad, outdated ideas?

I guess this falls under the category of only time will tell.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Friend Ryan...A Guy in Love

I heard my blogging buddy, Ryan, is in the hospital. He's always had a few health issues he's posted about and he's always seemed to deal with them one by one. You can read about it here, and leave a comment for Ryan if you wish. Over the past six years, I've seen Ryan bounce back from a lot. And I'm sure he'll bounce back this time, too.

His brother, Tyler, seems to be taking care of things right now, including posting about Ryan's condition on the blog. And I have a lot of faith in Tyler. He's a tough guy and I'm sure he'll be taking very good care of his brother. In fact, if I were sick, I'd want someone like Tyler watching out for me. That's how much I trust his judgment.

And I'll be posting when I hear something, as well.

I just hate being so far away. I'd be there at that hospital right now if I lived closer.

Gay Romance, DADT, and What's Real

I'm finishing up a novel today that deals with the subject of gay men in the military. As usual, this particular book is loosely based on the storyline from the film, "Top Gun." But there's no way I could have followed the storyline of the film and not mentioned how the main character deals with being in the military and DADT.

If I wanted to, I could still probably just make it all fantasy. I could write about strong gay men in the military who don't have to worry about coming out of the closet and being open about their sexuality. I could even create a world where Don't Ask Don't Tell doesn't exist.

But then I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

So I'm hoping I did justice to one of the most frustrating forms of discrimination of our time, DADT. And I'm hoping I did it with simple, real examples. One of those examples, for me, was to show that not all gay men in the military are constantly trying to seduce straight men. I've interviewed gay men in the military for this book, and they've all told me the last thing on their mind is sex with straight men. These are strong men who are very career oriented and the most important thing on their minds is serving their country to the best of their ability. And they want to be treated as equals.

I'll try to put all this, and more, into the cover copy so readers know what they are getting. It is, in fact, a romance with a happy ending. But the ending is nothing like the way the film ended and the characters are not ashamed to take life head on, from a realistic POV this time. Also, this was one of those times when it would have been impossible to follow the storyline of "Top Gun" with two gay characters, and not completely deviate from the original plot. So if you're a die-hard fan of the straight version of the film, you might not like they way I ended the book. But I didn't see any other choices at this point in time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some Good Thoughts for Ginger...


I have a very good friend who works in publishing and divides his time between New Hope, New York, and Key West. And he has an eleven year old Scottish Terrier named Ginger who has been going through a rough time.


First, the poor thing has chronic hepatitis and she's been living with that for over five years, which means my friend has to cook special meals for her just to keep her alive.


And, as if that wasn't enough, this summer she was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth and just went through major surgery to have the tumor removed.


The surgery was successful and for the past few months she's been recovering fine, however, she went into kidney failure last week (for no apparent reason) and she's been struggling hard to get through it.


And my friend is absolutely devastated. He loves this dog like he'd love his own child if he had one, and he's been there supporting her all the way. In fact, I've never seen such a devoted pet owner in my life. He's not Donald Trump, but he's selflessly spent a small fortune on vet bills since last summer. I know. I have two dogs and just going for a check-up is never less than two hundred dollars.


So I'm hoping Ginger goes into a full recovery, for her sake and for the sake of my friend. They've been through so much it this past year.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tis The Season For Romance


I'd like to thank all the readers who've sent me e-mails about my new Christmas release, DOWN THE BASEMENT: SANTA SATURDAY. I didn't expect to receive feedback this soon. But I'm extremely grateful.

I'll post more about the title of the book soon. There's actually a story behind this title I think readers might find interesting.

Facebook Control and Disabling Accounts for No Reason

I posted earlier this week about my experiences with Facebook disabling my account, for no valid reason and without any prior notice. And after sending facebook administrators quite a few e-mails about being disabled, my account was restored and they refused to give me a reason why it was disabled in the first place. I know it wasn't because I'd violated any of their rights. I keep my facebook page as pg-rated as I keep this blog. Actually, my facebook page is g-rated...other than the fact that many of my posts are geared toward the lgbt community.

With all the Thanksgiving preparations I was making this week, plus working on edits for an upcoming romance novel I'm submitting to the publisher on Monday, I didn't have much time to think about facebook. But late last night I started wondering about the control facebook has over people these days. And then I received an e-mail from my good blogging buddy, Ryan, telling me his facebook account had been disabled, which only made me think more about the control facebook seems to have over all of its members.

I'm gay and I write gay romance and gay erotic romance. For many people, books like mine are controversial in many ways. And I post about my gay romances all the time on facebook and I can't help wondering if maybe some other facebook member reported me for posting about gay fiction. Though I can't prove this because facebook refuses to let me know why my account was disabled, I'm fully aware of how many people there are who would rather not see or read anything about the lgbt community at all. Not even my dull, g-rated facebook posts. And please don't tell me I'm being paranoid, thank you. I've been openly gay all my life and I've experienced the hate and discrimination first hand in far more important places than facebook. You'd think it would be simple: if you don't like an lgbt oriented facebook post all you have to do is defriend that person. But that's not how hate works. These haters would rather report someone for posting something lgbt oriented...no matter how g-rated it is...and then sit back and laugh.

