Ranch hands Justus White and Dakota Washburn have known each other forever, or at least since fifth grade when Melody Zane, the coolest girl in school, gave them both valentines. That Valentines Day ended in a school yard fight, and a lifelong friendship. Read more…
|A Reader's Question about GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE|
This morning I found a question about GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in an e-mail from one of my readers named Shirlene. It was a good question, and one that I've been worried about myself. And though a certain online romance book reviewer doesn't think it's important for authors to post their intentions in blog posts (she'd rather the author made their intentions clear in the book itself so she can decide for herself), readers do seem to think it's important to know exactly what a book is about before they make the purchase. So I'd like to clarify a few things for Shirlene, and for other readers who might be wondering about GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
First, I'd never even try to go up against the original Pride and Prejudice. It's the penultimate romance as far as I'm concerned, and to try to top anything so perfect would be both insane and impossible. But I did want to write a book about gay pride, same sex marriage, social classes, and how prejudice affects the lgbt community as a whole, and also how it is handled within the lgbt community.
Shirlene wanted to know if she needed to read the original Pride and Prejudice to understand the storyline in GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. And the answer is no, because this isn't a sequel to the original book and it's not fanfic. My book is set in the present, in South Beach, FL, and there's nothing historical about it. I don't write historicals, and rarely read them, mainly because they aren't my thing. And I hate to think of readers wondering about a book before they purchase it...no matter what our favorite dedicated online romance reviewer thinks about authors posting about their books on their blogs (smile).
Below is an unpublished excerpt from GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I hope it shows this is not a historical and that the only thing that resembles the original Pride and Prejudice are certain aspects of the theme regarding marriage and social class. In this case, same sex marriage.
“Why is the marriage thing so important to you?” A hint of frustration floated through his voice.
“Because it is,” Tristan said. “It’s what I’ve always wanted, even before same-sex marriage became a hot political topic. When I was a child, I’d listen to my uncle’s friends talk about their relationships. If they were in permanent monogamous relationships, they always said they were married. They even referred to their partners as their husbands, or wives if they were women. I didn’t even know they were using these words loosely until I was about ten years old. I thought they really were married. They lived like all the straight married couples I’d ever known. And then, when I found out that gay men and women couldn’t get legally married, when my uncle explained the cold hard facts of life to his little gay nephew, I was so devastated I tore up all the wedding magazines I’d been saving for years.
“As I got older and legalized same-sex marriage became an issue within the lgbt community, I started to realize that I deserved to fall in love and get married just as much as heterosexual couples deserved it. And I made a decision a long time ago that I wouldn’t settle for less. Call it pride; call it being stubborn. But I won’t settle for less.”
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|Food and Romance...|
Friday, May 15, 2009
Food and Romance...
In both books, AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN and PRETTY MAN, I wrote a few scenes that combined food with romance. There are no kinky sex food scenes in either book, because the stories didn't call for that. The food scenes were emotional and romantic, not sexy. But I've been amazed at how many readers have either commented on the food and romance angle, or bought the book just because there are scenes that combine romance and food. In PRETTY MAN I wrote about cupcakes and chocolate, but in AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN I went into great depth about food because the main character's profession is in the food industry. Below is an excerpt from a food scene in "An Officer and his..." that some readers have commented on with various blog posts. So I thought I'd share it here.
Chance was usually awake by five each morning and down in the kitchen by five-thirty. This was his creative cooking time. Sometimes he baked large blueberry muffins with buttery golden tops; other times he prepared rich loaves of pound cake, or puffy glazed cinnamon rolls, or delicate foccacia bread. Each morning he cooked something special for the day, a recipe he’d designed and created himself that he displayed magnificently in a massive wooden bowl lined with a black and white striped cloth at the end of the deli counter.
At first, Dan had been completely against the idea of having a “special” for each day of the week; his idea of running a market was to put out the basics (cans of baked beans and ketchup) and collect the money. But when he saw how the customers flocked to the black and white striped cloth and were willing to pay twenty dollars for one of Chance’s pound cakes, or four dollars for one of his blueberry muffins, he shut his mouth. Half the time he couldn’t even pronounce the specials, like when Chance baked loaves of bread and topped them with olive tappenaude; but the people knew and they bought whatever he cooked. And by the end of the day the wooden bowl was always empty. It was rumored there were people who only went to Dan’s market to see what the special for the day was. And it was always something they couldn’t get anywhere else but there.
