Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2011 Hurricane Irene Floods in Paterson, NJ part1.avi

Hope these folks are okay. I went to college in north Jersey, Florham Park, and I used to shop at the Willowbrook Mall not far from Patterson.

Don't Poke That Tiger

I've been accused of being the monkey in this video at times in my life (smile).

Don't Let It Get You Down...

I was up late last night consoling a good writer friend who had suffered a bad review. Actually, it wasn't all that bad. But she thought it was and she was devastated.

I told her about this comment someone once wrote about me, below, hoping she'd feel a little better:

Did y’all know Alyson, a reputable GLBT print pub, will be putting out paper editions of two RR books, one of which is by the inimitable Ryan Field? Some coup.

This was a comment left on a review blog by some nasty bitchy woman author about me, roughly two years ago. It was meant to be snide, not as a compliment. I don't know her and hope to never meet her in person anywhere. I won't mention her name because I wouldn't give her an ounce of publicity on my blog. The interesting thing is the post on which she commented wasn't even about me. And even more interesting, she had no idea that when Alyson bought my book I'd already been published by them in so many books I can't even count them. I remember when Sasha Alyson started Alyson books back in the day. They were on Plympton Street in Boston. I didn't know him well. But I knew him. And here this dumb woman had no idea I already had contacts with many publishers and editors long before she ever thought about writing m/m fiction during her mid-life crisis.

I think I helped my friend after I told her this story. I told her a few others, too. By the time we hung up, I even had her laughing. And I hope I taught her the importance of never taking any reviews too seriously. I'm talking about the great reviews, too. They can inflate your ego even when you don't think they can. And the best thing to do is just keep writing, keep doing what you love, and pay attention to what's in your heart.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Release: The Gay Bachelor...


Here's a sneak peak at my new upcoming release, The Gay Bachelor. This book is longer than most of my others, about 75,000 words. And it deals with falling in love and coming to terms with the past on different levels than I've written about before. It also deals with various aspects of being gay, which I've drawn from my very own personal experience.

And, for those of you who see the title and wonder, it has nothing to do with the TV show, The Bachelor. I've never even seen the straight version of The Bachelor, and don't intend to any time soon. In this book everything leads up to the fictional TV show, The Gay Bachelor, with regard to auditions. But it stops before the TV season even begins.

As I said, this is a sneak preview and we're still debating on whether or not to leave it as "The Bachelor," or add the word "Gay."

Definitions: Erotica and Porn

I'm working on a long blog post this week that will be pubbed in a few places. And the question of porn and erotica came up.

I have my own definitions for both. But I'd rather post the wiki definitions right now.

And, keep in mind there is always going to be someone who doesn't agree, not even with these definitions. Sarah Palin's daughter's ex-boyfriend, what's-his-name, posed partially nude for a Playgirl and Ms. Palin called that porn, which I found interesting because there wasn't even full frontal nudity.

Erotica: Erotica and pornography

The Naked Maja (c. 1800–1803) by Francisco de Goya.
Distinction is often made between erotica and pornography (the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction) (as well as the lesser known genre of sexual entertainment, ribaldry), although depending on the viewer they may seem one and the same. Pornography's objective is the graphic depiction of sexually explicit scenes.[2] Pornography is often described as exploitative or degrading.[2][3]

Here's the link.

Porn:
Pornography or porn is the portrayal of explicit sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.

Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, or video game. However, when sexual acts are performed for a live audience, by definition it is not pornography, as the term applies to the depiction of the act, rather than the act itself. Thus, portrayals such as sex shows and striptease are not classified as pornography.

A pornographic model poses for pornographic photographs. A pornographic actor or porn star performs in pornographic films. In cases where limited dramatic skills are involved, a performer in pornographic films may be called a pornographic model.

A distinction is often made between erotica (the portrayal of sexuality with high-art aspirations, focusing also on feelings and emotions) and pornography (the depiction of acts in a sensational manner, with the entire focus on the physical act, so as to arouse quick intense reactions).[1] [2]

Pornography has often been subject to censorship and legal restraints on publication on grounds of obscenity. Such grounds and the very definition of what is or is not pornography have differed in different historical, cultural, and national contexts.[3]

With the emergence of social attitudes more tolerant of sexuality and with more explicit definitions of obscenity in law, an industry for the production and consumption of pornography arose in the latter half of the 20th century. The introduction of home video and the Internet saw booms in a porn industry that today generates billions of dollars a year worldwide.

And here's the link to this one.

Hopping Genres

This is a post I've wanted to write for a long time, but wasn't sure how to go about doing it. So, thankfully, Portia e-mailed me about writing this, as if she'd read my mind, and I decided that her questions were so perfect, I'd just follow them and go from there as if this were an actual interview.

And keep in mind that this is how I handle hopping genres. I know others feel differently. But what works for one person might not work for another. And, seriously, there really is no set rule when it comes to these things. I've learned more by trial and error than by planning things out. And after twenty years, I'm still learning.

I've noticed that you write different levels of erotica. Some of your work is almost inspirationally sweet, while others are porn on paper. How do you decide how nasty a story needs to be to tell the story?

This is a great question. I have been hopping around various sub-genres for almost twenty years now. At first, I didn't know what I was doing. I thought I could just write whatever I wanted to write and no one would care. But that's not always the case, especially with erotica and erotic romance.

There's no way I'm going to get into the definition of an erotic romance. There are already too many definitions out there and no one needs me to add another. But I do want to address the porn aspect. For me, and I'm only speaking for myself, as long as there's a storyline it's not porn. There's a difference between porn and explicit sex scenes when there's a storyline. I know some people will disagree with me. I've heard some say they want more emotion in erotic romance. And I agree with them. But that depends on who is defining emotion. And it's all subjective.

I also think being an openly gay man has something to do with the way I see things. I heard a scene in a movie a few weeks ago that explains it perfectly. So I'll show rather than tell. Two characters are talking about a hot looking guy who just moved into the neighborhood. This is somewhat how it went, not verbatim:

Gay Man gaping at hot guy: "There's the new neighbor who sweats a lot and smells so wonderful all the time."

Straight woman sneering at hot guy: "I think he stinks."


I didn't come up with this. Someone else did. But I think it's great example of how different people view things, especially when it comes to sex. And there's nothing wrong with this. It's as natural as breathing oxygen.

I also write love stories without much sex at all in them. I consider these modern m/m romances. Strawberries and Cream at the Plaza is a great example. This is one of my own favorites. I enjoying writing it. I felt the emotion the characters felt, and a good deal of the story is based on my own personal experience. But it's been difficult to get this e-book out there. To make matters worse, another e-book with a similar title to my Strawberries and Cream was published at the same time mine was released, completely by accident, and my Strawberries and Cream took a bit hit. It's ironic, too, because my Strawberries and Cream was originally published by Alyson Books many years ago in an anothology about first dates. And this is one of the pitfalls of hopping genres. The other author with a similar title is known for sweet, tender romances and her Strawberries and Cream did very well. But once you get branded for writing explicit erotic romance, the people who want nice tender romances won't read you. And If you do write a tender romance the people who want highly explicit erotic romance get mad at you.

Strawberries and Cream at the Plaza has had many excellent reviews. But I haven't seen the sales I've seen with other books I've written that have more sex scenes in them. If I'd known this, I would have published this under a pen name and let it stand on its own. It's a sweet story and I plan to do more like it in the future. I'm finishing up a historical novella right now with very little sex and I'm trying to figure out whether or not to publish it with my own name or a pen name.

But I never decide how nasty a story needs to be while I'm in the middle of telling the story. I let the characters do that for me. And there's no other way I can explain that. I'm not one of those writers who controls his characters. They control me. But I do like to balance reality and fantasy. And if the characters might be thinking about doing something nasty, I let them.

Does it make a difference who is publishing?

I think it does...to a certain extent. Almost all of my erotic short stories are published with loveyoudivine.com. I've been writing for LYD for almost six years. They were the first e-publisher I started writing with. And I try to keep my stories with them different from what I write for other publishers. There's usually more sex, but not always. I published Strawberries and Cream at the Plaza with LYD and there's no sex at all there. And with LYD, I don't get any rules or guidelines to follow. They leave it up to me.

My novels with ravenous romance are more romantic and they tend to follow a formula. I try to do this on purpose. They aren't classic romances by any means and I make that clear all the time. But they are romances, from a gay man's point of view, and I try to put this out there when I'm marketing and promoting the books. I want readers to know what they are getting.