And my longtime blogging buddy, Ryan, is openly gay and has been blogging about his experiences as an openly gay man for many years now. And though I've never been offended by any of his facebook posts, I can't help but wonder whether or not someone else was offended and decided to report him. And without even doing a fair investigation, facebook decided to disable his account. This makes two in a row in one week's time, which makes me wonder whether or not there's something more going on in the background. Again, this is all alleged. And I can't prove any of this because facebook isn't a democracy, it's more like an empire that makes its own rules and regulations and you either follow them or they banish you from their kingdom.

Unfortunately, the one thing facebook seems to forget is that there are many people like me who don't take them as seriously as they wish we did. I rarely speak about politics on this blog, but I'm an American and I believe in democracy and as little government intervention as possible. I cherish having rights and I live to voice my opinion. And, as far as facebook is concerned, even though I've always respected their rules and regulations, I'm not too thrilled with this policy of disabling accounts without giving a valid reason. It's the least they can do, after all.

In the grand scheme, it doesn't really matter. It's. Only. Facebook. And I'd rather die than make facebook my home page (argh, talk about control). I have a feeling facebook will be the hoola hoop trend of this time period and we'll all look back and joke about it someday, the same way we joke about big cell phones and TV's with knobs and dials. I'm already seeing signs of people getting bored with facebook. And if you're like me, and facebook has disabled your account for no apparent reason, the trend is going to fade sooner than the folks running facebook thought it would.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If You Need a Thanksgiving Laugh...


Sometimes Thanksgiving can be stressful, with cooking, preparing, and making sure everything is perfect.

And then there's dealing with the relatives, which can be daunting at best for some poor souls.

But if this doesn't make you laugh at least a little, nothing will.

Happy Thanksgiving


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the US. And millions of people will be yanking on turkey necks and shoving stuffing up a turkey's butt at an ungodly hour. And I'll be joining them. I have twelve people coming for dinner, which is half the amount I had last year at my home. But I'll still be up at six in the morning to get that turkey into the oven and trying once again to figure out how long it should remain there. If I remember correctly, it's like twenty minutes per pound. (Or per person: I don't cook often; I have cook books.)


But I have a lot to be thankful for in my life, and I try to stay on top of this as much as I can. And though I don't need a specific day to remind me of how thankful I am, it's nice to know there is a specific day in case I ever forget.

And no, this isn't an actual photo of me holding a turkey neck. I pilfered it from a web site I'd googled by doing a search for "Thanksgiving Photos." First, I'd never have tacky curtains like that in my kitchen, thank you. Second, I usually just yank that ugly neck thing out while it's still wrapped in paper, hold my nose, and throw it away as fast as I can (smile).

New Excerpt From Ricky's Business

I always like to post an excerpt that hasn't been posted anywhere before. So here's an excerpt from Ricky's Business that hasn't been posted on any web sites or by any online e-book retailers. This is a scene from Chatper Four, where a she-male escort shows up at Ricky's door and Ricky's not sure what to do next. I edited a few parts, because this is a pg rated blog. But I like the fact that these parts don't need to be in the book in order to have a storyline.

Later that night, the doorbell rang and Ricky’s entire body froze. It was one of those long drawn out bells that sounded like the chimes in Westminster Abby. He was sprawled out across his bed sideways, legs together, toes pointed, and back arched. No one ever knocked on the front door after nine o’clock at night. There was an unwritten law about that sort of thing in the suburbs.

The only light in the house came from a small gooseneck lamp on his desk. He jumped out of bed, pulled his jeans up and packed his erection to the right. He squinted and scowled; he was sensitive because he’d been on the verge. When he went to the closet to choose a shirt, he decided on a long, loose polo that would cover his crotch. All this fuss just to answer the door.

At first, he had no idea who could be ringing the bell. Everyone knew his mother and father were out of town. He doubted it was Leyland. Then, on his way downstairs, he remembered the phone call Leyland had made to the male prostitute earlier that night. Oh, it had to be the male prostitute. When he reached the front hallway and the bell rang again, he felt a sharp thud in his stomach, as if someone had just punched him.

He reached for the doorknob and asked, “Who’s there?” with a timid voice. He’d thought about not answering and pretending no one was home. But that wouldn’t have been right. Leyland had made the call and this person had come all the way out to New Jersey for nothing.

“It’s Dawn,” a deep voice said. “I’m the one you called earlier.”

Ricky took a deep breath and blinked. He’d been under the impression Leyland had called a male prostitute, not a female. “Dawn?”

“That’s what I said, honey.”

It sounded like a man. But what man calls himself Dawn? So Ricky opened the door slowly. When he looked up his head jerked back and his eyes popped. Standing in his doorway, in the middle of his neat, cookie cutter sub-division, was the tallest, blondest she-male he’d ever seen. Actually, it was the only she-male he’d ever seen in person, up close. Dawn wore a black knitted mini-dress that hugged every curve in his body, tall black stilettos, and a long brassy blond wig. His thick, long masculine fingers were tipped with long red nails that curved down like commas, his pierced ears had long dangling clusters of rhinestones, and his mouth was bathed in ruby red lip gloss.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Facebook Account Update and Comments About Book Piracy

First, my facebook account was just enabled again...after being disabled for twenty four hours for no apparent reason. Evidently, there's no clear cut reason why this happens and to be honest I'm not taking the time to pursue it. It's back up and running, and that's all I care about. As much as I do enjoy facebook, I can also live without it if I have to. And in the grand scheme of my life, facebook isn't all that significant.

