Monday, October 31, 2011

Kim Kardashian Files for Divorce

Kim Kardashian files for divorce after only 72 days.

First, who cares?

Second, we knew it would happen anyway.

Third, every single couple I know in a same sex, long term relationship has been together for twenty years or longer and they aren't allowed to legally marry.

I do not watch The Kardashians and never will. But I did think this was an interesting fact to post.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Insight Into Gay Men...

This might sound like a social media post in the beginning. But it's not. It's more like an experience of sorts I went through with a "friend" I made on facebook. As always, no names mentioned to protect the innocent. I also know these things happen in the straight community all the time on social networks and it's not exclusive to just gay men. But I have experienced this before, and not on social networks, and I think the motivation with regard to gay men is different. What I'm going to tell you has happened several times to me long before social networks ever became popular. And it's always been because the gay man was hiding something...in most cases their identities...and it was always based on fear and anxiety.

Sometime last summer I "friended" someone on facebook who lived near me. He'd actually just moved to town. The person in question is a gay male, probably close to thirty years old, and seemed to have solid, honest credentials. You never know with social media. My gut feeling is that facebook and many forms of social media rely on either anonymity or faslehoods to keep going. (Which is also why I wonder how long social media will last, being that it's based on so much deception...but that's another post and I could be totally wrong.)Though I don't give out what I consider too much information, what you see on my facebook page is authentic. But I would estimate about 75% of what I see on facebook is not authentic. And, there's nothing wrong with that. Social media lends itself to this form of deception just by the very nature of what its all based upon. Also, some people do social networks for fun, and they fudge the truth a little. There's nothing wrong with that either.

But that's another post, too. This time I only want to concentrate on the alleged "friend" I met on facebook. First, and I want to emphasize this, we're talking just a "friend." I do not, and would not, look for sex on social media. It's way too creepy for me, not to mention dangerous. I know some people do it and they have a blast. I say good for them. But it's not for me.

It's no secret that I'm usually very busy. I barely have time for a social life with work demands and family demands. I live in a small town with a large LGBTQ community where I've had the same friends, gay and straight, for twenty years, which also keeps me busy. So I wasn't rushing to make dinner plans with someone from facebook. Most of my friends and family don't even like or care about facebook. But getting to know this new "friend" on facebook was nice in the sense that it was new. We hit it off well, had many things in common, and, like I said, this guy seemed authentic. Then, the few times we arranged to do dinner he backed out, which didn't bother me at all. I figured we'd just meet sooner or later and I didn't give it a second thought. I also figured he wasn't taking social networks all that seriously either and he might have had his doubts about me, too. Perfectly normal.

After months of communicating almost daily on facebook, something interesting happened. I received an e-mail that said I'd been tagged in a FB photo by a virtual stranger. I knew the photo I'd been allegedly tagged in was from a facebook "friend" of the guy I'd become friendly with. This time it was a woman "friend" of his. She seemed nice enough from what I saw on facebook. I didn't give it a second thought...at least not until I went to the facebook page and checked out the photo I'd been tagged in. And, keep this in mind, I don't know how to tag on facebook. I know the bare basics about posting updates and photos. But tagging isn't something I've bothered to learn. And when I open an e-mail where I've been tagged in something I'm honestly not sure what it's all about.

While I was checking the photo out, I read the names of the people in the photo. They were all strangers and I wasn't in the photo, which didn't surprise me. I don't post personal friend or family photos online anywhere. I have one of two authentic photos of me out in cyber space and that's enough. But there was my new facebook friend, in this "tagged" photo, with a completely different name. My first reaction was this had to be a mistake. So I did a little cross referencing and checked a few more photos of him...I'm a writer who majored in journalism and I know how to dig for information...and found this friend of mine was using two different names, two different facebook profiles, and basically two different identities. At least this is how is appeared to me. There were too many photos with various names to make it coincidental.

So I thought about it and then e-mailed him. I didn't want to be rude about it, but I thought we'd at least established a friendship to the point where we trusted each other. (Actually, I was joking about it in the e-mail I sent because I wanted him to know that if he was protecting his identity he had nothing to worry about with me. The last thing I'd ever do it out someone.) Basically, I asked him what was up with the name "thing." And I did this with a friendly tone, to make a point of showing him it was okay if he wanted to use different names. I didn't care, but I was curious. And, to a certain degree, being completely honest now, I felt duped. I'd been honest with him. I hadn't given him false info about me. There's a lot of info about me on the Internet and I can't give out false info. I've learned it's much easier to just keep it real and stand behind everything I post or write. This way if I'm ever attacked, which I have been, I have nothing to worry about.

And I did think we had a connection, with potential for a nice friendship outside of social networks. So I was curious as to why this guy felt the need to lie to me...if, in fact, this is what he was doing. I honestly still don't know for sure. I never received a reply from the original e-mail I sent asking about his various names and profiles on facebook. And I didn't pursue it any further after that. It's obviously something he doesn't want to discuss and I respect his privacy completely. There wasn't much time or effort invested in the "friendship" and I'm sure we'll both live happy lives without ever meeting each other.

But this did remind me of an aspect...and insight...into what gay men often do...and to what lengths they will go to protect their identities. My very best friend, who passed away from a massive heart attack at a very young age, never even told his family or friends he was gay. They found out at his funeral...or, rather, it was confirmed at his funeral...they'd suspected for years. So my experience with this facebook "friend" isn't the first time I've run into a gay man using a different identity and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Sometimes it's so hard to be open and honest about being gay, some men will resort to reinventing themselves entirely. Some have separate identities and maintain them for years. The psychological impact of being gay, for some, is still just as traumatic now as it was twenty or thirty years ago, and not all gay men have reached a point where they are comfortable being themselves and living authentic lives.

This is sad on so many levels it's hard to write about. It looks like we've come so far, and yet I see things like this and I realize there's still so far to go. And the thing that bothers me the most is that all these gay men who believe they have to have different identities don't fully understand that no one really cares anymore (at least not in most cases...I know some have valid reasons for not coming out). Like my best friend who died suddenly: his family already knew without him telling them. But the fear and anxiety some gay men have is something they've made up in their own heads, and they live with a sense of paranoia and denial when there's really no need to do it. In many cases, unfortunately, the lies become a way of life and some never change.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Release Day: A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE

Today is release day for A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE.

You can read more about it here.

Or you can do a search on the blog for A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE and read a pre-release review or an excerpt. I've written a lot about this novella while I was in the editing process because there are a few historical facts I found interesting.

It's not based on a true story. It's fiction. But the setting is based on a real location that I've always found interesting...a Confederate cemetery in New Jersey, on Yankee soil, which you can read more about here.

Felecia Roundtree is thirty-seven years old, she's already lost her husband in battle, and prays each morning her two young sons live to see another day. With her own two hands, she's turned the front of her property at remote Locust Point, NJ, into a burial ground for unknown Confederate prisoners of war, hoping someone will return a kind gesture to her own loved ones. Then one morning in August, just after she has a vision of her dead husband, three Confederate prisoners of war turn up at her doorstep begging for mercy. One is near death; the other two aren’t much better. Though she's reluctant at first to help the enemy, she offers them food and shelter, and then eventually begins the romance of her lifetime with a young old Confederate named Calvin. When she learns a deep dark secret about the other two Confederates, she’s not sure what to think. Felecia has no idea she's even falling in love. Nor does she realize she’s preserving an important part of American History. But she’s true to her promise every step of the way.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Adult Erotic Romance...Untitled

I've been working on a Christmas story, which is something I never do this time of year. But I wanted to do this one for several reasons. One is that I'm truly captivated by the "new adult" genre. Another is because the idea came to me and I decided to get it out "there."

Here's the blurb, so far, which is subject to change. I still haven't come up with a title yet. But I know something will come to me.

The concept of "new adult" interests me partly because so many seem so passionate about it, and partly because so many know-it-all-types within the publishing industry are dismissing it. And "new adult" is over eighteen, which makes for interesting erotic romance. I know I was having plenty of erotic romance between the ages of eighteen and twenty, and I'm sure they are still doing it.

According to this, new adult is:

...they fit in a new, previously-unidentified genre called ‘New Adult’. JJ from St Martin’s Press explains that, ‘New Adult [fiction] is about young adulthood, when you are an adult but have not established your life as one (career, family, what-have-you)’.

Blurb for story:

A young veterinarian in his twenties who works as an ER doc at a 24 hour animal clinic is stranded in a snow storm on Xmas Eve during the midnight shift, when a good looking guy walks in with a basket full of newborn lab puppies and a mother who is near death.