That day he whistled on his way down the back stairs. He’d been so inspired by his dream that he decided to create an original Buffalo chicken spread, something hot and spicy you could either spread on a cracker as an appetizer, spread on a sour dough roll for lunch, or even place on a bed of baby greens for a light supper…the possibilities were endless. He’d done Buffalo chicken wings before; he’d even created a special Buffalo chicken calzone; but never a hot, spicy spread. He decided to use two extra, special ingredients: Marscapone cheese and just a hint of capers. He liked to layer different flavors, to combine an overall effect, which would add a delicate, pleasant under taste to an original recipe. With blueberry muffins he always added a hint of lime; no one knew, but the combination created a taste sensation that people couldn’t resist. The special ingredient didn’t have to be exotic and expensive either. With his remarkable Mac and Cheese special, the two ingredients that made it taste exotic were nothing more than mustard powder and nutmeg.
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|LASTING LUST: KINKY COUPLES IN LOVE...RELEASE DAY|
Saturday, April 25, 2009
My new anthology, LASTING LUST: KINKY COUPLES IN LOVE, was just released by ravenous romance today. All the authors who contributed were wonderful and professional to work with, and their stories are fantastic. There's something for everyone in this book, with a few gay stories, and one that involves a unique relationship with a hot TV soap star and the transgender he falls in love with.
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|Review for Officer and his Gentleman...|
A Nice Review...
When it comes to reviews, you never know. Most of the time there's something to be learned from each reviewer that helps the writing process progress. Yes, as hard as it is, even the bad ones help...most of the time. In the past sixteen years, I've had good ones, marginally good ones, and some that weren't very nice. It comes with the territory; you take the good with the bad and smile.
But bless the person who wrote this.
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|Happy Launch Day for SEX AND TAXES...|
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The new anthology, SEX AND TAXES, was just released today. The timing couldn't have been better, and the stories are hot. I contributed a gay story to this that's about a sexy personal trainer who seeks help with his taxes from a nerdy accountant. But once they start working together, it turns out the nerdy accountant is interested in much more than just taxes. Below is the intro to the book. I'll post something from my story later this week.
It’s that time of the year again, when we try to make sense of every receipt, credit card charge, and explain how we spent so much on taxi cabs and dry cleaning. I am always fascinated by what I spent and how I spent it, but bored beyond belief at having to go through the process of tallying up these figures and explaining them to my accountant, who is another single woman like myself.
It takes me days to get my personal taxes in order because I daydream about anything but doing my taxes. I also daydream about some hot young accountant doing my taxes, and then about me doing some hot young accountant.
And that’s what inspired this anthology.
Believe it or not, I think the process of doing my taxes leads to erotic daydreams. And that’s the case with these ten stories about desperate taxpayers and the accountants who service them, as well as the IRS agents who take advantage of them, or allow themselves to be taken advantage of. There’s even a true bloodsucking accountant in the mix.
So we hope that after you’ve waited on that long line at he post office to send your taxes to the feds and the state (with your check enclosed), you’ll curl up with this nice ebook and think about what could have been. Or maybe start looking for a hot new accountant for next year (and send us a referral!).
|Review for PRETTY MAN by Elisa Rolle...|
As it happens, I've been working on a personal interview for best gay blogs with the book reviewer, Elisa Rolle. And, recently, while I was gathering information for the interview I'm doing with her, I came across this review about the ravenous romance publication, PRETTY MAN. I had no idea she'd written this review when I contacted her for an interview. But I'm glad I found it.
I had in the past the chance to read something by Ryan Field, and his style is like some of the other gay romance authors out there that I believe are in the field way before it became the last trend. Ryan Field is like Bobby Michaels, Gavin Atlas, Nathan James, Thom Jaymes...
|SEX AND TAXES by Lori Perkins...|
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I just mailed the contract for the new ravenousromance anthology SEX AND TAXES. It was edited, created and designed by Lori Perkins, and I'm really looking forward to reading the stories when the book is launched. I hate taxes: they freak me out until I get them out of the way each year. But anything that makes paying taxes fun, has to be good.
I know a few of the other authors in the book. One contributed two stories to my own upcoming anthology, LASTING LUST: KINKY COUPLES IN LOVE. He's an excellent new writer with a strong male voice and I can't wait to read his version of sex and taxes. I also know a few of the other contributors. Some are seasoned professionals writing with pen names. I've been in books with them before, and I've always liked what they've written.