Do you come up with the story first and then shop it out?

Another great question. Unfortunately, it all depends. With Loveyoudivine.com, I have total freedom to do what I want. All the authors have this freedom there. And it's why I'd do anything for these wonderful people. I'm usually asking them what they think..."Should we do this?" or "Maybe this won't work."

When it comes to my books with Ravenous Romance, it's more like a brainstorming session. I get suggestions from the publishers, we go back and forth about them, and we all agree on a final concept in the end. I love these brainstorming sessions, too. I love the collaboration because I think it adds to the final product. I'm not one of those authors who feels the need to self-publish, not even now when it's becoming so popular. I need feedback from my publishers and editors, and almost always agree with their experience. I'm too close to my work to be objective.

With other publishers, I do what everyone else does. I query them and hope for the best. Over the years I've built a lot of relationships with editors at Cleis Press and Alyson Books, and sometimes they buy my work, sometimes they don't think it's right for the book. So I just shop it somewhere else. I've had plenty of stories rejected by plenty of editors, but I've never had a story that wasn't eventually published.

And, just for the record, I've never had an agent. I've always shopped and sold my own work, from US publishers to European publishers. And while it hasn't always been easy, I've learned a great deal and made some wonderful lasting friendships over the years.

Hopping genres isn't easy to do without getting someone mad at you. And if you use your own name all the time, it makes it even more difficult. I've written a few pg rated hetero romances under different pen names, and I find pen names to be very frustrating at best. But there are no set rules for anyone when it comes to this. And I think it's important to keep it real and give readers as much product information as possible so they know what they are buying and there are no disappointments. And it's important to remember that no writer, anywhere, is ever going to please everyone.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Straight, Gay and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation

This is one of those short posts that will explain why I'll never be one of those popular bloggers, like the dudes who write blog posts with titles like, "What Was Your All Time Favorite Book?" or "Do You Think You Have What It Takes To Be An Overnight Sensation?" The odds of me ever having a writing contest here are slim to none. And I think linking to an array of other articles on the web in one blog post is just lazy blogging. And let's face it, posts about querying literary agents is so last Friday my face hurts just thinking about them (describe the damn book; give your contact info; if they don't like it move on to another agent and try again...easy-peasey).

But when I do find something I think is genuinely interesting, I share it here. And there's this new book out titled, Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation, by Simon LeVey. I haven't read the book yet, but I intend to when I have more time.

Here's the link to amazon for hardcover. And here's the e-book link.

Lambda Literary Changes the Rules For Lambda Awards

I just saw this and wanted to post about it. I'm thrilled to see that things are changing for once in a positive direction. Of course it would also be nice to see the LLF add e-books, too. But I have a feeling that's going to take a long time. Like most of publishing, there are still a lot of people who have yet to embrace e-books and many who don't even understand them. I even know one or two people who think e-books are a passing trend and will die out. Who knows? All I do know is once I switched to an e-reader I never went back to print...for a variety of reasons, most having to do with the higher quality of my reading experience with an e-reader.

This is what the LLF says about e-books: Books available in eBook format alone are not eligible. Interesting mind set, especially with amazon's .99 e-books doing so well. You have to wonder if some of these nice folks are living under rocks. I'll post more about that in the future.

For now, I'm thrilled to see that Lambda has added the changes, especially this one: These awards will be open to all authors regardless of their sexual identity. Even though I don't enter award contests, ever, (It's a personal thing for me...I'm not writing to win awards and I never did write to win awards...I don't even enter the Rainbow Awards and I'm one of the jurors. And anyone who reads this blog knows how much I love Elisa Rolle, the person who started the Rainbow Awards.) I'm thrilled to see the LLF do this.

Here's the link, and below is the article.




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 29, 2011

CONTACT: Dr. Judith Markowitz, LLF Co-Chair


(773) 769-9243, jmarkowitz@pobox.com




Lambda Literary Foundation Announces

New Guidelines for Lambda Literary Awards Submissions



For its first 20 years, the Lambda Literary Foundation accepted submissions for the Lambda Literary Awards based solely on a book's LGBT subject matter. That policy changed in 2009 to restrict the awards to self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer authors. After two years of implementing the LGBT-only policy, the queer book community remains sharply divided about limiting Lammy nominations to LGBT authors only.



In its review of the LGBT-only policy, the LLF Board of Trustees took into consideration LLF's mission statement



The Lambda Literary Foundation nurtures, celebrates, and preserves LGBT literature through programs that honor excellence, promote visibility and encourage development of emerging writers.



and core provisions in its Bylaws. The Board also noted that the large majority of finalists and winners of the Lambda Literary Awards have been LGBT authors, but not all of them. There have also been a small number of outstanding books about LGBT lives written by our heterosexual allies.



In addition, the LLF Board solicited opinions from individuals in the LGBT book community, including publishers, authors, important donors, readers, and casual supporters. Those opinions represented both sides of the issue and were, in many cases, intensely held.



After careful consideration of all these factors, the Board crafted a new policy designed to honor excellence in writing about LGBT lives. The new policy has three components:

LGBT authors will be recognized with three awards marking stages of a writer's career: the Betty Berzon Debut Fiction Award (to one gay man and one lesbian), the Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize (to one male-identified and one female-identified author), and the Pioneer Award (to one male-identified and one female-identified individual or group)
Awards for the remaining Lambda Literary Award categories will be based on literary merit and significant content relevant to LGBT lives. These awards will be open to all authors regardless of their sexual identity
All book award judges will be self-identified LGBT
"We fully understand the importance of this issue and the extent to which it has divided our community," said LLF Board Co-Chair, Dr. Judith Markowitz. "Resolving these strongly-held differences was not easy. We worked carefully keeping in mind the best interests of LGBT people, writing, and writers."

She continued, "The policy we've crafted recognizes that those opposing viewpoints are actually contained in LLF's mission. We hope that the result of our deliberations promotes healing and strengthens LGBT writers and literature."

The revised guidelines appear on the LLF website. They are effective immediately in preparation for the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards to be held in New York City in early June 2012.

##



The Lambda Literary Foundation nurtures, celebrates, and preserves LGBT literature through programs that honor excellence, promote visibility and encourage development of emerging writers. LLF's programs include: the Lambda Literary Awards, the Writers' Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, and our comprehensive website, www.LambdaLiterary.org. For more information call (213) 568-3570.






Irene's Range...


That would be a great title for a book, especially an erotic romance. But it's not.

Last night I was going through my yahoo e-mails and found this photo from someone who lives in Provincetown, MA. The photo is of a tree that went down, thanks to Irene.

What surprised me the most is that this storm had such a wide range. When the Philadelphia area and north was getting hit at the peak of the storm, it was still down in North Carolina. But I'd assumed it was going to pass The Cape by. At least that's how it looked on TV. Evidently, P'town got their share, too. I hope none of the businesses suffered. It's a tough place to run a business and these extreme weather patterns don't help things.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars...


I'm obviously still here and Hurricane Irene didn't do me in. In fact, as far as storms go, I've seen much worse. We're used to nor'easters up here, with wind gusts up to 90 mph. The highest wind gusts we had here, and I'm only two hours away from Atlantic City where the eye was, were about 50 mph. But no complaints from me. It could have been much worse and I'm glad it wasn't.

I just read here that Chaz Bono is going to be on Dancing with the Stars. Even though I can't stand to dance myself, I do love to watch the dancers on that show. Jerry Springer amazed me. My heart sank when Kirsti Alley tripped and fell on her partner's leg.

You have to give Chaz credit. And I'm not talking about the transgender thing. I'm talking about his having the guts to go on that show and dance in front of the world. I couldn't do it. I'm not that brave. From what I've seen, it's intense at best. And unless you've had formal training as a dancer, there's no way it can be easy.



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene Update: Fill Those Bathtubs


It's raining. The wind is blowing. I filled the bathtubs like they said I was supposed to. And I'm waiting for Irene to really start up.

But I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to do with these filled bathtubs. I'm not drinking that water. I'm not bathing in it. I'm not cooking with it. And if the power goes out for longer than 24 hours I've already planned to take a quick trip out to Fallingwater in southewester PA, where the hurricane didn't hit.