A Civil War Historical About More Than a Man: A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE

Tomorrow A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE, a Civil War historical, is going to be released and I wanted to post a few things about it up front. It's not what I normally write, and this time I decided not to use a pen name. AYWP is very low on the heat and strong on the emotion. So if you're looking for a lot of sex, you're not going to find it in this book.

First, it's a novella with about 26,000 words. There are sexy scenes, though. And one of those scenes happens in the m/m subplot. Yes, there is a m/m romance subplot. But this novella will be in the m/f category.

The most important thing for me while I was writing this novella was that I wanted to have a strong female character who is just as passionate about her "cause" as she is about her man. There's nothing wrong with books or stories that only concentrate on women who are passionate about their heros. But I wanted this character, Felecia Roundtree, to be just as interested in the cause she's been fighting for long before she meets the love of her life.

And I wrote an epilogue this time. I rarely do this. But I think this novella called for it and I wanted to tie up the story so readers didn't walk away feeling cheated.

Here's an excerpt from the fist chapter:

FeleciaRoundtree sat on the edge of her bed in
the only white dress she had left since the war had
begun. She’d always preferred white because it
was simple and easy to care for. She should have
been wearing black, but she wasn’t seen often
enough to worry about it. Besides, this dress had
turned mostly pale gray by then anyway, and the
hem was beginning to fray. She’d been meaning
to buy fabric to sew a new dress, but it wasn’t on
the top of her chore list.


It was already after six on a warm, moist
Saturday morning in late August and she hadn’t
even finished dressing yet.
Felecia was thirty-seven years old but looked
more like twenty-seven. Her hair was long and


A Young Widows Promise
2
strawberry blond and parted dead center; thick
waves fell into points below her shoulders. Each
morning, she haphazardly pulled it back and
pinned it into a chignon, exposing a face so delicate
and pointed and looked so much like a handsome
fox, old friends sometimes called her Foxy.


Before she started her day, she crossed her
legs and hesitated. She rested her chin in the palm
of her hand and sighed. Then she pursed her lips
and gazed through the open window of her second floor
bedroom, beyond the small, quirky cemetery
that covered the entire front of her property. This
was one of those mornings she still had trouble
believing she had a graveyard in front of her house.


She reached for a book on the cherry
nightstand alongside the bed, a small black bible
with faint traces of what had once been gold
lettering embossed on the frayed cover. She didn’t
open it. She just placed her right palm on top and
said a small prayer for her two young sons who
were off fighting somewhere in Virginia.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sharing a Link on a Stranger's Facebook Wall...Not

This isn't a rant. I swear it's not. It's more like I'm throwing my hands in the air and wondering why post.

I've been getting these "shared links" posted on my wall by writers I don't know and have never met even in a general sense, like through an e-mail or through a blog comment.

And to me, this is like someone stepping into my home, pulling out my pots and pans, and cooking in my kitchen without permission. It's a passive aggressive form of intellectual invasion and it's not something that's going to help sell a book. When I see these things, I go the my wall and delete the entire post without thinking twice. And I don't feel bad about this. I have never, not once, even thought about posting links to my books on a stranger's facebook wall. That takes a certain kind of audacity and makes me wonder on many different levels.

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about friends and people I know fairly well. If I know you and we've talked and exchanged e-mails even slightly, I'm fine with sharing my wall with your link. But if I don't know you, and you've never taken the time to at least introduce yourself to me with a short e-mail, you're going to come off as rude and pushy instead of warm and endearing.

And I'm not the only one who feels this way. I have one writer friend who not only removes the shared link, she removes the pushy author from her friend list. I don't take it that far. But with all the noise out there and so many hawking their books day and night, the most obnoxious and aggressive approach is the least likely book I'm going to buy and read. For those of you who have hired these quasi online PR firms to give you bad advice, I hope you think twice before you do something that's going to irritate a lot of people before your book has even gotten off the ground.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don't Get Sucked In...

I'm posting about con jobs because I've seen them happen before and I hate to see people being taken advantage of. There have been people conning other people since the beginning of time and the Internet has only exacerbated this.

Watch out for Internet con jobs, especially those that tug at your heart. These are the worst offenders. There are a few going around and they sound endearing, honest, and reliable. They are asking for money by handing out personal details in private messages or private e-mails that make you stop and think twice. But if it involves money and it's going around through a social network or through e-mail and you don't know the situation personally, it's most likely a con job.

When decent, honest people are working for a charity or running a legitimate fundraiser they post about the cause at hand and state their intentions openly and in public. They have nothing to hide. They don't do it through furtive e-mails and private messages on social media. This is creepy. This is wrong on so many levels I could write a book about it.

And we all work too hard for our money to let anyone take advantage of us. If you're an author, no one helped you more than you helped yourself by writing your book and finding a way to get it published. No one was around when you were getting rejected and you found the strength to keep going. Don't get sucked in.

Christmas In August...


I'm always working about six months ahead of schedule. In other words, I don't write Christmas stories or novels at Christmastime. I write them in the heat of summer, when it's hard to even think about Christmas, so readers will have them by the end of November. It's like this with all holiday themed fiction. And I think most writers do the same thing. But once in a while it's nice to sit back and enjoy the season we're in, too.

I love this photo. For some reason, it seems to capture what can be a ticky tacky holiday, like Halloween, and turn it into something mysterious and magical.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Top Gay Russian Activist Steps Back...

This is interesting, partly because of the fact that the top gay activist in Russia has quit and partly because of alleged anti-Semitic remarks he made which canceled his speaking plans in the US.

I also find the concept of a top gay activist interesting, in terms of this country, and how we don't seem to have a top gay activist. I'm not going into details about my thoughts on that. But it would be nice, indeed, if we had one, too.

Here's the Advocate link, and below is the article:

Russia's Top Gay Activist Suddenly Quits
By Neal Broverman

Nikolay Alekseyev Russian gay activist Nikolay Alekseyev told The Advocate in January that America lacks an LGBT rights figurehead because the stakes are too high for most people — his words now sound prophetic as he steps down from his position as head of Moscow Pride.

For years, Alekseyev worked against the homophobic government culture of Russia, putting increasing pressure on Moscow officials to allow Pride celebrations after they repeatedly canceled them. Enduring brutality, kidnapping, and slander, Alekseyev scored a major victory a year ago when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia violated the European Convention on Human Rights when it banned three Moscow gay-pride festivals.

Alekseyev, 34, has written two books on gay rights that are now housed at the U.S. Library of Congress — he was viewed as the Harvey Milk of Russia, possibly Europe. So, the fact that he's stepping down from Moscow Pride, and the website GayRussia, is a shock to some. Alekseyev did not give specific reasons for his departure in his message on Facebook, Twitter, and listserv emails, but it appears to be for personal reasons. Nikolai Baev, the man succeeding Alekseyev at GayRussia, told UKGayNews that, “The reason is totally personal. He just decided to change his activity and lifestyle, and he has a full right to this."

“It is true that I am fed up, and that is why I decided to step down,” Alekseyev confirmed to UK Gay News, but wouldn't divulge any more information.

Alekseyev recently ran into problems in America. A spring speaking tour was planned as an informal U.S. "debut" party for the civil rights leader. But when an anti-Semitic blog post of Alekseyev's was translated just prior to the trip, the California speaking engagements were canceled — Robin Tyler, the Los Angeles-based LGBT activist, says she made the decision after Alekseyev refused to clarify his remarks; Alekseyev says he pulled the plug and that an enemy of his, Scott Long, formerly of the British organization Human Rights Watch, translated and released the post with the intention of ruining the U.S. trip.

About Historicals...

One reason I find historicals interesting is because half the time they aren't always accurate, and the other half it's hard to tell if they are, indeed, accurate. And I'm not talking about basic inaccuracies about facts, like once when I read a historical about the mid-nineteenth century and the main character drove a ford (this really did happen...it was a Model T Ford...but still).

I'm talking about the kind of inaccuracy that I read the other day that made me laugh. And it's not even in fiction. There's this old house near where I live that has been renovated many, many times in the past three decades. It's actually a great place, and there is a lot of historical significance. And I read a facebook post over the weekend where brand new owners, who are once again about to renovate, wanted to know a little bit about the history and decided to ask locals on facebook. And the comments I read made me laugh. They talked about it being haunted, which is nonsense. They talked about it being on a bogus ghost tour, which is more nonsense. In fact, the only thing haunted about this place is that no one wants to really tell the truth about the history, which is something I find quite often when it comes to all historical, so-called facts.

