Sunday, July 31, 2011

UNBALANCED by Kate Douglas; Beyond the Book

As I said in this post, I bought UNBALANCED by Kate Douglas yesterday and read it in one sitting last night.

The main reason I bought the book was because I'd been reading so much about the publisher, Beyond the Book. And a lot of what I was reading was negative. But, as always, the negative posts are always the loudest. And, none of the negative posts I did read were based on anything I thought was solid criticism. Reasonable people, those who act on the information given to them instead of emotion, know and understand that it's really too soon to tell what's going to happen with Beyond the Book...or any brand new publisher...especially these days when everything's so new. The old rules simply do not apply anymore.

For me, all publishing issues aside, it's always more about the book and the readers who will be buying the book. And I found UNBALANCED to be a nice surprise. And this isn't even my favorite genre, yet this book kept my interest because the writing is solid, the character development is strong, and the amount of dialogue is just right. And the dialogue was written well. No said bookisms where they didn't belong...nothing amateur.

And nothing was overwritten. To be honest, I was a little afraid before I bought the book, because so many books nowadays...in all genres...are terribly overwritten. And a lot of them receive great reviews, too. But UNBALANCED had a nice pace and an even rhythm, and the storyline constantly moved forward.

The sex scenes weren't as detailed as I would have liked in a book like this. But that doesn't mean there's anything wrong. They worked and I didn't have a problem with them. And even though it's not easy to capture emotion with a story like this, I think Kate managed to do that as the characters grew to know each other and become more comfortable with their situation. I even liked the little twist between Jett and Locan. No spoilers. But what I was hoping would happen, did happen. Nice touch and well done.

If UNBALANCED is any indication of what Beyond the Book's other publications are like, it proves they are working hard to put out quality books at a good price. I know how hard we work at ravenous romance to do this, and at Loveyoudivine. And did I mention I only paid .99 for UNBALANCED? And that it was much longer than I'd expected? From a product standpoint, I felt as though I got my money's worth and then some...including some bonuses at the end.

So I can't recommend this book enough. I'm glad I took the time to read it, and to find out what kind of books Beyond the Book is publishing. My next purchase from this publisher is going to be a non-fiction book about card games and rules for card games. I can't think of the title right now, but I saw it on their list and it looked interesting.

The one side note, which has nothing to do with the book or the publisher, is that I do think that UNBALANCED wasn't described well enough on Kobo. As I said, I was thinking I'd be reading a short story. It is shorter than a full length novel but it was much longer that I expected, which is a good thing (about 13,000 words, and I had to go to ARe to get this info). And I think retail web sites like Kobo need to start giving out better product descriptions so readers know exactly what they are buying. And authors, this is why it's just as important to get your product details out on your blogs and web sites as it is to get your storylines out.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beyond the Book Publishing: Unbalanced by Kate Douglas


I've been reading bits and pieces all over the web about a new publishing service, Beyond the Book.

And when I read things like this, my initial author instincts kick in and I'm curious, and then my next instinct is to buy one of the books Beyond the Book is publishing and see what it's like.

So as soon as I finish this blog post, I'm ordering "Unbalanced," by Kate Douglas over at Kobo. (I still haven't had time to figure out that "dropbox" thing I posted about earlier this week, and don't see much free time in the future, so for now it's push a button and order from Kobo.) Unbalanced is a .99 e-book and you can't go wrong there. (I love .99 e-books more than I love the new Baccarat lamp I just ordered from my brother...at a discount...because he's a designer in New York.)And from what I've read, Kate Douglas has a long list of excellent publishing credits. I've read her thoughts on various comment threads, and she sounds like a nice person, too.

I'll post more about the book when I finish it. I don't give actual reviews here on this blog, but I don't have any problem commenting on whether or not I like a book...in a general sense...or leaving ratings on goodreads and amazon.

And frankly, after reading so much about Beyond the Book and the publishing services it offers, I'm curious to see exactly what kind of book they are putting out.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do We Agree With Boy George?


I was skipping around the web and found this below. I personally don't agree. I was around in the eighties and I don't remember any huge "sense that things were changing, and becoming more open-minded," as Boy George points out. I was in my teens and although things were changing, most of what I remember had to do with being terrified of AIDS because there wasn't much information out back then.

I love Boy George, but I honestly just think gay men are like everyone else. They are all individuals and they want to do their own thing. If that means putting on a pink feather boa, lipstick, and earrings, they should feel free to do so. But if they want to put on a Hawaiian shirt, drink beer, and spit on the sidewalk like Linda Warnke pointed out on a comment thread here last week, they should be able to do that, too.




Do Most Gay Men Just Want To Fit In These Days? Boy George Thinks So.
Written by Jonathan Higbee | Monday, 11 April 2011
Tags: what's your instinct, boy george, gay culture, individuality, quotes, interviews, philip sallon, hate crimes, attacks, heterosexist



A week after the tragic beating (and suspected hate crime) of his good friend and activist Philip Sallon, Boy George has given an interview to claim that gay men no longer want to live outwardly-fabulous lives.

“These things go in circles,” Boy George said to the Guardian.


“In the early 80s there was this sense that things were changing, and becoming more open-minded. But we don’t have that sort of gorgeous youth culture any more, the glam rockers, the New Romantics. People aren’t so individual any more. There is this sense of why would you want to stand out and make a show of yourself?”


“You can find that sort of attitude in the gay community too. That if you are an exhibitionist you are somehow spoiling the big assimilation. Most gay men go out of their way to look normal and fit in, but Philip is not of that breed.”

Do you agree with Boy George? Is the current trend in gay culture that of "blending in" with heteronormative society and rejecting individuality?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Case You're Wondering About the Poor Grammar in Some Books...

Frankly, I have been wondering about grammatical errors in books for a while now. On this blog, I'm not all that careful about grammar. This is a relaxed place to come, and I don't think all blog posts have to be written with a red pen. I write these posts fast, hoping I get it right. And some of my favorite personal blogs are so far off when it comes to grammar it makes them special.

But I do feel differently about the grammar published books. I don't want to read "myself," when it should be "me." And I don't want to read "Me and my sister went to the store," instead of "My sister and I went to the store." I can get that just by watching the people on Judge Judy.

But if you've been wondering why a lot of books these days have grammatical errors, check out this comment, where a guy actually defends not only his lack of knowledge with regard to grammar, but also his disregard for grammar in a general sense. He thinks creativity is more important than "grammer," and he's proud of himself.

Seems typical of the way things are going these days. Why should grammar matter anymore in published books? But then why the hell am I paying ten grand a year in property taxes? Grammar shouldn't be learned on a college level. It should be nailed in Grammar School.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

For Those Who Don't Have E-Readers Yet

One of the things I've learned in publishing is to never assume anything. I check out blogs and comment threads all over the web to see what's happening and to see what readers think and what they want.

From what I'm gathering, even though so many on the web already know about and own e-readers, there are still many who don't. Not only don't they own them, they are intimidated by them. I understand this because I was just as intimidated for a long time. I started reading e-books by downloading them to my computer. I got that. I knew how to do it. But e-readers really freaked me out.

And let's face it, a lot of the blog posts on the web about e-readers are written by techies and experts who take for granted everyone knows what they are talking about. I'm still learning about DRM...I think that's what it's called...and I'm still learning how to download digital books to my kobo e-readers without going through the Kobo store.

So you're not alone out there. Not everyone is a digital expert, including authors who write digital books. And I think it's important when it comes to things like this to think about what your needs are when it comes to reading e-books, and make it as simple as possible. In my case, I love my Kobo e-readers. For me, the process is basic and all I have to do is push a few buttons and I have a book. As I said, I'm still learning. But for now I'm so happy with my e-readers and my e-books, I can't imagine ever going back to print books.

Here's a blog post I think is helpful about e-readers if you in the market to buy one.

Like a digital music player, an e-reader is useless unless you can easily get e-books onto it.

Let's get one misconception out of the way: e-book formats are superfluous because Kindle, Nook and Kobo e-readers are closed systems.

In other words, if you decide a few years from now to switch from, say, Nook to Kobo, or from Kobo to Kindle, or from Kindle to Nook, or whatever, books you've already purchased will be stuck on your old device. They cannot be transformed to your new, different e-reader, regardless of format.

Hence the reason to choose wisely, hence these thorough examinations.

Amazon v. the world

I raise the format issue because one of the knocks on the Kindle is that Amazon uses a proprietary e-book format called AZW (indicated by the file name suffix .azw; for free books, Kindles use a format called Mobipocket, .mobi).

The rest of the industry uses the open EPUB (short for Electronic PUBlication), which includes the more than 11,000 libraries that lend e-books.

This mean that Kindle can't be used to borrow EPUB books from public libraries, just from other Kindle owners.

However, three months ago Amazon announced Kindles will be able to borrow EPUB library books sometime this fall.

