Thursday, January 31, 2013

Anti Gay Remarks; San Francisco 49ers' Chris Culliver: "We Don't Got No Gay People"



Excuse this rant, but it seems there have allegedly been anti-gay remarks made by donkey cornerback Chris Culliver in a recent interview with Artie Lange.

"I don't do the gay guys man," Culliver said, according to Yahoo. "I don't do that. No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do."

Idiot. The triple negative speaks for itself: "No, we don't got no..."

And this is an idiot that we pay to see so he can make millions of dollars and slam gays in public without a hint of remorse or shame.

This recent talk about gays in pro sports has been an ongoing topic since Manti Teo's sexuality was questioned last week. And frankly I don't understand why, because if the genius Culliver (or the mainstream media) thinks "he don't got no" gays on pro football teams I would bet he's sadly mistaken.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis said it's likely he played with gay players during his career, although none of them were fully out.

"Because [the sport] is so testosterone driven, it’d be really, really difficult for a gay player to really stand up and say, ‘Hey, I’m gay and an NFL football player,'" Bettis told HuffPost Live. "And you don't know how the teams are going to respond to that as well."

Well if that's not an understatement I don't know what is. They "do got gays," but those gays don't come out for fear of intimidation and being branded by those they know won't support them. It can literally ruin their lives and their careers, and you have to grasp the magnitude of this to fully understand it. I'm not surprised that other teams members didn't come out against Culliver, because even if they support gays they can't take the risk of speaking about it in public. And I fully sympathize with those who are gay in pro sports and don't come out.

All I can say is trust me, you have nothing to worry about, Culliver. You'd be the last man on earth that would get me excited in a locker room. So get over yourself. You don't "got" to worry about gays as much as you think you do.

He's since apologized. Too late.

You can read more here.

Then, in another recent article that gets even more outrageous, it seems two San Francisco 49ers' players are reneging on being in a video last year (It Gets Better) that was made to help support young gay Americans. I remember that video, and I think I posted it on social media in a few places. I think Hillary Clinton made one, and so did the President. It helped a lot of gay people, not just younger gays.

"This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay," Brooks told the publication. "But I didn't make any video." Later, after he was reportedly shown the video on an iPhone, the player clarified, "Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay [rights] video."

What can you say about something like that? Seriously. It doesn't even make sense. He's either lying or he really is a blatant idiot and the emperor has no clothes once again.

Even more curiously, Sopoaga also denied taking part in the clip, even as a teammate reportedly tried to jog his memory. "I never went," he declared. "And now someone is using my name."

Well. Interesting. It's hard to add anything to a statement like that.

A petition has since been launched on change.org asking the NFL to send Culliver to spend a day with the New York Gay Football League.

I love Change.org. But I disagree with them this time. This gay who is sick and tired of getting slammed says fire him on the spot, because if anyone had made a racial slur against him the way he made against gays, they would have been fired on the spot, with no questions asked.

It's time for the double and triple standards to end, and time for zero tolerance whenever gay slurs like this are made. You can pat people like him on the back and send them to spend a day with the Gay Football League but it won't do a bit of good. Make an example of Culliver, fire him, and you won't see anyone making slurs against gays like that again. And give the gay guys on those football teams...closeted or not...a little support, too.

You can read more of this nonsense here.







Premiere Party at Allromanceebooks.com


There's an interesting event happening over at Allromanceebooks.com right now, with a Premiere Party, where the focus is on "Reading is Sexy." If you have a webcam it's the perfect opportunity to connect with other readers and authors.

From my inbox:

Join us for a Video Premiere sure to convince you: Reading Is Sexy

ARe is hosting a party to celebrate the launch of a very special video and you're invited!


Join us for the debut of, Reading is Sexy tonight, January 31st. The party will take place at Shindig.com at 8pm US Eastern and last approximately one hour.


Attendees will get to meet, greet and interact with authors and other readers as well as have a chance to win the many prizes we'll be handing out during the event.
 
It's happening right now as I said. Believe it or not I don't actually have a webcam set up to do this, but this is one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2013 and I will have one soon. Actually, this event will force me to get one because it looks like it could be fun.


We want to show the world what romance readers have always known -- Reading Is Sexy.

Guys in Sweat Pants; Anthony Romero; "Queer" Book Bashing at Barnes & Noble



I like to post as much LGBT content here as I can, and a new web site that's about to be launched called "Guys in Sweat Pants," is something I've been following for a while on social media.

From what I gather, Anthony Romero, someone I've posted about before, is part of this site and I became a fan of his writing through a reader of mine. I'm hoping we see more of his writing in the future.

Right now you can check it out on tumblr, here. And follow them at Twitter with the address below.

All these guys will be on the site when we officially launch on Feb 7th (@guysnsweatpants)

You can also check out the main web site that will be launched here on February 7, 2012.

For those who might be faint of heart...or underage...this is adult content and you have been warned. From what I've seen it's mostly explicit photos of men, as they say, in sweat pants.

Gay Book Gets Bashed by Barnes & Noble Reviewer

I hesitated to post about this for several reasons. One, I've always boasted about how superior the book reviews seem to be over at Barnes & Noble, and I've never actually had this problem with them myself...with my own books. I guess I can forget about that now.

Two, I don't know this author and I know nothing about the book and I don't like posting anything about anyone without a little knowledge. But I read about this on facebook and checked out the links before I actually decided to post about it.

Three, I don't like it when authors complain about book reviews, at least not in a general sense. And sometimes it's hard to distinguish between what is a valid complaint and what is not. In this case, I think it's valid and the review should be removed. It's not just a slur on the author or book, it's a slur on the entire LGBT community as a whole. Any gay person who does not take offense to this would make me wonder.

And four, because this gay bashing book review only reinforces how much I despise the word "queer" and will never, ever embrace it in my own life. To me, it's as offensive as the N word. As you can see the way this review was worded, the reviewer seemed to take pride in using the word "queer." And words are powerful.