I know for a fact that this old place was used to make all male porn films during the l990's. I'm talking about the most graphic, sexual kind of porn that can be made, too. They made them there for about ten years. I even knew the owner of the place at the time. I wasn't good friends with him. But I knew him well enough to nod hello and say a few words in passing at the post office or grocery store. But more than that, this is a small town...EVERYONE knew they made porn there.

And yet no one's speaking up and telling the truth. It's as if this porn fact never even existed. There are a few more sordid stories about the people who lived there before the porn people. And none of this was mentioned in facebook either. There were all kinds of things mentioned that never really happened, including the ghost stories. But the one thing of significance...at least I would think it's significant if they made well known porn films in a home I'd just purchased...was not even mentioned in jest.

And this only proves my basic belief that a good deal of history is rewritten and interpreted in order to suit other peoples needs. In A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE, which will be released on Oct. 28th, there were a few scenes where I was tempted to write that the main character served cold iced tea on a hot day. But when I researched iced tea, I found that it wasn't actually popular until later. It was only by a small margin; we're talking a few years. But I wanted to be accurate, so I left the iced tea out and she served cold well water instead...playing it safe.

I know this is a small detail. Most people probably wouldn't even care. But who really knows for sure? She could have been serving cool tea. It could have been an old secret family recipe. Maybe not iced tea in the heat of summer. But she could have kept strong tea at room temperature and added cold well water. However, it's not a chance I wanted to take, not even by a small margin. But if I had, I'd like to see someone argue the point with me. I did take a few liberties in some places and I'm curious to see how they are received/interpreted.

Yes, there are certain facts when it comes to writing historicals that must be adhered to. If not, the reader winds up laughing (or insulted) instead of being educated (and entertained). And one of the most difficult things about writing historical erotic romance is that no one can prove or disprove something did or didn't exist with regard to sex, especially homosexual sex. At least I don't think they can, unless they have some kind of private inside knowledge as to what actually happened inside someone's bedroom. I found a few flaws in Brokeback Mountain. As I gay man, I knew there were certains scenes that would not have happened during that time period. But it worked; most people didn't care. And the author garnered a lot of praise for the book.

I've learned to read these things with an open mind. I know the historical types would disagree with me. They seem to believe that all history was reported with absolute accuracy and there are no gray areas. In some cases they might be correct. But in many cases I doubt it; I don't trust it. I honestly believe that it's part of human nature to cover up and change things as we go along, which makes it virtually impossible to really know what happened in the past.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Safe Sex...Defensive Driving

I came upon a good article recently and wanted to share it. It's about safe sex and how important it is to still practice it. Just because there are drugs out there that are keeping people who have HIV alive, doesn't mean all is well and there's nothing to worry about anymore.

These HIV drugs (ARVs) cost thousands of dollars a month even if you have good insurance, and most don't these days. These drugs have endless side effects and people with HIV are on them for the rest of their lives, daily. I have two close friends who are HIV positive and I know this first hand how difficult it is for them.

I also get into this in my next novel, FOUR GAY WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, where one partner in a longterm gay relationship is HIV positive and the other isn't. I will get into this in more depth in future posts because I think it's important that people realize it can happen no matter how monogamous you think you are. Your partner might not be.

I always like to think of safe sex the same way I think about defensive driving. Whenever I get into my car, I always drive with the mindset that everyone else on the road is an idiot, that I can't trust them, and that I can't assume they are responsible drivers. And I think the same thing goes for sexual partners.

When it comes to sex, how much are you willing to bare? The decision to bareback is not always easy, especially when the situations and individuals involved change. If you are having anal sex with a steady partner, a regular sex buddy or a number of individuals, chances are you've been faced with the decision of whether to bareback (or have anal sex without a condom) or practice safer sex. That decision can have a lasting effect on your future. Unprotected anal sex can drastically increase your chances of contracting or transmitting HIV and other STDs.

So, why do some men still have unprotected sex? There are a number of possible reasons:

Increased Apathy Over the Transmission of HIV. Some believe the myth that, as a gay man, contracting HIV is nevitable or unavoidable or that the virus can been controlled with advanced HIV medications. HIV is still alive and well and should not be thought of as a long-term illness. Remember, there is no cure for HIV or AIDS and HIV medications do not protect you from the virus.

Anxiety Over Contracting HIV. There are instances of some men either deliberately transmitting the virus or willingly receiving HIV. The terms gift giver and bug chaser are sometimes used to describe these men, respectively. It's theorized that bug chasers willingly attempt to contract HIV due to an overwhelming anxiety over catching the virus. A bug chaser may believe it is just a matter of time before they are infected. This is a false belief. Many gay men live long and healthy lives without contracting HIV.

Both Partners Are HIV Positive. Some HIV positive men believe that since they already have the virus there is no need to have protected sex with another HIV positive man. However, HIV positive men run the risk of reinfection, which occurs when a person living with HIV gets infected a second time while having unprotected sex with another HIV infected person.

Some "Live for the Moment." There are always those that either adopt or already possess fearless "live for the moment" mentalities–accepting whatever consequences may result from their actions. Sure, sex without a condom may increase sensation or feel more spontaneous, but the risks of unprotected sex are far more real and dangerous. A moment of pleasure can lead to a lifetime of illness.

Low Self-Esteem. A person with lower self-esteem can often run the risk of following the direction of a more confident sex partner. Protect your health, even if your partner claims that he can't get erect with a condom on or urges you to have unprotected sex for just a while. Also, keep your own self-confidence in perspective. Thinking you may lose a chance to be with a great guy or that you'll ruin a sensual moment will only put you at increased risk of contracting an STD or HIV. Part of him respecting you and part of you respecting yourself is protecting your health.

Drug Use. Using drugs like ecstasy, viagra or crystal meth can impair judgment and has been shown to increase the chances of having unprotected sex. The moment of a drug high may seem unforgettable, but majority of men remember little, including the sex, after coming down. Don't be caught in a situation where you have to remember an encounter that may have given you an unforgettable disease.

Sure, there are benefits to having bareback anal sex, like increased sensation in the penis, greater feeling of closeness to partners, and increased spontaneous. However, the benefits don't outweigh the potential dangers. Not only is there risk of infecting a partner, but you put yourself at risk, as well.

What If Both Partners Are Negative?

When it comes to barebacking partners should be cautious, even when they are both HIV negative. According to About.com's former HIV/AIDS expert Mark Cichocki, R.N.:

"While it is safe to bareback when both partners are disease free, the key is making sure both partners are disease free. The only way you can be 100% sure that is the case is by getting HIV and STD tests," Mark warns. "You cannot just go on someone’s word with this one. Many people don’t know they are infected and unfortunately people are not always 100% truthful when it comes to their sexual history."

Monogamy is also an important factor in maintaining a disease-free relationship. Bringing up the topic of monogamy and commitment are not one time couple conversatoins. You have to check in with your man often.

Even in the midst of a good monogamous bond, the headlights of life can blind us from the potential potholes of a relationship. In reality, some (and I stress some, not all) guys do cheat. We hope that they won't, but some do. There are no guarantees and you don't want to be surprised, especially when your health is at risk.

Always keep talks about safer sex and monogamy in your relationship current and relevant. As Mark advises, go get tested together before barebacking. Remember, there are other pesky bugs besides HIV, so get tested for STDs as well. Then, talk about monogamy in your relationship. Be clear about each others' expectations. For the sake of your health, both partners need to be open and honest with each other at all times. Set the tone early and maintain it throughout your relationship.

Even if you aren't in a relationship, you can never be too cautious when it comes to your health. Never simply take someone's word when it comes to STDs or HIV. The risks are too great and are never outweighed by the pleasure of barebacking.

Another YA by Michael Northrope, GENTLEMEN


I've been on this YA kick all month and I've been surprised at how much I've loved the books I've read. It's not really my genre, but I do have eclectic taste...at times.

The latest YA, GENTLEMEN, by Michael Northrope, was just as good as the others. I don't like to review books here but I do like to mention them when I really enjoy them. And this book, trust me, has a surprise twist at the end that I didn't see coming. And that doesn't happen often. Nine times out of ten I can predict the ending of a book and that really doesn't bother me. But when I'm floored, as I was with GENTLEMEN, and have to go back and read certain parts twice to make sure I didn't get it wrong, I'm always thrilled.

But no spoilers. You'll have to trust me on this.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Author Lauren Myracle Talks About "Shine" and National Book Award

I posted about this on Monday, and wanted to follow up with a link to the author's comments.

