Month: November 2010

Ravenous Romance: I Think it’s an Anniversary

Okay. I’m not totally sure, but I think today is the second anniversary. According to this post I wrote last year, it must be. And if it’s not, it’s getting close.

I’m not even sure about the number of m/m romances I’ve written for ravenous in the past two years. I don’t keep track of each book or short story I write, at least not on a daily basis. But I think it’s close to twenty-five. And I’m actually getting ready to submit a brand new book this afternoon…as soon as I get all those paranoid submission day fears out of my head.

But I’d like to take this time to congratulate Holly Schmidt, Lori Perkins, and Alan Penn for creating a romance venue that’s usually a little different from other e-publishers. They’ve allowed me to do a few things most publishers probably wouldn’t have allowed. And the responses I’ve received from readers all over the world shows me they agree, too. But more than that, coming from a background of print publishing, I slipped into ravenous romance without making many personal changes at all with regards to the way the book publishing business operates.

And it hasn’t always been easy, not for the writers or the publishers. But it’s always been pleasant and professional, which makes all the hard work worth while.

So Happy Anniversary, RR.

Cover Copy for New Book Dealing with DADT and Gays in the Military

From Wiki: In the autumn of 2010, a federal district court judge declared the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy unconstitutional and issued an injunction prohibiting the Department of Defense from enforcing or complying with the policy. The appellate court stayed the injunction pending appeal; thus Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell remains in effect. On November 12, the US Supreme Court declined to overturn the stay.

Though the book hasn’t been titled yet, here’s the new cover copy.

The main focus in Duke’s life has always revolved around being the best fighter pilot in the Navy, not the fact that he’s a gay man. Only he’s garnered a reputation for being overly aggressive and far too instinctive. And though he likes to think of the chances he takes as heroic and wise, there are many in the Navy who think of him as reckless and irresponsible.

And when the Navy sends Duke to the most rigorous flight class in the country, he only becomes more aggressive in order to be the big bad top gun everyone expects him to be. But while he’s working hard to be number one, he meets an attractive young civilian flight instructor named Jaime who turns his entire life upside down. Though it all starts out as a series of harmless flirtations, it becomes so intense Duke begins to wonder whether or not he can continue to abide by the rules of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

To make matters even more complicated in his closeted life, Duke’s main competition in his class, an aggressive guy who goes by the call sign, Bullet…who also happens to be gay…discovers Duke’s relationship with Jaime. Bullet decides to blackmail Duke, by bullying Duke and threatening to expose him if he doesn’t come in second. But after a serious accident that leaves Duke so devastated he can barely fly a plane, Duke begins to question his goals, his ferocious need to be number one, and his unyielding devotion to a military that refuses to treat him with respect and dignity and equality.

When Duke realizes the only good thing that has ever happened to him was falling in love with Jaime, he comes up with two plans of action. Both plans have the potential to change his life and Jaime’s life forever, and both plans come with consequences with which they will both have to live. But he can only choose one. And though Duke isn’t sure which plan he’ll go with until the very end of the story, he’s certain that he’ll never stop fighting to keep Jaime in his life forever.

The Debate Between E-books and Print Books Continues at The Philadelphia Public Library

This morning I watched the local news and saw a piece about The Philadelphia Public Library. It was fast, but the gist of the piece said the library was thinking of putting book and DVD kiosks all over the city. This way people can just use their library card and get books or DVD’s without actually having to enter the library. The only written article I could find was this one, about the Chicago Public Library doing the same thing.

Now, if I’d heard something like this ten years ago I would have been excited. But I’m one of those people who have made the switch to e-books and I don’t see myself going back. I still read a few print books from my own personal library. But I haven’t actually purchased a print book in almost two years. And, like I said, I don’t intend to purchase anything but e-books unless something drastically changes and I’m forced to go back to reading print books.

But there’s still a huge debate going on about what people prefer. At this point, at least half seem to prefer print books over e-books, and the other half, like me, wouldn’t even consider reading a print book now. And the debate seems to be more physical than anything else. Evidently, people love holding their print books, they love turning the pages, and they love the way they smell. Even the newscasters this morning started to argue about it. Two said they only read e-books. Two said they only read print books, and they actually became a little defensive about it…while the two who read e-books were almost apologetic. It looked as if it would get nasty for a second or two.