I've always wanted to go there and never took the time off. I love road trips. So why I filled those tubs is anyone's guess.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weavers - Goodnight Irene

Willie Nelson - Goodnight Irene

Cities with Highest Number of Same-Sex Couples...New Hope Among Them

This was only supposed to be a one post day. But I saw this and couldn't resist. I didn't know I was living in a city with one of the highest numbers of same-sex couples. I just thought it was a nice little artistic town with a lot of gay people. Now I'm glad all the stress I went through nine years ago to buy this house has paid off.

Cities with highest number of same-sex couples per 1,000 people

1. Provincetown, MA: 163.1
2. Wilton Manors, FL: 139.6
3. Palm Springs, CA: 115.2
4. Rehoboth Beach, DE: 106.9
5. Guerneville, CA: 86.6
6. West Hollywood, CA: 66.7
7. Pleasant Ridge, MI: 59.6
8. New Hope, PA: 58.6
9. Rancho Mirage, CA: 57.4
10. Oakland Park, FL: 56.0

Source: The Williams Institute

There's A Hurricane A'Comin...And Bury It, Officer




Like almost everyone else on the east coast, I'm gearing up for Hurricane Irene. I live between New York and Philadelphia, in New Hope, PA, and I have an interesting property that's surrounded by humongous trees. It's the reason I bought the place nine years ago. The architect who built the house was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and the original owners wanted a post modern house that brought the outside inside. The house and guest house were literally built around the trees. There's nothing cookie cutter about it, and I love each and everyone of my trees. However, when the wind blows, it gets interesting around here.

The one photo above is a winter view of just some of the trees I have and they are all looming over and around the house. The other is a tree that went down last April at six in the morning. So if blogging is scarce next week, it's because I'm outside with my chain saw clearing away another tree or two. I'm not new to this. In the past nine years I've gone through five chain saws, sometimes wondering why I ever sold my nice easy town house.

I also wanted to post about my new release, Bury It Officer, which I'll post more about next week when there's time. It's available here, and at most large retail web sites where e-books are sold.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Do Readers Buy The BS?

I'm curious about something. It's something I've been trying to figure out for a long time, too. I've always believed that readers prefer honestly from authors. I'm a fan of authors like John Irving and Anne Tyler and Fannie Flagg. Although they are each different, and have different styles, I've always been impressed with the way they keep it honest when they give public interviews. If anything, they're all too humble. And there's nothing wrong with that.

But I don't see that all the time on social networks, especially in these heady days of strong competition, where unknown authors seem so desperate to sell a book they'll do anything. I see authors on facebook posting status updates I know aren't sincere. They aren't actually outright lies, but I can tell they've been crafted very carefully, in such a way that they mislead readers into believing things that simply are not true. It's all done for the sake of promotion. Let's face it, if you write m/m romance and you post about meeting a famous Hollywood male film star who is in the closet, and this film stars tells you he's a huge fan of your books, no one is ever going to be able to prove you right or wrong. But it will make you look a hell of a lot more interesting to your readers.

Of course I start to wonder when I read some of the things/events certain authors post. If the author who posted about the closeted male film star is so well-connected and he or she has this kind of readership, why aren't they more famous? A lot of people on the Internet lead people to believe they are famous, but if you go out into the world and ask anyone about them no one has a clue. If I feel like I'm being scammed, I start to wonder about the author's overall sincerity, which leaves me with a bad feeling and I tend to stay away from their books. In other words, if you're going to post something in public that has a certain amount of awe factor to it, I think you should be able to stand behind it and prove it if questioned about it. Ambiguity doesn't work for me. I like facts. And some of the authors who post these outrageous things simply aren't rich or famous enough to get away with it. It's not believable.

Then there's the sympathy posts on social networks. I've seen authors save puppies from the middle of highways, carry kittens out of trees, and once I even saw an author save a baby from a burning building. I've seen them hock cupcakes, chocolate, and all kinds of "yummies." I've seen authors promote books with the "quality" angle, leading everyone to believe their books are a better "quality" than other authors. And some people seem to be buying all this BS. Maybe it's all true. Who knows? But I'd like to see a little more information. And if X. K. Sweetwater, m/m author, saves a puppy and a kitten and a baby from a burning skyscraper, while on his way to the cupcake store to get his "yummies," I want to see pictures of him climbing down the ladder.

Even without proof, I do see readers falling for it. I see it all the time and I wonder how far an author can actually go until people start to realize they are full of shit. To me, outright lying about personal experiences is a dangerous game to play. Because even if you're able to persuade 10% of the public you're sincere, and even if no one can disprove you, the rest of us are going to wonder about you and anything else you post is always going to be scrutinized. We aren't dumb. We may be used to lies from the media and politicians. But most of us know when to spot a fake.

Maybe I'm wrong about this. I've never actually seen it addressed anywhere. Maybe some of these publicity posts I see are valid and I'm just too cynical. I have a journalist background. I can't help being that way. But I do remember one very well known person in the m/m community who lied constantly. At first, I believed this person. I thought it was all true. This person had me hanging on every word in social media. I'd never mention names, and this person has already gone through enough shame, trust me. And no matter how much damage control this person has tried to do, it's never going to be enough to get people to believe them again. And that's sad, because this person didn't really have to lie.

My grandmother always had a handful of old sayings. One in particular always stuck with me: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." And I can't help wondering if other people feel the same way I do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Harvey Klinger - On Writing: The Importance of Passion

Take Heed! And forget a lot of the junk you've learned from so many publishing blogs. Here's one of the secrets in one short, sweet clip.

Self-Pubbed Author Unusual Book Deal

I've been reading a lot about John Locke's new book deal, mainly because I'm so interested in the concept of self-publishing these days. I'm not taking the plunge yet myself, mainly because I think working with e-publishers is a more realistic move for someone who writes what I write. In other words, I'm not expecting any big blockbuster books with m/m romance. I never did expect one. I've always been extremely realistic about what I do and the genre in which I write and I've always been happy to have enough projects that keep me busy and working all the time. For a career author, this is like finding a pot of gold. We all want that big book and we all want to win the lottery and we all want to find the fountain of youth. But we all eventually have to face the facts and be realistic.

But I'm always curious about new things in publishing, and this new book deal Locke landed is fascinating.

NEW YORK -- Self-publishing author John Locke has a made an untraditional deal with a traditional publisher.

Simon & Schuster announced Monday that beginning early next year it will distribute physical editions of Locke's Donovan Creed thrillers, which have sold more than 1 million copies as e-books.

Locke will continue to publish and edit his work, through his own John Locke Books, and the author will maintain full control over the digital versions. His novels include "Lethal People" and "The Love You Crave."

In a statement issued by Simon & Schuster, Locke called the agreement an "exciting departure from the norm" of giving the same publisher rights to both e-books and traditional books.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake in Virginia...

The earthquake may have been centered in Virginia, but we felt it all the way up here in New Hope, Bucks County, PA.

Ironically, I was finishing up an intense erotic scene for the next Virgin Billionaire book and I was debating about whether or not to use the phrase "earth-moving." I don't normally use phrases like that. But when the earthquake hit and my computer screen began to shake, and books fell off my bookcase on the other side of my office, I figured this time it just might work.

I hope everyone in Virginia is okay. I'm still getting phone calls from friends in Delaware and Washington about what happened. And I still can't believe we felt it all the way up here in Pennsylvania.

Sometimes You Just Have To Trust the Author...Salem County, NJ

This is my 964th post, so I'm heading toward 1,000 very soon. I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to do anything grand for the 1,000th post. But if I do I'll post about it soon.



Recently, I received the copy edits for my new book, The Bachelor. I'm on record for saying that I never argue with copy editors and I usually let them have the last word. I like the collaboration, and I like the small touches they add to the book. And there have been a few cases when they've questioned something I wrote and they've been right.

But this time the copy editor questioned the validity of a setting in the book. It was done nicely, and I do understand why the setting was questioned. The Bachelor starts out in Los Angeles, and then moves to Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia because the main character missed the LA auditions and he has to travel back to where he grew up to catch the Philadelphia auditions.

A good deal of the book is set in south western New Jersey, Salem County, to be exact. Of course when most people think of New Jersey, they think of the urban areas close to New York and Philadelphia. But that's not what Salem County is like at all. In fact, there's more of a southern influence than a northern influence because so many people who moved there after the civil war came from the south. According the the US south cenus, Delaware is considered southern and it's only five or ten minutes away from a few towns in Salem County. And the difference between North Jersey and South Jersey is like the difference between Maine and Florida. But, mainly, rural southern New Jersey in these parts is not like the New Jersey most people think they know.