Kindle's pending library compatibility removes any real difference between Amazon's proprietary e-book format and EPUB, at least as far as purchased e-books are concerned.

Both Barnes & Noble and Kobo use EPUB as their e-book formats, but then add their own copy protection scheme (referred to as DRM, digital rights management) to stop you from sending that file to someone else on a different e-reader for free, and makes these e-books incompatible with any other e-reader. (All three let you "lend" a limited number of e-books to other Nook or Kobo users.)

Therefore, e-book formats, open or not, are an insignificant consideration. You'll be trapped regardless of whether you choose Kindle, Nook or Kobo.

Free books, however, are DRM-free and are usually available in both .mobi and EPUB formats. (For more information on how to get free e-books, see my "How To Get Free E-Books.")

Actual shopping

To make a long-story short, for the moment Kindle presents the best buying experience for one reason: Amazon let's you skip a sync step. A second minor Kindle superiority: longer free samples. All three e-readers let you download free samples, but with Kindle you usually get more to read before you buy.

But first let's quickly address the varying differences between Amazon, Nook and Kobo e-book selection and prices before we get to the skipped sync step.

In practical terms, there aren't any differences in selection and price in the competing e-book catalogs. All three have all the best sellers and popular older books from the so-called Big Six publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House and Simon & Schuster and a mix of smaller houses as well as periodicals. Each e-book store offers around 2 million e-book titles, which means you'll usually be able to find what you're looking for as far as new e-books are concerned.

And the publishers don't exactly encourage e-book price competition, so pricing differences among the three e-book stores are minimal, if non-existent where best sellers are concerned.

From store to e-reader

Kindle, Nook and Kobo e-readers let you buy e-books right from the device, as long as your e-reader is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi.

The differences in how each online e-reader store is set up don't make one superior to the other. You can search for a title, browse categories, check out best-seller lists, and download samples (which we'll get to in a second) on all three.

The speed at which whole books and samples get downloaded to your e-reader once purchased depend on the speed of your Internet connection, but figure around a minute from clicking the "buy" button to actually reading your new e-book.

You also can shop for e-books from the Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo Web sites from a PC, smart phone or tablet (although, as I mentioned in Monday's Part I, you can no longer shop for e-books from within the updated iPhone Kindle, Nook or Kobo apps; if you want to continue ordering e-books from within these apps, don't update them), as well as from Kobo's standalone Mac or PC application.

But if you buy an e-book from the Web or a smart phone/tablet app, you now have to get it to your e-reader, which means syncing via Wi-Fi.

Nook and Kobo syncing is simple. Go to the Kobo's home screen or the Library screen on the Nook, and simply tap the sync icon (a pair of arced arrows completing a circle). You purchases will then be transferred to your e-reader lickety-split.

Easy – but Kindle let's you skip this step entirely. When you are ready to buy an e-book from the Amazon Web site or smart phone app, you can choose to transmit it directly to your Kindle. No syncing step necessary.

Recommendations

As noted, Amazon's skipped sync step is convenient, especially for the tech-phobic, and the longer sample chapters also are nice. So, right now, Kindle gets the edge in e-book shopping.

Two things, though.

First, nothing stops Barnes & Noble or Nook from upgrading their shopping to accomplish the same direct-to-e-reader capability at some point.

Second, Nook has a singular shopping advantage over both Kindle and Kobo: the 40,000 Barnes & Noble real-world retail locations.

Not only can you get Nook hardware help from living, breathing sales people, but your Nook will automatically connect to the store's Wi-Fi, and you can download and read any e-book in Barnes & Noble's catalog for up to an hour a day.

If you live near a Barnes & Noble bookstore – and with 40,000 stores, who doesn't? – you may find being that close to flesh-and-blood help and access to free e-reading a real shopping advantage.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chav Culture: A New Trend in Gay Culture?


Until I read the article below, I knew nothing of "Chav" culture. I didn't even know what a "Chav" was.

According to urban dictionary: There are people in the world who think that the label "Chav" is classist, and refers to those who are working class. However, once and for all, it does not. "Chav" in fact refers to those who have absolutely no respect for anything at all, though in fact demand to be respected all the same. They can be found spitting on the streets; they can be found sitting in bus shelters cadging a smoke off other people; they can be found in courtrooms everywhere for street crimes. They will happily attack anyone who so much as looks at them

Here's the link to read examples.

And here's a post about the new trend. Remember, I didn't write this one. I'm only relaying the message.

Study examines fascination with 'chav' culture among middle-class gay men

New research at the University of Leicester is investigating a growing fascination with 'chav' culture among middle-class gay men in Britain.

Professor Joanna Brewis, from the University of Leicester School of Management, UK, will conduct primary empirical research into gay class tourism following publication of findings reported last year in the journal Sociology.

Research she carried out with her former colleague Professor Gavin Jack, now at La Trobe University in Australia, revealed the complex consumer patterns of middle-class homosexual men who go 'slumming' at chav nights in clubs, typically dressed in tracksuits, baseball caps and flaunting showy diamond and gold bling.

Professors Brewis's and Jack's findings overturn the traditional stereotypes of gay men as cultured, bourgeois consumers, suggesting instead an interest in the lower-class values of 'chavs' encapsulated in certain types of pornographic material, sex lines and night clubs.

Professor Brewis commented: "Our research opens up some interesting questions, including whether the fascination with chavs opens up the gay space for working class homosexual men, or just reinforces the view of the 'unselective male libido'."

Professor Joanna Brewis has been a member of the University of Leicester School of Management since 2004. Her research interests are in the intersections between the body, identity, sexuality, consumption, culture and processes of organizing. As well as the project described above, other recent research work includes exploring intimacy, motherhood and life-work 'balance'; and discourses of Same and Other around culture and professionalism in Aotearoa New Zealand social work.

Professor Gavin Jack joined the La Trobe Graduate School of Management in 2009. His research interests include international management issues, consumption and postcolonial organizational analysis.

Questions About E-publishing and Self-Publishing E-books...

I'm not trying to step on any toes here. But I wrote a post about the difference between self-publishing and e-publishing, and I've had a lot of e-mails because people didn't feel secure leaving comments on the thread.

I've answered them all. I don't know much about self-publishing because I've never done it. But I do know the process for e-publishing very well because I've been doing it for seven years now. And the I know the basic difference between the two, at least enough to help steer a new author in the right direction.

So please feel free to use this open comment thread to ask questions anonymously and I will answer them the best I can. I hate to see authors and readers confused, especially when it involves money out of their own pockets. And if I can help with some of the misinformation out there, I will. And If I don't know, I'll admit it and try to point you in the right direction to someone who does know.

All comments will be treated with absolute discretion and you can comment a year from now if you'd like.

E-publishers Are Not Self-publishers...

Rather than write a long post about my feelings. I'm keeping this short and sweet.

There are a few people starting new ventures on the Internet for self-publishing and they are calling it e-publishing.

They are wrong. They haven't been paying attention.

Maybe they are just arrogant. I'm not sure.

But they are misleading authors and readers. And the pioneers of e-publishing take offense to this.

I work with e-publishers, not self-publishers. I started working with e-publishers when everyone was still laughing at e-books. And I'm proud to be associated with them, too.

Don't get me wrong. I love self-published books and I support them whenever I can. I love the brave authors who had the courage to take the chance to self-publish their own books with their own money. I might even do it myself someday.

But there is a huge difference between an e-publisher and a self-publisher.

And that difference is that an e-publisher will not charge you a dime. With self-publishing you often have to pay. It varies from place to place, especially if you want professional editors. It's far more complicated and the rules seem to change daily. But e-publishers work just like "traditional" publishers.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Regular Bud...Unpubbed Excerpt


I posted fast about ANOTHER REGULAR BUD last week, and wanted to share an unpublished excerpt.

For some reason, A REGULAR BUD has generated a lot of wonderful e-mail from readers. I appreciate them all because I'm not always certain what readers want. And with a story like A REGULAR BUD I can never really be certain unless I hear feedback.

This is why I wrote ANOTHER REGULAR BUD. It's not a sequel in a planned series. I may never write another story like this again. But it does follow the high heel theme from the first story. One reader pointed out that there aren't many stories out there that get into high heels for men. Another pointed out that if you google high heels for men you'll come up almost empty handed. I did that and the reader was correct. The few sites that are up don't really get into anything I got into in the short story.

This was an accident on my part. I just thought of a story I thought would be fun and wrote it. I wanted it to be a little campy, a little funny, and still have a certain amount of emotion. And I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that it's resonated with so many nice people out there. Keep in mind this is the unedited, raw version.

“What’s the story with those high heels in the backseat?” He asked, with his deep, raspy tone.

“I can’t believe you saw them,” I said. “I thought I threw them on the floor.”

He laughed. “Well, one landed the seat. I couldn’t help noticing it.” Then he slapped my ass hard. “What are they for?”