Here's the one star gay bashing review, and here's a link to Barnes & Noble where you can see it yourself:

Minus stars. I wish bn would put these disgusting, nasty queer books in place where normal decent ppl wont be offended by them when they are shopping.

So now normal decent people leave hateful reviews. I didn't know that was normal or decent.

In any event, I think this qualifies as gay bashing, and it does NOT qualify as a book review. There's nothing even remotely mentioned about the book. Just one star and a vicious comment about all books with gay material. But more than that, the review has been up since last September and from what I've gathered on social media the author has been asking Barnes & Noble to remove it because it is gay bashing. Evidently, Barnes & Noble doesn't seem to agree, because the review is still up there.

This really isn't something new. I've had people accuse me of promoting the "gay agenda" in reviews and I never even gave that a second thought. Because guess what? You're damn right. I am promoting the gay agenda. And I'm going to keep promoting it for as long as I have a right to free speech.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Joel Stein's Awesome Column On Public Shaming



For the past six years, I have been receiving a gift subscription to Time Magazine from someone close to me, and for the past six years I have sent them a thank you note and been gracious about receiving the gift. The only problem is I'm not fond of Time Magazine, because I don't feel as though I'm getting objective news there anymore. In fact, the only reason I don't throw it away every week is because I've come to truly enjoy Joel Stein's Awesome Column and I don't want to miss that one page of what sometimes resembles highly underestimated common sense, and other times absolute brilliance when you least expect it.

In the most recent column titled, "The Shame Game," Stein discusses the Lance Armstrong debacle and the over-publicized interview with Oprah on her OWN network, pardon the horrible pun. I read the print version, but you can read the full piece here at Time online if you are a subscriber.

If you're not, I'll post a few excerpts, which I think the infringement police of all that is Internet now and forevermore will allow me to do. I'm not certain how this works, but I think you'll be able to read it for free next week online, or the week after, because a lot of the content is released to the public after a certain date...at least I think that's how it works, but don't quote me on that.

In any event, I just couldn't figure out why I had such a problem with the Oprah/Armstrong interview and I wound up not watching it at all. I even programmed the DVR and thought about watching later. But I wound up deleting it completely. First, I'm a runner and I'm not a huge follower of that particular sport, so I felt as if I were eavesdropping on something that was none of my business. Second, I remember a few other Oprah/Armstrong interviews where they both kissed and hugged each other so much I nearly gagged to death. Third, I haven't watched anything on the OWN network since it began and I figured why bother now? I had been hoping we'd see more LGBT programming there.

I didn't consider the shame aspect, not once, and certainly not in the way Stein writes about it in his column, The Shame Game.

"I too have been publicly shamed, though not by Oprah, whose shameless producers interviewed me and then used out-of-context clips during her public shaming of James Frey. Which I feel ashamed about. But I've been publicly shamed for writing offensive columns. Not all of them, because it would take up all of society's time, but a few...none of which were ones I was worried about."

I did catch the Frey interview on Oprah after it had been established that he'd embellished some of the content of his non-fiction book, and if that wasn't public shaming I don't know what is. I was actually waiting for her to lean over and slap a big red A on his shirt. And he just sat there, slumped over, taking it all in without a hint of defense whatsoever. I couldn't even begin to imagine what was going through his mind at the time. Making a mistake is one thing. None of us are perfect. But to be put on a stage in front of millions of people and shamed quite that way brings new meaning to the word sensationalism.

And that's another reason why I didn't bother to watch the Oprah/Armstrong interview. I'm just not into public shaming in any form. Period. It's not just Oprah. I like Oprah and I think she's done far more good for the world than bad. But a lot of people in the mainstream don't realize how rampant this sort of shame thing is on the Internets, especially with authors and those of the know-it-all blogging crowd that live to create controversy and brand themselves as far more important than they actually are.

I think I like this part of Stein's post the most:

"We need to stop the public apologies in which we demand our pound of tears. Oprah, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Jay Leno and Jesse Jackson have become the tailors of our scarlet A's. I do not believe that the people who watched the Oprah interview felt wronged for believing that an athlete didn't dope to win a sport they've never watched. I believe that interview made us feel better about all the bad things we've done, because at least we didn't cheat at cycling."

Again, no one is perfect. No one should be expected to be perfect. I could add a few names to that list of the scarlet letter A group, most of whom have been doing their own brand of shaming online where only a handful of people see them do it. But the entire concept of public shaming leaves me wondering whether or not we crave public scandal, or we're interested in watching imperfection at its best as it might possibly relate to us, as Stein suggests above.

And now I feel guilty and ashamed, because I still haven't left a review of Stein's most recent book release, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, and I've been meaning to do that for months now.

Sorry, no photos of Joel Stein this time. He's a nice looking guy, but who knows what's considered public domain anymore unless it's marked and branded that way.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reading Through the Newest Galleys: Pledges with Cleis Press



For those who might not know, I think the best way to explain galleys in publishing is that they are the final edits...the last chance to look something over and make small changes...before a book goes to print for publication. I do this with everything, including my own self-pubbed books before they are launched as e-books. I actually have my own galleys for my self-pubbed books. It's those last minute details that sometimes make a huge difference.

In this case, I'm reading the galley for an upcoming book by Cleis Press I'm in. The title is "Pledges," and it's a collection of short erotic gay fiction about frat boys. I think I've posted about this one before, and I will post again on the publication date, but I wanted to post a little something now in case I forget. I get so used to things moving faster with digital publishing that some of the things I truly enjoy the most slip by unnoticed.

And being a part of books like this one is, and always has been, one of the things I enjoy most about being a writer. It's also one the few remaining things I cling to as publishing makes so many constant changes and I'm forced to change with it. With books like these you aren't going to see aggressive authors from small start up e-presses go for the kill with all kinds of annoying things they *think* will help promote their books. The audience for books like this is out there, it will always be out there, and the best kind of promotion for books like this is to talk about it, give product descriptions, and let the reader decide on whether or not they want to buy it and read it. In other words, no one has to go through hoops, click like on Amazon, give fake ratings with multiple fake identities on Goodreads, and talk about the new love of their life to garner devotion on other social media. It's really about as plain and simple as it gets, and I've always considered myself very lucky to have been a part of the older publishing process that really worked hard to cater more to readers than they did to try and sell books to them like snake oil salesmen. It's also why I tend to fall short in the self-promotion department with my own books.