The author of "Shine," Lauren Myracle, has written something over at Huff Post, here.

I find what happened to Lauren Myracle and her book, "Shine," disturbing. And it's one of the main reasons why I've never been fond of most book awards in a general sense.

The reason I'm active in the Rainbow Awards is because I know how well they are run, and I know how fair and honest Elisa Rolle is. I've never met anyone as fair or honest as Elisa. And I can tell you for certain something like this never would have happened with the Rainbow Awards.

Bullying, Crisis, Questioning?...This Might Help

Someone commented on a blog post I read yesterday about how it might help to let young LGBTQ people in crisis know there are good books out there that might help them. And I think it's a good idea for young people who are in crisis about their identities, too. In the LGBTQ world there's a lot of frustration during the teen and early twenty years and there's never an easy answer.

But there are people who have been writing about their own experiences, and some have been writing good books with the intention of helping people who are in crisis. And I don't believe everyone is cut out to call helplines or seek help out in an aggressive way. Some people are more introspective and they prefer to seek help in quiet ways.

I have one editorial client left. His name is Curt von Dornheim and he's written many non-fiction books that I think can be very helpful to people who are either going through a crisis or coming out of one. Although his books aren't strictly LGBTQ, he is very familiar with the LGBTQ community and he's worked with everything from AIDS patients to school children. I know his books are good because I edited them. I had nothing to do with the e-book releases because I know nothing about that. I'm not promoting his books because I'm receiving any compensation.

I'm doing it because I think it might help. And I would recommend his books highly to anyone who is in doubt or is questioning something in their life. They aren't religious books; they aren't exactly self-help. They aren't too spiritual and they aren't too complicated. But they do make you feel really good. And that's the best way I can explain it.

He's like Norman Vincent Peale for today's way of thinking...without the religious overtones. Every page has something positive. I like his books so much I even left a review for one on amazon, and that's not something I do often.

Here's a list of his e-books that have just been released:

Don't Take Your Treasures With You

Crystallizing Creative Consciousness

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Help For Teen Bullying...Teen Victim Project

Update: I was informed the helpline on this site it no longer working due to loss of funding. But that doesn't mean there aren't other places.

Please see below or visit our Web site for resources and links to other
victim assistance:
http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbID=DB_HelpfulContacts859.

Thank you for your understanding and support.


Helpful Contacts:

Office for Victims of Crime, Directory of Crime Victim Services:
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/findvictimservices/ [links to crime victim services
across the country]

National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards:
http://www.nacvcb.org/ [links to every state's compensation program]

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7223 or 1-800-787-3224
(TTY) or http://www.thehotline.org/

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453
(TTY) or www.loveisrespect.org

Sacred Circle: National Resource Center to End Violence against
Native Women: 1-877-733-7623 or http://www.sacred-circle.com

Women's Law: http://www.womenslaw.org/ [Information on orders of
protection]

Stalking Resource Center: www.ncvc.org/src [website only]

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 [24/7 hotline] or
www.rainn.org [online hotline]

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs - National Advocacy for
Local LGBT Communities: 1-212-714-1141 or http://www.avp.org/ncavp.htm
[links to local programs]

The Trevor Project - Crisis & Suicide Prevention Lifeline for LGBTQ
Youth: 1-866-488-7386 or http://www.thetrevorproject.org

Identity Theft Resource Center: 1-888-400-5530 or
http://www.idtheftcenter.org

Internet Crime Complaint Center: www.ic3.gov

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453 or www.childhelp.org

National Center on Elder Abuse: 1-800-677-1116 or www.ncea.aoa.gov

Parents of Murdered Children: 1-888-818-7662 or http://www.pomc.org/

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving): 1-800-438-6233 or
http://www.madd.org/

National Runaway Switchboard: 1-800-786-2929 or
http://www.1800runaway.org/

National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264 or www.nami.org

Overseas Citizens Services: 1-888-407-4747 or 1-202-501-4444 (from
overseas)

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255


I found this web site and I really liked what they had to say. It's called Teen Victim Project and there's a ton of information.

There are also e-mail addresses and phone numbers for those who are experiencing bullying or harassment.

Here's the link.

Here's part of the web site copy:

Bullying is when one person hurts or threatens someone else physically, verbally, or in writing. The bully may choose a victim who is smaller or younger than they are, or who is from a different race or culture, or they may pick on someone who is different in some other way. The bullying might happen once or over and over again. Bullying can include pushing, shoving, kicking, hitting, teasing, or writing mean or threatening notes.

Do the Women Who Read M/M Fiction Care About Political Implications?

I'm really just throwing this question out there because I don't have a clue.

And being that this post will be up for a long time, I'd like to think that a few people will comment. If they don't comment, that just might be the answer I was looking for.

But I am curious about whether or not the many women who read m/m romance and fiction (or write it) actually care about the political implications the LGBTQ community experiences. Or is it just about happy endings and reading sexy scenes?

I was recently told that the women who read m/m don't care about political implications. I personally don't agree with this, but it was one of those situations where I wasn't in a position to offer my opinion. I think the women who read and write m/m do care. I've been in touch with them and I've listened to them closely. But I could be wrong. So I'm hoping to gain some insight.

And I know it's a discreet sub-genre. So feel free to comment anonymously. I'll never know who you are.

The Deal With Twitter...

Here's the deal with Twitter:

Unless you're Ashton Kutcher and you have millions following you on twitter.

Or you're a literary agent and thousands are following you because they want you to represent them and turn them into the next Stephanie Meyer.

I think it's a nice gesture to follow someone on twitter when they've been kind enough to follow you. It's simple, too. You just open the e-mail, click on the person's name, and then click "follow."

Twitter isn't easy to get into, not by any means. But once you do you'll start to enjoy it more than you thought you would. You'll also be connected to a lot of excellent things you would have missed otherwise. And there's a lot less "noise" on twitter than on most other social media.

New From Kobo: Vox


I love Kobo anything. I have two Kobo e-readers, one backlit and the other e-ink, and have no complaints at all.

So when Kobo sent me the e-mail about their new Vox I figured posting about it would make me feel less guilty if I decide to buy one.

Check it out here.

Kobo Vox™ is an eReader and more!

Shop over 2.2 million books – 1 million free. Experience color books for all ages on the brilliant 7” screen. Take reading to a new level discussing books with other readers and sharing your Reading Life™ to Facebook®. Built for connected life, Kobo Vox offers Wi Fi, Web browsing, Facebook®, email, music, games, plus over 15,000 apps for Android™! More


ORDERS START SHIPPING OCTOBER 28, 2011.

You could WIN a Kobo eReader! Find out how >>
Sign up for price alert

Availability: In stock

Jamey Rodemeyer's Bullies Still At It...

I've been reading that the little fuckers who allegedly bullied Jamey Rodemeyer are still at it. I've received personal messages and e-mails from people who've read more than I have and I find it hard to believe the audacity these bullies have...and now I'm talking about all bullies across the board.

I'd like to see them try these bully tactics on the wrong person...someone like me. I was never bullied. When it looked like I was about to be bullied it only took one look from me and they backed off. I wish I could say hope and change and love will make it all better. But I personally think a good hard kick in the ass works a lot better. At least that's what kept me from being bullied.

But everyone's different, and some people are more sensitive than others. And looking the other way might work better for them than fighting back. It can also be dangerous to fight back, so I'm not advocating it. There are no easy answers, because there always have been bullies and there always will be bullies. I remember the bullies when I was in school and how they tortured certain people. When I see them pop up occasionally on facebook I take great satisfaction in seeing how they wound up: not well, trust me.

I know when we say it gets better it sounds like a cliche by now, and I understand how futile it can be to imagine it will get better when you're in the middle of being bullied. Lady Gaga said she'd talk to the President about bullying and so far I've heard nothing from either of them. The President is off on his excellent adventure traveling the country by bus and who knows where Lady Gaga is. And we all know there's nothing coming from the other side of the political spectrum from that dismal list of Republican Presidential hopefuls.

But I do know a lot of people without titles and high profile positions who are working hard to do something about the bullying problem. At the very least, there are places to go on the Internet and people to contact if you're being bullied. My friend Ryan just posted about it. You can do this anonymously in most cases. You can let it all out and no one will judge you. So if you are being bullied, at least contact someone about it before you do anything drastic. It might not solve the problem instantly, but you will feel better.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Enabling Facebook's Timeline

I haven't checked into Timeline much because I haven't had time. But it looks interesting and I will check it out at a later date.

So far, though, I'm not sure about whether or not I'll really get into it. It might be a little too much info for my taste.