I took a quick breath, sorry I’d been so careless. “A Halloween costume I’m wearing this weekend. I’ve never done drag…I don’t do drag. This is a joke a friend talked me into doing. I’m going as a burlesque queen.” I felt the need to explain it in more detail, so he didn’t think I was into women’s clothes all the time. You never know.

“Put them on,” He said.

I sent him a glance. “Seriously. You want me to put them on right now?” I’d never done anything like this before with a man. I’d once worn a pair of black lace panties for a guy who was into that sort of thing, but never high heels, and never in a public place.

He nodded. “I think they’re hot. Take off your pants and just put the high heels on.” He was so excited about me wearing the high heels he released me, leaned through the back window, and pulled the high heels out of the backseat himself.

Something New At BookEnds, LLC for Self-Published Authors

They just announced something new over at BookEnds, LLC. For those who don't know, BookEnds has been a reputable literary agency for a long time. And now they are doing something new with self-published authors who are interested in getting into publishing their own e-books. To me, this is helping authors in a new way.

I'd rather you check out the link yourselves than me trying to explain it and misquoting anyone. It's an interesting venture and I left my own two cents on the comment thread in support.

And, of course, as usual, there are the negative types who know it all (God, I'm so tired of know-it-alls!!) and aren't patient enough to see what BookEnds is actually going to do. The fact is that publishing is changing and agents, like authors, are looking into new and interesting ways to deal with business. And I can't help but offer a huge round of applause to anyone who does something new with the best of intentions.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Gay Marriages in New York


The photo of this couple was taken at the first gay marriages in New York. I've been following this and reading other m/m author blogs and I've been seeing interesting blog posts about it.

One thing we can all agree on is that it's a wonderful thing for all gay people in New York to be able to legally marry. They've been fighting and waiting for this for a long time and they deserve to enjoy the moment for as long as they can.

But...and you knew there was a but coming...I'm surprised at how little I've seen mentioned about the real issue at hand, which is legalized gay marriage/unions, on a federal level. And when I see this lack of understanding on m/m author blogs for all gay Americans on a federal level it leads me to wonder whether the blogger just isn't up on what's happening within the gay community nationally, or whether they just don't get it because they are only getting their information on the surface.

I'm thrilled for the women in the photo above. I'm thrilled for everyone else who was married in New York. But I personally know hundreds more like them here in Bucks County, PA, where gay marriage is still illegal and probably will be for a long time. Same goes for New Jersey.

So while I'm thrilled about legalized gay marriage in New York, I'm not jumping up and down right now. Even if ten more states in the union legalized gay marriage tomorrow, it still wouldn't be recognized on a federal level and gay Americans are still not going to be treated with the equality they deserve...on some very important levels, too.

So for those authors writing m/m fiction who think they are helping gay people when they post about how wonderful gay marriage in New York is, I wish you'd take the time to fully learn the ramifications of what gay marriage means to us on a federal level and start posting more about that in the future. That's where it really counts. That's where we really need your support and your loud voices. That's when gay couples in the military will receive benefits and when gay couples won't have to pay federal inheritance taxes on their own homes when their lifelong partner passes away.

Check Out "My Big Gay Blog"

As a lot of readers know, I used to interview and review gay bloggers for bestgayblogs.com, and I'm always surfing the net looking for something new. I don't know how I missed "My Big Bay Blog" for so long, but I did.

I don't know how often the blogger posts, but I loved this post so much I'm linking to it so you can see for yourself.

This is one of those times when I love blogging, especially for gay men who've been so cut off and sheltered from society for so long. It's an honest glimpse into the lives of real gay men living and working and playing just like everyone else.

Here's the link to a post I loved from April. And here's the main link.

A Must Read for Anyone who Buys and Reads E-books!!

Here's another reader post, not an author post, that I hope will help a few of my readers. Admittedly, I'm one of those technically deprived people who buy all my e-books from Kobo. It's simple. I push a few buttons on my e-reader and I get the books like magic. Up until six years ago, I was still submitting manuscripts to some publishers in hard copy. I've learned a lot about computers since then and I'm obviously still learning. I've been 100% electronic for six years now.

But I haven't been happy about the Kobo shopping process...for many reasons that I've explained in previous posts. So I'm linking to this post because I think it's important for everyone who reads e-books to check out. The blogger in question isn't a huge fan of mine; we have completely different taste in books. But I respect her opinion and her right to express it. I also think she wrote a damn good post that will help a of readers, so I'm linking to it, here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

1964 Ford Falcon Commercial

Are You Having Trouble With "Stats" On Google Blogger?

I updated my windows last month and I haven't been able to get my stats on google blogger since then. I'm not one to check them every day, but I like knowing who reads the blog and where the traffic is coming from.

As most who have their main e-mail account with aol, I use aol for everything on the Internet...even news and information. I've been with them for fourteen years and I'm never going to switch. And I've never had a problem until recently, when I couldn't get my stats.

I'm no computer techie. I know the basics and I know what I need to know to survive. But when something like not being able to get my stats on google blogger happens, I'm lost for a while.

But I just found out that if I use Internet Explorer instead of aol I can get the stats. So if anyone else is having this problem, try out Internet Explorer. I was surprised at how simple it was. But this only shows how little I know and how much I depend on my tech guy. I've also had a few problems commenting on some google blogs. So I'm going to try out Internet Explorer next time and see if it works with that, too.

E-book Prices: .99 or 12.99?

I'm taking off my writer's hat for this post and putting on my reader/consumer hat. Late last night I was shopping for a new e-book to read. I just finished "The Help" and loved it. This means the next book I read will probably be disappointing at first. I always get into it eventually. But at first I'm still missing the previous book I finished and comparing it to the new one. And a book like "The Help" is a tough act to follow.

For the most part, I shop on Kobo for my e-books. I have two Kobo e-readers, the one with e-ink and the Look Book that's back-lit. Both have wireless and I'm set up to just push a button and buy what I want.

But it's not as easy as that. First, Kobo's product descriptions suck. I don't even like the way my own books are described. Unless I'm doing something wrong (which could be the case), I can't find reviews while shopping, I can't find out how long the books are, and the book descriptions are always cut off. And this pisses me off, because my office and main computer are in another part of the house. And when I'm not working...which I'm usually doing all the time...I want to be as far away from the computer and my office as possible. Reading is down time for me. This is also why I don't want or need an iPad. I only want a dedicated e-reader, without e-mail or anything else so I don't wind up writing and working instead of reading for pleasure.

And with the poor product descriptions on Kobo e-readers, I either have to decide to buy the book and hope for the best or wait until the next day and do some more research on it. I usually opt for waiting...unless I know the author and I've read her before.

The other thing that surprises me is the price of e-books. My own books are priced from .99 for back-listed books to, I think, around 6.00. As far as I know, unless we're talking about my books being sold on e-bay (which I don't get), I don't have any e-books out for more than seven dollars.

Only that's not the case with all e-books. If you check out what big publishers are charging for e-books you have to wonder what they are thinking. And then you have to decide do I really love and want this book enough to spend 12.99 (or more) when I can spend .99 - 7.00 for a book that's just as good. I know I'm never disappointed with my 4.99 Debbie Macomber e-books. Most of them are better than the e-books I've spent 12.99 on. And nowadays there are plenty of .99 e-books that are, in fact, just as good.

I don't want anyone to think I'm cheap, or that I'm against authors making money. I am an author and I know how hard it is to make a buck. I'd settle for 9.99 for an e-book. Even this is expensive when you think about how it all adds up. But I'd do it without complaining. But there's no way I'm going to spend 12.99 or more unless I really have to have the book. I did pay 12.99 for "The Help." I had to have it. But I didn't have to have Fannie Flagg's new novel, and I didn't have to have Patterson's new novel, and I didn't have to have Anne Rivers Siddons new novel. I wanted them. I really did, large publishers. But I'll live without them until they come down in price.

And that's a shame. I think authors are going to suffer because large publishers either aren't aware of what people who read e-books want or care about, or because large publishers just aren't paying attention to what's happening. All business people learn the importance of selling in volume; it's basic. But you can't sell in volume if something is too expensive.

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. Last night I passed on three good e-books that were 12.99. And a lot of this had to do with principle. If they'd been 9.99 or less, I would have ordered them. But until the large publishers realize that people who read e-books don't screw around, I can live without them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Topdatingsites.com: 10 Unrealistic But Common Romance Novel Storylines


I received this interesting e-mail from topdatingsites.com. Top as in most popular, not as in most dominent (smile). I wanted to share them because each one is something I'd like to read...over and over again...as long as there's a happy ending.


10 Unrealistic but Common Romance Novel Storylines
Reading fiction is a great way to relax and escape to somewhere else for a while. Many times we feel our life is mundane and not very exciting. Losing ourselves in the pages of a good book is a fun way to spend our free time. Romance novels take escaping to a new level and add the spiciness of imagining yourself in the character’s shoes or negligee as it were. Unrealistic storylines are a little harder to get into, but still offer a fun read. Check out these 10 totally unrealistic but common romance novel storylines.