This book is also what I consider classic gay erotica...or what's left of gay erotica in these changing times when so many gay authors are growing disillusioned. Each writer writes about something erotic that deals with "pledges," and each writer handles the topic differently. I've read a few of the stories already and I think readers are going to enjoy it. I didn't read all the stories, though. I focused mainly on my own so that I have something to look forward to reading when I get my author copies. And that's something else I have to admit I miss more than anything about old publishing. Don't get me wrong, I've embraced digital and I wouldn't part with my e-reader for anything. But seeing that book you're in, in print, in hard copy, is a feeling I just can't explain. And as much as I love digital books, the feeling just isn't the same.

At the bottom of this post is part of the introduction from Editor, Shane Allison, who is an underestimated and highly amazing gay author.

I will post an excerpt from my story when the book is released. The back story to this is that I wrote a novel with a pen name about a year ago and the editor with that publisher decided to cut 10,000 words from the novel. That had never happened to me before, and I hope it never happens again either. I smiled and took it like a professional, and I'm glad I did. Because the ten thousand words they cut I re-worked and turned into a short story for this book. I liked it too much to just let it crash and burn. And it is original and has never been published anywhere else before.


As I read over these hot new stories of pledge erotica, it took

me back to my days of being a twentysomething, when I used

school and studying as an excuse to be lazy, when


student was scribbled in a box when being asked what one’s occupation was


on a job application. I’ve been out of school for nine years now

but having the luxury of living in a college town where there’s

never a shortage of smoking-hot college boys, I am constantly

reminded of what I’m missing, especially during rush week when

an all-new crop of twinks set out to pledge their chosen frat.





Release Date: With This Cowboy I Love So Freely; Boy Scouts of America on Gay Members



I just found out the release date of "With This Cowboy I Love So Freely," will be February 8, 2013. This is an anthology with some of the western themed gay romance stories I've had pubbed with loveyoudivine.com over the years. I didn't even know I'd done enough with them to come up with an anthology, but when the editor said I did and she suggested we do the anthology, I figured it would be a good way for people who don't like to purchase short stories alone to get a collection in a larger book.

Here's the book description, and I'll post again with links when it's released on the 8th.


 In this collection of Ryan Field stories that is focused on erotic cowboy love, the gay romance and emotion isn’t overlooked either. In “A Life Filled with Awesome Love” set in 1959, young Travis finds the cowboy of his dreams through an ad in the back of a rodeo magazine. In “Something for Saint Jude,” the main character finds his passion, but he had to take a cruise to discover it was in his backyard all along. And then there’s poor Noah in “Cowboy Mike and Buddy Boy” who falls in love with a married Cowboy and he doesn’t know where to run when the wife finds out. One story is slightly quirky, and the love and emotion is focused more on positive self-discovery than finding a man. And then there’s a New Adult story in “Cowboy Howdy,” where two young guys from different parts of the country meet and fall in love their first semester in college. This is a book of true love in its finest form, and the ability with which to love freely and openly. In a world where love is the only thing that promises a happy ending.

Here is a list of stories in the book. The book is about 50,000 words in length, and the stories range from 5,000 words to 12,000.

Cowboy Howdy
Missing Jackson's Hole
Kevin Loves Cowboys
Something for St. Jude
That Cowboy in the Window
Cowboy Mike and Buddy Boy
A Life Filled with Awesome Love

Boy Scouts of America Rethink Gay Members:

In an interesting turn of events that most people didn't expect, the Boy Scouts of America are about to rethink the idea of banning gays from becoming members. I honestly don't know much about the Boy Scouts. I was never one and never wanted to be one. But I do know gay men who were Boy Scouts and of course no one knew they were gay at the time. Half of them didn't even know it at the time. And, all of the gay men I know who were Boy Scouts, or who supported Boy Scouts, have stopped all support because of their stand on banning openly gay members. I know straight men who have gay brothers, cousins, neighbors, and friends, who have also stopped their support because of the ban on gay members.

So while I'd like to think this is a nice gesture and that the Boy Scouts of America are starting to truly believe gay men are not threats to them, and that gay men will not hurt or change their organization in any way, I tend to think the main reason this has come up is because of the pressure they've been getting and the lack of support they've been receiving, which could lead them into extinction.  

In any event, at least it's progress and we're moving forward. If the Boy Scouts do allow gay members I think the rest of the world will see nothing really changed and all that controversy was much ado about nothing. But there's also a catch to all this:

The organization's national executive board is expected to discuss lifting the ban on gay members at its regularly scheduled board meeting next week in Texas.

"The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue," spokesman Deron Smith said in an email to Reuters.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church have the largest youth membership in the Boy Scouts among faith-based organizations.


What I think this is basically saying is that they aren't lifting the ban against gays completely. They are offering choices to those organizations overseeing scouting. It sounds like a way for the Boy Scouts of America to put an end to discrimination in a general sense, and yet at the same time support the stand they have always had in an indirect way. But I could be wrong about that. It's too soon to tell.

This is interesting, too:

The Boy Scouts has also faced criticism for keeping private files covering decades of child sex abuse incidents within the organization. The Scouts released thousands of pages of files in October covering incidents from 1965 to 1985.

But this quote I find fascinating:

The Family Research Council, which said in December it would pull its business with UPS because the package delivery company had decided to cease funding of the Boy Scouts, said on Monday the Scouts should resist the pressure to change its policy.

"If the board capitulates to the bullying of homosexual activists, the Boy Scouts' legacy of producing great leaders will become yet another casualty of moral compromise," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.