I know this because I was raised in Salem County, in Penns Grove, the same town where Bruce Willis grew up. I even knew him when I was a kid. I'm much younger than Bruce Willis, but I remember the day he "streaked" through Penns Grove High School. (Always looking for attention.) I think his family still lives there. And my family still lives there, too. It's two hours away from where I've been living for the past twenty years, in Bucks County, PA. But I'm still down there at least once a month for various reasons. So I know what I'm talking about when I write about Salem County, NJ. It's not research I had to look up. It comes from personal experience. I've even been to the Muskrat Festival in Lower Alloways Creek.

But the copy editor didn't get this, which made me wonder how readers are going to feel when they read the book. I had to explain it to the copy editor, and I still don't think she gets it. And then I had to wonder why people don't trust authors when it comes to these things. I know, there are a few bad books out there where authors don't get it right. I've read a few myself and I've been more than disappointed. But most of the time the author does get it right, and it's a shame that we have to suffer because of a few idiots who don't know the correct distance between Philadelphia and Lancaster, PA. And didn't even bother to look it up.

The Bachelor is one of the few books I've ever set in Salem County, NJ. And it might very well be the last. But I always try to set my books in places I know at least fairly well. The odds of me ever setting a book in Michigan or Iowa are pretty slim. I've never been there and know nothing about either of these places. In Pretty Man, I wrote about the New York I know and love, because I lived there, too. And the scenes about Greenwich Village came from my own personal experience, not from wiki. And you can be damn sure that if I do write about a character living in Michigan or Iowa, I'm going to do the research and get the facts right. Settings are extremely important to an author. They create the overall feel of the book and help define the characters.

So sometimes you just have to trust the author. When he or she writes about the New Jersey you don't know about, they are probably doing it for a reason and they are basing what they write on their own personal experiences. And Salem County, NJ, is not the New Jersey you know from what you've heard on TV. In fact, it's so unusual there's not much written about it on the web...at least not the real Salem County...and unless you've actually lived there, you'll never really know what it's like. The best I could do was describe it from my own personal experience.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Who Has the Most Tops...and Bottoms?


I don't know any gay men who aren't at least slightly interested in this topic. You won't hear it on TV discussed much. But I can't be certain because I haven't seen many of the TV shows like Modern Family. Maybe they do discuss it. I remember innuendos from Will & Grace that made me laugh. Maybe it's there and I've missed it.

But it is discussed within the gay community, especially between gay men. And someone's written a book about it for gay men who travel. Here's the link, and the article is below. I know I'm curious to see what it says.

And there are other links on the post, so there's even more detail.

Book Review: The Gay Travel Guide for Tops and Bottoms


The Gay Travel Guide For Tops And Bottoms (ISBN 978-0-9869297-8-6) by Drew Blancs has set the record for new release sales at Icon Empire Press. The tongue in cheek look at gay travel based upon the sexual performance of the locals is a unique approach in travel review books. The research is done by two promiscuous gay male travelers (one exclusively top gay male and one exclusively bottom gay male).

The idea was created by Drew Blancs who became tired of the complaints of his top and bottom friends of their lack of finding compatible sex partners. " I wrote this book so that gay men can set out and find the city the fits them best and yes, that pun was intended" says Drew Blancs, a frequent Los Angeles blogger and now first time author.

The book took over five years to complete due to the travel schedules of the two featured travelers. As the two narrators visit each country, they rated the local top or bottom gay men by sexual performance with up to a 5 point rating system. The book was able to determine which country had the best top and the best bottom gay male locals.

A Typical Monday Morning...

Instead of posting what I had planned to post this morning, I decided to hold off and post about what a typical Monday morning is like in my office.

I get a manuscript back from the copy editor and that's usually no big thing. I hate to change copyedits...ever...and the main reason I go through the manuscript is to make sure I've addressed all comments the copy editor has made...if there are comments. Sometimes there aren't. Again, most of the time we agree on everything and there are rarely ever changes. But you never know. So each line must be read with absolute care so I know everything is just right before the book goes to publication.

But it's not always that simple. This morning the file switched mid-stream. Don't ask me how or why. One minute I was addressing a comment, the next the file switched to something completely different. So I'll have to wait for a reply from the publisher to see what to do about this. It's happened before. And I do not know how or why.

Then two friends call. Good friends, but they don't seem to understand the concept of people working at home.

The next e-mail is from another publisher regarding a story that's coming out at the end of the week. They want me to contact a journalist in Europe so we can set up an interview.

After that, it's on to the next book I'm working on, which is another Virgin Billionaire book. And this means it's time to switch gears and go into writer mode, which thankfully, for me, isn't a problem.

And all those good intentions I had for social networks will have to wait until there's more time. In case you're wondering, it only took ten minutes to write this post.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bury It Officer and A Fundamental Difference Between Gay Men and Straight Women


I just found out the release date for BURY IT OFFICER is going to be August 26th.

I'll post more when it's released. But this is another short story, with a very happy, unexpected ending. At least it's unexpected from my own personal experience as a gay man. But it's fiction and it's something I would have liked to see happen just once. I would imagine most gay men would find it unusual, too.

This is also one of those stories that reminds me of a few lines I heard last night in the movie, Life As We Know It. A few neighbors were talking about the main character, played by Josh Duhamel, and this is what the dialogue sounded like...not verbatim.

Neighbor One, a gay man, points to Josh Duhamel and whispers something to the effect of, "There he is. He's the one who sweats all the time and smells so great."

Neighbor Two, a straight woman, rolls her eyes and says, "I think he stinks."

And there you have it. A fundatmental difference that someone else wrote this time, not me.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Something I'm Not Fond of...


It's no secret I've worked in publishing for the past twenty years. Up until about five or six years ago, I spent more of my time writing under various pen names and submitting work to editors who were working on LGBT anthologies. My first job out of college was with Conde Nast, with a magazine. I've done everything from freelance to edit a full time editor for a small print publication with a wide circulation about astrology. One of my oldest and dearest friends has been a lit agent for over thirty years. In other words, I didn't just pop up out of the blue, the fiction I write isn't a mid-life career change, and you can bet I'll be around for the next twenty years.

But the one thing I never like to see is when authors go after other authors. I've posted about this before, but not for a while. What sparked this post was a blog post I read on another author blog on Friday. The vicious author in question, a straight woman who seems to have popped up out of nowhere in the last five years, once went after me, in public, on her blog and on other blogs, and I didn't even know who she was. Talk about a WTF moment. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I'm used to the professional, friendly publishing industry, pre-Internet, where people support each other instead of ripping each other apart. In fact, this is one of the things I've always loved about publishing. It's a nice, trusting industry to work in compared to other industries.

But the vicious author I'm talking about wrote a scathing blog post about another author on Friday. And she actually admitted that what she does in her spare time is surf the freaking web looking for vicious reviews on goodreads that rip bestselling authors apart. She actually said this...on her blog. Can you imagine someone doing this in her spare time? What a colossal waste. I read it three times just be be sure I wasn't wrong. And not only did this vicious author give an example of what she thought was the bestselling author's bad writing, she added mean comments and sardonic photos to go along with the example. She even mentioned the bestselling author's name on her blog. And when I see things like this, my Sicilian temper starts to rise.

Although it's killing me, I'm not going to link to the offensive blog post and I'm not going to mention the female author's name who wrote the mean, uncalled for post. It's not because I'm afraid of confrontation. I actually look forward to confrontation in some cases. If I did link to the author, I'd only be giving her free publicity and I often think authors like her do things like this just to get free publicity. Besides, it's not really worth the time or the energy. It's actually a little funny. The vicious author I'm talking about went after a bestselling author who has an established fan base. I doubt the bestselling author is worried about it. I didn't bother to approach this vicious author when she made snide comments about me in public. Again, I figured it wasn't worth the time. And why give the idiot free publicity?

But I did do this. I bought a few of the vicious author's books. Like I said, she writes m/m fiction, and from the way she tells it on her blog, she's the only one who's ever written good m/m fiction and the only one who ever will write good m/m fiction. I've seen her say this in public, too. Well, I read the books and they sucked. She's an absolute amateur and it only took the first five pages for me to see it. If I'd seen her work when I was editing, automatic slush pile. She plays upon overly sensitive subjects within the gay community to work on readers emotions, and clearly knows nothing about them from a first hand point of view. On top of that, she's not one of those straight women writing m/m fiction that actually get it right with regard to any of her content. Most straight women writing m/m fiction do get it right, and I've read them and praised them here on this blog. But when they don't get it right, it's downright pitiful.