I'd also like to thank the people who have been commenting on a post I wrote about book pirates. I'm learning a lot of things I didn't know, especially about what motivates people to pirate books. In many ways this is a difficult position for an author, because the people pirating the books are fans. So I'm learning a lot I didn't know, and I encourage anyone to comment on the topic.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Facebook: WHY WAS MY ACCOUNT DISABLED?

I just logged into my main facebook account and found it was disabled for no apparent reason. I didn't receive a warning, and I know I've never violated any of their rules. My facebook page is like this blog: pg rated and I never post anything offensive, crude, or insulting.

So if you're looking for me on facebook, I still have another page I don't focus on as much, under the name Ryan Field. Feel free to send me a friend request while I work on getting to the bottom of why my main account was disabled. And you can follow my author page at "Books by Ryan Field," which I update often.

Now I'm going back to let a few facebook friends know what happened so they don't think I defriended them.

Ricky's Business: Cover Copy and Link to Excerpt

One of the things I try to do is post as much info about my books as possible. I want readers to know what they are buying, without questions. So I'm adding the synopsis from ARe, and a link with a long excerpt right here. The excerpt, in fact, is almost the entire first chapter, which should be enough to get a feel of where the book is going and what the main character is like. I also like the way ARe (allromanceebooks) adds word count information and reviews.

And if there are any questions, please feel free to e-mail me. My address is at the top of this blog and I'll be more than happy to answer any questions.

When young Ricky Daley's parents leave him home alone for the first time, what happens during the course of one week transforms him from a timid boy taking SAT tests to a confident man making adult choices. Although he's always played by the rules, deep down he's always wanted to take a few chances and live on the edge. And though his parents are determined to get him into an Ivy League college, he's more interested going to a local college and meeting the man of his dreams.

Ricky seems to have it all: great looks, excellent grades, and athletic ability. Only he spends his free time with his best friend, Leyland, a hapless gay guy in Ricky's senior class who is just as frustrated as Ricky is, playing canasta while daydreaming about the men they'd love to meet. For Leyland, any man from the neighborhood UPS guy to the high school football coach will do. But for Ricky, it's more detailed and emotional. He wants love and romance and someone upon which he can depend. The man of his dreams is dark, with a deep, smooth voice, and he looks like Keanu Reeves.

Then Ricky decides it's time to let loose and have some fun. At first, it's just a few harmless incidents, like taking his father's car out without permission and putting on an X-rated male strip show for his Peeping Tom neighbor in the back yard. But Ricky has no idea all this is leading up to a date with a guy who is even better than the man of his dreams, an unusual encounter with a pimp named Carson, and a lucrative one-night business venture that will surpass anything he's ever learned in his high school entrepreneurship class...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

About Book Pirates, the Quality of Books, and Better Back Cover Copy for Readers

Below is a recent comment left by a reader regarding an older post I wrote about book pirates. I replied to the comment as best I could. Since I wrote that particular post, I've learned a lot about why readers pirate books and I probably wouldn't have been as blunt as I was. And frankly, I didn't totally disagree with the recent comment and I'd like to thank this person for leaving it. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this kind of honest, constructive feedback. I hate to hear readers feel as if they've been ripped off. I don't like to feel that way myself, especially because I know and understand that buying e-books isn't inexpensive.

In my reply, I hope I've offered a solution for readers who aren't sure about purchasing books. I know this is what I do when I'm not sure about making a book purchase. In many ways, it's a valid concern all readers have. But I don't think piracy is the answer.

Communication is the answer, at least it seems to be in this particular case. And I know that the next time I write back cover copy for my next book, I'm going to be taking this reader's opinion very seriously so I get it right.

Comment:

Anonymous said...
Piracy works both ways. I've bought too many ebooks that all ended up like something my teenage daughter could write for her English assignment.And yes of course their covers and blurbs were enticing enough hence why I bought them, but they ended up supremely disappointing, I felt cheated. Even free slash fiction/gay fiction writers write better. :/ The sad thing is some of these authors often have awesome previous work, but seemed to now bow down to the simplified money-making machine by cranking out subpar works. And while their prices may seem like peanuts to you guys, for the rest of us in other parts of the world, it's still expensive.If quality of writing went up, I wouldn't hesitate to pay up front. Lord knows there are plenty of free works online that I'd happily pay for simply because the authors actually put real effort into them. But while it still remains hopelessly juvenile and formulaic, I really have no choice but to screen them first before spending. I don't believe covers and book jacket descriptions anymore.