The problem with this statement is that the Family Research Council underestimates gay people in general, and just how many of us there are that are not represented well. This is something I'm always talking about here on this blog and I have a feeling I'll be talking about it as they lower me into the grave someday. Yes, there are "homosexual" bully activists who do apply pressure. I agree with the Family Council on that 100% and I really don't like to see anyone being bullied. But then there is the issue of discrimination, and what the Family Council fails to realize is that I'm gay and I'm not a bully activist. I'm not a radical, I'm not a left wing liberal carrying a vegan sign, and I'm not shouting or screaming at them to change anything. And I think I'm speaking for the silent majority when I say this. And not just for gay people. I think I'm speaking for straight people who have gay relatives, friends, and co-workers. We're not bullies and we're not activists. What we are is tired of this brand of discrimination, and we're tired of the double standards that have been pulled with regard to child sexual abuse. And what happens when we get tired is we dismiss you completely and you become obsolete, and I don't think you want that to happen.

As I said, I'm far from a bully activist. But I'm not willing to be suppressed anymore either. And I think a lot of these conservative religious based organizations fail to actually grasp that the world around them is changing. We aren't willing to put up with bans on gays and at the same time pretend pedophiles within organizations like the Boy Scouts haven't been abusing little boys in the worst possible ways. We aren't going to bully you or pressure you. Nope. We're just going to forget all about you and you'll become obsolete. Frankly, as things stand now, I wouldn't allow a child of mind to be in any groups like this just based on the child abuse allegations alone.




 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cover Preview: The Vegas Shark

Just got the new cover for the next book in the bad boy billionaire series, The Vegas Shark. I did more than a few different things in this book that I will post about more in the future...soon. I'd never really written about a sweet, but clueless, little guy who only wanted one thing in life...to be happy and live happily ever after. I think most of my characters have always had ambitions in life that included some lofty goals. This time I just wanted him to be sweet, sincere, and always getting dumped on. And, at the same time, strong as hell. And who can't identify with that?

As you can see, there have been a few changes at Ravenous, and new models added to the collection of covers. I know for a fact these models are paid professionals. And the publishers themselves go to New York, to a modeling agency, and shoot on a set or on location sometimes.

Free E-book On Allromanceebooks.com: "A Sign From Heaven Above"

Who: Me

What: I'm offering a free e-book. $0.00 "A Sign From Heaven Above." (Photo to the right)

When: For a week.

Where: On Allromanceebooks, at this link.

Why: Because I love the way Allromance offers promotions all year to readers, and I like their product descriptions even more. And because it's winter, it's dreary, and we all can't be in exotic places with palm trees and beaches covered with white sand.


Description
 
Although Ricky has been living in his new home in the Hollywood Hills for a few months, he hasn't had a chance to meet his new neighbor. All Ricky knows about him is that he's young, attractive, and seems to live a fast life. This doesn't bother Ricky much because he's not looking to meet anyone at this time in his life. Ricky is forty years old and the reason he moved to the West Coast was because his partner of twenty years passed away suddenly and he's still grieving.

Then one afternoon when he least expects it, Ricky meets his neighbor in a very unusual situation and finds him as smart and funny as he is attractive. Ricky likes him so much he invites him to dinner and they talk about Ricky's love of horses, riding, and his Amish background. But when it comes time to get more intimate, Ricky's not sure he wants to proceed. He feels guilty, as if he's cheating on his deceased partner, and he silently prays for a sign from heaven to tell him he's doing the right thing.



Hidden Gaycism; On Pen Names; Elizabeth Glaser AIDS Foundation




The only link I have to this part of the post on "Gaycism" is what I found over at Urban Dictionary, right here. And this mostly because I'm not even sure if what I'm about to discuss exists. This is partly because gay men are still so closeted many things still are not discussed, or taken seriously.

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I was corresponding with a gay male reader who is Amish the other day and I mentioned to him that my partner, Tony, wasn't completely out of the closet until about five years ago. Tony worked in corporate America where being openly gay is still something that's very well-hidden. I know gay men in publishing who are still partially in the closet, too. In fact, Tony and I were together for fifteen years, living as a "married" couple, before I actually met anyone in his family. I never pushed him into doing anything he wasn't ready to do. So I understand the need to remain in the closet as well as any other gay man out there today. I also respect this and would never push anyone to come out until they are ready. In the same respect, I often wonder about how nice it would be if all gay men who are in the closet would come out and support each other. I think things would be very different. They wouldn't fuck around with us as much.

I personally never had a huge coming out day like you see on TV or read in books. I just knew I was gay from day one and never denied it to anyone. In other words, this is me, like it or not, kiss my proverbial ass. I have a very successful gay brother in New York who did the same thing. I also have a nephew in medical school in Iowa who had a more dramatic coming out because he felt the need to do that. He had to actually say it aloud in words, to his mom and dad, otherwise he claimed he felt as if he would explode. I get that, too. We're all different and no one can define the best way to come out to anyone.

In any event, I correspond with a lot of people over the course of a week. Some are readers, some are other authors, gay and straight. But the one thing I've found interesting recently is that so many of the gay men I talk with claim they are seeing a new brand of "gaycism" in publishing and I'm not even sure I understand it. Just to be clear, I have always supported women who write m/m romance and I've promoted them here on my blog and even gone to extra lengths to make sure that's known. One of my favorite all time gay novels is "The Front Runner," by Patricia Nell Warren, a women who started writing gay fiction back in the 1970's and doesn't get nearly the credit she deserves. I even have a call out for submissions right now for an anthology I'm doing about the women who love gay romance because I know how many women love to read about gay romance. I've always believed that if you write well that's all that matters. And I have respect for anyone who does that.

The form of gaycism I'm talking about right now is subtle. It's not the brand of gaycism Anita Bryant practiced...even though she was honest about her feelings. The kind of gaycism I'm talking about is hidden and not really discussed anywhere. And from what I gather, if it does exist at all, it's based more on exploitation and money than actual social discrimination and honesty. I know that in order to sell anything there's always a certain amount of exploitation. You can't avoid it. But there are some gay men who feel as if they are not even welcome in certain circles where women who write m/m romance gather, talk, and promote themselves. A good many feel completely ignored...invisible...as if there's this huge gay male party going on and only a handful of carefully selected gay men were invited to attend. It's hard to elaborate on this, other than to say that there are gay men in publishing who tell me they don't even bother going to certain places online anymore because they know they are not welcome. And never will be welcome.