So for now I'm just going to rant a little here on the blog. Blogging is, indeed, a cathartic process, and I feel so much better now. But this bitch better hope she never runs into me in person (smile).

MM Good Book Reviews...

I have to admit that I honestly just did stumble across this new MM book review site. But I'm glad I did. I love the way it's set up and I the love the content even more.

The site is called, "MM Good Book Reviews." And it states, "Honest reviews for readers and writers."

It's simple to navigagte, which is always a plus. And I use aol, so I don't have to wait forever for it to come up like other book review web sites. This one fact is a huge plus.

So check it out here. I'm sure you'll find something you like.

Facebook Status Updates...

This is a short post about facebook status updates...in a general sense. I could be wrong, too. So if you don't agree with me, please feel free not to pay attention to me. We all look at social media a little differently, and everyone has a right to an opinion.

Like most people, I don't have much time to do facebook. I wish I did, but I'm usually there checking out my friends status updates about twice a day, usually five minutes at time. I was one of the first people on facebook when it started. I've always enjoyed it and I've even made a few nice friends there that I consider very close. So I take it seriously when I'm on facebook looking for individual status updates my friends have left. It keeps me connected to them in a very busy world. And I would imagine they feel the same way about my status updates.

But I will say that one thing that really irritates me is when I click over to facebook and my news feed is filled with status updates, one after the other, from someone I don't know, and someone who has probably just started facebook and they don't know what they are doing. It's like I've never seen them before, and now, all of a sudden, they're posting status updates a page long, about nothing of any interest at all.

There's nothing wrong with posting one or two, maybe even three, updates in a row. I love to read new status updates from new friends. I don't want to sound like the facebook police here. I would also imagine most people feel this way. But when people check out their news feed and they see that Betty Jane Bumpkin has left a slew of status updates about everything from her last trip to the WalMart to the plantar's wart on the bottom of her right foot, it's an automatic "Hide All By Betty Jane." Maybe her good friends care. But most people don't.

Unfortunately, Betty Jane might be a really cool lady. She might be promoting books I'd love to read, too. But because she slammed me with too much information about nothing of importance, I make a conscious decision that I don't want to read any of her status updates.

People are far too busy nowadays to go through every single status update on facebook. And if they have over 2,000 friends, it makes it even more difficult. This bad habit of hyjacking facebook with too many updates has gotten so out of hand that I find myself doing searches for good facebook friends just to see what they are doing and ignoring all other status updates. And that's a shame. Who knows what I might be missing?

And, like most people, I hate to unfriend anyone. But facebook has put that "hide" feature on there for a reason, and everyone uses it. They'll never tell you. But they do use it all the time. And everyone uses it for a reason, too. So I'd be careful about going overboard on facebook, especially with long streams of status updates one after the other. What you think is going to help you get attention, might just backfire and make you invisible.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Intercourse...


I hope no one shudders and crosses her legs when they read the title of this post.

It's probably the most G-rated blog post I've ever written. But I can understand how anyone might misinterpret a title like this on a m/m romance blog. So I hope you do take the time to check out the wiki links I've provided. I often say that I think linking too much in blog posts is a lazy way of blogging. It's nothing more than repeating what someone else said and has nothing to do with journalism. But in this case, you need to click the links.

First, I'm not talking about this kind of intercourse. I'm not even talking about this kind of intercourse. I may or may not post about both of these variations of intercourse in the future. But today I'm talking about this kind of Intercourse.

And the main reason I'm posting about Intercourse is because I just started a new book in The Virgin Billionaire series that has a lot to do with Intercourse and everything that surrounds it.

Living in New Hope, Bucks County, PA, I've experienced the wonders of Intercourse many times. I've done Intercourse for lunch, for dinner, and sometimes I've spent the entire day there just lingering. I'd definitely recommend Intercourse to anyone who is interested in doing something different. And I thought it would be fun for Jase and Luis to experience Intercourse for the first time in THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE: AMNESIA.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Virgin Billionaire Series


I was recently asked to write a guest post for a blog that's focused on m/m romance, so I decided to write it and post it here first. The administrator asked me to write about plotting a series. In this case, The Virgin Billionaire.

I guess I should start this post with the fact that I never intended to write a series in my life...about anything. When I end a book, I like knowing that I'm not going back to it...ever. I almost feel as though I'm putting it to sleep and locking it up. It never even occurred to me to write a series. I'm like this with everything in my life. I've never returned to a place where I once lived; I've never gone back to a friendship or relationship that has gone sour. I like to move forward all the time.

When I was contracted to write The Virgin Billionaire for Ravenous Romance, I'd been contracted to write ten other books along with it. The editors at Ravenous are extremely flexible and they allowed me the freedom to choose which books I'd write first. And I was so intimidated about writing The Virgin Billionaire, I put it off until it was the very last book in that particular contract that had to be submitted. I actually had sleepless nights thinking about it...I really didn't want to do it at all and kept thinking of ways I could talk the publisher into letting me out of it.

But I eventually decided to do something I'd always wanted to do and have a little fun with it. It's no secret the first book in the series was loosely based on the old movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's. It wasn't supposed to be fan fiction; I had a reason for doing this. As a gay man, I'd always wanted to see a film or read a book like this that revolved around two gay male characters instead of a straight couple. Growing up, the only gay romances I ever saw or read were dark, depressing stories filled with angst and self-loathing. In fact, they weren't even romances; just sad stories about gay men living in a world that would not tolerate them. I still see a lot of that around. So I figured the publisher was giving me a chance to do something I'd always wanted to do and I took advantage of it. I still can't thank them enough for allowing me the chance.

I've also taken a lot of flack for doing this, too. But I had another reason. Truman Capote was gay and he didn't have the chance to write about gay characters in his time. He would have been shunned from publishing and from the mainstream and he never would have been able to survive if he had written about gay characters in his day. So he did what he had to do in order to survive back then. He played their game and he played it well, too.

As I stated, I didn't look forward to writing this book and I put it off for a long time. But when I did start to write it, I found myself absolutely engrossed in the characters of Luis and Jase. There were days when I wrote three chapters in a row. And I ultimately finished the entire book in less than two weeks. I was so worried because I'd finished the book that fast I took another three weeks to go back and edit it to be sure I hadn't done anything wrong. It took another three weeks after that to go through the line edits.

But The Virgin Billionaire was never supposed to be a series. It wasn't plotted and it wasn't planned. And when the publishers, Lori Perkins and Holly Schmidt, at Ravenous Romance approached me about doing a sequel I wasn't sure I wanted to do it. First, because the characters of Luis and Jase consumed me so much I wasn't sure I wanted to go back there. Second, because I wasn't sure I could do them justice in another book. I eventually agreed to write the next book in the series, and at the time I thought that would be the last one.

Then I was approached a third time, only this time the publishers had a list of Virgin Billionaire books they wanted me to write now. And once again, I wasn't sure I wanted to do it. I'm not one of those authors who sits and plots everything, especially not with my characters. I like to know the basics, like are they moving forward, are they constantly changing. And I always know my storyline. But I also like my characters to let me know what they are going to do rather than me forcing them to do what I want them to do. It's a difficult process to explain sometimes. But the easiest way to put it is that I give the characters the freedom they need in order to move forward. I also draw a lot from my own personal experiences as an openly gay man to make things a little more realistic. For example, I have a gay brother just like Luis does, and I put in a lot of examples about the dynamics between gay brothers who are close in age and slightly competitive. I didn't even know my brother was gay until I ran into him at a club in New York on a Saturday night.

Right now I'm working on the next to the last book in The Virgin Billionaire series. It's tentatively titled, The Virgin Billionaire: Amnesia. But that is subject to change. In this book, Luis and Jase, and Jase's family, are recovering from the death of Jase's father, Barry. And they all gather together at Cider Mill Farm to celebrate a huge Thanksgiving. But there's a twist. Jase and Luis wind up going away for a few days and their little trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country becomes more intense than they'd expected.

After that, I'm contracted to do one more book in The Virgin Billionaire Series, and I think that will be it. One important thing about all the books in the series is that I wanted each one to stand alone. In other words, if someone picked up the fourth book, they didn't have to read the three books before it to get the book. And I already know the basic plot of the last and final book, and I know what's going to happen to the characters. It's all in my head, not on paper or e-ink. I try to be at least three books ahead while I'm writing the current book. But it's never set in stone. And any plotting ahead I do is usually subject to many changes that usually come from my characters, not me.