My reply:

ryan field said...
Anon...I can't comment on the quality of books, but I know for a fact no one writes a book, takes the time to publish it and promote it, and puts that much time into something with the thought process they will be stealing money from readers. That's just not how it works. Whether or not you like the book is another matter. But no author or publisher is intentionally trying to pirate your money. Frankly, I'm not thrilled with a lot of books I've read, or for that matter films I've seen and television shows that leave me wondering what producers are thinking. But I still pay my cable bill each month and I'm not downloading free movies. My suggestion to you is that if you have any questions about a book, contact the author. I just wrote a blog post about this topic and welcome all questions from readers who are thinking about buying my books but aren't sure. I can't speak for all authors, but I'm more than willing to explain or answer questions. And please take the time to research before you buy. I always post more info about books on my blog than readers see on back cover copy and book covers. I even post excerpts from the book that aren't part of the back cover copy. And I do this for the very reason you feel you're being ripped off: so readers know what they are buying. Check out e-book online retailers like allromanceebooks.com or fictionwise.com. You will get the first chapter of the book for free, in most cases, and if you can't tell whether or not you like a book by reading the first chapter, it's most likely not the book for you.
November 21, 2010 11:56 AM


Friday, November 19, 2010

New Christmas Release: DOWN THE BASEMENT II: SANTA SATURDAY


I just opened an e-mail...thanks allromanceebooks.com...informing me DOWN THE BASEMENT II: SANTA SATURDAY has been released. I know it's early and we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet, but I think people like to prepare ahead of time when they are planning their Christmas reading list. So I'm glad it's out now, instead of two weeks from now.
This sequel to the Lambda Award winning short story, DOWN THE BASEMENT, is a novella that takes the two main characters to another level of romance. It's very erotic and the characters have an unusual relationship. But there is a lot more love and romance in this sequel than there was in the first story. The allromanceebooks link I posted above gives detailed information, plus an excerpt. The book is also available at many other retail e-book sites, including amazon and www.loveyoudivine.com And if anyone has any questions, feel free to e-mail me. You'd be surprised how many readers do ask me what books are about, and I don't mind answering their questions. I'd rather someone know exactly what they are buying and not be disappointed in discovering it was something entirely different than they thought it was.
I'd also love to thank Dalia Craig for being the managing editor, Dawne Dominique for creating a wonderful cover, and Janet, my wonderful editor at LYD for taking time to work on this with me while she's been going through a personal life crisis.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Reason I Enjoy Facebook

This was posted by a friend of mine on facebook. Though I've never met this person, I feel as if I've known her for a long time through facebook. She posted this youtube video of her daughter singing, which I thought was very good!!

I wanted to post something like this on "National Unfriend Day," for people who are only looking to keep facebook friends and family they know, which to me defeats the entire purpose of a broad social network. I've never met this woman or her daughter in person. But I'm glad I did meet them through facebook.



The Future of Libraries...New Hope, PA

This week I read in my local newspaper, The Bucks County Herald, there's a new developer trying to buy prime real estate in New Hope, PA, in order to build a new 4 million dollar library that will be surrounded by new condos. The property he wants to buy is only three acres, with a grand old mansion that's filled with local history. The links above provide more information.

New Hope has always been a small tourist attraction with a diverse community of artists, writers, actors, and creative types. Because of the location, it attracts New Yorkers, Philadelphians, and everyone in between. Some come from all over the world. The theater history goes back to the mid-twentieth century with the Bucks County Playhouse, and it's still not uncommon to see Barbra Streisand walking through town, among other celebrities, at certain times of the year.

But New Hope is still a small town, and I couldn't help wondering about building a new library for millions of dollars. Tourists don't come here for the library, they come for the attractions. In the past, I always frequented the library. As an author, I did research, had my name on lists for the newest book releases, and kept my library card as up to date as I keep my driver's license. But in all honesty, I haven't been to the library in years. I do my research online, I order my e-books online, and I don't even bother with DVD's anymore. I just order movies On-Demand. If I need copies of something...once or twice a year now...I go to the UPS store.

I've read different articles on the future of libraries in general and no one seems to be taking a firm stand one way or the other. In large cities, I've heard reports that public libraries have become more like community centers, where people can come in out of the summer heat and winter cold to use computers and socialize with each other. In small towns like New Hope, the only people I know who actually go to the library anymore are older people who wouldn't know a blackberry communication device from a blackberry pie. But I can't even say it's an age thing, because my 77 year old mother has stopped going to the library completely and now reads all her books on an ipad. And so do most of her friends.

At this point, I don't think anyone can predict the future of libraries. I wouldn't even try to make a prediction like this. And I still love libraries, even though I don't go anymore. I'm hoping for a compromise. A lot of people believe libraries will evolve into research and learning centers...much like what's now happening in large city libraries where people use them as community centers. Which would be nice in concept. This way we don't lose the beloved tradition of the public library. We just help it evolve into something different, which will benefit everyone in the community.

But I do think that before any small community decides to take the advice of a property developer with a personal agenda, who is promoting an expensive new libraray along with his brand new condos, that community should take the time to do a little research about the future of libraries (or community learning centers) before they make any definite commitments.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Release Day: RICKY'S BUSINESS


Today is the release day for my new m/m romance, RICKY'S BUSINESS. This one is based loosely on the 1980's film, "Risky Business," starring Tom Cruise. You can read more about it here. And I'm sure it will be released on all the well known online e-book stores as well as amazon.

But I always like to post a little back story here on the blog so people know what they are buying. Although the book is not exactly like the movie, I do like to point out that when I write books like this it's not about fan fiction. If anything, it's about giving lgbt readers a taste of what the mainstream public gets all the time and takes for granted. In the past twenty years I can list a handful of pop culture lgbt oriented books and films that were for the mainstream. For the most part, if gay men and women wanted to read about other gay men and women, they were given very little choices. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the "artsy fartsy" literary books written for the lgbt community. And I usually find most gay films lacking something important in more than one way. I prefer pop culture. So this is my take on an old storyline that could have worked well if it had been originally written for two gay men, or two gay women.