I'm usually too busy to notice a lot of these things, so I can't comment on them personally at this point. And I haven't actually felt this myself. But I am going to start opening my eyes, so to speak, to see if there is any basis to what I'm hearing about this brand of gaycism happening behind the scenes. I hope not, because that would be a shame. I hope it's just a few people feeling insecure. Look at it this way, if a group of aggressive white authors banned together, regardless of how good their intentions are, and started to write novels in literal droves about African Americans for financial gain, and then aggressively went out promoting those novels and purposely left African American authors out of their circles, I would consider that racism in one of its worst forms. In fact, I doubt this would even happen because no one would have the audacity to actually do it nowadays. No one would be that disrespectful to African American authors or their personal experiences. The African American community would rise up and squash those aggressive white authors one by one, and then turn them into jokes. But the problem with gay men is that most of us aren't out, most don't get involved in anything that will call attention to us, and we wind up suffering the consequences because of this.

As I said, I haven't experienced this personally. So this is nothing more than hearsay and something I wanted to mention because I've heard so much about it lately. And I know none of the wonderful straight people writing m/m romance out there would even think of doing something like this. They work hard to promote gay causes like same sex marriage and AIDS and National Coming Out Day because they truly care more about the LGBT community and those causes than they care about book sales or promotion or any kind of self-gratification.

Elizabeth Glaser

Elizabeth Glaser, née Meyer ((1947-11-11)November 11, 1947 – December 3, 1994(1994-12-03)), was a major American AIDS activist and child advocate married to actor and director Paul Michael Glaser. She contracted HIV very early in the modern AIDS epidemic after receiving an HIV-contaminated blood transfusion in 1981 while giving birth. Like other HIV-infected mothers, Glaser unknowingly passed the virus to her infant daughter, Ariel, through breastfeeding. The Glasers' son, Jake, born in 1984, contracted HIV from his mother in utero.

The virus went undetected in all three infected family members until they underwent HIV testing in 1985, after the Glasers' daughter, Ariel, began suffering from a series of unexplained illnesses. Ariel had developed advanced AIDS at a time when the medical community knew very little about the disease and there were no available treatment options. Early in 1987, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally approved AZT as an effective drug to extend the lives of AIDS patients, but the approval only extended to adults. With their daughter's condition rapidly deteriorating, the Glasers fought to have her treated with AZT intravenously. However, the treatment came too late, and the child eventually succumbed to the disease late in the summer of 1988.
 
If you don't know anything about Elizabeth Glaser, please check out the link above. It's one of the most historical cases about the AIDS virus ever talked about, and one I've been following for a long time. I will dedicate a post to her in the future. She deserves it.
 
On Pen Names 
 
I'm writing about this topic again because I'm probably going to be using a pen name very soon. But this time I'm going to do it differently than the way I've done it in the past. I'm just going to come out with it and make it known from the start...if I actually do it.
 
In the past, I've always kept my pen names quiet, and that's only because I used them to hop genres. But in my case, what I discovered was that I didn't enjoy promoting or talking about the books because of the pen name. It's actually a huge dilemma for authors and I've never figured it out. So I'm going to take the advice of this article, and do the pen name and make it known that I am that pen name.
 
 
The only thing I suggest is not make it a big secret or mystery. Don’t set up different fake websites and fake lives of these fake people.
Own up to it all on your personal website. My name is ‘X’ and I write romance under ‘Y’ and thrillers under ‘Z’.
You might want to put an FAQ page or answer the question “why don’t I use my real name?”
For each genre and name, try to use the same font, size and style for the author name. (Especially for a series). However, if you don’t have a genre and your books are all unique, I’d focus more on making a great cover than making your name look the same way.
Still, branding is about elements of repetition.

I have to agree with this article completely on not making it a big secret. This past weekend I did a search for an author in m/m romance that I enjoy reading and I didn't even know it was a pen name. This is an author who talks about personal real life situations all the time and I just assumed the author was using a real name. This author even gets into travel experiences in long detailed posts. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered the only information associated with the author's name in a search, other than books, is the motor in a well known automobile. I joke not about this. The motor of a well known automobile.

Of course that could be coincidence. If you google me you'll find web sites for athletic fields. But people on social media do see me interact with personal freinds here in New Hope. I try to keep it real and at the same time retain some privacy, and this time I'm going to do that with the pen name and follow the advice given above. That is if I decide to use one at all.

Photo above courtesy of good friend, Ryan Morro, New Hope, PA. 
 





Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gay For You: Matt Bomer Made Him Gay!!



I came across one of the most amusing posts I've seen in a long time, written by Chez Pazienza. You can read more about him here. He has some interesting credentials. The photo isn't bad either. But most of all you'll love his kind of sort of gay for you article about how Matt Bomer turned him gay. Here's an excerpt:

I’ve always considered myself a straight guy, despite a past littered with deviant sexual exploits of all shapes, sizes and proclivities. But I’m not ashamed to say that you, Matt Bomer, have made me gay. You are sincerely the best looking man anyone’s loins have ever deposited on this planet. Gazing into your steely blue eyes and upon your flawlessly chiseled features, your just-right amount of maybe two o’clock shadow, your perfectly groomed hair that comes loose to hang free at all the proper moments, and of course your 50s-style John Varvatos and Paul Smith suits and exquisite placement of pocket squares — it’s simply all too much to take. It turns me into a puddle of sigh and makes my two-sizes-too-small heart go pitter-patter. It’s like touching the face of Jesus while having a rainbow made of baby smiles jammed up your ass and sucking off a unicorn.

It's a good thing Chez doesn't live near me. I know a guy who could be Matt Bomer's double and no one would notice. Of course he doesn't think so, and he'd kill me if he saw that I'd even mentioned this on the blog. But they are identical.