Pirates, Demonoid, Astatalk, and the .99 e-book...

This isn't a post about e-book pirating in the traditional sense. I'm not going to complain or grouse about it. About a year ago I posted something about pirating and I received a lot of comments and e-mails about why people pirate. In many ways, I was enlightened and I've been thanking the people who commented ever since.

I still don't pirate anything myself. And I won't because it's against the law. Even though I do agree on some points, like the fact that the expensive agency model e-books are way overpriced. I even agree that many e-book cover descriptions aren't very good. And don't get me started on product descriptions about e-books on large retail web sites. I bought one myself last month that was supposed to be an erotic romance and the only thing about it that was erotic was the word erotic in the book description. So I understand how readers can get frustrated. Sometimes it's dismal. And I can only hope I'm putting out information about my own books that let readers know what they are buying. I'm even open to questions in e-mails if you're not sure about one of my books. I do it all the time.

But I am curious about how e-book pirates feel about all the .99 e-books that are being released nowadays. If you're an author and you have e-books out it's become such a huge trend to have a .99 e-book it's almost embarrassing if you don't have at least one.

So, from an objective POV, how is the .99 e-book thing working out for you? Are e-book pirates more motivated to spend .99 on a full length novel than they are to pirate it for free? There's not much you can get for .99 anymore in the US. You can't even get a scratch off lottery ticket for less than one dollar anywhere. I know I've been reading .99 e-books and it's cut my reading budget more than I expected it would. And most of those .99 e-books I've read are very good.

Any and all thoughts are welcome. Feel free to post anonymously now or next year. If you still think .99 is too much to spend for an e-book, post your thoughts. I really am curious from an objective stand point.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tops, Bottoms, Versatiles...

I found this article and thought I'd post it. It's an interesting examination of how gay men behave in certain sexual circumstances. Frankly, I don't completely agree with everything. I think these studies are incorrect in the sense that I don't think everyone's telling the truth. There's an old saying about the two things people lie the most about: sex and money.

There's also nothing more frustrating in the world than two bottoms trying to figure out how to have fun. In fact, it's downright pitiful and a complete waste of time.

One of the things I always try to put into my fiction is what's really going on in the minds of my gay male characters when it comes to sex, not what studies say or research suggests. I want them to feel free to at least think about what they want, without any inhibitions. And we all have inhibitions we'll never talk about openly...even the folks who take these surveys and do these studies.

But it's an interesting piece, and a lot of the information is on target. Here's a link, and I've posted part of the article below. I think it's worth reading, especially if you're a fan of m/m romance. And I think a lot of the information could apply to the straight world, too. I know for a fact a lot of you so-called straight guys aren't being completely honest. And I don't care what research says or studies show.

Top Scientists Get to the Bottom of Gay Male Sex Role Preferences
"Tops," "Bottoms," "Versatiles" and others in the study of gay male self-identity

By Jesse Bering | September 16, 2009 | 72

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Jesse Bering​

Image:

It’s my impression that many straight people believe that there are two types of gay men in this world: those who like to give, and those who like to receive. No, I’m not referring to the relative generosity or gift-giving habits of homosexuals. Not exactly, anyway. Rather, the distinction concerns gay men’s sexual role preferences when it comes to the act of anal intercourse. But like most aspects of human sexuality , it’s not quite that simple.

I’m very much aware that some readers may think that this type of article does not belong on this website. But the great thing about good science is that it’s amoral, objective and doesn’t cater to the court of public opinion. Data don’t cringe; people do. Whether we’re talking about a penis in a vagina or one in an anus, it’s human behavior all the same. The ubiquity of homosexual behavior alone makes it fascinating. What’s more, the study of self-labels in gay men has considerable applied value, such as its possible predictive capacity in tracking risky sexual behaviors and safe sex practices.

People who derive more pleasure (or perhaps suffer less anxiety or discomfort) from acting as the insertive partner are referred to colloquially as “tops,” whereas those who have a clear preference for serving as the receptive partner are commonly known as “bottoms.” There are plenty of other descriptive slang terms for this gay male dichotomy as well, some repeatable (“pitchers vs. catchers,” “active vs. passive,” “dominant vs. submissive”) and others not—well, not for Scientific American , anyway.

In fact, survey studies have found that many gay men actually self-identify as “versatile,” which means that they have no strong preference for either the insertive or the receptive role. For a small minority, the distinction doesn’t even apply, since some gay men lack any interest in anal sex and instead prefer different sexual activities. Still other men refuse to self-label as tops, bottoms, versatiles or even “gay” at all, despite their having frequent anal sex with gay men. These are the so-called “Men Who Have Sex With Men” (or MSM) who are often in heterosexual relations as well.

Several years ago, a team of scientists led by Trevor Hart at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta studied a group of of 205 gay male participants. Among the group’s major findings—reported in a 2003 issue of The Journal of Sex Research —were these:

(1) Self-labels are meaningfully correlated with actual sexual behaviors. That is to say, based on self-reports of their recent sexual histories, those who identify as tops are indeed more likely to act as the insertive partner, bottoms are more likely be the receptive partner, and versatiles occupy an intermediate status in sex behavior.

(2) Compared to bottoms, tops are more frequently engaged in (or at least they acknowledge being attracted to) other insertive sexual behaviors. For example, tops also tend to be the more frequent insertive partner during oral intercourse. In fact, this finding of the generalizability of top/bottom self-labels to other types of sexual practices was also uncovered in a correlational study by David Moskowitz, Gerulf Reiger and Michael Roloff. In a 2008 issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, these scientists reported that tops were more likely to be the insertive partner in everything from sex-toy play to verbal abuse to urination play.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Small dog goes crazy!

Thanks to Ryan from A Guy In Love

For those who read my blog, you've heard me mention a blogging buddy I've had for a long time. Here's a link to his blog, and his name is Ryan. I think it's like six or seven years now I've been following him. But it could be longer. The time flies so fast I lose track.

Well. I just wanted to send a shout to Ryan, and tell him I love this new group he started on facebook. It's a private group celebrating the nude male body. Oh yeah, male nudity. That's right, male nudity. The emotional folks over at a few romance web sites wouldn't know what to make of it and they'd probably drop their half-glasses and the tight little buns at the back of their heads would explode. They might even shudder and cross their legs.

But this is the kind of group that's fun and entertaining. And with so much boring, cute crap out there sometimes on publishing blogs...not to mention all the serious depressing crap...it's nice to see something that's fun for a change. I just hope facebook doesn't decide to censor it. They've been known to do that, you know. Facebook isn't a democracy. Because if it does, I might have to talk to Ryan about starting our own little fun web site/social network like this and facebook can go to hell.

Edits...Bury it, Officer and The Bachelor


For some reason, edits always come around at the same time. I don't plan this. But this is a good thing. I hate to be working on one book and editing another at the same time. It's hard to switch gears that way.

For the past week, I've been working on edits for my new short story with loveyoudivine.com, BURY IT, OFFICER. And on my new novel for ravenous romance, THE BACHELOR.

And I went way over word count on THE BACHELOR. It's pushing 71,000, which is longer than I usually like a m/m erotic romance to be. But in this case I think it works. When I started editing, it was over 100,00, but I thought that was far too long and wound up editing almost 30,000 words. Which isn't easy to do. Mostly what I cut out were erotic scenes. This is one of those books were the romance doesn't really get under way until the middle of the book, and up until then, the main character, Jim Johnston, has a few little flings along the way that leave him less than satisfied.

But I think he grew in this book, which is what I wanted from him this time. And the erotic scenes I did cut turned out to be scenes that weren't really needed. Too bad there isn't a section at the back of books like they do with films, where everything that's cut during edits is shown to the reader in an unedited version. I'd love to read them myself.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Self-Published Transgender Book: REFUSE by Elliott DeLine



Here's another post about a book that was self-published. I find it more than interesting, being that I don't see many books out in this genre from publishers. In fact, I really, really like this one a lot. Please take the time to check it out and see what it's all about. I like that the author added a few product details. I'm sure this one is going on my TBR list as soon as I'm finished reading the books I have left for the Rabinbow Awards.

I'm always harping about how we never see much about the T and the B in LGBT. Well, here you go. Check it out and learn something new.