1.Virgin bride: This is an extremely common storyline in romance novels. Boy meets girl and sometimes there are issues that keep them apart at the beginning. Then they fall for each other and it gets romantic. Then something tears them apart and it looks as if they aren’t going to have a future together. Then they decide they can’t live without each other and they get married and she is a virgin.
2.Wealthy stranger: It always seems to be a wealthy good-looking stranger that comes into her life. He has some high-powered job, but never seems to be doing it. He is used to getting what he wants and she’s not interested. He pursues her because she’s not falling at his feet like other women have. He wins her over and they live happily ever after.
3.Lost on a deserted island: It may not always be an island, but it could be somewhere remote where either he or she can’t leave and they are forced together. The proximity is too much and they give in to their passion for each other. They get rescued and try to separate. After being apart for a while they realize they can’t live without each other and they get back together for good.
4.Hero rescuer: The main character runs into trouble, like a fire or hurricane. She is rescued by a fireman or coast guard officer and sparks fly. Then he takes on a protective role over her, but she is a strong independent woman and doesn’t need anyone to take care of her so she runs away from him. She finally realizes that she doesn’t mind being taken care of or that she doesn’t want to live without him.
5.Financial trouble: Our heroine is having trouble with her family’s business. The hero plays a related role like a businessman coming in to profit from getting her family business or a competing company. They fight and think they hate each other, but they discover that there is a fine line between love and hate. Then he has a change of heart and helps her out instead.
6.Romeo and Juliet: Such a famous and great story that it has often been retold and reimagined in a variety of ways. Our story can be set in modern times or in historical romances you can even read romance novels set back hundreds of years. The basis of the story is of course the families not getting along and the kids fall in love. Fortunately in romance novels they end happily ever after, not dead.
7.Angry Kiss: The two main characters meet and somehow instantly hate each other. They are thrown together for various reasons, business dealings or personal. They argue all the time and never agree on anything. Very common is the man getting so mad or frustrated with the woman that he says something mean or off-color and she slaps him. He is either caught off guard or expecting it, but he rushes in to kiss her and she resists at first and then finds herself enjoying the kiss.
8.Childhood friends: This is a very common storyline. Maybe they were neighbors or in elementary school together and were great friends. Then one of the other moved away. Years and years have gone by and for some reason or another they end up back in their childhood home and reconnect. This time they are just friends.
9.Ugly duckling: Our two main characters knew each other growing up and she was awkward and gangly. She grows up to be a beautiful woman. Sometimes she doesn’t know how to show it. She is in a serious job and tries to dress like a guy. Then for one reason or another they end up back in the same place and at first he doesn’t notice her or even remember that he knows her. She knows him though. Then she breaks out of her shell for some fancy occasion. Her beauty blows him away and he can’t take his eyes off of her. He then realizes he knows her and they get together.
10.Arranged marriage: This is just as it sounds. For some reason two people were promised to each other. Be it in a royal family or a religious thing these two people have to come to terms with marrying a stranger. Usually the break up happens because they decide that they are not going to let someone else decide whom they are going to marry. They start out thinking they won’t like each other and then they find that they are a perfect match.

Release Day: Another Regular Bud


ANOTHER REGULAR BUD was just released today. This is a short story, not a novel, and it's priced accordingly. All the product details are explained here on the publisher's web site, and it can also be purchased at most popular web sites where e-books are sold.

If anyone has questions, please feel free to e-mail me in private. When it comes to erotic romance, I know how important the word discretion is. This is why I know I'll never see most of my readers showing up for book readings and book events. You guys like to keep it on the down low, and I fully respect that. And your personal privacy is extremely important to me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Release Novella: The Virgin Billionaire's Sexcellent Adventure


Just wanted to post a quick note to let readers know this is a novella, not a full length novel. It's about 20,000 words long and I'll post more in an upcoming post. Again, this is a novella and as far as I know it will be priced accordingly. But you all know I have no control over how anything is priced. I'm just assuming right now. It's often hard to tell on some web sites whether an e-book is a short story, a novella, or a full length novel, and I don't want anyone disappointed, thinking they were getting a full length novel.

It's happened before with me and other authors. And I try to head it off here at the blog first.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ravenous Romance Cover Preview: The Virgin Billionaire's Dream House


I know. The Virgin Billionaire novella hasn't even been released yet. But I just received this cover preview for the Virgin Billionaire's Dream House and wanted to share. I have no idea yet when the release date will be. But once again, the cover artist over at Ravenous Romance nailed it all the way around.

I'll be posting more on Friday about the new release, Another Regular Bud.

Shooting One's Self in One's Foot...

I've been writing gay fiction and gay romance for twenty years now. I was around long before the Internet, and if the Internet disappeared tomorrow I'd still be around for another twenty years.

And I've seen a lot and heard a lot in that time. I've seen authors, agents, editors, book reviewers, and publishers come and go like Presidents (about two to four years is usually the time frame for them to come and go). I've seen all the trends and all the hype. But the one thing that always surprises me is when I see authors going after other authors, especially in the same genre.

It's happened to me a couple of times, where authors have attacked me without having a solid reason. And while I don't really give a damn one way or the other what they think, I have a photographic memory and I never forget. It's not about forgiveness because these people are nothing to me. Total dismissal isn't that difficult for me. I have no emotional connection to them and never will. And each time this has happened to me all it takes is a quick google search for me to "get" what they are all about. And it's never very impressive.

I would imagine that all authors feel the same way I feel. And when they are attacked, they don't forget either. So the next time you feel like attacking another author in public, step back, take a deep breath, and think about whether or not you really want to put something out there that will never go away.

And, trust me, it won't go away. To take this a step further, I even have trouble forgetting authors who attack other authors I love. I've seen this happen before, too, and I've never forgotten the authors who did it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No Benefits for Gay Couples in the Military

Interesting.

No benefits for gay couples in the military. And even though I shouldn't be surprised, I always am. The emotional/psychological aspects are bad enough. But a lot of people don't realize the financial limitations of being a gay couple.

Read this article below for more info. It's well written and far more detailed (and less emotional) than I would be.

(San Diego) – Gay service members from Army soldiers to Air Force officers are planning to celebrate the official end of the military’s 17-year policy that forced them to hide their sexual orientation with another official act – marriage.

A 27-year-old Air Force officer from Ohio said he can’t wait to wed his partner of two years and slip on a ring that he won’t have to take off or lie about when he goes to work each day once “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed. He plans to wed his boyfriend, a federal employee, in Washington D.C. where same-sex marriages are legal.

He asked not to be identified, following the advice of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a national organization representing gay troops, including the Air Force officer, that has cautioned those on active duty from coming out until the ban is off the books.

“I owe it to him and myself,” the officer said of getting married. “I don’t want to do it in the dark. I think that taints what it’s supposed to be about – which is us, our families, and our government.”

But in the eyes of the military the marriage will not be recognized and the couple will still be denied most of the benefits the Defense Department gives to heterosexual couples to ease the costs of medical care, travel, housing and other living expenses.

The Pentagon says the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act – which defines marriage for federal program purposes as a legal union between a man and woman – prohibits the Defense Department from extending those benefits to gay couples, even if they are married legally in certain states.

That means housing allowances and off-base living space for gay service members with partners could be decided as if they were living alone. Base transfers would not take into account their spouses. If two gay service members are married to each other they may be transferred to two different states or regions of the world. For heterosexual couples, the military tries to keep that from happening.

Gay activists and even some commanders say the discrepancy will create a two-tier system in an institution built on uniformity.

“It’s not going to work,” said Army Reserve Capt. R. Clarke Cooper, who heads up the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group that sued the Justice Department to stop the enforcement of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. “Taking care of our soldiers is necessary to ensure morale and unit cohesion. This creates a glaring stratification in the disbursement of support services and benefits.”

Cooper said he also plans to marry his boyfriend, a former Navy officer, in a post-repeal era.

The Obama administration has said it believes the ban could be fully lifted within weeks. A federal appeals court ruling July 6 ordered the government to immediately cease its enforcement. After the Department of Justice filed an emergency motion asking the court to reconsider its order, the court on Friday reinstated the law but with a caveat that prevents the government from investigating or penalizing anyone who is openly gay.

The Justice Department in its motion argued ending the ban abruptly now would pre-empt the “orderly process” for rolling back the policy as outlined in the law passed and signed by the president in December.

The military’s staunchly traditional, tight-knit society, meanwhile, has been quickly adapting to the social revolution: Many gay officers say they have already come out to their commanders and fellow troops, and now discuss their weekend plans without a worry.

The Air Force officer says he has dropped the code words “Red Solo Cups” – the red plastic cups used at parties – that he slipped into conversations for years to tell his partner he loved him when troops were within earshot. He now feels comfortable saying “I love you” on the phone, no longer fearful he will be interrogated by peers.