This is the fourth anthology I've been in that has been edited by Lori Perkins. I was pleased with the first three, and I can't wait for this one. It's going to be out fast, too. Most likely by April 15th.
|I Really Love this Blog...|
One of the things we've been doing (the authors at ravenous) this past week is linking to each others blogs and web pages. It helps us stay connected; we get a chance to read some really interesting blog posts. And this week, instead of promoting my own books, which I'm always doing anyway, I've been posting about other writers, at ravenous and a few other places. Here's a link to a blog I recently fell in love with. The visuals are excellent and the writing is really good. The author is a writer with ravenousromance.com, too. So check it out and see what I mean. http://thestuffofmythandmen.blogspot.com/
|Radio Interview...March 25|
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I'm doing a radio interview on March 25, at 8 pm eastern, with James Hipps from gayagenda.com. The interview will focus on books, publishing, ravenousromance.com and more. One of the things we'll probably talk about will be blogging and other gay bloggers. By chance, it turns out that gayagenda is also affiliated with bestgayblogs.com. And I worked for them, doing interviews and reviews for a long time under the previous owners. So we'll get into that, too. I really like the way they've grown in the last few years. When I first started, they were a small blog with a big idea. And now they reach millions all over the world.
The interesting thing is that I'm usually the one doing the interview, so I'm going to have to sit back, let someone else take control, and answer the questions without coming off as a pushy writer. At least I'm going to try.
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|AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN now at audible.com|
Monday, March 23, 2009
I just found out today that AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN is available for download on audible.com. It can be purchased in audio version at ravenousromance.com, amazon, all romance ebooks and fictionwise, too.
I've listened to the audio version myself, and was really impressed. And that doesn't always happen. Rush McCane has a calm, smooth voice and he keeps the listener interested at all times. Below are the details taken directly from audible.com.
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|Review for AMERICAN STAR|
Thursday, March 19, 2009
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|Retro Fans of Rootie Kazootie...|
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I wanted to post a small excerpt from HOW THE WEST WAS DONE. First, because I love the book, I love the editor and I don't think I've ever read a book so fast in my life. I couldn't put it down. And second, because the story I wrote for the book came to me so fast. This doesn't usually happen. Here's an excerpt from the story I wrote, titled: RUDY'S NEW KAZOO. One of the characters is a fan of the old TV show "Rudy Kazootie," and the other learns how to play his kazoo.
The small, wooden cabin they shared had one room, which didn’t give either of them any privacy. There was a kitchen area with a gas stove, a worn table with four rickety chairs, and bunks beds next to a stone fireplace that was filled with cigarette butts. When Cody took him inside the first time, he had to lift his hand to wave cobwebs away from his face. And with each step he took, clouds of dust rose from the old wooden planks beneath his feet. On a wall beside the bunk beds, there were black and white photographs pinned haplessly to the unfinished wooden walls. He recognized one photo as the cast of the “I Love Lucy Show,” but he wasn’t sure about the rest. “What are all these pictures?” he asked.
“Ah well,” Cody said, “they belonged to the ranch hand I had up here a few years back and I never bothered to take them down. He collected pictures from old TV shows from the l950’s. This one was his favorite.” Cody leaned forward and pointed to a black and white photo of what looked like a puppet, with an over-sized head, wearing a large baseball cap with the brim pushed all the way back. “It was some kind of kids show. It was called ‘Rootie Kazootie.’ This guy even had a kazoo like the puppet, and he used to play it all the time. He was pretty good, too. Used to play that song, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ a lot.” He rubbed his stubble and laughed. Then he asked, “You play the kazoo?”
Rudy ran his hand down his jeans to brush a cobweb off his fingertips and frowned. The place was filthy: Cody’s dirty socks hung from the backs of chairs; his smelly boxer shorts were piled in a corner beside the lower bunk bed. And the stove had stacks of grimy pots and pans all over the surface. “Ah no,” he said, “I don’t play the kazoo.” He wanted to say, I don’t sing and I don’t dance either, but he didn’t want to sound curt.
“Too bad,” Cody said, “It gets kind of dull around here sometimes.” Then he dropped a cigarette on the floor, crushed it with the heel of his cowboy boot and kicked it into the fireplace.
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|Review for THE MILE HIGH CLUB...|
Thursday, March 12, 2009
My new blogging buddy, Angel, whom I met through Ryan, just reviewed THE MILE HIGH CLUB. So I decided to post it. Check out his blog for some great music and really nice, honest posts. And, off the subject of reviews and books, I found this great blog too. It's called "Running with Blue Sponge, and I love reading the posts!!