But I would imagine the really creative types, like those who have created completley false identities on other social media, will have a blast with this.

Here's a link to mashable that shows how to enable Timeline.

Check This Out: Amara's Place M/M Gazette

Thanks to twitter, I found this great new site, The Amara's Place M/M Gazette. It has a little bit of everything, from important news worthy information to pop culture.

It's smart and accurate, which is something I don't see too often.

And I really love the way it's set up. Here's the link.

The Virgin Billionaire's Hot Amish Escapade


I'll post more later this week about THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S HOT AMISH ESCAPADE. But here's the basic info, both the publisher's back cover description and the one I submitted to them.

Publisher's Blurb:

The Virgin Billionaire’s Hot Amish Escapade — Synopsis

Jase and Luis planned the perfect family Thanksgiving- and a little getaway in Amish country the week before, just for the two of them. They weren't expecting the company of a couple of hot college men, or for Jase to suddenly get amnesia and forget his own name!

With unseen danger lurking, will they make it home for Thanksgiving? Or will they ever make it home at all?

Find out in The Virgin Billionaire's Hot Amish Escapade!


My Blurb, raw:

It’s the week before Thanksgiving at Cider Mill Farm and Luis and Jase are winding down from three hectic months. Luis has planned a glorious Thanksgiving dinner, with a twenty-eight pound turkey and wet bottom shoe fly pie, and he’s invited all their friends and family, including Jase’s ninety-something year old grandmother, Isabelle.

And Jase, being the thoughtful husband, has planned a romantic get-away the week before Thanksgiving so he and Luis can spend a few nights alone making love in a remote cabin in the woods in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. But Jase didn’t plan on sharing the cabin with two good looking college guys. And Jase didn’t plan on getting amnesia and losing his memory just when he needs it the most.

The dreary little town in Pennsylvania Dutch Country turns out to be nothing like the charmed touristy Amish towns Luis has read about. And the people are nothing like the cute Amish guys who work at Luis’s favorite Pennsylvania Dutch Market. Most of all, Luis never thought he’d see the day when Jase couldn’t even remember his own name. And when they all wind up trapped there because of the weather, Luis begins to panic.

Luis isn’t sure he can depend on Jase anymore because Jase can’t remember anything. So Luis places his trust in a handsome young medical student named, Matthias, and hopes he’ll get back to Cider Mill Farm in time for Thanksgiving Day.

But there’s an odd twist that neither Luis nor Jase could have planned in their wildest dreams. And what should have been a quiet, romantic trip to Amish Country turns out to be one of the most dangerous situations Luis and Jase have ever encountered.

Freedom To Marry...The Minnesota Catholic Conference


For those of you who are not on the Freedom To Marry mailing list, I'm posting an e-mail I just received from them.

Ryan,

We've known from the beginning that the fight to defeat the proposed anti-gay amendment in Minnesota would be intense, but we didn't expect this:

The Minnesota Catholic Conference has announced they will put "extraordinary resources toward making sure this marriage amendment gets passed."

From the Minnesota Star Tribune:

Minnesota's Roman Catholic bishops are taking the unusual step of urging parish priests across the state to form committees to help get the proposed marriage amendment passed by voters in 2012.
This unholy alliance between the Catholic hierarchy in Minnesota and the anti-gay "National Organization for Marriage" (NOM) is unconscionable, and it's going to take everything we have to stave off their attack campaign.

Can you pitch in to support Freedom to Marry's work in Minnesota?

http://freedomtomarry.org/StoptheHate
Gallup and other polls show that 63% of Catholics support the freedom to marry -- yet this isn't the first time we've faced a multimillion-dollar campaign funded by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to ban the freedom to marry and it won't be the last. But this time we're prepared.

Freedom to Marry helped found Minnesotans United for All Families, the campaign to defeat the attack amendment. We've already committed more than $200,000 to Minnesota this year, and have sent senior staff to help the campaign get up-and-running. We've even started the Freedom to Marry Minnesota PAC to channel your dollars to the battle.

We can win in Minnesota by building the largest grassroots campaign the state has ever seen. But, we need your help.

Donate today to help us defeat the anti-gay amendment in Minnesota:

http://freedomtomarry.org/StoptheHate

Thanks for all you do,

Marc Solomon

National Campaign Director, Freedom to Marry


© 2003-2011 Freedom to Marry | http://freedomtomarry.org/unsubscribe

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Books, Agents, Amazon, and Self-publishing

I thought this article was interesting for several reasons. It definitely shows that times are changing. The people at Amazon, like them or not, clearly know what they are doing.

It's still too soon to tell how all this will turn out. I wouldn't even begin to predict the future in this sense. But I do find it interesting that the very people who were laughing at e-books and self-publishing are now starting to embrace it...with the mindset that they are going to control the industry, continue to be the gatekeepers, and dictate what they think should be published instead of what the readers think should be published.

If I were a self-published author, I'd be forming a group of some kind and reminding everyone that I was one of the people who paved the way for Amazon, e-books, and digital publishing. I'd be looking for ways to empower myself through a larger organization. Because without these brave self-published writers none of this would be happening right now. The same goes for all the hard-working start up e-publishers who've been working their tails off, while large publishers and some (not all) literary agents have been sitting with their thumbs up their behinds waiting for e-books to disappear.

Here's some copy from the article, below, and here's a link. There's also an interesting disclaimer at the bottom I didn't publish in this post. It's worth reading the entire piece.

Amazon Signs Up Authors, Writing Publishers Out of DealBy DAVID STREITFELD

SEATTLE — Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers.


Heather Ainsworth for The New York Times
Laurel Saville’s memoir about her mother was self-published at first. It is scheduled to be published by Amazon next month.

Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers.

It has set up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran, Laurence Kirshbaum, to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction. It signed its first deal with the self-help author Tim Ferriss. Last week it announced a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it paid $800,000, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said.

Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.

Several large publishers declined to speak on the record about Amazon’s efforts. “Publishers are terrified and don’t know what to do,” said Dennis Loy Johnson of Melville House, who is known for speaking his mind.

“Everyone’s afraid of Amazon,” said Richard Curtis, a longtime agent who is also an e-book publisher. “If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out.

“It’s an old strategy: divide and conquer,” Mr. Curtis said.

Amazon executives, interviewed at the company’s headquarters here, declined to say how many editors the company employed, or how many books it had under contract. But they played down Amazon’s power and said publishers were in love with their own demise.

“It’s always the end of the world,” said Russell Grandinetti, one of Amazon’s top executives. “You could set your watch on it arriving.”

He pointed out, though, that the landscape was in some ways changing for the first time since Gutenberg invented the modern book nearly 600 years ago. “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader,” he said. “Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.”

Amazon has started giving all authors, whether it publishes them or not, direct access to highly coveted Nielsen BookScan sales data, which records how many physical books they are selling in individual markets like Milwaukee or New Orleans. It is introducing the sort of one-on-one communication between authors and their fans that used to happen only on book tours. It made an obscure German historical novel a runaway best seller without a single professional reviewer weighing in.

Publishers caught a glimpse of a future they fear has no role for them late last month when Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire, a tablet for books and other media sold by Amazon. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the company’s chief executive, referred several times to Kindle as “an end-to-end service,” conjuring up a world in which Amazon develops, promotes and delivers the product.

For a sense of how rattled publishers are by Amazon’s foray into their business, consider the case of Kiana Davenport, a Hawaiian writer whose career abruptly derailed last month.

In 2010 Ms. Davenport signed with Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin, for “The Chinese Soldier’s Daughter,” a Civil War love story. She received a $20,000 advance for the book, which was supposed to come out next summer.

If writers have one message drilled into them these days, it is this: hustle yourself. So Ms. Davenport took off the shelf several award-winning short stories she had written 20 years ago and packaged them in an e-book, “Cannibal Nights,” available on Amazon.

When Penguin found out, it went “ballistic,” Ms. Davenport wrote on her blog, accusing her of breaking her contractual promise to avoid competing with it. It wanted “Cannibal Nights” removed from sale and all mentions of it deleted from the Internet.

Ms. Davenport refused, so Penguin canceled her novel and has said it will pursue legal action if she does not return the advance.

