Month: November 2009

An Older Book Review for DOWN THE BASEMENT

When DOWN THE BASEMENT was originally published, it was in a collection of short stories edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Then it went on to be part of BEST GAY EROTICA 2009, a book that won a Lambda Award this year. And now it’s been published by Loveyoudivine.com as a stand alone e-book.

Here’s an older review, from http://tcm-ca.com/reviews/2154.html , when the story was in the first collection:

In “Down the Basement” by Ryan Field, the narrator explains:
“One Halloween night during my senior year in college, I went to a costume party in a broken-down frat house, dressed as a character I’d been inventing for months–years, if you really want to get technical. I looked like any normal guy in college by then: short, sandy blond hair, blue eyes, white polo shirts, and khaki slacks . . Most people would never have guessed that I was gay or that I had a secret passion for lipstick, earrings and very high heels.”


The narrator is invited to descend literally into an underworld of drunken frat boys who all seem to think he is a sexually-available girl. He worries about what they will do if and when they discover the truth, but one of them already knows.

Bonnie Goldstein vs Levi Johnston: Since When is Playgirl Magazine Considered Porn?

I just read an interesting piece, written by Bonnie Goldstein, of Politics Daily, about Levi Johnston. She claims that by posing for Playgirl Magazine, Levi has now fallen from respectable society and entered into the dark, multi-million dollar porn industry.

Wow! Bonnie. PORN?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of Levi Johnston. I think he could have played his cards differently. If I had been him, I would have. But this post isn’t about Levi or Palin or what’s been going on between them. This post is about Bonnie Goldstein referring to Playgirl Magazine as “porn.”

Last time I checked, Playgirl, according to wikipedia, is described as, “The magazine was founded in 1973 during the height of the feminist movement as a response to erotic men’s magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse that featured similar photos of women.” I see the word “erotic” all over the web when I google Playgirl. But I’ve never seen it referred to as porn, on a professional level. Amateurs can think what they want. But there are rules within the industry that define these things. Bonnie Goldstein knows this.

And as far as I know, Levi didn’t even pose for full frontal nudity. So what makes his photos porn? And, Bonnie didn’t forget to put in links show Levi’s Playgirl photos. If she was so against the “porn” photos, you’d think she would have left out the links so she wouldn’t offend her readers.

I’m sensitive about this issue because I write erotica and erotic romance. And there is a difference between porn and erotica. Porn is just sex for the sake of sex. There’s no story and there are no layers of emotion. And erotica is an actual story, where the sex moves the story and the romance forward, and there should be many layers of emotion. And if you remove the sex from erotica, the story should be able to stand on its own.

I also know there is such a thing as “journalistic porn.” And that’s what Bonnie Goldstein’s piece is: absolute journalistic porn. If she didn’t like what Levi Johnston did in Playgirl, she could have written the piece differently to get her point across without calling Playgirl Magazine porn. But then she wouldn’t have gotten anyone riled up over it. And this, I am certain, was her intention. It’s very transparent. Writers like Bonnie Goldstein are only interested in getting attention. They write misinformed pieces for innocent people who don’t know the difference. And they get away with it.

New Release: Classic Gay Erotica Without Apology

I wanted to post something quick about this new release. It’s titled DOWN THE BASEMENT and it was part of a lambda award winning book “Best Gay Erotica 2009” last year. When I submitted it, with a few changes and revises from the story in BGE 2009, to http://www.loveyoudivine.com/, I told Claudia, the publisher, that this will be the final publication for this story.

It’s being sold as a stand alone e-book. And you can purchase it at loveyoudivine.com or here at ARE: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-downthebasement-386939-144.html It’s also very inexpensive, and I love that it’s been priced right, especially in this economy.

But I want to emphasize that this isn’t a breezy romance. I love writing breezy romances; I love the LOVE that’s associated with breezy romances. This should be evident from books I’ve written like “When Harry Met Sal.” However, DOWN THE BASEMENT is, as the sub-title implies, without mincing words, classic gay erotic romance, written by a gay man (Me…lol 🙂 who isn’t trying to fool anyone with a pen name or a gimmick. I’ve been learning to make these things very clear to readers, and to not assume anything. I like people to know that they are getting what they paid for, without any doubts.