So while Matt Bomer remains happily married with his family, there's still hope for you straight guys out there who find Bomer so irresistible.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Agent Lori Perkins Looking For "Trunk Novel Submissions"



Who: Literary Agent Lori Perkins

OK, so I've been a literary agent for 25 years.

 I've had 8 titles on the NY Times best seller list.

What: She wrote a blog post recently about "Trunk Novels."

Or tell the author to come up with something new, and to put this one in the trunk (thus the term "trunk novels," which always makes me think of that scene from The Hunger).
Why: She's interested in reading "Trunk Novels." As stated above, trunk novels are novels that never sold, and authors put them away in the proverbial trunk.

So send me your trunk novels. Tell your agent friends to send me their trunk novels.

When: You can submit them to her agency right now. She's actively looking for them.

Where: Here's a link to the original post on Agent In the Middle. You can do a search for her lit agency web site. It's not hard to find.

And who doesn't have trunk novels? I have at least three that I can remember. In my case all three are actually in hard copy, in a file cabinet I haven't touched in about six years. I've been meaning to dust them off and see if I can do anything with them. They aren't LGBT fiction. These are mainstream novels I tried to shop and didn't sell well over ten years ago. One, I think, deserves to remain in the trunk, but the other two are novels I've thought about over the years all the time.

In any event, if you have trunk novels you should check this out.

2012's Most Overused Words: Epic; Awesome; Heh...



About once a week I try to find time to sit down and check out words. I'm talking about words in general, to see if I can find something I don't use often or have never used before. Unfortunately, this post about overused words all started with me looking for homophones and turned into something completely different altogether.

I came across one web site that had a list of the most overused words of 2012, and then did another search and came up with so many lists like this there didn't seem to be an end. Now keep in mind I didn't come up with any of these lists and I've never really paid that much attention to things like this. But I do find it interesting because I know other people who do. My literary agent friend, for example, despises the word "awesome." He's not fond of "hopefully" either. In fact, he's told me if he sees a query letter with either of those two words it's automatic slush pile material. He's been known to correct people in public as well.

As it turns out, the word "awesome" is on almost all the lists of overused words I found. "Hopefully" isn't there, but there are several others that seem to turn up on almost all the lists. Words like "epic" and "seriously" seem to be the most overused...some of these web sites get downright snarky about it. I've been guilty of some of these things myself, but I try to stay away from trendy things while I'm writing unless it's part of dialogue that is important to the character. I have had characters use the word "seriously" more than once, as part of their natural dialogue. I go through stages sometimes where I use it in my daily speech as well.

In any event, here are a few links to the most overused words in 2012, with a few examples.

Urban Dictionary gets very entertaining with the word "epic."

the most overused word ever, next to fail. for even more asshole points, use them together to form "epic fail."


everything is epic now. epic car. epic haircut. epic movie. epic album. epic shut the fuck up.

saying "epic win" doesn't make you sound any better, either. and for fucks sake, don't ever say it in person.
 

At the risk of further offense, here's another spoiler alert: The phrase receiving the most nominations this year is "fiscal cliff," banished because of its overuse by media outlets when describing across-the-board federal tax increases and spending cuts that economists say could harm the economy in the new year without congressional action.


To be honest, I didn't even know what the hell "fiscal cliff" meant until someone told me. I don't pay attention to politics because I find most politicians are liars and scoundrels, and every time I heard this it sounded so political I automatically dismissed it. Sometimes things work out just the right way.
 
 
"Heh" works in chat clients, but in comments it's like unzipping your fly: OK with another person with the context and the right atmosphere, but do it in front of every without warning and nothing good is about to be revealed. It condenses more smugness than Wall Street into an almost lethally superior syllable. "Heh" is the evil opposite of "LOL."
 
 
No argument from me with this one. Never used it and never will.
 
 
Those aren't my words, which is why I put them in quotes. But this web site hates "epic" so much they go into a detailed explanation of how the word should actually be used.
 
 
The word "epic" is one of the most misused and overused filler words in the English language. Here are examples of its misuse on Facebook and Twitter:
 
We got front lawn seats and it was fucking epic.
 
Epic. Where? 
 
 If you check out the link you'll see the correct definition of epic is explained in detail, and very well, with some entertaining photos to enforce the stand. There's even a poll being taken over at sodahead, to see whether or not "epic," "awesome," or "amazing" is the most overused word. The comments are a treat.   Along with some words I've mentioned already, you'll find a few more here. But it's really the comment thread that is most interesting here as well. Some people don't like being told certain words are overused. And they aren't shy about expressing their opinions. One might even say it's "epic."  

Here's a dictionary of despicable words.  One of these words is something that bothers me every time I see it.
  
firstly. Why the ly? Simplify.


Exactly! I couldn't have said it better. I feel the same way about secondly, thirdly, and fourthly, etc...There's really no need for the ly. First, second, third, and so on does the job. I will never forget this experience: as a freshman in college majoring in English, I wrote a paper and used "firstly," and the professor handed it back to me with a huge red circle around it and used it as an example in front of the entire class. Of course he was right. And I never did THAT again.  


I could list more, because there doesn't seem to be an end. And frankly, some of the other web sites were so stupid it's not worth linking to them. One jumped into a big thing about how the word "gay" is so overused. They also commented on how it can be a insult to gay people when it's used in a derogatory way. It often is used in a derogatory way. But they did it with such backhanded comments I'm not sure if they are supporting gays or slamming them.  


In any event, words and language change all the time. And the links above are a good examples of what was hot yesterday isn't so much today. At least I'll start working on not using "seriously."


             












 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Amazon/KDP News; Global Fund; Why I Don't Promote Some KDP Authors

Here's the latest Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing news (KDP) about the Global Fund for those enrolled in KDP select. Below that I've posted a few things from the KDP newsletter.