Monday, October 17, 2011

From: Libba Bray's Livejournal...About: Shine Being Pulled From National Book Award

If you read the post below about the National Book Award pulling a YA, LGBTQ book out of the finalists, check out this link. The author of this article says if far better than I could:

http://libba-bray.livejournal.com/62266.html

LGBTQ YA Book, SHINE, Removed from National Book Awards

I read this on Janet Reid's blog and had to share.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/10/lauren-myracle-asked-to-withdraw-from-national-book-award-finalists.html
This is from the article:

That perspective has clearly been revised. "The National Book Foundation regrets that an error was made in the original announcement of the Finalists for the 2011 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature and apologizes for any confusion and hurt it may have caused Lauren Myracle," it said in a statement. "At her suggestion we will be pleased to make a $5,000 donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation in her name."

That's because of the book's subject matter, explained in our review:

Myracle's latest, "Shine," continues to trade in the forbidden. It just does so in literary prose, following a 16-year-old girl as she attempts to solve an antigay hate crime in a small North Carolina town where methamphetamine use is rampant and illiteracy and unemployment rates run even higher.

"Shine" is dramatic in both content and presentation. Its end pages are jet black, a not-so-subliminal indication of the novel's dark subject matter. Before Chapter 1 has even begun, that subject is revealed with a newspaper clipping. Seventeen-year-old Patrick Truman has been beaten and bound to a guardrail outside a convenience store with an antigay slur written in blood across his chest. Patrick was well known in his hometown of 743 residents for being "light in his loafers" or "swishy," as some of the townspeople called him. The question at the center of "Shine" is, who would beat him bloody with a baseball bat and leave him for dead?

Myracle's books, which include "ttyl" and "ttfn," have often appeared on the most-challenged and most-banned lists released by the American Library Assn. "I was over the moon last week after receiving the call telling me that 'Shine' was a finalist for the award," Myracle said in her statement.


I truly hope this book was entered in the 2011 Rainbow Awards, where they don't do this sort of thing.

Review for He's Bewitched by Gerry Burnie


I was looking through old blog posts last night and I noticed that I never posted this review for HE'S BEWITCHED. This book has already sold many copies and I haven't promoted it in a long time. But I'm doing it now, and mainly because Gerry Burnie "got" what I was trying to do with this book. And when that happens, I can't tell you how good it makes any author feel.

Here's one quote I love: A campy little story not really intended to be taken seriously, and if read in this context it’s a fun read

I don't believe all fiction should be deep and serious, especially not a m/m romance where readers are looking for something fun and something that will help them escape all their own problems. And if someone is buying an erotic romance I find it almost unethical not to add plenty of sex scenes. Readers are buying the book partly because of the sex scenes, and nothing bothers me more than an erotic romance without enough sex. That's what I tried to do with this book. AMERICAN STAR is another example of a campy, satirical look at the pop culture TV show, American Idol. And if you read People Magazine...or just glance through last week's section about Ashton Kutcher's escapades...you'll see how absolutely ridiculous pop culture can sometimes be.

Here's a link to the entire review for HE'S BEWITCHED. I'm not going to say anything else because the review says it best.

It’s definitely not a Pulitzer Prize contender, and from that perspective I wasn’t at all disappointed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Perfect Example of Subjective...And an Idiot


In the post before this, I talked about how writing is so subjective. And this afternoon while I was lurking around the Interwebs I saw something classic.

I went to a blog I don't usually frequent, for reasons you'll understand by the time this post is finished. The author was ranting about other poorly written author blogs...in a general sense...and how the authors who maintain these blogs confuse people with too much information and clutter. I'm not joking either. This was a full fledged rant and my jaw was on the keyboard.

This is something I would never do, and most bloggers I know wouldn't do it either. I got to know a lot of bloggers when I worked for bestgayblogs.com and I grew to respect them all. Blogs are personal online publications that, in a sense, reflect our individual personalities. And they are free!! When I go to a blog, it's almost like being invited into someone's home; I'm a guest. This is how personal the experience is...for me. And no one with any amount of decency would criticize someone's home.

I won't go into detail about the rant. But what I found interesting while reading the author's extremely negative post is that while this author/blogger was criticizing and ranting about everyone else's blog, HER blog is published in beige on beige. The photo above is a good example. The background is beige, the print is beige, the post titles are beige, and I have a feeling this author's life in general is pretty beige. The words blend into the background and all that beige is so difficult to read you can't look at it for too long without blinking.

I'm really not dissing the author's blog. I'm dissing the rant and calling attention to the irony. While this author is ranting about other blogs being too confusing and filled with clutter, HER blog is so beige it's virtually impossible to read.

I'm also pointing out an example of subjectivity. I'm sure there are some people who love beige on beige blogs and they have no trouble reading them. I'm also sure there are just as many people who love loaded blogs, filled with all kinds of information that isn't necessarly in detailed order (I do), and they become loyal followers. Blogging is a means of expression, not just a way to promote something. And I've always found the most successful bloggers are the people who know this and follow their hearts.

Something I Believe...


I read and hear a lot about "good" writing. But the problem is that no one has ever come up with a set definition for good writing. And that's because it's all subjective. And it becomes even more subjective when you cross genres. Some people like cats, others like dogs. I love both.

I do believe you can spot inexperienced writing...too much dialogue, too many said bookisms, etc...but I wouldn't necessarily call that bad writing. And I've never seen a writer yet you didn't improve with time. Writing is like any other art form: the more you do the better it gets.

So the next time you hear someone tell you it's all about "good" writing, stand back and smile. Because you know you're listening to an idiot.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What Was It Like To Be "Gay" In the l960's?

I'm writing this post because I'm working on a book right now that's set in the l960's. I have many older gay friends who've been helping me out with research. And articles like this have been insightful.

But I have to admit that it's hard...damned hard...to fully understand what it must have been like back then. I can only imagine and hope I do it justice.

Gay in the 1960s — the time was ripe for revolution

By Warren Allen Smith


It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.


Gay life in the 1960s was, for sure, an entirely different time, a time in which falling in love monthly, or even weekly, was neither impossible nor improbable.


It was a dangerous time, however, to be openly gay. Physicians who cured our venereal diseases scolded us for having done what we did to get sick. Psychiatrists ruled that we were mentally sick. Neighbors maliciously gossiped about who was visiting late last night. Landlords asked gay couples, hoping to rent, if they were related. Monotheists called us sinners, threatening that if we didn’t choose to be heterosexual we would not get to Heaven (making that theological invention all the more undesirable). If we were slightly on the fey side, we could get a black eye, a bloody lip or worse. Sometimes, in self-defense, we related antigay jokes to throw people off.


Even if we carefully stayed in the closet, it was difficult to play The Majority’s game. When I was an acting first sergeant in charge of a company that landed on Omaha Beach in 1944, I did play the game, difficult as it was. Although I preferred music, art, poetry and ballet to sports, I guarded against expressing myself. Whenever I got a leave during the time I was in the Army, I chose to travel alone. Who better than gays to understand Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”!


In 1969, Vice President Spiro Agnew would have become president if Richard Nixon had died. Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand tied as best actresses for an Oscar. “1776” and “The Great White Hope” won Antoinette Perry awards. Billie Jean King was one of the top tennis players. If treated, gonorrhea, syphilis and other venereal diseases were not life threatening. It cost 20 cents to ride the subway.


Sex in New York City was readily available, night and day. The Rambles in Central Park was one place where openly gay male sex occurred and allegedly had ever since the William Cullen Bryant-inspired area first opened. All that shrubbery, all those dark places in which to hide and to meet….


Many small parks had gay meeting spots, and all large parks had cruising areas. Brooklyn’s Prospect Park had several busy sites. Riverside Drive’s area stretched from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to General Grant’s Tomb and on up past Harlem. Parks along the East River and areas near the Battery were places to hook up. The park at Washington Sq. was appealing, particularly the northwest corner where guys leaned suggestively on the railings. If anyone asked the time, he really was inviting you to his nearby apartment. Rendezvous were followed by an exchange of names and phone numbers — wrong numbers, of course, if either thought he might do better falling in love after a one-night stand with someone else tomorrow.


Read more here...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Big News For Kobo...


As the readers of this blog know I love all things Kobo. I have two Kobo e-readers and I'm thinking about getting a third.

And now Kobo has partnered with two large book sellers, one in France and one in the UK. I'm not tech savy enough to understand the details. But I do know I'll have even more choices now when I'm shopping for books.

Here's a link to the WHSmith web site which will explain it better than I can.

Michele Montgomery: A Post Worth Reading

I was hopping around different blogs last night and came across this. I'm a fan of Michele's fiction, and I've lurked at her blog before and I've enjoyed what I read. But this truly is worth reading.

Here's part of the post, and I've linked to the rest of it.

Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad

Looking at my activity here on the blog shows that I’m probably the worst blogger there ever was. Generally I’m so busy I can’t even think by the end of the day, never mind write a blog, and if I do, it’s because something has managed to grab me and inspire me so much, that I have to make time to get it out and on paper, so to speak. It’s almost 11PM and something managed to grab me and inspire me enough to get it down and I hope when you read it, you’ll take it to heart, because I did.

“…How we all have to be together in this life, that we all are each other’s caretakers in this life and you never know if you’re gonna be the most important person in someone’s life.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Writer Beware: The Scams Continue

I don't do a lot of these posts because there are other web sites and blogs for writers where they concentrate on scams and rip-offs. But when I see something I think is important to post about, I do my best to help these things from spreading.

This morning I opened a private message on Facebook. There was a friendly note that I thought was from an author telling me about her new book. I get these messages a lot and I don't mind reading them. Sometimes, if I have the time, I even check out the book. It's friendly; no harm done; all is well.

But as I read on, I saw there was something different about this message. It wasn't a personal message at all. It was a marketing company promoting some author's book through a private message on Facebook. In fact, they weren't even promoting the author's book. They were promoting their own web site and their marketing services. These services, so they claim, are supposed to make writers instant millionaires.

I'm not going to link to these people and I'm not going to name them. There are more like them out there and I'm sure there will be more popping up in the future. Now that e-books have become so popular, more writers are publishing than ever before. Sleazy companies like these know how vulnerable writers can be and they play upon their weakest points. One of which is selling books.

The private message I received began with this, I see you like to read. Anything that begins that way sends off signal right away. Then the message went on to explain the book in a few lines and tell me about the marketing services by this company that are guaranteed to sell books and make writers millionaires.

There is no such thing. Trust me, I know this because I've been in publishing for over twenty years. And when you hear someone say something like this, run in the other direction as fast as you can. These companies are only out there to scam you and take your money. If there was a magic secret to promoting a book everyone would be doing it and we'd all be millionaires.

People are paying good money to companies like this and they will never get results. In other words, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is too good to be true. And this is how I replied to this marketing company, verbatim:

Hi,

This is just a suggestion. But I'm not sure these spams on private messages work. If I found out anyone was sending out private messages to other authors or readers about my books, I'd go postal on them. It's along the lines of telemarketing and it's intrusive. I really do think there are lines drawn when it comes to promoting books, and when those lines are crossed it hurts the author more than helps him or her. And I hate to see that happen to any author. You might want to rethink your aggressive approach for the sake of the authors you are promoting. It just doesn't work.

Ryan Field


This happened at nine this morning. I'm still waiting for a reply. If they had been reputable, they would have replied. The scammers never bother.

Something in the Making...Thanks to E-books

About a month ago I was approached about doing something with another author whom I've always admired. And though I've never collaborated with anyone on anything, I was extremely interested.

So the publisher introduced us...we'd never met...and the e-mails started flying. After a great deal of brainstorming, we came up with a concept, a theme, and a deadline.

Nothing is in writing yet so I can't give out details. But I can say this much. It's most likely going to be a novella collection, it's going to be m/m romance, and it will be out before Christmas.

The whole idea of collaborating has been very nice. The other author and I get along wonderfully and it's an experience I'm looking forward to. For years I worked on anthologies with many other authors, for Cleis Press, Alyson Books, and one other gay press. I've also worked with a few European publishers on short story collections. It's actually my favorite way to write and I'm glad that all the new advances in digital technology have allowed authors to have this kind of freedom. And as a reader, I would imagine people are having just as much fun as I am buying short stories, novellas, and full length novels. It's hard to believe we didn't have those choices five or ten years ago.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

National Coming Out Day...Don't Feel Pressured

This might be the shortest post I've ever written.

If you're coming out today, I think that's wonderful. Huzzah!!

But if you're still living in circumstances where it's not possible to come out...or, more important...you're not ready to come out yet, please do not feel pressured into coming out just because there's a national coming out day and all your friends think it's the cool thing to do.

The process is different for everyone, and you should never feel pressured by anyone to actually come out until you're ready. Some do it all at once. Others take their time and do it slowly. There's no right way or wrong way. I never actually came out, at least not formally. And if I had to go back, I wouldn't change a thing.

"Trapped," by Michael Northrope


I hate to do book reviews, mainly because I don't want this blog turning into that kind of a blog. But when I read something I think other people will love, I post about it.

I just finished TRAPPED, by Michael Northrope, and loved it. If you're not into YA and you're curious about the genre, this is the book that might get you hooked. If you're into YA and you know the genre well, you'll like it just as much.

My only complaint has to do with the publisher, not the author or the book. And please don't take this out on the author because authors have nothing to do with pricing books (people have done this with me and I know how it feels: helpless). I read the e-book version of TRAPPED. I bought it on Kobo where I buy most of my digital books. And I paid something like ten dollars. This time, I can say with complete honestly that TRAPPED was worth the money and I have no complaints whatsoever. I even bought this author's other novel, GENTLEMEN, last night and paid something like nine dollars.

So I hope the way the publisher priced the book doesn't deter anyone. Publishers still aren't getting that we who love to read digital books don't like the prices they are charging. We buy often and we read fast...it's about volume nowadays. And sometimes authors suffer for publishers mistakes. I have, indeed, passed on many books just because of the prices. But I'm glad I didn't pass on TRAPPED. Like it said, it was well worth the money.

Monday, October 10, 2011

For Those Thinking About Self-Publishing

Although this isn't new, I figured I'd post it. I wanted to do it earlier but there have been a lot of things going on.

However, it is interesting and it is another choice for authors.


New Service for Authors Seeking to Self-Publish E-BooksBy JULIE BOSMAN
Published: October 2, 2011
The Perseus Books Group has created a distribution and marketing service that will allow authors to self-publish their own e-books, the company said on Sunday.


The new service will give authors an alternative to other self-publishing services and a favorable revenue split that is unusual in the industry: 70 percent to the author and 30 percent to the distributor. Traditional publishers normally provide authors a royalty of about 25 percent for e-books...read more

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Toby Keith on Same Sex Marriage...



When I saw this piece about Toby Keith I figured I'd post about it. I know a lot of LGBTQ people who are country music fans (we don't all listen to disco music and show tunes), and I like a few of Toby's songs myself, especially AS GOOD AS I ONCE WAS. I also like his honesty and that he's not afraid to speak up. And if this video doesn't make you smile, something is wrong.

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

In an upcoming interview on CMT Insider to be aired on Saturday, Keith says there’s no reason we should be getting involved in people’s personal lives and that banning gays from marrying won’t stop them from living together. Keith believes we are wasting time and money trying to legislate what two consenting adults do together.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cutting Off Amish Men's Beards?


Being that I have a new release coming out soon, THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S HOT AMISH ESCAPADE, I couldn't help posting this.

Amish Men's Beards Cut Off; Police Suspect Amish-On-Amish Violence

First Posted: 10/7/11 11:25 AM ET Updated: 10/8/11 07:59 AM ET

Sheriff's deputies are closing in on suspects from a troublemaking Amish splinter group in Ohio who have broken into homes and cut off the beards and hair of other Amish men.

Authorities tell HuffPost Crime they are planning to arrest at least four men who are followers of Sam Mullet, a bishop who Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said has clashed with other Amish leaders for years.

At least three attacks in rural eastern Ohio since September prompted the victims -- all Amish -- to look outside their traditionalist community to seek help from local police.

In one nighttime raid in Carroll County, a group of men knocked on a door, pulled a man out by the beard and tried to chop off his facial hair, the Wheeling Intelligencer reports.

In Holmes County, a posse allegedly broke into a home, lopping off the hair and whiskers of everyone inside, including a 13-year-old-girl and 74-year-old man. There were no serious injuries, according to police.

"Who knows where it's going to end?" Abdalla said to The Huffington Post. "That's why we have to make these arrests."

Holmes and Carroll County sheriff's officials didn't return calls from HuffPost.

The unnamed suspects could be charged with kidnapping, assault, burglary and trespassing, the sheriff said.

Police say Mullet is not a suspect, but he is said to exert influence over the approximately 18 families that live near him in the village of Bergholz. The attackers in Carroll County allegedly identified themselves as the "Bergholz clan" to the victims. One person that deputies plan to arrest is a son of Mullet, Abadalla said.

The victims of the tonsorial onslaughts include two Amish bishops. Abdalla believes that Mullet is a ringleader who ordered his followers to launch the attacks against his potential rivals.

"Those people don't make a move out there without his orders," Abdalla told The Huffington Post. "He calls all the shots."