One male soldier, who also asked not to be identified, said after Congress approved repealing the law, he listed his boyfriend on his Army forms as his emergency contact and primary beneficiary of his military life insurance in case he dies in Afghanistan.

He said when he was transferred to South Korea, he and his partner had to pay for his partner’s move.

“But we were able to stay together,” the soldier wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press from Afghanistan. “During the move, I realized I needed to make sure my partner in life was taken care of if something, the worst, ever happened to me, especially knowing I was about to deploy.”

The soldier said when he added his boyfriend’s name to the paperwork as a primary beneficiary and identified him as a friend, the non-commissioned officer in charge shut his office door and told him: “Unlike the inherent benefits to being married in the Army, such as housing and sustenance allowances, our life insurance and will don’t discriminate.”

Same-sex partners can be listed as the person to be notified in case a service member is killed, injured, or missing, but current regulations prevent anyone other than immediate family – not same-sex spouses – from learning the details of the death. Same-sex spouses also will not be eligible for travel allowances to attend repatriation ceremonies if their military spouses are killed in action.

Gay spouses also will be denied military ID cards. That means they will not be allowed on bases unless they are accompanied by a service member and they cannot shop at commissaries or exchanges that have reduced prices for groceries and clothing, nor can they be treated at military medical facilities. They also will be excluded from base programs providing recreation and other such kinds of support.

Military officials say some hardship cases may be handled on an individual basis. Activists warn such an approach will create an administrative nightmare and leave the military vulnerable to accusations of making inconsistent decisions that favor some and not others.

Military families enjoy assistance from the Defense Department to compensate for the hardship of having a mother or father or both deployed to war zones and moved frequently.

“It strains a relationship when you’re gone for over a year,” said Navy medical corpsman Andrew James, 27, who lived two years apart from his same-sex partner, who could not afford to move with him when he was transferred from San Diego to Washington. “But straight couples have support so their spouses are able to be taken care of, with financial issues, and also they are able to talk to the chain of command, whereas gays can’t. They don’t have any support at all financially or emotionally, and that is really devastating.”

He said he was lucky that his relationship survived and now that he is in the Reserves, they are together again in San Diego.

The benefits issue came up repeatedly during training sessions to prepare troops for the policy change.

“There are inconsistencies,” Maj. Daryl Desimone told a class of Marines at Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, after being asked about benefits for gay military personnel. “Anyone who looks at it logically will see there are some things that need to be worked out in the future.”

The military’s policy denying benefits to same-sex couples could change if legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act prove successful. The Obama administration has said it will not defend DOMA in court.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed a legal brief in federal court in San Francisco in support of a lesbian federal employee’s lawsuit claiming the government wrongly denied health coverage to her same-sex spouse. The brief said the lawsuit should not be dismissed because DOMA violates the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and was motivated by hostility toward gays and lesbians.

Literary Sex In Mainstream Fiction...

We hear about sex scenes in erotica and erotic romances being scorned, judged, and laughed at all the time. There's even a web site devoted to this. There's one well known romance reviewer who has made this her part time job.

But we never hear about that ever so tasteful and oh so literary sex in mainstream fiction being judged...anywhere. This is partly because there isn't much sex in literary/mainstream novels...unless of course it involves something dramatic like incest or rape and it sheds a negative light on sex and garners a great deal of emotional publicity for the author. And this is also because the traditional gatekeepers in publishing don't go for sex in literary/mainstream novels. No sex for them. No fun for them. My own personal opinion is that they either don't like sex, or they don't have it. Maybe no one wants to have it with them. And if you ever see photos of them you'll understand what I mean.

But the fact is that sex is a huge part of most lives. Like it or not, it's there...even if you aren't getting it. And if it's done the right way, it doesn't have to be a negative. I do think there are a few literary/mainstream novelists emerging who are getting it right. John Irving always wrote good sex scenes in his novels. But there are still the same old authors writing the same old literary sex scenes that were written years ago. And no one ever laughs at them or mentions they didn't get it right.

Sex is also subjective. There are people who don't like reading about sex, and that's fine. But there are also people who read literary/mainstream novels and they wonder why a certain scene didn't contain any sex, especially if it would have read so much better with a little sex. And if it did contain a sex scene why the hell was it so damn cheesy.

This is why I added my own little sex scene in The Virgin Billionaire: Revenge, where the main characters, Jase and Luis, have this little game they play called "Literary Sex." Here's an excerpt below, with examples. I've edited a few words and abbreviated the scenes because this is a pg rated blog. But the gist of the scene is there in full.

“Because you want my manhood right now,” Jase said.

Manhood/member is big in literary/mainstream sex.

Luis laughed. “Oh, I see. You want to have literary sex tonight.” They hadn’t had literary sex for a while, not since they’d gone to a long, drawn out literary book reading with Ben and Percy down in the East Village. When they returned home from the book reading, Luis invented a new sex game. He called it literary sex, where they talked dirty the way characters in literary novels talked when they had sex.

Another abbreviated excerpt from the same scene with one of my all time favorite literary/mainstream phrases:

Luis smiled and said, “Take me now. Do the deed, Jase. I want you to do the deed to me.”

I personally love the phrase "do the deed." It gets me every time. I read this in a New York Times bestseller very recently and I was amazed there are still authors using it. And what amazed me even more was that no one mentioned it in any reviews and no one so much as smiled. Personally, if anyone ever asked me if I wanted to "do the deed" I'd laugh so hard the mood would be over.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on pg rated sex scenes in romances.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Housing Discrimination and Gays

I have a guest house on my property that I've been renting out for nine years. So far, I've been lucky to have had excellent tenants each time. The first one lasted two years, the next one six, and the most recent lasted one year.

And I'm now searching for another tenant and going through the showing stage all over again. And this article caught my eye. I can tell you that I've never been discriminated against for being gay as a renter. And I've rented plenty of commercial space for businesses over the years. In fact, I've never experienced discrimination as a gay man, not in hospitals, in restaurants, or on any retail/public places. But evidently it happens. I will add, however, I've never inquired about renting space in a place where I felt there might be a problem. I've always been extremely cautious and intuitive about these things and I've never placed myself in a situation like the one below.

Question: My bff & I share an apartment and the lease ends next month. She asked her boyfriend if we could stay at his house (we would pay rent). He said yes but last minute reneged when he found out her roomie was a gay man (me). Is this housing discrimination?
-Homeless Will & Grace

Hey Will,
What a creep! He was all gung-ho when he thought 2 hot gals would be parading around his house all day in see-through nighties. No wonder he was so quick to agree to this. He thought he was Jack & you two would be Janet & Chrissy…..but instead he got Janet & Chris. Oops!



As much of a sitcom as this sounds like, this is no laughing matter. Your lease is ending. Your housing plans fell flat. You are about to be homeless. Worst of all, your bff is boinking a bigot. But to answer your question, is this housing discrimination? Nope, its not.

The reason for this answer is that the property is his personal residence. And he has every right to pick who gets to live with him. Even if you offered to pay rent, that place is still his home. It is not against the law for a homeowner to be picky about who he shares his personal space with.

However, if this house was strictly a rental property, this could qualify as discrimination because it would be subject to fair housing laws. But it gets a little sticky in your situation. First you would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt there was discrimination on his part, which is not easy to do, especially since you have the burden of proof. Secondly, even if you had proof, depending upon where you live, it may not be actionable because housing laws do not always cover LGBT community.

At any rate, I would ask your current landlord if a month-to-month lease is possible, so you can have some time to figure out your next step. Alternatively, if your bff moves in with her bigoted boo (alliteration!), can you replace her with a new roommate so you can stay? You two are probably attached at the hip, but even Will & Grace had to eventually split to lead their own lives…

I think the real tragedy of this situation is not the housing dilemma so much as it is that your bff would date such a blatant homophobe. I suggest you downgrade her from ‘best friend forever’ to just friend.

**************************************************************************************************************

Herman Chan, a realtor, has appeared on HGTV’s House Hunters, My House is Worth What, and as a commentator on other networks. Realtor Magazine called him the “Internet Sensation Videoblogger.” Chan’s columns on real estate will alternate with his video blogs on real estate every Tuesday on 365gay.

What I'm Reading Right Now...

You'd think I'd be reading m/m fiction. But the fact is I don't always read m/m fiction. I've always had eclectic taste and I enjoy almost all genres. My least favorite are science fiction and historical. But when they've been different, I've enjoyed a few of them, too.

I just finished The Help and left my rating on goodreads. If you need links to know more about this book, you haven't been following the trends of great fiction lately and I suggest you do a quick search on amazon. I also believe this is the kind of book new authors should read from a purely subjective POV. It's about as well written in style and form as a novel can get.