The weird thing about The Mile High Club is that it will also be published in an upcoming anthology, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, published by the well respected Cleis Press in San Francisco. When that book is released, I'll post something.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Welcome to the Mile High Club
Today instead of ranting about my life and its problems I will instead review a short story I just read from Ryan Field called The Mile High Club. Now I have never done a review of a short story before so here I go.
Ryan Fields "Mile High Club" is exactly what the story is about. A couple who is married goes into an airport but as soon as they go into that airport they start to play a game. A game where they are complete strangers. Once they get on the airplane things start to heat up. Even leading to an extraordinary foursome that will leave your body wanting more. So go pick up Ryan Fields Mile High Club. Its free for a limited time at ravenous romance. Who knows, you may just find yourself on all fours wanting more.Later bloggers.
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|Writing American Star...|
Monday, March 9, 2009
When I first started thinking about writing a romance novel that was loosely based on the hit TV reality show American Idol, the goal was to focus on what might happen behind the scenes. As a fan of the show, I'd watched countless brave, young singers stand before America. They opened their mouths and souls, hoping for that fleeting chance of stardom. The show focused on the music, but I wanted the novel, AMERICAN STAR, to focus on what could happen behind the scenes with characters that are completely fictional.
The other thing I wanted to do was to take the show, in AMERICAN STAR, back to the very first season when no one could have predicted it would ever become a pop culture phenomenon. For all intents and purposes, it's nothing more than a low-budget flop. The first chapter opens with the main character, Terrence Lorenzo, reading about auditions for a new TV show on a brand new fictional network...in the newspaper, of all places. He doesn't take it very seriously and he has no idea the show will bring him fortune, fame and super-stardom. No one can predict this in the beginning. Not even the producers, the host or the judges that are involved with the show. But as the story progresses, The American Star Show starts to attract viewers in large numbers. And all the people who laughed at it in the beginning, start to take it seriously in the end. Even Terrence's ex-lover.
And what about all those eager young singers who are turned away and forgotten? We can only assume they go to the initial auditions with the best of intentions. They sing, without music, a few bars of a song they believe is perfect, and then the judges send them walking. "Don't call us, we'll call you...get the hell out of here and stop wasting my time." I couldn't help wondering how they felt. Do they ever hold grudges? And what if someone with a deranged mentality were to be rejected? And that's how I developed the character that begins to stalk Terrence with hate letters and threats. He was one of the singers rejected, and he didn't take it well. And the more popular the show becomes, the more he hates everyone involved. Ultimately, he goes on a rampage during a live broadcast and pulls out a gun.
The romance factor was the most important part of AMERICAN STAR. We tend to think of the people on American Idol as sexless robots who do nothing else but sing. However, in the book, I wanted the contestants to fall in love, to experience magical romantic moments, and to really care about each other in ways that are always hidden on American Idol. But more than that, in a segment of the entertainment industry that has always had plenty of gay men and women, we suddenly find that with American Idol gay people don't exist...at least not openly. I wanted to change that in the book, so I focused on gay male characters and how they deal with the pressures of being placed in the middle of a huge spotlight. I didn't want to get into anything political, but I did want the characters to be as realistic as possible in a general sense. Because the truth is there are many gay fans of the TV show, and I didn't want the book to let them down. And, from what I've been reading about behind the scenes this season with the talented contestant Adam Lambert, I wasn't too far off base.
In the second book, AMERICAN STAR II, the main character is a young woman. Her name is Payton Dugan and she's a carry-over from the first season. Though she isn't gay, she loves men and isn't ashamed of it. In the first book she was the villain, but in the second book I wanted to redeem her and make her likable. And I didn't forget about the gay characters in the second season either. There are several, and they take up a large part of the storyline. Especially one in particular, because this young gay man does something brave and honest no one would ever expect.
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|AMERICAN STAR: BOOK II|
Saturday, March 7, 2009
American Star II was just launched today. It follows the second season of the fictionalized AMERICAN STAR SHOW (ASS), and one of the most interesting character's from the first book is now the main character in this book.
Payton Dugan didn't win the first season of American Star. But by engaging in kinky, harmless sex with the executive producer, she gained fame, fortune and power. Though it was only a fleeting affair, everyone from the first season snubs her when she returns as a permanent judge in season two. But she loves American Star, and is determined to rebuild her image and to gain her colleagues' respect by being professional and honest this time.