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Agent Rejects You and Tells You Why

I don't offer much advice on this blog because publishing is such a broad industry. And there are so many changes happening these days most advice anyone has to offer tends to become obsolete a month later.

But there is one thing I can advise that I've learned through experience when it comes to getting rejected by literary agents. And that's very simple: just delete the rejection and move on. There's no need to send back a nasty e-mail (no matter how much you want to), there's no need to defend your position, and there is no reason to take any agent rejection personally. They don't know it all, and the best agents will be the first to admit this.

So take all rejections for what they are: a subjective opinion. If an agent takes the time to offer comments with the rejection and you agree with the advice, there's nothing wrong with thanking them. But if an agent rejects you and makes comments you don't agree with, there's no need for you to comment. Just move forward and put it behind you.

Always keep it positive. Trust me, the next day you'll be glad you didn't reply with a nasty, counterproductive e-mail.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

One of the Best LGBT Web Sites I've Seen in a Long Time: CODY'S WORLD

A fellow blogger turned me on to this web site, CODY'S WORLD. It's a posthumous tribute to a young gay man who passed away a few years ago. The link is here, and I've posted a section below verbatim. If you have the time, it's worth checking out.

Cody was involved in a very serious motor accident during the early hours of the morning on Saturday 3rd November, 2001. He was admitted to hospital and underwent emergency surgery. His injuries were incredibly serious and he never regained consciousness. He passed away a few hours after surgery.

Most of the original Cody's World website has been left intact, exactly as Cody had written it and laid it out. I have done this in his memory. He had a lot of good things to say and it should be left as is. The pages that have been removed or changed, have been altered for various reasons, not the least of which is to spare Cody's friends hundreds of emails. Cody's email has also been removed from the contact page. His Guest Book is open for visitors and friends to leave messages. The "privacy" capability has been removed to enable all his messages to be read by everyone. Cody placed a lot of importance in the site guest book and enjoyed reading the many entries that were left for him. Some of them critical of him, but he left them anyway and often received an apology after the writer had been through his site.

Cody has left behind a legacy of honesty and friendship. He breached a generation gap and taught everyone, young and old, that we need to respect the differences in each other.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

T'ill The End: Trust me, You'll Like This Song

Found two great new web sites today!! GAYTWOGETHER here. And GAYTWOGETHER youtube, here. GAYTWOGETHER is a romantic gay website with a lot of great vintage photos and other fascinating things. Check them both out. You won't be disappointed. I know I found new muse.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New York Times: E-Books and Best-Seller List

I copied and pasted the article below from this link. It's just one more of the daily changes happening within the publishing industry in the past few years. And I can't help but remember that almost two years ago a good friend of mine who works in publishing told me e-books wouldn't last and there was no reason to take them seriously. Evidently, the NYT seems to think there's something to e-books now.

In an acknowledgment of the growing sales and influence of digital publishing, The New York Times said on Wednesday that it would publish e-book best-seller lists in fiction and nonfiction beginning early next year.
The lists will be compiled from weekly data from publishers, chain bookstores, independent booksellers and online retailers, among other sources.
Since 1935 The Times has published best-seller lists, widely considered the industry standard. Best-seller lists are also published by Publishers Weekly, a trade publication, and newspapers including The Los Angeles Times and USA Today.
Janet Elder, the editor of news surveys and election analysis for The Times, said the newspaper had spent two years creating a system that tracks and verifies e-book sales.
“We’ve had our eye on e-book sales since e-books began,” Ms. Elder said. “It was clear that e-books were taking a greater and greater share of total sales, and we wanted to be able to tell our readers which titles were selling and how they fit together with print sales.”
E-book sales have risen steeply in 2010, spurred by the growing popularity of the Amazon
Kindle and by the release of the Apple iPad in April. According to the Association of American Publishers, which receives sales data from publishers, e-book sales in the first nine months of 2010 were $304.6 million, up from $105.6 million from the same period in 2009, a nearly 190 percent increase.
Several major publishers said that e-books had climbed to about 10 percent of their total trade sales. Some publishing experts have predicted that they will rise to 25 percent in the next two to three years.
RoyaltyShare, a San Diego-based company that tracks data and aggregates sales information for publishers, will work with The Times, provide data and offer an additional source of independent corroboration.
The Times will also redesign the section of its Sunday Book Review that features the best-seller lists. The Times already publishes 14 lists, including those for fiction, nonfiction and advice books in hardcover and paperback, as well as children’s books and graphic books.
“To give the fullest and most accurate possible snapshot of what books are being read at a given moment you have to include as many different formats as possible, and e-books have really grown, there’s no question about it,” said Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the Book Review. The new listings, he added, give readers “the fullest picture we can give them about how a book is doing week to week.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Release Date for SANTA SATURDAY


I haven't blogged much this week because I've been working hard with editors trying to get two Christmas novellas out as soon as possible. But I just found out DOWN THE BASEMENT: SANTA SATURDAY will be released on November 19th...more than plenty of time for a Christmas novella. And I'm still not sure about the novella I'm writing for Ravenous yet. It's titled, THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS, and it's still in edits.