And I'm about to start a new novel titled Trapped, by Michael Northrope. It's YA, and the cover copy caught my attention. I'll link to this one once I get started. I'm looking forward to it because I love these new YA crossovers.

Nostalgia From 2006 About E-books

I remember reading articles just like this five years ago. And five years before that I was at a dinner party with an art director from Random House who lives in Bucks County and he was talking about how e-books would one day become very popular.

And, just for the record, this is when everyone else in publishing was saying e-books would never "take off."

Here's the link to the 2006 article, and the beginning is below.

Digital Books Start A New Chapter
Lighter devices, better displays, and the iPod craze could make them best-sellers




Slide Show >>Richard D. Warren, a 58-year-old lawyer in California, is halfway through Ken Follett's novel Jackdaws. But he doesn't bother carrying around the book itself. Instead, he has a digital version of Follett he reads on his Palm Treo each morning as he commutes by train to San Francisco from his home in Berkeley. He's a big fan of such digital books. Usually, there are around seven titles on his Treo, and he buys at least two new ones each month. "It's just so versatile," he says. "I've tried to convert some friends to this, but they think it's kind of geeky."

Geeky? For now, maybe, but not for much longer. Many experts are convinced that digital books, after plenty of false starts, are finally ready for takeoff. "Every other form of media has gone digital -- music, newspapers, movies," says Joni Evans, a top literary agent who just left the William Morris Agency to start her own company that will focus on books and technology. "We're the only industry that hasn't lived up to the pace of technology. A revolution is around the corner."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Woes of Promoting Books...

I read a blog post this week where the young author was promoting his new middle grade fiction release with a tongue-in-cheek, quasi, pledge drive. He wasn't forcing readers to buy the book. He wasn't actually taking money for a real pledge drive. He was just asking his regular blog readers to check out his new release and "consider" buying it. Who the author is doesn't matter. My twelve year old nephew did read his book and loved it, so I left my rating on goodreads. (Kids books are about kids, not adults. I left the rating for my nephew...I paid for the book and he doesn't have an account.)

Well, this author's simple, harmless post sparked a cyber riot that rivaled that last democratic primary. I was shocked, saddened, and frustrated all at the same time.

And it really was a harmless, tasteful post. The readers who went after the author had no right to do it. But it made me think about how difficult it is to promote your own books on the internet, and how you never really do know whether you doing a good job or a bad job.

I don't have any set promotional stragey going on. I never did. And though I wish I could come up with something, I probably never will. That's because I don't just write fiction to sell books. I write fiction because I love writing fiction and sales aren't always my primary concern. This is why I always spend more time writing than promoting.

But I have learned one thing while promoting my own books and watching others promote their books: to lighten up. In other words, I don't get mad at other authors anymore for spamming me with announcements and knocking over the head with their new releases. I used to get mad. I've even ranted here on the blog that I often think authors hurt themselves with aggressive promotion. I still think that is the case. But I don't get annoyed with them anymore, thanks to the way I watched blog readers attack the young middle grade fiction author. I know authors are only trying to get the word out there, and I've learned it's not always easy getting the word out.

So the next time you see a nice young author trying to promote his middle grade fiction on his blog, give the guy a break. The next time you see any author trying to announce releases with aggressive e-mails and notifications, let them slide. The author is not out to "get" you. He/she is only trying to have a little fun and promote a new book at the same time. If you don't like it, all you have to do is ignore it.

Jimmy Buffs Italian Hot Dogs

I'm originally from the Northern New Jersey-New York area. I was born in Newark, but don't get back there very often. I love where I live in New Hope, Bucks County, PA. It's quiet, artistic, and touristy at the same time. You're just as likely to run into Barbra Streisand walking down Main Street as you are a family from Philadelphia out for the day. But when I found this on youtube I went berserk. You don't get foods like this out here in Bucks County. They just opened a new place in East Hanover, NJ, which isn't far. They are, trust me on this, the best hot dogs in the world.

Catching Up With Goodreads Requests...

I just wanted to mention that I'm always in the process of catching up with requests from readers over at goodreads.com. I may not do it daily. But I do get there at least once a week to check my friend requests and messages. Today there were about twenty-seven, so I wanted to post about it right now in case anyone wonders why it takes me so long to respond.

I'm also still figuring out how a lot of things on goodreads work. Up until four years ago, I was still submitting my manuscripts in hard copy to publishers by snail mail. I'm still getting used to certain social media sites. But I'm working on it all the time, especially when it comes to friend requests and personal messages over at goodreads. And if by chance I miss something on goodreads.com feel free to e-mail me at the address posted on this blog. I'm fast when it comes to e-mail.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

More About Book Covers...The Virgin Billionaire's Excellent Adventure: A Novella


Since I've been blogging about book covers so much this week, I decided to share this story, too.

When I submitted the manuscript for The Virgin Billionaire's Excellent Adventure, the publisher and I thought it might be fun to possibly call it the Sexellent Adventure instead of Excellent Adventure. (Oh, someone will shudder and cross her legs about this.)

But when we received the first draft of the new cover on Friday, the artist still had the original title on the draft. Either way, I think it would work. And I'm always too close to the books to be able to stand back and view them objectively, so I let the publisher decide... and it's going to be Sexellent Adventure. (I may not have spelled that right...we'll see...you should see how it comes up on spell check.)

This is the first draft of the cover. I doubt much will change, other than the Excellent being changed to Sexellent. I'll post more about the release date next week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

When I Say Take Blog Posts with a Grain of Salt, This is What I Mean...

I'm not saying the information on the amateur blog I'm talking about isn't completely accurate. And I'm not mentioning the blogger because I think he means well...he just doesn't fact check. I don't know anything about Stephen King or J.K. Rowling's rejection records, nor do I care to know about them. For all I do know, this part of the post is spot on.

But I have been following a few books on the NYT bestseller list, and I do question this information:

The New York Times doesn't say exactly how they determine the books on their best seller lists, but they will tell you that they don't collect data on Internet sales (no Amazon! Which explains why Amanda Hocking isn't on it.)

As far as I know, there is a wonderful self-published romance out that's not only on the NYT bestseller list, but most of the sales did, indeed, come from the Internet. It's a.99 amazon kindle book. Where else could the sales come from?

I've posted about how hard it is to find information about how they collect data for the NYT bestseller list.

There are a few other comments in the blog post I'm talking about I could question, too. But they don't matter. The point is that you should never take these blog posts seriously unless you know it's coming from an accurate source. And this includes me. I try to get it right. I try to check the facts. But I could be wrong, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

E-Book Buying and Product Details...

I know I harp about this sometimes, but I do think it's important that new people...customers...who are just now discovering e-books take the time to read every single product detail they can while shopping for e-books.

Even if you buy your books on Kobo, or Amazon, or anywhere, please take the time to shop around the web first to read other product descriptions so you know what you are buying. I buy a lot from amazon. I love amazon. But I get better book excerpts from allromanceebooks.com.

And just recently in this post, I talk about how one of my own book descriptions was rewritten and I had nothing to do with it. There's nothing wrong with the new description. It's basically a condensed version of what I wrote. But when you check out author web sites...and I'm talking about all authors, not just me...you're going to get so much more information about the book you're buying.

I'm not talking about the storyline details. I'm talking about basic product info, so you know whether or not you're buying a short, a medium, or a long digital book (e-book). It's up to authors and publishers to get this information out there. But as a reader, when I'm buying e-books for pleasure, I make sure I know exactly what I'm buying.

And never hesitate to contact an author directly. I know some won't respond; they are far too grand. But most, including me, will get back to you quickly.

Romantic Times: No More Mr. Romance; WTF?


It was announced that the 18 year old tradition of the Mr. Romance contest has been eliminated. I'm really not part of the RT crowd and I don't want to be. But WTF?

“Over the past few years our attendees have been bringing spouses and have become more interested in spending more time with the authors.”

So I guess that bringing a spouse to a convention, someone with whom you live day in and day out, hear snore every night of your life, and pick up after, is way more fun than watching hot guys compete in a Mr. Romance competition? So much for all that fun. And WTF does bringing a spouse have to do with the Mr. Romance contest? No further comment.

But more than that, is this l950? Gay people don't have "spouses." Dah! We have significant others, we have partners, we have life partners, but not spouses. We aren't allowed to have spouses, by law. I honestly can't believe they couldn't even get this right in a public announcement. Talk about show, not tell. Couldn't they at least f*^king placate us like everyone else does? There have to be some gay authors attending this thing, with a significant other.

What surprises me is that a lot of people in publishing believe book covers are the primary reason why some books sell. And the models on those covers are important. I don't always believe this. But I know people who do. And frankly, I have, on occasion, bought a few books just because of the model on the cover. Call me superficial; at least I'm honest about it.

But don't fret none yet Mr. Romance fans!!

There will still be cover models at the convention for those who want to meet them, have pictures taken with them, or dance with them. Cover models, both male and female, have always been extended a special industry rate to encourage them to attend. That has not changed.