Next week I’ll post about a new book I’m in from STARbookspress.com. It’s a printed Christmas Collection of Short Stories and I don’t think STARbooks has done many of them. I could be wrong, but this might even be the first. I’ll check it out before I post.

Love in Which You Can Believe

While I was writing A CHRISTMAS CARL, I kept wondering about the darkness of the overall storyline in the original novella, “A Christmas Carol.” And I knew that this storyline had been done many times, in many ways, both in books and in films. I’m not exactly sure, though, if it’s been done with an LGBT slant as a m/m romance. So the key factor with this book that I thought was most important was the LOVE. Carl, the main character, had to believe in LOVE, otherwise nothing would have mattered and he wouldn’t have been able to grow.

The love is what causes all the conflict in the story. It takes this typically dark story and turns it into something uplifting and light. I didn’t play around with the fact that the main character is cheap and mean and everything that Christmas and love is not about. Due to various circumstances in his life, Carl has given up on love and he despises Christmas. As a matter of fact, from page one, Carl’s negativity and his cold blooded attitude toward everything that is good and decent about love and Christmas is chronicled. And he’s not well loved by anyone else, either. All the negativity within him, attracts even more negativity to him.

But as the story progresses and Carl witnesses why he’s become the way he is with the help of the three Christmas Ghosts (one of which is the ghost of Quentin Crisp), he begins to arc, ultimately leading toward a very happy ending that’s filled with the kind of romance and love and quality of life Carl thought he’d once lost. And the fact that he is a gay man, who has lived through major changes in the way society views gay men, (I never get political, but as an openly gay writer it would be impossible to write a m/m novel without getting into the realities that surround gay men) makes the climax of the book even more valid. In other words, he has real reasons (he thinks he does) for becoming a negative man who hates Christmas; just as he has real reasons for changing the way he lives his life in the end of the book.

And it’s all centered around love. Love is what gives him the reason the change. And believing in Love is what changes all the lives around him.

Excerpt From New Book: A CHRISTMAS CARL…

First, the timing this month was not that great. If a new book hadn’t been released, I’d only be posting on one topic right now. I’m posting about something really important, about a friend of mine with AIDS who just lost his long term disability from Kansas City Life Insurance Company. I’m his power of attorney and I’m working on an appeal. So Please check out the post below this, too.

Second, here’s a short excerpt from the new book, A CHRISTMAS CARL. If you want to know more about the book, I’ve written a few posts already this week, and they are easy to find.

As the clock struck three, Carl was in his own bedroom murmuring “no.” The covers were over his head and he was lying in the middle of the bed in a fetal position. He was somewhere in between a fuzzy dream state and reality, and he couldn’t control all the thoughts running through his head.
At the end of the third chime, a soft, gentle voice spoke out. It came from the foot of his bed and caused Carl’s feet to jump. “It’s time to get up now, Mr. Smite,” the voice said. “We have work to do and I don’t like wasting time.”
Carl remained still for a moment. The voice he heard was not familiar and the accent sounded British. He slowly lowered the covers to his waist and sat up. He rubbed his eyes and went forward, blinking a few times. In the shadows of the streetlight, there was a thin, older man standing at the foot of his bed. He was wearing a deep purple velvet suit; a fluffy white, ruffled shirt; and a gold lame scarf that had been fastened together at his neck with a thick gold ring. The gold ring was studded with flashy rhinestones; the ends of the scarf trailed to his waistline in two narrow points. And as if that wasn’t enough, his white hair was piled up and haphazardly arranged beneath a large picture hat that matched the purple velvet suit. The hat was tilted to the side for a dramatic effect. He wore campy violet eye makeup, purple sparkled blush, and bright red lipstick.
When Carl dropped the cover to his waist, the older man in the purple suit looked down at Carl’s half-naked body and raised an eyebrow. He pressed his fingertips to his lips and said, “Not bad, Mr. Smite. Not bad at all, from what I can see. You have exceptional chest muscles, indeed.”
Carl’s eyes bugged and he pointed. “I know you,” he said. “You’re that famous gay guy who wrote the book they made into a documentary.” He was so stunned he couldn’t think of a name or a title. “And they made a movie about you.”
The man smiled and waved his wrist. “Tonight I’m only the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Mr. Smite. I’m just a guide, and nothing more. There is no fame where I come from. I’ve come to show you what will become of you.” He smoothed out his scarf and fluffed the ruffles on his shirt. “But I am impressed that you know who I am. I was before your time, and sadly, there’s an entire generation of gay men who don’t know who I am.”
Carl thought hard for a moment, then said, “You’re Quentin Crisp.”
“I was when I was alive,” he said, rolling his eyes as if he didn’t want to be bothered. “And if it makes things easier for you, Mr. Smite, by all means feel free to call me Mr. Crisp.” Then he clapped his hands together fast and said, “Now stop wasting time, young man, and get out of bed.”
“This is ridiculous,” Carl said. “How can you be the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come? You’re nothing like the other ghosts.”The Ghost smiled. “Stop being such a bore, Mr. Smite. I was, after all, born on December 25th. That alone should give me a certain amount of credibility. I may not be Father Christmas, but I assure you I’m quite capable of handling this task.”