But it doesn't mean she's stopped having fun. Two rough, handsome twin brothers take turns visiting her dressing room. She's caught between their strong, talented voices and the rough calluses on their large hands, and she's not afraid to play their little game of mistaken identity. She also has the courage to take one of the more timid contestants under her wing...a quiet young man with great potential who has a passion for wearing blond wigs, six-inch high heels and large, fake breasts.
Then she drops the twins for another contestant, a shaggy young guy on a skateboard who pretends to know a serious secret that could harm the show. But when she discovers that he's been scamming her and blackmailing another judge, she finds comfort in the arms of the only man who has treated her well all season. There's something about him she can't resist, and it blossoms into a love affair she never expected...
Will Payton finally earn the respect and admiration she's so desperate to achieve? Will her new lover be the erotic answer to her prayers? And which one of the hopefuls will win the second season of American Star...
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Thursday, March 5, 2009
When I first thought about writing AMERICAN STAR, I knew I had to handle the storyline with care. It had to mimmick the TV show, "American Idol," in a broad sense as a reality show, but it also had to take on a life of its own as far as storyline went. I didn't want any of the characters, minor or main, to resemble any one particular person involved with the TV show. It was tempting, but I didn't do it.
And then I read this, followed by photos of handsome young Adam Lambert, a new contestant on "American Idol," posing with a guy. AMERICAN STAR couldn't possibly be fictionalized any more than it already is. But this season of "American Idol" seems to be following the book. And I personally want to offer my support to Adam. He really is one of the most talented singers ever to hit the American Idol stage. And I'm going to be casting my vote his way as long as he remains a contestant.
|Something for Free...|
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
That's right. THE MILE HIGH CLUB can be downloaded for free right here for a limited time. I'm not sure how long this will run, but it's a good way to check out an e-book if you've never read one, and it's a good way to get something totally free with no strings attached.
|HOW THE WEST WAS DONE...|
Sunday, March 1, 2009
HOW THE WEST WAS DONE was released today by ravenous. It's edited by Adam Carpenter, and a short story of mine, RUDY'S NEW KAZOO, was included in the book.
I haven't read the entire book yet, but my story revolves around a young college graduate who decides he'd rather work on the family ranch instead of teaching school. When his father hears this, he decides to send him to the most dangerous, isolated part of the ranch to herd sheep. It's actually such a bad job, no one has ever been tough enough to remain there very long. But Rudy is determined to succeed, and with the help of a very sexy ranch manager he learns more about being a cowboy than he ever expected.
This story, for me, is a classic example of how I prefer to write erotic fiction. It's very sexy, but it you took the sex away there would still be a strong story.
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|More Link Sausage...|
This week I went over a few things with the wonderful copywriter, Jen, at ravenous romance, and the second book in the American Star series is soon to be launched . It's called, AMERICAN STAR II, and there are some interesting surprises that have been carried over from the first book I'm hoping readers will enjoy. There was a nice post here about AMERICAN STAR on the MTV blog.
Yesterday I received an image of the cover for a new anthology I'm in. The book is called, "How the West was Done." And it will be launched by ravenousromance.com sometime this coming month. I'll post more about it in a week or so. And I've already posted an image of the cover on the sidebar.
I read a great post about the new Kindle 2 reader this week. Jonathan Lyons decided to come back from his blogging haitus to post this. It gets into the huge discussion about the new audio feature on the Kindle 2 and how it affects audio books in general.
Over at the BookEnds blog, Jessica posted something interesting all erotica romance writers should read. It discusses writing about sex and learning how to keep the readers happy.
And there was a great post here, at Nathan Bransford's blog, about how to treat sympathetic and unsympathetic characters. If you've never read Nathan's blog, it's worth taking a visit. He seems to have attracted a stable of blog fans, and that's not easy to do. I've actually found a few excellent new writers just by reading the comment thread of his blog over the past few years. A few times, when I was putting together anthologies, I contacted them about submitting work. These new writers produced excellent stories for some interesting books I edited.
I stopped by to see what Lori Perkins was posting here, and what Marsha was posting here. Marsha posted a great poem that's worth reading more than once.
And, last but not least, these next three are always favorites. This one is written by a professional writer who is having problems with her fourteen year old cat...stop by and wish her well if you get a chance. This young blogger has great music. And then there's Ryan...the week wouldn't be the same without checking out his blog!!
|Berty and Betty's new cover...|
Yes!! They gave Bert and Betty a new cover. I hadn't expected this. It's a short story about a very creative, happily married young couple who love the friendly skies. They have a sense of humor and their marriage works for a variety of reasons.
This cover is exactly as I'd pictured it would be.