Interesting. I wonder if I'll be allowed to dance with any of the male models if I decide to go next year. Not that I'm much of a dancer. But I'd be curious to see whether or not I'd turn a few heads. Or whether or not any of the male models would actually dance with me. I've done a little modeling myself in the past, so I'm not exactly an amateur in this department. I think it would be an interesting test, to see just how open and honest events like this are when it comes to openly gay men dancing with other men. And I wonder how those spouses would feel. And I'm not talking about a campy, funny dance with another guy. You know, ha ha ha, buddy, dude. I'm talking about dancing seriously. This, trust me, is another post for the future.

They are covering their asses, though. They make it clear this is an experiment and they aren't certain how attendees are going to react. I'm curious, too. This is one example of why I've never attended anything like this before, and most likely won't in the future...unless I can figure out a way to spike things up on my own. You know, something that would make the old sweetie over at one romance blog in particular who thinks she owns romance shudder and cross her legs.

I do feel bad for the models. I've met a few and I think they always looked forward to the event. And even though it was mentioned "they" think they are closing the Mr. Romance contest on a high note, I have a feeling a lot of attendees are going to think they are just closing, period. It might even be the end of an era in a larger sense, because when the boring, boring, boring of them all take over, the masses disappear and the genre starts to suffer.

At least offer something as a replacement for those who don't shudder and cross their legs all the time. And I'm not talking about a goddamn tea party.

Release Date: ANOTHER REGULAR BUD


I just got word ANOTHER REGULAR BUD will be released July 22. This isn't exactly a sequel to A REGULAR BUD, but the themes are the same.

Here's an excerpt from line edits I just finished:

When I pulled into Bob’s service station, I
passed the gas pumps and parked head on
against one of the open garage doors. My legs
were sore, and my feet were pulsing. I’d just come
from football practice, and it was warmer than
usual for that time of year.
It wasn’t a serious football team, and I wasn’t
a serious football player. Just a group of guys I’d
know in college who liked to get together and toss
a ball around outside a gym after work. Though
I’d showered with the guys after practice, all I
wanted to do was go home and plop on the sofa.
But I’d been having troubles with the car, and
I didn’t want to let the situation get worse. It was
Another Regular Bud
2
the end of October, and I had a busy weekend
coming up and didn’t want to deal with car
problems.
Earlier that afternoon, I’d done something
extremely out of character: I’d stopped at a small
erotic boutique to pick up a pair of six-inch black
leather stilettos.
Though I’d never done drag before, my best
friend had talked me into going to a costume
party that Halloween weekend as one of the
characters from the movie Burlesque. Not any one
character in particular. I was just going for theme
this time.
I’d already ordered a sexy, slinky lace and
leather outfit from an erotic website and a short
blonde wig from another. A good female friend
was going to help with the make up and fake
fingernails. But I’d been worried about ordering
the high heels online and figured it was better to
go out and buy them in person to make sure they
fit well. I didn’t want to walk around in pain all
night. And to my surprise, the high heels I
bought fit almost as well and were almost as
comfortable as my old black boots, even with my
black socks.
RYAN FIELD
3
Before I turned off the ignition, I pulled off the
high heels and threw them in the back seat. The
saleswoman had warned me it was a good idea to
get used to them before I wore them that
weekend. So after football practice, I decided to
wear them on the drive home. When I pulled up
to red lights and stopped beside other cars, I
couldn’t help laughing at what they would have
done if they’d known the nice-looking, straightacting
guy in the car next to them was wearing
black six-inch stilettos.

Gay: Fact or Myth...

I know most people already know these things. But I sometimes wonder if everyone does. So I'm posting these facts and myths I pilfered from this web site, because I think they are simple, spot-on, and fundamental when it comes to the LGBT community. And the myths really are myths, for those who haven't been exposed to anyone in the gay community. What you see in the mainstream isn't always as it appears in real life, with the everyday LGBT community...especially not what you get from Hollywood. I often feel as if we're being portrayed in films and TV shows like the African American Community was portrayed in older films like Gone With the Wind. In other words, if you watch films like the most recent Sex in the City, only a handful of gay men are like the gay men you'll see there.


Myth.

* Most Lesbians Or Gays Regard Themselves As Members Of The Opposite Sex.

Fact.

The majority, if not all gays and lesbians are very happy with their gender. In many ways, their sexual identity is seen as a celebration and an affirmation of their gender, not rejection of it.
People often confuse homosexuality with transsexuality and or transvestism. Transsexual people feel as if they were born into the wrong body and should be the opposite gender. Transvestites are people who often dress in the clothing of the opposite sex.
Most transvestites are heterosexual.

Myth.

* Homosexuality Is A Form Of Mental Illness And Can Be Cured.

Fact.

The American Pshychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of official mental illnesses in 1973. The American Psychological Association followed suit in 1974. And so have most Psychiatric and psychological associations around the world.

Myth.

* All Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender People Can Be Identified By Certain Mannerisms Or Physical Characteristics.

Fact.

Only a very small percentage of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have stereotypic mannerisms and characteristics.
As with heterosexuals, homosexuals and transgender people come in many shapes, sizes and different colors. It is fair to say that some heterosexuals portray a variety of the so-called gay stereo typical characteristics.

Myth.

* Lesbians And Gays Could Be Cured By Having "Good Sex" With A Member Of The Opposite Gender.

Fact.

Remember, you cannot cure homosexuality. Many gays and lesbians have had satisfying heterosexual sex in their life time, but most gays and lesbians would never choose to be sexually active with members of the opposite sex and would resent and challenge the idea that heterosexuals have a corner on the market of "good sex".

Myth.

* You Are Either Heterosexual Or Homosexual. Very Few Are Bisexual.

Fact.

The studies of Dr Alfred Kinsey and his associates are most frequently cited on this question.
Their data suggests that, in fact, few people are predominately heterosexual or homosexual. Most people fall somewhere along the continium between these two ends of the scale, and therefore have the capacity to experience both affection and sexual feelings for members of both sexes.

Myth.

* Gay, Lesbian And Bisexual People Should Not Be Teachers Because They Will Try To Convert Their Students To Their Life Style.

Fact.

It is impossible to convert heterosexuals to become homosexuals as it is just as impossible the other way around.
Based on what is known about sexual attraction, this is simply not possible.

Myth.

* The Majority Of Child Molesters Are Gay Men And Women.

Fact.

Statistics have shown that paedophelia or child molestsation is perpetrated by mainly heterosexuals.
In fact, over 90% of all reported molestations are carried out by heterosexual males.

Myth.

* No One Knows What Causes Homosexuality.

Fact.

This is a complicated and controversial issue.
To date there has been no real conclusive research that shows the causes of either homosexuality, bisexuality or for that matter, heterosexuality. Some believe it is predetermined genetically or hormonally. Others believe that we are all predisposed to all variations of sexual and affectionate behaviour and learn our sexual orientation.

Myth.

* In A Homosexual Relationship, One Partner Usually Plays The Role Of The Husband And The Other Plays The Role Of The Wife.

Fact.

This is not neccessarily so. Most gay and lesbian couples work to develop relationships based on principles of equality and mutuality where they are loved for who they are and not for the roles they play.
This comes back to sterotypical role play. They are ususally just two men sharing roles and two women sharing roles.

Myth.

* One Homosexual Experience As An Adolescent Will Play A Large Part In Determining Whether A Person Will Be Homosexually Orientated As An Adult.

Fact.

Many gay and lesbian people have had early heterosexual experiences but identify as gay or lesbian. This can be said the same for many heterosexual people who have had sexual experiences with a person of the same sex but continue to define themselves as heterosexual.
Sexual orientation for most people goes well beyond just sexual acts.

Myth.

* Homosexuality Does Not Exist In Nature, Therefore It Is Not Natural.

Fact.

Historians tell us that homosexuality has existed since the earliest of human societies. Anthropologists report that homosexuals have been a part of every culture.
One study of non-western cultures, reported that 64% of the respondants considered homosexuality as "normal and socially exceptable".

It is also a well known fact that same sex behaviour is "natural" between animals.

Myth.

* All Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual And Transgender People Choose To Be That Way.

Fact.

The only place where choice seems to come into play is when they decide how they will acknowledge their identity. Choosing if and how to 'come out' and choosing who to tell.

I hope these facts have been helpful.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Challenges Do Modern Royals Face?


I think it's interesting that the day my book, The Buckhampton Country Club and the Rogue Prince, is released, I run into an article like this about Prince Albert and his new wife.

I can assure everyone that I know nothing about Prince Albert II, nor do I care to know about him. I actually did date a guy a few years ago who was related to the Kelly family in Philadelphia, and who knew Princess Grace personally. But that's as far as my connection goes. The "rogue" prince in my book is strictly ficticious and so is the country where he reigns.