Happy Release Day: A CHRISTMAS CARL

What makes A CHRISTMAS CARL different from other versions of “A Christmas Carol?”

First, IT’S THE LOVE.

Second, it’s a gay version, which I don’t think has ever been done before.

Third, Hillary Clinton actually does become President of the United States…way into the future.

The storyline revolves around love, hope, miracles and second chances. When the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come pays a visit to the main character, Carl Smite, it’s actually the ghost of gay icon Quentin Crisp. Mr. Crisp was born on December 25th, and I thought it would be fitting to help him show Carl how he can get back the love of his life, save his son from a horrible death, and spend the rest of his life giving to others instead of taking from them.

There are a lot of romantic scenes in this book, and all the sexy scenes help the love between the two main characters move forward. But there aren’t as many sexy scenes in this one as there are in some of my other books. But, in spite of all Carl’s past transgressions and his penchant for hoarding money, there is a very happy ending and a great deal of hope for the future.

Here’s the back cover copy. I’ll post an excerpt later this week.

If you believe in Christmas miracles, second chances, and absolute true love, then this remarkable journey of rediscovery will guide you through one selfish man’s quest to recapture everything he thought he’d stopped loving.
Wealthy Carl Smite, owner of a high-end antiques store in Greenwich Village, hates Christmas so much he takes the last dollar bill from a sick delivery boy with one leg on Christmas Eve. Carl despises everything that is good and pure about Christmas, including the fact that his employee devotes his time to handing out free dinners at a homeless shelter.
But when Carl goes to sleep on Christmas Eve, he never expects to receive a visit from the ghost of his former business partner, Marty Keller. Marty explains that Carl will have a visit from three Christmas ghosts that night.
The solemn Ghost of Christmas Past takes Carl back to a Christmas when he was in love with the most wonderful man in the world. The lighter, beautiful Ghost of Christmas Present shows Carl what happened to the love of his life and introduces him to the son he never knew he had. And the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, who is actually the flamboyant ghost of gay icon Quentin Crisp, shows Carl the horrible things that will happen to him, and all the people he loves, if he doesn’t start loving again.
And while Carl is working through a Christmas Eve he’ll never forget, the romance moves toward a joyful climax of enlightenment and transition as he searches for the true meaning of life and hope. By the time Carl wakes up on Christmas morning, will he be ready to reclaim his lost love and give back what he’s taken from the world?

It’s That Time of Year Again: A CHRISTMAS CARL

I don’t usually write holiday novels. The reason is because you have to write them when it’s not Christmastime, and it’s hard to get into the holiday spirit during the summer. But this year we came up with an idea that is a play on “A Christmas Carol,” and titled it A CHRISTMAS CARL.

It’s a gay version, loosely based on the original storyline. Only in this gay version, which runs 50,000 words, things get more complicated and the ending is much longer than the original. The main character is a wealthy young man who hates Christmas, and on Christmas Eve he gets a visit from three ghosts who are all colorful and exciting. The last ghost, The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is actually the Ghost of the famous gay icon, Quentin Crisp. Mr. Crisp was born on December 25th, I’ve always been a huge fan of his, and I thought he’d make an interesting ghost in a gay Christmas novel. I hope he would have liked it.

And, of course, this is a m/m romance with a very happy ending. I will say that the erotic scenes have been toned down quite a bit in this novel, as compared to other books I’ve written. And that’s because too much sex in this story just wouldn’t have worked.

So here’s the new cover. I’ll post the actual back cover copy of the book, and an excerpt, on the release day.