I'll post more about each novella as the release dates approach. But I'd like to mention as many times as possible that they are both very different in the sense that SANTA SATURDAY is more on the modern romance-erotica side...not what I'd consider a classic romance...even though there is a happy ending and both characters are in a monogamous relationship. But THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS is definitely a romance in the classic sense. I will try to make this clear in the back cover copy of both stories.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Looks Like I'm Doing Another Christmas Novella....


I was outside all day blowing leaves. I have three wooded acres, and I do all my own outdoor work. From October to December I spend every weekend outside blowing the leaves into the wooded areas. And today, when I came inside to check my e-mail, I had an e-mail exchange with an editor about doing a Christmas Novella. The e-mail went like this:

Editor: Can you do a Christmas novella by December 1st?

Me: I'm not sure that's enough time. I already have one coming out and I have so much going on. But thanks for thinking of me anyway.

An hour later. I think I'm off the hook (smile).

Editor: We'd really like one. We can change deadline dates so you can work on this right now.

I hesitate before I reply this time. I wrote a Christmas story for an anthology last year titled, "Home for the Holidays," and I've been dying to develop those two main characters for a long time. So I reply fast.

Me: Okay. I'll do it.

Editor: Thanks!!

And I really am looking forward to doing this novella. Out of all the characters I've written, these two, Nathan and Lance, stick with me all the time...for some reason I can't explain. So I'll be posting about two Christmas novellas this season. This week blog posts may be scarce while I'm working on this new one.

Friday, November 5, 2010

If Truman Capote Were Just Starting Out Today...

It's no secret that in the past two years I've written a lot of m/m romance novels with storylines that have been based on either classic m/f romances or popular romance films with m/f characters. I didn't do this because because I'm a huge fan of fanfic. I did it because the lgbt community has been so starved for anything pop culture related I wanted to give them a sense of what the straight community often takes for granted. The simple things, like being able to walk down the street and hold hands, or kissing good-bye at the airport. Believe it or not, in spite of what we see in TV shows like Modern Family, most gay couples don't show any affection in public because they fear they are going to be ridiculed...if not bullied.

When I wrote THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE, I decided to revolve the storyline around Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. I wanted to do it with a contemporary take, and with two gay men as the main characters. In his day, Truman Capote was one of the most flamboyant gay men around...although I'm not sure if he ever actually admitted this openly. I've read his bios and his novels, and there's always a hint of homosexuality, but never anything distinct. It's the same with work that was written by Tennessee Williams, another gay writer who wrote mostly straight characters, with homosexual overtones.

But in Truman Capote's day and age, writing gay fiction would have been author suicide. He may have found a small cult following, but in a general sense he would have been rejected by every agent and publisher in the world if he'd queried them with a gay version of Breakfast at Tiffany's. He probably would have been laughed at and mocked. And I often wonder what writers like Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams would have been writing today. For all I know, maybe they'd still be writing straight fiction for a mainstream audience. Though a lot has changed since their time, certain things have continued to remain the same. If you look at the mainstream bestseller lists, there aren't many lgbt oriented books. But I'd like to think they might have found an audience on some level with lgbt fiction. And I certainly would have enjoyed reading their works.

Santa Saturday


I'm working hard with my editors, Janet and Dalia, to get this Christmas novella out by Thanksgiving weekend. Even though digital publishing is easier than print publishing in many ways, there are still details that have to be handled in the same exact way. But I'm sure we'll get there.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two New Editors Hired At Ravenous Romance

Just heard that Ravenous Romance has hired two new acquisition editors. One I don't know much about yet, but the other is Jen Safrey, the talented person who does all the copy editing for my books at Ravenous Romance. Though Jen lives in MA and I live in Bucks County, PA, I like to think of her as a friend, too.

Here's the release:

Literary Partners Group, Inc., which owns and operates digital erotic romance publisher Ravenous Romance, has hired Russell Davis and Jennifer Safrey as acquisitions editors.
Davis has acquired and edited books for Tor Books, Kensington, DAW Books, iBooks, Five Star Publishing (an imprint of Gale Cengage), and Foggy Windows Books. Several of Davis's acquisitions have won major awards, including the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, the ARTemus Award - Book of the Year, Top 10 Romances from Booklist, and two of his acquisitions were finalists for the coveted RITA Award. Davis was also a nominee for the PASIC (Published Authors Special Interest Chapter) Chapter of RWA for their 2nd Annual Editor of the Year Award.
Under a variety of pseudonyms and in virtually every genre of fiction, Davis has written and sold more than twenty novels and dozens of short stories. He has served on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) Board of Directors, including two years (2008-2010) as President.
Safrey has been a copyeditor for Ravenous Romance since 2008, and is the author of four Harlequin romance novels, two of which won the Golden Leaf Award for best contemporary romance. She was previously editor at The Boston Herald and a past President of the New England Chapter of RWA.
“We are thrilled to have two such talented and experienced editors join Ravenous,” says president Holly Schmidt. “By early next year, we will launch a brand-new website and announce other major initiatives, and we are confident Jen and Russell will be able to help us fuel our expansion and meet reader demand.”
Both editors will be open to acquiring all subgenres of erotica and erotic romance, but Davis will focus on paranormal, ménage, and western, while Safrey will focus on contemporary, historical, and M/M erotic romances.