The rest of the newsletter is about other KDP authors who write fiction, one of whom I've read before, who has had some success. But I don't feel the urge to promote any of them. I also know one of them self-published in several places, including Amazon, through a literary agent's e-publishing service and there's nothing wrong with that. If you can get a deal like that I say take advantage of it and run with it. And more power to you. But since I did self-publish alone, without anyone's help, and I figured it all out on my own and not with a literary agent who has connections and knows her way around publishing, I don't feel the need to promote someone who does have that advantage...and doesn't talk about it openly in public, eh-ver. I'm on the fence about whether or not that actually is self-publishing, because these e-publishing "services" aren't much different from small e-presses. I could start one myself if I wanted to, and I just might do it in the future.

Don't get me wrong. Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm the first to promote authors I don't even know, who don't need the promotion and will probably never promote me (John Irving for one). But I do draw the line sometimes, and sneaky self-promoting authors who need to get over themselves is just about where that happens (smile). Sorry, you know I never mention names when it comes to things like this. The fact is that some authors will stop at nothing to make a buck. Why give someone who doesn't deserve it more free promotion? I will say it's no one who writes gay fiction, gay romance, or anything male/male romance. 

From my inbox:

Since you are currently enrolled in KDP Select, we wanted you to know the total bonus amount is increasing for the global fund. A $2.2 million bonus, over December 2012-February 2013, will be added to the regular monthly fund amount. For January, the global fund is now $1.7 million in total, up from $1.4 million. The remainder of the $2.2 million bonus amount will be paid on top of the regular fund in February.

Remember, you will earn your share of the fund amount every time your book is borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de and Amazon.fr.


As side note, I didn't actually know too much about the Global Fund, and I really took advantage of KDP Select because I believe in book sharing and I like to think e-books can be shared at least a litte like print books are still being shared.

And here are some of the more important things for the most recent KDP newsletter, via my inbox:



As we start 2013, we are grateful for all our KDP authors! We are excited to continue expanding globally and developing new features on your behalf. Here are some highlights from the last year:

  • Kindle Format 8 launched, Amazon’s next generation file format offering enhanced features.
  • KDP released impressive author stats and milestones for KDP Select-enrolled titles being borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
  • KDP launched in India, making books published through KDP available in the Kindle Store for India.
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library launched in the UK, Germany, and France offering authors enrolled in KDP Select expanded reach in Europe.
  • KDP launched in Brazil, Canada and Japan, helping authors publish their books in their native country and language. Check out the new KDP sites: kdp.amazon.com.br, kdp.amazon.ca, kdp.amazon.co.jp.
  • KDP Select adds $1.5 Million Holiday Bonus to the global fund for authors.

Thanks again for a great year. Best wishes and much success to you in 2013!

Here's a link to a few promotional tips that too long to post here. Some look interesting, though mostly boiler plate. I haven't tried any so don't quote me. But what doesn't work for one might work for another.



https://www.createspace.com/en/community/community/resources/blog/2012/12/27/two-not-so-typical-resolutions-for-writers

And here's some advice from a KDP author that's not bad.




Guy Kawasaki, tech guru and author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book, shares his five tips for independent authors.

1. Write for the right reasons. Writing is an art form,http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Amazon.com/196670beec/7a9dfa5b8b/16945e5a7c and a book is an end in itself—don’t write a book

Your Voice: KDP Author Guy Kawasaki

  solely because it is a means to an end. The good reasons to write a book are the desire to enrich people’s lives, to further a cause, to achieve an intellectual milestone, and to get something off your chest. The bad reasons are to make a lot of money or to increase your consulting or speaking business.


2. Build your marketing platform. The hardest part of making a book successful may be marketing, not writing, it. Unless you have a great publicist with a powerful publisher, you are the “vice president of marketing” of your book. It takes a year to build a marketing platform, so get started at the same time as you’re writing. If you wait until your book is done, it’s too late. My recommendation is to spend two hours a day writing and one hour a day on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
3. Hire a copy editor. If you’re going to self-publish your book, the worst way to try to save money is by not hiring a professional copy editor. Copyediting is a specialized and refined skill—to use a medical analogy, only a fool would self-diagnose and self-medicate in an emergency. The goal is to produce a book that is as good as, or better, than a book from a large traditional publisher. You cannot do this without a professional copy editor.
4. Test your eBook. In a perfect world, what you upload from Word and what online resellers deliver as an eBook would match. Every page, image, line break, and font would be right. This isn’t a perfect world. The bugs and glitches that can appear because of the conversion process from manuscript to eBook will shock, depress, and enrage you. You need to test your eBook on every platform that people will read it on: computer, tablet, reader, Macintosh, Windows, Android, and iOS. Don’t assume that any conversion process is 100% accurate.
5. Never give up. There are qualities that every published author shares: first, they wanted to give it all up. Second, they didn’t give it all up. Writing a book is one of the most difficult tasks in life. Fortunately, or maybe because it’s so difficult, it is also one of the most rewarding tasks in life. When you feel like you can’t type another word, can’t re-read another draft, and can’t face another rejection, remember that every author goes through these phases. It’s only the successful ones who never give up.

Manti Te'o Odd Situation; The New Normal Hair Debacle; Divine the One and Only




I've been following this ordeal Manti Te'o is going through with tongue-in-cheek interest because it's so completely bizarre. I also think it's a reflection on what it's like to live in these modern times of social media where anyone can be duped and tricked into believing almost anything.  Even more interesting is how Te'o responded to a question about whether or not he's gay.

Manti Te'o insists he's the victim of a hoax and that he was set up, I think, by a man pretending to be a woman. His parents support him, even though what he told them sounds unusual to most people. In one breath the parents claim he's not a liar and in the next Te'o admits he lied to his father at one point. Go figure.

This is the basic Manti Te'o story, according to wiki:

 One of the enduring stories of Notre Dame's 2012 season was Te'o's strong play following the death of his grandmother and girlfriend, as well as his emergence as a Heisman Trophy candidate. In January 2013, Deadspin revealed that the existence and death of his girlfriend had been faked. Te'o released a statement[3] claiming to have been the victim of a hoax that lured him into an online relationship with a nonexistent woman.