About the Author: Elliott DeLine is an American independent and freelance writer, born on August 14th, 1988 in Syracuse, New York. Currently he lives in North Syracuse, with family and a brown tabby named Tiger (his best friend of 15 years). Elliott is also a university student and works at a public library. His controversial personal essay "Stuck at the Border Between the Sexes" was featured in The New York Times Modern Love series in the spring of 2011. 'Refuse', his debut novel, is available in ebook and print as of April 2011. Elliott enjoys nature, books, music, scowling, and writing about himself in the third person.



Blurb:

"All writers are born in the wrong body, but it happens to be the reader’s good fortune that Elliott DeLine was literally born in the wrong body – even if he would never use a tacky cliché like that. 'Refuse' is a stunning debut “novoir” about an over-observant young outsider with really great hair who is outside everything – including the transgender community – but keeps a great deal bottled up inside. Funny, cynical, tough, vulnerable, honest, deluded, sagacious, self-loving and self-loathing, 'Refuse' is irresistible."

-Mark Simpson, author of Saint Morrissey

Book Description:


Dean, a 22 year old female-to-male-transsexual, is no LGBT poster boy. Unemployed, depressed, mid-transition, and still living in the upstairs bedroom of his parents’ house in a conservative suburb, he can think of little to do but write his memoir. In the third person, he tells the tale of his would-be love affair with his college roommate, Colin, another trans man with a girlfriend and a successful indie rock band.


Words: 80468 (approximate)
Language: English
Available in ebook and print here:


*7/31: Ebook Will remain 'You Pick Price' until 8/14/11*


www.facebook.com/politelyRefuse



Please share with your friends!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Full Moon Bites: Review: A Regular Bud by Ryan Field

Just saw this review for A Regular Bud. I didn't solicite it, which makes me happy. It didn't get five stars, but I can live with it and I'd like to thank the reviewer.


Full Moon Bites: Review: A Regular Bud by Ryan Field: "  3 Stars This was a nice short story about Noah, who has a shoe and smoking kink, and his roommates dominate little brother, Dave. It w..."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Greyson Chance Performs "Waiting Outside The Lines" on Ellen

This guy is soooo damn good!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

First Self-Published Author Shout...Myths of Gods by Leigh M. Lane


Earlier this week I posted that I'd love to do a few blog posts about some of the wonderful self-published authors out there. One of the first responses came from an author I know, Lisa Lane. I read one of her books in print, which was part of a collection of romance novels for a special event. I fell in love with her writing style. She's a pro, and a perfect example of the kind of talent who is self-publishing nowadays. And she was nice enough to send me the information below about her self-publishing experience.

I am in awe of these authors who have taken control of their careers and who have worked so hard to produce quality books.



Thank you, Ryan, for allowing me to guest blog about my recently self-published release, Myths of Gods. Some readers might have read my erotic writings published through Ravenous Romance, but this book is neither erotic nor romantic. In order to distinguish Myths of Gods from my erotic romance books (and not at all to confuse readers, I assure you), I published this book under the pseudonym Leigh M. Lane.


My Self-Publishing Adventure: MYTHS OF GODS

I remember the moment I decided I was going to self-publish Myths of Gods. The decision was liberating, as much of a gamble as I knew it was going to be. The main deciding factors were:

· Myths of Gods tackles religion and political corruption head-on, which is timely, but also makes the book anything but a mainstream sell;

· Although technically a work of dark science fiction/fantasy, it is a literary work, and dark, literary science fantasy is not going to be on any agent’s list—especially when it’s also a religious allegory and biting political satire; and

· Because of the many literary details in the book and the care I took to ensure that no scene, no line, no word was without purpose, I wanted full editorial control. I have no problem working with editors on my books—just not on this one.

In lieu of high-paid editors, I was lucky enough to have the help of my younger sister, who is a published author and has her Master of Arts in English, and my husband, a published academic writer who is working on his second Master of Arts agree, to spend whatever time it took to get the book ready for publication. Between the three of us, we went over the “final draft” at least a dozen times, over a period of several months (I had already redrafted it numerous times over the previous six years). Toward the end, we had “editing parties,” in which the three of us read the manuscript together over the television screen, carefully sifting through every line for editorial issues.

In addition, a small handful of friends were willing to beta-read as a favor, and they offered valuable feedback that helped me to sharpen and tighten the story. My husband typeset the interior for the paperback and I typeset and formatted the Kindle/ePub copy. I’m also an artist, so I was able to design my own cover. I’ve heard that professional services are popping up all over the place, which I think is great. Self-published books should not look . . . well, self-published. With Myths of Gods, I just got lucky that enough talented friends and family were as enthusiastic as I was about seeing it get published.


About Myths of Gods:

Myths of Gods is a story about good, faithful people and the leaders who would use their collective faith to their own selfish and destructive ends.

In a time and place before the world as we know it, an infant god comes to the people in the form of three boys and two girls. Follow their baby steps through an exploration of human nature, eternity, and sacrifice, taking critical look at religion, dogma, and social/political hierarchy.

You can check it out and buy it here on Amazon. in digital format. Or you can find it here on Amazon in paperback.


Please check out my web site, here.

Thanks for letting me stop by!
Lisa “Leigh M.” Lane

Gay Conservatives? She Didn't!!

Although I remain on the sidelines when it comes to political matters here on this blog, I do welcome all views when it comes to the lgbt community. In my private life, I vote on individual issues, not along party lines or for the coolest candiate with the best personality and the best line of BS. I also vote on a candidate's past record and experience when I don't have any other choices.

So far, I've yet to see a political candidate that inspired me. I'm waiting. I hope it happens. I thought highly of John Edwards, but look what happened to him. I thought highly of Hillary Clinton, but lost faith in the system when so many failed to grasp her extensive experience and how hard she's fought all her life to get where she is to gain that experience. And, unfortunately, it doesn't look as though I'm going to be inspired much in the next Presidential election.

But I do like and respect all political viewpoints. I find the exchange between opposite sides fascinating, and I don't have any problem remaining objective. And one viewpoint that we rarely hear about is that there are, indeed, many gay conservatives. I don't agree with everything they say. But I like the fact that they are out there saying it in spite of the fact that it's not the hip thing to do. And I wanted to share the link below to show that there is a lot of diversity within the gay community, and not everyone who is gay fits into one paticular mold...or cliche.

If you check out The Gay Patriot, you'll see what I mean. Even if you don't agree with them, you have to admit it's interesting.

Here's an example of a short post they did, which says it best.

It’s amazing how many people assume . . .
Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:36 am - July 15, 2011.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Conservatives,Gay Culture,Homocons
. . . , a friend of mine said tonight, that because I’m gay, I’m also a Democrat.

It does seem a lot of people make that assumption.


And if you click the link and read the comment thread, it gets even more interesting.

Favorite Children's Books

Authors who write erotic romance and erotica often get a lot of flack from people in other genres. I've seen them snubbed and shunned, laughed at and ridiculed. That's okay. We keep moving forward and doing what we love. Besides, I'd bet more than half of those folks pointing fingers have a few erotic books under their mattresses.

Sometimes it's interesting to turn the tables around. Personally, I've never been a fan of children's books. I didn't read them when I was a kid. I started reading adult fiction in elementary school and never quite "got" what other kids saw in kid's books. And I certainly don't read children's books now. But I do have a few favorites I'd like to share. Just to show that there's something for everyone in all genres.




Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Apple/Publisher Law Suit Over E-book Pricing

I've posted about how it really galls me that I'm expected to pay upward of 9.99 for an e-book from one of the big six. I get so annoyed, I usually just pass on the book altogether. I don't like being manipulated that way, not by Apple, not by anyone. It's also the reason I don't own any Apple products and why I'm always supporting smaller companies like Kobo who seem to care more about their customers.

I found this article about a new law suit involving Apple and several large publishers extremely interesting. It's still too soon to tell whether or not there are grounds for a law suit. But my fingers are crossed because I don't like that fact that e-book prices are being controlled. My initial hope was that publishers would get smart and realize we, as readers, aren't paying attention to their prices or their control. We are passing on e-books that are 9.99 or more and we're shopping for books that are being released by smaller publishers instead.

Here's the article. If you're a book buyer and a reader, it's worth checking out.

So Where's the Erotica?

First, I'd like to thank all the authors who've responded to the post about self-publishing. I will start posting about your books and I'll let you each know when the posts are up. I'd rather spread them apart, so each author has their own time frame. But I'll be doing at least one or two every week.