Is LGBT Fiction a Growing Genre? Is It Even a Genre?

I was reading a blog post yesterday by one of my favorite agent bloggers, Nathan Bransford. And in this post he was discussing various genres, with regard to what authors are writing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). There was even a poll at the end of the post to see which genre is the most popular this year. As of this minute, over 1,500 people have participated in the poll. It was a fun post, I enjoyed reading it, and I don't want to sound as if I'm knocking it.

But I was surprised to see that LGBT fiction was not on the list. I probably shouldn't be surprised, given the fact that LGBT fiction of any kind is usually ignored in anything that resembles mainstream information. Until recently, LGBT fiction was just considered Gay/Lesbian, and the B and T was totally ignored. And Nathan's Blog, as far as blogs in general go, is about as mainstream as you get, so this is understandable.

I do find it interesting that only one anonymous person on Nathan's comment thread even asked about LGBT fiction as a genre. As as far I've been told, and from what I see from my own book sales, LGBT fiction has been growing by leaps and bounds for the past few years. I post about the wonderful straight women writing m/m romance all the time. I check out the bestseller lists on amazon and see more LGBT fiction than ever before. And all these authors writing LGBT fiction are selling far more books than ever expected. So there's a market for it, but I guess it just doesn't deserve a genre or classification yet (smile).

And yet no one is writing LGBT fiction for NaNoWriMO? No one thinks LGBT fiction is important enough to have its own genre? Of course LGBT can be lumped into many other genres...which is what usually has been done in the past. In this respect, LGBT fiction is a lot like Multi-Cultural fiction and all the wonderful books written by authors of African descent. Which, incidentally, I didn't see a genre listed for Multi-Cultural either in this poll either. At the end of the poll there is a box for people to click "other."

But what I find most interesting is that LGBT fiction is drawing new readers and authors every day. This, from what I've seen and read, is also true for fiction written by authors of African descent. Of course Nathan thinks like an agent, and when he's listing genres I'm sure he's thinking about how books are categorized on book shelves in retail stores, and about what he personally reps as an agent. All agent bloggers do this when it comes to categorizing a book. In the past, it's always been the easiest way to go about the process.

Two summers ago I had the pleasure of having lunch with Elisa Rolle, an internationally known LGBT book reviewer. I've written about Elisa on the blog, and I'm very active in The Rainbow Awards, which Elisa started for LGBT fiction. During lunch, we talked about publishing, books, the LGBT market, and other things related to LGBT fiction. And Elisa told me she was surprised when she stopped in a few US book stores and found such a limited amount of LGBT fiction. Again, I was not surprised. Just like I wasn't surprised to see Nathan Bransford ignore the LGBT genre altogether in his poll.

It's been like this for a long time. The only difference is that now things are changing, and have been changing in the past decade. (And, there are authors like me out there with very big mouths who aren't afraid to mention this issue openly. ) These book stores that don't have an LGBT section are struggling (clawing) to survive these days because readers are either shopping for their print books online, where they get current selections, or they are only reading digital books. And I just can't help wondering when everyone is going to notice that publishing has gone through many changes lately. With those changes new genres have emerged, especially online with the digital markets. Will LGBT fiction ever be the most popular genre? I doubt that. But I do think, at the very least, it deserves its own classification with regard to NaNoWriMo.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ricky Martin on Oprah Yesterday


I rarely ever have time to watch Oprah at four o'clock in the afternoon. But I made the time yesterday because I'd heard Ricky Martin was going to be her guest. Not just because I'm a fan of his music, but also because I've been following his story as a gay man for a long time.

When he did the Barbara Walters interview years ago and didn't admit he was gay, I knew he was side-stepping. And I didn't blame him either. As a writer and journalist I knew what Babs was doing and I think Ricky Martin held his own very well during that interview. I know a lot of gay people were disappointed. We all would have bet money he was, in fact, gay. But he obviously wasn't ready to come out to the world, and we should all respect that.

His interview with Oprah yesterday was honest, and I think it came from the heart this time. Evidently, it took him years to accept himself as a gay man, and he seems to be doing well after such a long struggle. How do I know he was being honest? Because I'm gay and I've experienced every single emotion, feeling and struggle he spoke about yesterday. I also noticed the signs of discomfort in his eyes at certain points during the Oprah interview. I've seen and experienced that same discomfort myself on many occassions.

But he said one thing that was of particular interest to me, both as a gay man and a writer. He mentioned that gay people should only come out when they are ready to come out. They shouldn't be pressured...or bullied...by anyone to come out before they are ready, not even by gay people. It's a sensitive issue and there shouldn't be any rules set by anyone, especially not by other members of the lgbt community. Something like this happened to one of my nephews last year. He was pressured into coming out of the closet by some pushy little facebook queen who should have been minding his own business. Luckily, my nephew has two gay uncles he can go to for support. But I didn't think he was ready to come out yet, and he went through a huge struggle because he wasn't ready. It's all calmed down now. But it could have been much easier for him if he'd waited a while and taken the time to really understand the magnitude of coming out.

I receive a lot of e-mails from readers about this topic. I know the straight liberals, whom I love dearly, like to think everything is coming up roses and daffodils for gay men these days. They tell me about all the options gay men have and about all the opportunities that weren't around a long time ago. But what these liberal well-wishers fail to realize is that accepting and admitting you're gay is still a huge life altering experience, for men or women. It takes time and a whole lot of soul-searching to reach the point where they are ready to admit they are gay. And no one should ever feel pressured into coming out of the closet.