It's a complicated story of how online relationships can begin and end. You can read more here, where I think it gives the best scenario about what actually went down. But to be honest, I'm still a little confused. I think what I really don't get is how he could be duped quite that way. Then again, I've been duped more than once and I do actually get it to a certain extent. The difference is that I never got emotionally involved with anyone online, and I never would. My dealings were more on a professional level. And they weren't all that bad either.

Then why, Couric asked, had he said the two met through his cousin and at a game his sophomore year, when he now says she had reached out to him on Facebook? Why had he told his father that he and Kekua had gotten together once in Hawaii?

And why hadn't he had stronger doubts before this winter? Like how, in their FaceTime chats, her screen always appeared black? Or how every in-person meeting they set up fell through, like when she was hospitalized or the time her brother had borrowed her car?

Once again, the entire situation seems to revolve around an "online relationship." And I find it interesting because I think we'll be seeing and reading about more cases like this in the future. I hate to say this, but I find so many people weaving webs of intrigue online I'm never sure who to trust anymore. I recently discovered someone going by a name of a brand of pink champagne.

In an October article about Te'o, before all this fakery was revealed, it talks about how Te'o wrote a letter to the parents of a child who had passed away, expressing his own grief and offering them comfort in what had to be the worst time in their lives. I can't imagine anything worse than the loss of a child. Nothing.

When his girlfriend died, the natural reaction for Te’o could have been, "Why her? Why me?" It would have been understandable if he had been thinking about himself at that moment.

Instead: "Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith." Te’o wrote an emotional letter, via email. Picture a big, tough linebacker sitting at his computer, "definitely crying," as he said, over someone else’s pain, some stranger’s pain.

All he had known about Bridget, all he had been told through a mutual friend, was that Bridget's brain tumor was finally proving too powerful and that she wasn’t going to get out of the hospital again. And she loved Notre Dame football and Manti Te’o.

“Obviously, going through what I’ve gone through, with my girlfriend passing away from cancer, that whole thing hit home for me,’’ Te’o said in a private moment the other day, “My whole thing was just to reach out and let them know I’m here. I wrote her parents.

“Just letting them know that the heavenly father is always there. Although it may not seem like it right now, He’s always there to help. It was definitely hard to write.

“And I think it helped to ease my pain, too.’’

I wouldn't even begin to comment one way or the other because there are so many factors to consider, and in the US we are considered innocent until proven guilty. But one thing in a Huff Po article really annoyed me. The illustrious Katie Couric, modern liberal reporter gal of our times, actually asked Manti Te'o if he was gay. And Te'o responded in one of the worst ways I've seen in a long time.

Addressing speculation that Te'o could have been involved in concocting the hoax in order to hide his sexuality, Couric asked if he was gay.

"No, far from it ... far from it," Te'o replied.

Well, I guess he's not gay, and he's more than proud to admit that. It's evendient by the way he repeated "far from it." And another example of how awful it is to be considered gay by someone who has turned his entire life into a complete mess. I actually don't blame Te'o, because he only responded in a way he's been taught to respond to questions about being gay. And that's one of the things we need to fix.

The New Normal Hair Debacle

A friend who designs hair phoned me this week about a recent episode of The New Normal she'd seen. I saw that episode and liked it. John Stamos was in it and I like to watch older guys who still look great. It gives the rest of us hope. But my hairdresser friend was livid. Here's a paraphrased example of our general conversation.

My friend: Did you see that haircut they gave Ellen Barkin?

Me: Yes. It was a little strange. I like the old haircut better.

My friend: It was one of the dumbest haircuts I've ever seen, and the way those assholes made it look so chic and wonderful blew me away. Do you know how many people can wear their hair that way and get away with it?

Me: Not really.

My friend: About two or three pencil thin models with eating disorders in New York. That's how many.

In any event, my friend wasn't thrilled with Ellen Barkin's haircut, and frankly I didn't think it looked all the great either. But it wasn't the worst thing I'd ever seen. It reminded me of a time when I went to a party and one of the female guests showed up with one of those ultra short butch haircuts an overzealous hairdresser had talked her into getting. Another friend, a gay man in his fifties, saw her and started jumping up and down. "You look great in that haircut, honey," he told her. "It's you. It's you. You have the face for it." Then the woman turned to talk to someone else, and he turned to me and said, "Oh my God, did you see that hideous haircut on her? It only makes that poor thing's nose look ten times bigger. I'd be chasing that hairdresser down the street with a baseball bat."

I always mind my own business and never get involved in things like that. And I trust my hair designer with my life. But I don't think I'd take anyone's advice from The New Normal with my own hair.

Divine in all her glory:

One of my all time favorite gay performers was someone who went by the name of "Divine." I remember first hearing about Divine when I was a kid, probably around six or seven years old. My mom had a gay friend and he used to talk about Divine all the time. At the time, I had no idea how important Divine would be to pop culture or to the gay community. I just thought she was someone I'd love to meet in person someday.

Divine (October 19, 1945 – March 7, 1988), also known as Harris Glenn Milstead, was an American actor, disco singer and drag queen. A character actor who often performed female roles in both cinema and theater, Divine adopted a female drag persona in his musical performances, leading People magazine to describe him as the "Drag Queen of the Century".[1] Often associated with independent filmmaker John Waters, he starred in ten of Waters's films, usually in a lead role.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, into a conservative, upper-middle-class family, he became involved with John Waters and Waters's acting troupe, the Dreamlanders, in the mid-1960s and starred in a number of Waters's early films such as Mondo Trasho (1969), Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974). Hits on the midnight movie and underground cinema circuit in the U.S., the films became cult classics, with Divine becoming particularly renowned for playing the role of Babs Johnson in Pink Flamingos, during which he had to perform a series of extreme acts including eating dog excrement.

I'm also a huge fan of John Waters, and the way he uses parody with normal everyday life. I'm going to do a post just about him soon, for those who might not be familiar with him, or his parodies. I've seen him in person in P'town in the summer. He stays somewhere in the East End.

If you haven't seen a Divine film, I suggest "Pink Flamingos" first.