On to the erotica title above. I will admit that I often cross a few lines when it comes to writing erotica. I do have my own lines that I won't cross, but I honestly believe that when people are buying my books they are buying them partly because of the erotica. And one of my biggest concerns is am I letting them down if there isn't enough erotica in the book. So I try to conceive what might happen in real life, from an openly gay man's point of view, and I take it from there. I write mostly about gay men. Gay men are highly sexual people, in spite of what some people would prefer to believe. And if an opportunity arises in the storyline where I think an erotic scene is going to work, I do it. I prefer the erotic scenes to have a romantic impact for the most part. But in books like AMERICAN STAR, it just doesn't work out that way until the end. Other books are different. The romance is there from the start, like STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM AT THE PLAZA, and the need for too much sex is not there. But there's no way to judge these things, especially if the story is taking different directions I didn't plan. I'm not one of those writers who control their characters. My characters control me, and I try to listen to them.

I also think sex is an emotional experience. Sometimes more emotional than others, but even in the most casual circumstances there is, in fact, emotion. I know there are others who would disagree with me, but this is my interpretation and I don't want to let my readers down. I also don't have any serious sexual demons in my past. I was never abused or bullied by anyone. And I think this allows me to view sex with a little humor and objectivity.

The reason why I'm posting about this today is because I've been reading books lately that are classified as erotic romance...or erotica...and I'm not seeing any actual erotic scenes in these books. If the storyline is good and the writing is solid, it may or may not make a difference to the reader. But for me, I'm usually left wondering what the author was thinking when he or she was writing the book. Do they think five lines of pg rated sex is actually erotica? I'm not joking about this either. I've seen it happen.

I know there are different opinions about this. And I know that the amount of erotica in an erotic romance varies from author to author. And there's nothing wrong with less erotica. I've been working on a historical f/m/m romance for the past year that has far less erotica than I've ever done before. The storyline just didn't call for a lot of sex. But I'm going to at least make it clear to the reader that it's light erotica. So they know what they are buying.

I know from experience that readers and book reviewers will always slam authors for writing too much sex. Some feel it is their moral and ethical duty. Others feel they've cornered the market on romance and emotion, and don't consider good sex part of romance and emotion. But I've never once heard of a reader or book reviewer slamming an author for not having enough sex in a book. Which means that if your book doesn't have enough sex, you're never going to know it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Calling All Self-Published Authors

Although I've never self-published anything...yet...I've been following all the exciting things that have been happening with self-publishing, especially with e-books, and I'd like to do something different here on this blog. I've been writing blog posts about self-published authors and their books for a while. But I'd like to see something a little different for a change.

So I'm opening up this blog once a week to any self-published author who wants to talk about his or her new self-published book. Just e-mail me everything I need in the body of the e-mail (no attachments, please), including book cover photo, a description of the book, and anything else you'd like to mention that you think might help promote your book. This is about information: who, what, when, where, and why. And please include all product information like word count, author contact info, and links to where the book can be purchased.

This isn't going to be a review or a rating on the book. It's strictly about getting information out there. I have a lot of respect for self-published authors for taking the chance and empowering themselves. And when I see literary agents now jumping onto the band wagon with their clients self-published books, I'd like to try to build a network that's just for self-published authors who don't have that kind of inside support.

There are no rules; just that the work has to be self-published. It can be a .99 amazon e-book or iuniverse. I couldn't care less. It can be digital or print or on a stone tablet. It doesn't matter. But I'm standing firmly on one thing: I'd like to stick with self-published authors who don't have agents, and authors who don't work with agents who are now offering self-publishing/e-publishing services. Literary agents have web presence, they promote their authors all the time and they get a lot of attention. These agents know how to take advantage of all the opportunities on the web. So the authors who work with them can let their agents promote them. They don't need me. I've been in publishing for twenty years, but I've never been one of the good old boys and never will be.

I'm not focusing on one particular genre. This blog has always been pg rated and publishing oriented in a general sense, and it always will be. If you write YA, I'll post about it. If you write middle grade, I'll post about that, too. Your book can be erotica; it can be religious or spiritual. Fiction or non-fiction. This is open to everyone across the board. But I want authors who are going it alone.

I don't want anything for this. I don't want free books or gift certificates. This blog is non-profit and it will always be non-profit. I only get about 10,000 hits a day, which isn't much compared to other blogs. But if 10,000 people see your self-published book that's 10,000 more that wouldn't have seen it if you hadn't posted about it.

My e-mail address is located on the sidebar with my profile. Like I said, post everything in the body of the e-mail, no attachments. In the subject line of the e-mail, please write "Self-Publishing Blog Post," so I know it's for the blog. And if I don't reply, resend. It could have gone into spam. I haven't chosen a specific day yet, but I'm thinking I'll leave that open until I see how many requests I get to promote these books. If I don't get any, I'll just do it myself.

The only one thing I ask is that you pay this forward. In other words, be proud you've self-published your work and help other self-published authors promote their books. I've seen a lot of good self-published books out there but the authors are stuck in a difficult place when it comes to getting the information out there.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gay Couples in Nevada...

Saw this today and thought it was interesting. I personally think there are more. It's impossible to get everyone included in these things. I've never been to Vegas, but always wanted to go. But if you read the article, you'll see we still have a long way to go...especially on a federal level.

Nevada Gay Households Up by 87 Percent in 2010
Posted: 10:06 am PDT August 8, 2011

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The number of same-sex couples sharing a home in Nevada nearly doubled from 2000 to 2010, revealing a budding constituency in a state where voters have banned gay marriage, but embraced domestic partnerships.

Nearly 4,600 homes in Nevada were headed by lesbian couples at the end of the last decade, according to Census data released this week, while 4,724 households were headed by two male partners. The data shows that the number of gay and lesbian households in Nevada jumped 87 percent during the last decade, and about a quarter of those couples are raising children. Lesbian couples were more likely than the male couples to have children at home.

In all, Nevada had more than 9,000 households led by same-sex couples in 2010, up from fewer than 5,000 such households counted in 2000.

To be sure, same-sex couples living together remained a minuscule population among Nevada's more than a million households. But their swelling ranks reflect Nevada's increasingly gay friendly stance less than a decade after 67 percent of the state's voters defined marriage as "between a male and female person."

"Folks who are LGBT may not have been excited (before) to move here from, say California, where they enjoy a lot of legal protections," said Michael Ginsburg, southern Nevada director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. "Now that Nevada is catching up, that may not be a factor for people anymore."

It's also possible some of the new same-sex households reflect an increased willingness among gay couples to come out to the government, rather than actual growth. The Census doesn't capture the overall gay population in Nevada, because it doesn't allow single people to identify their sexual orientation.

Gay activists insist Nevada is home to many more gay couples who cohabitate, and that the 2010 Census numbers only reflect people who were comfortable identifying themselves as gay to Census takers.

"Are there even more? Absolutely," said Candice Nichols, executive director for The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. "I don't think it's a clear cut view of how many same sex households there are actually are in Nevada. People don't identify for various reasons, it just depends on their own comfort levels."

Ginsburg said he couldn't recall if he or his live-in partner had confirmed that they were a couple to the Census. He wondered if gay couples were not coming out to the federal government because the survey does not allow unmarried participants to identify themselves by specific terms, such as transgender or domestic partners. The questionnaire asks homeowners to identify the people sharing their roof under specific familiar categories, such as child, parent or spouse. Couples who live together but are not married may only self-identify themselves as an unmarried partner.

"You could look at those Census numbers and say, 'wow, there are no gay people in this state,' which is laughable," Ginsburg said.

The Las Vegas Valley, where most of the state's 2.6 million people live, is home to the majority of Nevada's same-sex households.

As with many states, Nevada has become more gay friendly in recent years, passing local and state laws recognizing the rights of domestic partners. The state Legislature passed a law recognizing domestic partners in 2009, but only after then Republican Gov Jim Gibbons vetoed it. State leaders went further this year, passing a series of laws that extended discrimination protections to transgender people and prohibited housing or employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Casino executives, the state's business elite, have supported the pro-equality measures.

Still, overturning a gay marriage ban passed by Nevada voters in 2002 could take years because of the state's complicated constitutional amendment process.

Nichols said marriage equality proponents in Nevada agree their best option is to wait for the federal government to recognize gay marriage.

"It's going to be much easier for the states to say, 'wait a minute, the federal government finds this unconstitutional," she said.