I'd like to thank Ricky Martin for having the courage to come out the way he did in public. And, for having the courage to remain in the closet until he knew he was ready to come out. At least now when I receive a letter from a gay man who is confused about coming out, I can use Ricky Martin as an example. And trust me, there are plenty of gay men and women out there who are still struggling with this issue and the last thing they need is more pressure than they already have.
Hope Barbara Walters understands this, too. Because the next time she badgers someone into coming out of the closet on Oscar night they might just turn on her. I know I would have, and I would have done it with a great big smile, too :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Self Publishing: Purpose of a Book Signing

Though I've never self-published anything of mine, I do admire the tenacity of those who do self-publish their books. And when I read this article in The Self-Publishing Review, I decided to share it with those of you who are self-publishing your own books. It deals with author book signings and getting the book into the community through storefront exposure. I'm not an expert in this field. I can, however, add a few tips to those who are self-publishing and looking to get exposure by doing book signings.

I think it's important to know the markets, especially these days. And if a new self-published author thinks he or she is going to sell books by sitting in a book store, they may be sadly mistaken. People in the author's community tend to be more critical than anyone else. And these people won't mention this to the author, they will murmur behind the author's back. I've seen it done more than once in my own community, when authors have tried to promote their self-published books. And this is the kind of criticism an author doesn't want. Aside from that, instead of trying to promote print books in bookstores that are hanging on by a thin strand of thread these days, it might be wiser for the author to start promoting a digital version of the book online. Online communication is cheap, it's effective, and it sells books these days far better than any book signing by an unknown author. And the target market for self-published digital books seems to be higher than the print market.

In other words, if you are self-publishing take the time to learn your market well. Don't listen to me or anyone else. Things are changing daily in publishing and what used to work a few years ago isn't working now.

Other than that, self-publishing can be a rough road. But I admire those who do it and I've often thought about doing myself.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Typical Day for a Writer...Fifteen Years Ago


First, you wrote. You didn't e-mail, facebook, blog, or check amazon ranks. You didn't tweet, comment, post, or read group mail. Other than reading the morning newspaper, there wasn't much else you could do but write.

So much has changed in the past ten years it's almost hard to imagine. I've been writing fiction and getting published since college, so writing and working in the publishing industry for me has never been a life change or a creative release. It's what I do, and always has been. And twenty years from now, I may or may not be writing m/m romance or m/m fiction, but I'll still be writing something.

For writers, life has become much easier than it was fifteen years ago. On a typical Monday morning fifteen years ago, I'd open my art gallery, set up displays and lighting, and then I'd sit down at my desk and start working on another short story or magazine piece. After working as an editor in publishing for Conde Nast, I decided to open my own business...an art gallery...so I'd have the time and the freedom to write my own work instead of editing someone else's work. It wasn't always easy running a business seven days a week and juggling a writing career. But it worked for me. The business was unrelated to the writing, and switching gears all the time was a good thing.

Monday to Thursday in the gallery were slow days, so I had plenty of time to write, get manuscripts out to publishers, and talk to editors on the phone. I was late coming to computers. I didn't actually start writing on a computer until 2000, and all the work I submitted to publishers was hardcopy up until 2005. But I wasn't the only one, and I know for a fact there are still agents and editors who prefer hardcopy to electronic pages. And, I didn't even work on a word processor. I wrote everything on an IBM electric typewriter, from fiction to magazine pieces. I had shelves with stacks of ink cartridges, rows of white out, and all kinds of correct ribbons. When you made a mistake on a typewriter you either tried to correct it as best you could, or you just started over again.

That's why I'm always a little amused when I hear writers talking about edits now. Fifteen years ago edits were revises and re-writes. And you either learned how to be a proficient typist or you spent days picking at keys trying to get it perfect. Editors wanted neat, perfect manuscripts. If you submitted something with corrections and white out, they didn't even bother to read it. If you weren't a great typist, you paid someone to type a manuscript for you, which wasn't cheap. Of course nowadays with Word Documents it's simple to get things right with just a few clicks and edits. If you want to change a characer's name, it takes minutes. But with the old ways, it took time, energy, and attention to detail. You either learned to live with a character's name or you re-write the entire book. In other words, writers wrote and re-wrote. And nothing was actually edited until it went to the publisher.

Thanks to computers and everything going electronic, all this has changed. I can get a short story written, edited, and submitted within a week. A novel can take anywhere from one month to two months in most cases. I even wrote one novel I had pubbed under a pen name in three weeks, which would have been impossible to do fifteen years ago.

But the interesting thing is I miss the old days sometimes. If computers disappeared tomorrow and I had to go back to working on a typewriter I wouldn't have any problems at all. I could live without social networks, e-mails, and all the other things I'm come to depend on daily. I love having access to so many new books and I love reading all these online book review sites. But I could live without them all as well. I'm not sure I could say the same for most authors who never knew what it was like to type up a manuscript fifty times until it was perfect. It took tenacity and never ending attention to detail.
I also miss the folks at the post office. I used to know them by name. These days I'm lucky if I get to the post office once or twice a month.