Month: January 2010

The Pumpkin Ravioli Boy, Time Magazine, and John Cloud

Here’s something I normally don’t do. I’m giving a detailed explanation of the inspiration to a short story, THE PUMPKIN RAVIOLI BOY.

Two years ago, almost to the exact day, I read the dumbest article about gay relationships I’ve ever read in my life. It was written by John Cloud…a gay staff writer for Time Magazine. I was so annoyed, I wrote a short story and titled it THE PUMPKIN RAVIOLI BOY, which was published in a small anthology, and now recently released as a stand alone e-book by loveyoudivine.com.

I won’t bore you all to death with the article. But, basically, it was one of those “studies suggest, data shows, and experts agree,” type of pieces that give no solid facts and leave innocent readers with the wrong impression. And I hate, most of all, for younger gay men to think every gay relationship is like what Mr. Cloud wrote about. It’s not.

“Research on gay relationships is young.” This is what Mr. Cloud said in the article, a direct quote. Well…blah, blah, blah. I don’t get my research from google or “experts” when it comes to gay relationships. (And I write fiction!) I gather my research from the many gay couples I personally know who have been in long term relationships for years. And, I know plenty who have been together for over thirty years. One couple over forty years.

I’m not politically vocal at all. If John Cloud had just kept this related to his own personal experiences (all rather peculiar, in that transparent trying-to-be-too-sophistocated sort of way) I would have been fine. But what bothered me the most about Mr. Cloud’s piece in Time was that so many people who know nothing about gay relationships, especially during a time when we’re fighting so hard for marriage and equal rights, would get the wrong idea. If I’d read this when I was younger, I would have been terrified of gay relationships. Evidently, none of his editors are gay…or they aren’t in touch with their gay readership? Maybe they wanted to spark reader controversy? I don’t know. But I decided to balance Cloud’s version of gay relationships with a short story of my own.

Of course they wouldn’t print my story in Time Magazine, and Mr. Cloud is far too literary elite to read m/m romance (I’d bet money; he’d choke on his pumpkin ravioli). But I’ve been writing about gay male relationships a lot longer than Mr. Cloud has been writing ambiguous articles for Time, and I think that my readers appreciate the fact that I always try to go into details, based on my own experiences, when it comes to m/m relationships.

Excerpt: “Ah, well,” Patrick said. The truth was he’d never known any born-again Christians personally, with such nice blue eyes and soft blond hair.
While Dave snapped the photos, Patrick couldn’t help noticing how tight Dave’s jeans were. The clean, faded denim hugged his round ass as though it had been painted there. He spread his legs wide and stood there as if he were standing in front of a toilet. And he had broad, level shoulders beneath the white dress shirt. His back muscles jumped and jerked when his large arms clicked the photos. At first, his body appeared to be stocky and about twenty pounds overweight, but at a second glance, Patrick was certain that Dave was a serious weight lifter. There were thick, hard muscles perfectly stacked beneath the white cotton shirt. He would have bet his last porn flick there wasn’t an ounce of flab on Dave. The man even moved liked a serious weight lifter, with slow, graceful gestures and an even sense of timing.

A Link to a Great Blog Post about Fighting the Fight

Okay. My blog posts aren’t always great. I know this. And I admit it openly.

However, I do know when I see a great blog post and I’m always ready to link to it here. I just read this over at author G.A. Hauser’s blog and thought I’d share the link. It’s not just about books and publishing this time. It’s about life, and the battles we each face regularly. For me, with the fight I’m doing right now, with my friend and the disability insurance, it hit close to home.

http://gahausersblog.blogspot.com/

AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN: Released by Alyson Books

I’ve been late in posting about this one. But there’s been a lot going on with a new project I’m submitting tomorrow to Ravenousromance. Alyson Books just released AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN and it’s listed on their web site. If you do a search on the blog, you’ll find out more information about the book, and there are even a few excerpts. Personally, I’m thrilled to be part of Alyson’s long list of excellent books that serve, and have been serving, the lgbt community proudly for many years.