The Amish community in Jefferson County is small, numbering around 100 individuals, Abdalla said, but is much larger in the neighboring areas.

In Trumbull County last month, men and women allegedly invaded a home and returned to Jefferson County with the freshly cut locks as proof that they carried out Mullet's commands, according to The Intelligencer. The victims said their sons and son-in-law were the culprits, but refused to file a complaint, the Associated Press reports.

Amish do not shave or cut their hair, believing that it's forbidden by the Bible, said Donald Kraybill, an expert who studies the religious minority at Elizabethtown College. To forcibly lob off their locks is a direct insult to their identity, Kraybill said.

"This is very odd and clearly outlier behavior," he wrote to HuffPost. "Amish-on-Amish violences is extremely rare. ... These appear to be malicious assaults on symbols of Amish identity by a wacko little group."

The Huffington Post could not contact Mullet. Bryan Felmet, an attorney who represented Mullet four years ago, said he's no longer a client.

The haircutting banditry is the latest form of tumult that Sheriff Abdalla attributes to Mullet's colony. During a custody dispute in 2007 between Mullet's daughter Wilma Troyer and her husband, armed deputies stormed a schoolhouse to seize Troyer's daughters. At a subsequent hearing, Abdalla claimed that Mullet had threatened his life and that sexual abuse in the Amish community had been covered up.

Friday, October 7, 2011

You Missed a Spot, Big Guy: Number One Bestseller on TLAgay.com


One of my author friends over at loveyoudivine.com, Jon Michaelson, just informed me that one of my e-books, YOU MISSED A SPOT, BIG GUY, hit number one on the bestseller list over at TLAgay.com. Here's the link. And here's the TLA page where it can be purchased.

Cover Preview: THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S HOT AMISH ESCAPADE


Here's the new cover for the newest book in the Virgin Billionaire series...THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE'S HOT AMISH ESCAPADE.

I don't have a release date yet. But I'll post one when I get it.

Why I Like Reading YA Fiction

I'm in the middle of a great YA right now titled, TRAPPED, by Michael Northrope. I heard about the book through a friend who knows the author and when I read the book description on Kobo it had all the elements that I love...

A serious snowstorm, where kids are trapped in a remote New England school with no hope of getting out for days. Dynamics between characters that are as simple as they are complicated...especially because they are in high school where emotions rule. I'm one of those people who didn't hate high school. I didn't love it all the time, but most of my memories are pretty good. And I love reading about kids in high school today, and realizing that not all that much has changed since the l980's (I'm 40). Other than technology, like cell phones and computers, the basic dynamics aren't that different.

But another reason why I like reading YA books is because it helps me keep up with what's happening. Youth rules and there's no escape. Right now I'm finishing up a book of my own that has a main character who meets someone who is a sophomore in college. This character is only twenty and he's one of the star basketball players on his team. By coincidence, when I started reading TRAPPED, I noticed that there's a character that loves basketball, too. And when I read a few of the generic terms and phrases this character uses in the book...a small example would be he says hoops instead of saying basketball...it helped me gain a better knowledge of how my young character might behave and react and speak with his peers.

Those of you who have teenagers know what I'm talking about. I have teenage nephews and nieces and I'm cautious about everything I say in front of them. In other words, if you're an author and you're over thirty and you're not willing to keep up with what's trending, you might want to stick with characters who are over thirty. Because there's nothing worse than coming off as lame and old and tired when you're writing young characters. Whenever I see it, I cringe. And reading YA books helps more than most writers realize.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Hula Hana" Audition - Amy Walker

Check This Out: A Contest

My friend, Ryan, is going to have a contest over at his blog next week sometime. Here's Ryan's first post, and I'll continue to post more here on my blog when he does.




One day next week I will have some kind of contest to give away this rainbow disco ball. It's 2" around and can hang anywhere I have one hanging from my rearview mirror Kadin does also. But I will be giving one away for free no strings or anything attach won't cost you one red cent it will be totally free shipping also. Check in next week for more details on how to win this rainbow disco ball!

The Q in LGBT: Rethinking Things

Since I posted my feelings about the Q in LGBT, I've been having second thoughts.

The reason why I've been having these second thoughts has to do with a lot of things I've been reading on social networks by other people who feel to strongly and passionately about the Q.

I see what they are doing, and I see how hard they are fighting. And I'm starting to think they have a point. Mainly because, I think, this is the kind of passion and strength that gets results in the end.

I'm not ready to embrace it. But I am ready to support it and the people who believe in it. And, thanks to a positive exchange on a social network I recently had with someone, I'm going to fight hard to get the Q in the title of my next book.

Release Date: A Young Widow's Promise


I just received my author copies for A YOUNG WIDOW'S PROMISE and learned the release date will be October 28, 2011.

I can't thank Dalia and Janet over at loveyoudivine.com enough for editing this book. And I can't thank Dawne Dominique enough for creating the cover. As usual, I gave her an unrealistic, lengthy description of what I wanted the cover to be. And she interpreted it, brought it all back to reality, and came up with a cover that was better than what I'd expected.

I'll post more when the book/novella is released. But I'd like to make it clear this is a m/f historical romance with a m/m subplot, that's set during the civil war, and has a very happy ending. It's also extremely low in the heat level department. There is erotica, but not anything that would be considered extreme or too graphic. In this case, the story didn't call for it. I know I'm sometimes the first one to complain there isn't enough erotica in some books. But I just didn't think this novella needed it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Body Images, Women, and It's Nice to be Naughty, by R. Field



When I wrote the short e-book, IT'S NICE TO BE NAUGHTY, and had it published under the pen name "R. Field," my main concern was how so many people these days, gay or straight, seem so concerned over body images. I wanted to create an erotic story about a full figured woman who meets and falls in love with a handsome young man who happens to love her partly because of her full figure. I didn't want this to be the main focus of the story. But I was tired of reading about perfect people that send us all the wrong signals when it comes to body image. I used the pen name because I was crossing genres. But I'm sorry I did. If I could go back I'd just use my own name.

What sparked this post was something I saw on facebook. It's been shared so many times I'm not sure who wrote it. But I've copied and pasted it verbatim below.




A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

"Dear people, whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.
They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.
They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defend and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?
They would have no sex life and could not bear children.
Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.
And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I'd rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn't enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.
We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.
Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: "How amazing am I ?! "

(The girl on the picture is French model Tara Lynn)

A Young Widow's Promise: Researching the Civil War

I know most of you are going to think this post is about as interesting as reading a legal document. But while I've been researching for A Young Widow's Promise, I've found a few things I didn't know about life in the 1800's. This is why I love doing historicals, and also why I don't do them often.

And being that the storyline in this historical revolves around maintaining a graveyard, I had to know a few details about how lawns were treated and maintained during the Civil War.

We take for granted that lawn mowers have always been around...we take for granted that lawns have always been around. But that's not the case. As you can see here, lawn mowers are a fairly new invention. And because of a few years difference, the one in my story had to be ordered from Europe.

Thomas Green produced the first chain-driven mower in 1859. Manufacture of lawn mowers began in the 1860s. By 1862, Farrabee's company was making eight models in various roller sizes. He manufactured over 5000 machines until production ceased in 1863.The first United States patent for a reel lawn mower was granted to Amariah Hills on January 12, 1868.

And this was just some of the basic research involved.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Authors Are Always Fighting For the Reader...

In this quick post I wanted to explain that sometimes the editorial process can be tricky. This is especially true when you get an editor who isn't familiar with gay men and the editor is editing m/m fiction. It's one thing to know when to remove or add a comma. But it's completely different when it comes to getting inside the head of a gay man and knowing when a scene works or not. I've been an editor. So I know how it works on both sides of the fence.

I've posted about how I love all the editors I work with. And I thank them time and again for helping me produce what we all think and hope readers are going to like. I stand by this and I can't thank them enough.

But sometimes there are situations where the author knows more than the editor. And this is when the author has to fight for the reader. It doesn't happen often. But when it does, I can tell you for sure that authors aren't thinking about the editor's feelings or opinions. Authors aren't thinking about what book reviewers will think or how they will feel either.

The author is only thinking about one person: the reader. We think about those of you who have sent us e-mails and praised our work. We think about those of you who have left one star reviews and have been disappointed in something we hope we can learn from. We even think about those of you who haven't read our work yet. And we do our best to make sure you get what we think and what we hope you're going to want. You are the most important people to us and nothing else matters. And if it means we have to fight to get you what we think you want, we're more than willing to roll up our sleeves and go to battle for you.