However, I still can't help thinking of the challenges all modern royals seem to be facing these days. While celebrities are coming out of the closet, while single women are having babies without getting married, and while everyone seems to have lightened up on the rules, royals all seem to be stuck in the same mold they've been stuck in for hundreds of years. And we expect them to remain there. Although it seems like a fairytale exsitence, I'm sure it must have more than a few pitfalls. And frankly, I don't know how they do it.


Princess Charlene & Prince Albert II Sleep In Separate Beds On Honeymoon: Report (VIDEO)
The Huffington Post Ellie Krupnick
First Posted: 7/13/11 12:30 PM ET Updated: 7/13/11 04:09 PM ET

There's been no kayaking, rodeos nor star-studded red carpets for this royal couple's first trip abroad. Instead "Good Morning America" reports that Prince Albert II and Charlene Wittstock's honeymoon has been the trip from hell.

Apparently, the Monegasque newlyweds, have spent their South African sojourn with fake smiles plastered to their faces. And Albert was ten miles apart from Charlene for one night and reports say the newlyweds are sleeping in separate beds.

These two just can't catch a break. Rumors began flying even before the wedding about Charlene's unhappiness with Albert, who continues to be dogged by paternity scandals. And last week, "GMA" wondered if the marriage wasn't cursed. The supposedly unhappy union, says the French press, is merely a plan to produce a legitimate heir for Prince Albert II, whose children (had out of wedlock) cannot inherit the throne.

But Princess Charlene's father tried to assure the press that the couple's love is true, saying that marrying his daughter to a prince is like "winning the World Cup."

Poor Charlene and Albert -- we really are rooting for you.

WATCH:

Kobo, Big News, Now in Germany

I think this is big news. I have two Kobo e-readers, love them both, and order almost all my books through Kobo. And I like the Kobo Look Book so much, I just bought one for my mother (She's been reading on the iPad and wants just a plain e-reader.)

And now Kobo is launching a German e-reading store. Here's the link. All my books are on Kobo, and I hope they'll be part of this new German e-reading store. I've been published by a lot of German publishers over the years, and I still get a lot of e-mails from German readers.

The Buckhampton Country Club and the Rogue Prince, and Two Versions of Cover Copy


Today is release day for my new m/m romance, THE BUCKHAMPTON COUNTRY CLUB AND THE ROGUE PRINCE. This may become a series. We're still not totally sure yet.

Regarding the cover copy below, I'd like to add that this synopsis was edited and rewritten by someone other than me. I don't know who and I'm not going to ask. I love all my publishers and for all I know the new cover copy might be better than mine. But trust me, I would never use the word happenstance in cover copy, or in conversation. It reminds me of a TV commercial I saw earlier this week for a new Jennifer Aniston movie where they promised viewers "ensuing hillarity." I'm sure Jennifer Aniston never uses this phrase either. It's something we learn to live with and it's done all the time. But I do want readers to know I work hard to give them detailed, quality cover copy all the time, and more product info than other web sites. So now there are two choices.

Here's a link, the cover copy I didn't write is below, and I'll post unpublished excerpts later this week.

Parrish Bundy has just lost his father, and gained a traveling circus, a chocolate factory, and plenty of power and money. As the heir to the Bundy empire, Parrish knows the rules- but now that he's in charge, he plans to make changes. And now that he owns one of the most prestigious country clubs in the east, The Buckhampton Country Club on eastern Long Island, he's finally able to let his hair down.

Across the Atlantic in a small European country there lives a handsome young prince named Richard who is even more dissatisfied with his controlled life than Parrish. Richard has always been aware of his royal obligations, and he's always put his people and his country before his own needs- still he longs to know what it's like to be a normal gay man who has the ability to choose his own destiny.

When the two men meet by happenstance, sparks fly in the hushed environment of the Buckhampton Country Club. But will social responsibilities, long-standing family rules, and deeply ingrained royal obligations ruin their chances to spend the rest of their lives together? And will they be able to overcome the harsh realities of being openly gay in the public eye in order to live their lives they way they want to live them?


For those who are interested, this is the way I wrote the original cover copy:

Parrish Bundy has just lost his father and he’s inherited the largest traveling circus and most profitable chocolate factory in the entire world. And now that he’s in charge of one of the most prestigious country clubs in the east, The Buckhampton Club on eastern Long Island, he’s finally able to let his hair down, both literally and figuratively.

Unfortunately, he’s also inherited a long line of secrets shared by the most important Bundy men since his great-grandfather started the powerful empire over a hundred years ago. And Parrish isn’t sure how to deal with being a closeted gay man, or if he even wants to remain a closeted gay man like his predecessors. It wouldn’t be difficult on the surface. He could marry for appearance just like his father. He has a strapping young semi-pro hockey player at his disposal to take care of his needs. And he has enough money and power to keep anyone in the town of Buckhampton from questioning these needs.

But in a small European country there’s handsome young prince named Richard who is even more dissatisfied with his controlled life than Parrish. Though he’s always been aware of his royal obligations and he’s always put his people and his country before his own needs, he longs to find out what it’s like to be a normal gay man who has the ability to choose his own destiny. And he’d do practically anything to see Shania Twain in concert.

And then one night after the pressure of being a royal prince finally pushes him over the line, he sneaks out of his hotel in New York and accidentally winds up at The Buckhampton Country Club through no fault of his own. When he applies for a job as a waiter, using the pseudonym Silas King, the manager of the restaurant hires him on the spot. And when he accidentally spills something on Parrish Bundy during a funeral luncheon for Parrish’s father, the two young men are immediately attracted to each other.

After a few awkward moments, they wind up spending the next few days together, from attending a country western concert in Nashville to doing a make-shift male strip show at a circus in upstate New York for a large group of very excited women. Though Parrish finds out that the waiter is really a rogue prince named Richard early on, he doesn’t say a word because he doesn’t want to spoil Richard’s most excellent adventure. And Prince Richard meets Parrish’s older brother with Down syndrome, he eats cotton candy and prune pie for the first time in his life, and he finds out what it’s like to be totally and completely in love with the man of his dreams.

But will social responsibilities, long-standing family rules, and deeply ingrained royal obligations ruin their chances to spend the rest of their lives together? And will they be able to overcome the harsh realities of being openly gay in the public eye in order to live their lives they way they want to live them?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Do You Do When It Gets Hot In Philadelphia?


You go to Love Park and jump into the fountain. I was there this afternoon, and it was scorching hot in the city. If I hadn't had an appointment, I would have joined them.

Cover Challenges: ANOTHER Regular Bud


As I stated in a post on Monday, I've been going back and forth all week with the cover artist, Dawne Dominique, over at loveyoudivine.com, about the new cover for a new short story e-book titled, ANOTHER REGULAR BUD. If you haven't seen Dawne's work, please take the time to check it out. You will be extremely impressed.

I loved the first design she came up with. I can't begin to let readers know how happy I am to be able to work with such talented, hard working people. But I was worried the first design would confuse readers. The first story, A REGULAR BUD, attracted certain readers and I want them to know the second story follows the same theme. This isn't actually a series with the same characters, but the themes are the same. So I suggested a few things, Dawne listened, and we came up with this new cover.

I'm happy with this. I can't thank Dawne enough for getting through this with me. And I will post more when the story is released.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Eight Things Gays Still Can't Do...

Rather than post something long here, I'm linking to the article and listing the 8 things gay men still can't do below.

This is what I'm talking about when I get annoyed, slightly, when I hear people in the m/m fiction world tell me how wonderful things are and how many choices gay men still have. Yes, we do have more choices than ever before. But we're far from equal.

I've added my own comments beside the titles. But I think it's worth reading the entire article. And I could probably come up with 8 other things if I really wanted to.

No Legal Equal Employment...This has been around as long as I can remember. And, women are still fighting for the same rights. So we're not alone.

Can't donate blood...This one amazes me, as if gay men are the only people who can transmit the HIV virus. As far as I know, anyone can.

Still can't adopt in some states...If you met my hideous ex-sister-in-law (my poor straight brother made a huge mistake back when), and you saw the way she screws up her kids, you'd be happy to have to stable gay men adopting kids.

Educational discrimination based on sexual orientation...This one made me wonder at first. But if you read the article, you'll see it's valid.

Housing Discrimination: LGBTs Can't Live In Certain Communities...Well, trust me, there are certain communities I don't want to live in either. I think the right address is important. But no one should be cast aside for any reason. This is America.

Same sex marriage not allowed in most states...It would be great if all states passed same sex marriage. But we need it more in a federal level, not just on a state level. Those inheritance taxes are brutal.

Gay men can't be scout leaders...I've never even wanted to be a scout. But I'm sure there are gay men who'd get into this, and how unfair to see they can't.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repealed!... In A Year?...This doesn't surprise me in the least. It shows how our politicians are always more interested in campaigning than fighting for equality. Mark my words, one of these days a smart politicain is going to come along and promise change...real change...and he or she is going to go down in history.