An Officer and His Gentleman

Ryan Field

The first book in Alyson’s new series of M/M romance novels published in partnership with e-publisher Ravenous Romance.

Brody Johnston, bad boy naval officer on extended leave from his post in Europe, can’t take his eyes off innocent Chance’s round butt and smooth legs. He is determined to get to know him better, and Brody is used to getting what he wants. Though they are complete opposites, Chance is ready to submit to all of Brody’s sexual kinks and desires. And it never occurs to either one of them that they might actually fall in love with each other.

Ryan Field is the author of ten books published by Ravenous Romance, including the best-selling e-books Pretty Man and Take Me Always. His short story “Down the Basement” is included in the Lambda Award–winning Best Gay Erotica 2009.

It’s American Idol Time Again…Go Ellen Degeneres

I’m posting a link to amazon for people who don’t read e-books. AMERICAN STAR is out in print paperback, or digital format now. It’s a funny, satirical lgbt novel about what might happen behind the scenes of American Idol. I wrote this book long before there was a contestant like Adam Lambert, and a judge like Ellen Degeneres. And though the storyline is revolves around a TV show just like American Idol, what happens behind the scenes is a lot more fun than what goes on in front of the cameras.

There’s also a second novel in this series, AMERICAN STAR II, which has just as much lgbt fun as the first book. And, on Amazon, you can read the first section of the book and I’ve posted another free sample below that I thought was funny.

Then Emma stood up to clear the dinner plates and said, “I’ll start getting dessert ready. I made a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies late last night.”


Larry and Brian smiled, and that’s because they hadn’t tasted her butter cookies. Terrence gulped and stared down at his lap, hoping she’d tried a little harder to follow the recipe this time.
When she placed the cookies in the middle of the table, he waited for Brian and Larry to taste them first. They looked okay: perfect little rounds, with ridges and small dots of chocolate. But when Brian put one in his mouth and started to chew, he sat back for a moment and pressed his palm to his chest. Then he reached for a glass of water to wash it down. Larry was next. He was smiling when he put the entire cookie into his mouth, but the minute his taste buds kicked in his eyes widened and the corners of his lips turned down. Terrence had to look away; he focused on a large window at the far end of the room so he couldn’t see the defeated expression on Larry’s face.
Emma returned to the table with a pot of coffee. “How are they?” she asked. “I decided to add a few extra ingredients on my own.”
“What did you add?” Larry asked. Then he swallowed some water.
“Cracked peppercorns and cottage cheese,” she said. “I used the cottage cheese instead of butter to keep the calories down, and I figured if they could add salt in the original recipe, I may as well add some pepper, too, for extra flavor. You know, that spicy-sweet thing.” She smiled and smoothed out her skirt. Then she handed one to Terrence and said, “Here, have one.”
“I’m allergic,” he said. “I’m allergic to cottage cheese. I’m glad you mentioned that.” He’d never been allergic to anything in his life, but he wasn’t going to eat cottage cheese, peppercorn, chocolate chip cookies.

Update: My Friend with HIV; Disability Insurance

I’ve received a few e-mails about the posts I did regarding my friend with HIV and his disability appeal. I had to take the posts down for a reason. Due to the fact that this is so important to my friend, I hired an attorney to help me out with the appeal and she advised me to take the posts down until a later date. I will put them back up again. But for now, I have to listen to the attorney and trust her experience.

But I can’t stop thinking about all the other people out there with HIV/AIDS who are in the same position as my friend, but don’t have anyone acting as legal power of attorney who can hire a lawyer and do these things for them. And it goes beyond being an lgbt issue, because this involves everyone.

The entire experience also reminds me of when my friend was first admitted to the hospital and no one knew what was wrong with him. He’d been misdiagnosed by his doctors for over a year, and then rushed to the emergency room in the suburbs with what was later diagnosed as PCP Pneumonia. As his acting power of attorney at the time, I had to deal with everything. It reminds me of the insurance disability issue because the doctors at the community hospital knew as little about HIV/AIDS as the insurance company I’m dealing with right now. I found myself constantly fighting them to give him the right treatment and to support him through the experience. I did this by contacting an HIV/AIDS specialist in Philadelphia, who helped and supported me through the experience. One doctor at the community hospital, what they call a “hospitalist,” (you don’t want to know more about these guys, trust me) wanted me to sign DNR (do no resuscitate) papers, which would have been insane at the time. Another absolutely refused to even touch my friend, for fear she’d be exposed to HIV/AIDS. The horror stories go on and on. And I can’t help wondering how many other people are going through the same thing, without the help and support I had.

But more than that, how many other lives are lost because bad, ill-informed doctors are making huge mistakes.

And to this day, I’m still amazed at how little people (doctors especially) know about HIV/AIDS, and how people with HIV deal with it on a daily basis. The most important thing I learned is that there are no set rules; everyone with HIV is a different case and they all experience different things. It’s getting better every day, with ARV’s and different methods of treatment, but there’s still too many people who have not been informed correctly.

I will post an update about my friend and his disability case. Right now the first appeal is being reviewed and we’re waiting for a decision. But I can say one thing for sure, now that I’ve inserted my teeth into this case, I’m not going to stop until my friend wins. As legal power of attorney, I’ve been through a lot worse than this.

Excerpt From VALLEY OF THE DUDES

Rather than post about VALLEY OF THE DUDES today, I thought I’d just post a long excerpt that hasn’t been posted anywhere else. This excerpt is a scene from the end of the book (it’s not a spoiler), where two characters, Cody and Radcliff, get into a heated argument that lands them both on the floor in a wild hair-pulling contest. With this scene, I also wanted to make a social statement in my own quiet way, about famous gay men and celebrities who refuse to come out of the closet and admit they are openly gay.

Blood rushed to Cody’s head; he clenched his fists. He lunged forward and grabbed Radcliff’s shoulders. “And you’re nothing but a washed up, self-loathing old queen who never had the guts to come out of the closet.” He shook Radcliff a few times. “You think they don’t know you’re an old queen. Do you really think the world thinks you’re a bachelor? Give me a fucking break. No one even uses that word anymore. Who the fuck do you think you’ve been fooling all these years? At least I’ve always had the guts to be openly gay, and to show the world who I am. I may be many things, but at least I’ve always been authentic. And there are other gay men out there who appreciate it.”

Radcliff pushed Cody hard. Cody went back and landed on the bathroom floor. “Doll,” Radcliff said, “you’re not even worth my time. You’re nothing but trash. Go back to the gutter where you belong and get down on your knees and do what you do best.”

But Cody stood up fast. He lunged again and pulled Radcliff to the bathroom floor. They rolled around for a few minutes, pulling and tugging each other. At one point, a bottle of Dudes fell out of Cody’s upper pocket. Radcliff reached for them fast and held them above Cody’s head. He smiled and said, “Look what I just found. I guess they didn’t do such a great job in the nut house after all. I knew you’d never stop taking these pills. Once a drug addict, always a drug addict. You’ll wind up just like that other friend of yours they found dead in a hotel room in San Francisco.”

Interview with Cat Johnson on Blogtalkradio…

To the right of this post, on the sidebar, there’s an interview with Cat Johnson, www.catjohnson.net, from www.allromanceebooks.com. Cat asked great questions, and I tried hard to answer them without talking too much and boring her to death. We talked about the Ravenousromance first anniversary, the Ravenousromance Escape to Romance Collection with The Home Shopping Network, and about e-books and romance in general.

There’s an interesting discussion about m/m fiction, and lgbt romance books. We talked about my titles, and why I write them. We even got into some of my work with other publishers, like www.loveyoudivine.com and Cleis Press. It’s only half hour interview, but I think we both covered a lot of topics in a short amount of time. And it was a pleasure talking with Cat and getting to know her better.