I used to think I’d never make the switch to reading e-books. But then I started reading a few e-books and I found there were so many advantages. I can adjust the print. I can read on bed without using a light. E-books tend to be less expensive and they are immediate. And I can take my entire personal library with me when I travel. E-readers are light and don’t take up any space at all.

The main reason I switched wasn’t because of my own personal preferences. I just figured I didn’t have much of a choice. If you’ve been around at least forty years like I have, history always repeats in one way or another. Records became 8-tracks, 8-tracks became cassettes, cassettes became CD’s, and now I just download all my music to my ipod. Same thing with the film industry. There aren’t even any physical video stores left in my community.

Which makes me wonder how this new library kiosk idea will work. Will people actually stop buying e-readers and e-books and start taking books out of library kiosks? Are e-readers just a passing phase like hoola hoops and poodle skirts? Or is someone getting paid a lot of money by these huge public libraries to come up with some very bad, outdated ideas?

I guess this falls under the category of only time will tell.

My Friend Ryan…A Guy in Love

I heard my blogging buddy, Ryan, is in the hospital. He’s always had a few health issues he’s posted about and he’s always seemed to deal with them one by one. You can read about it here, and leave a comment for Ryan if you wish. Over the past six years, I’ve seen Ryan bounce back from a lot. And I’m sure he’ll bounce back this time, too.

His brother, Tyler, seems to be taking care of things right now, including posting about Ryan’s condition on the blog. And I have a lot of faith in Tyler. He’s a tough guy and I’m sure he’ll be taking very good care of his brother. In fact, if I were sick, I’d want someone like Tyler watching out for me. That’s how much I trust his judgment.

And I’ll be posting when I hear something, as well.

I just hate being so far away. I’d be there at that hospital right now if I lived closer.

Gay Romance, DADT, and What’s Real

I’m finishing up a novel today that deals with the subject of gay men in the military. As usual, this particular book is loosely based on the storyline from the film, “Top Gun.” But there’s no way I could have followed the storyline of the film and not mentioned how the main character deals with being in the military and DADT.

If I wanted to, I could still probably just make it all fantasy. I could write about strong gay men in the military who don’t have to worry about coming out of the closet and being open about their sexuality. I could even create a world where Don’t Ask Don’t Tell doesn’t exist.

But then I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

So I’m hoping I did justice to one of the most frustrating forms of discrimination of our time, DADT. And I’m hoping I did it with simple, real examples. One of those examples, for me, was to show that not all gay men in the military are constantly trying to seduce straight men. I’ve interviewed gay men in the military for this book, and they’ve all told me the last thing on their mind is sex with straight men. These are strong men who are very career oriented and the most important thing on their minds is serving their country to the best of their ability. And they want to be treated as equals.

I’ll try to put all this, and more, into the cover copy so readers know what they are getting. It is, in fact, a romance with a happy ending. But the ending is nothing like the way the film ended and the characters are not ashamed to take life head on, from a realistic POV this time. Also, this was one of those times when it would have been impossible to follow the storyline of “Top Gun” with two gay characters, and not completely deviate from the original plot. So if you’re a die-hard fan of the straight version of the film, you might not like they way I ended the book. But I didn’t see any other choices at this point in time.

Some Good Thoughts for Ginger…

I have a very good friend who works in publishing and divides his time between New Hope, New York, and Key West. And he has an eleven year old Scottish Terrier named Ginger who has been going through a rough time.

First, the poor thing has chronic hepatitis and she’s been living with that for over five years, which means my friend has to cook special meals for her just to keep her alive.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, this summer she was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth and just went through major surgery to have the tumor removed.

The surgery was successful and for the past few months she’s been recovering fine, however, she went into kidney failure last week (for no apparent reason) and she’s been struggling hard to get through it.

And my friend is absolutely devastated. He loves this dog like he’d love his own child if he had one, and he’s been there supporting her all the way. In fact, I’ve never seen such a devoted pet owner in my life. He’s not Donald Trump, but he’s selflessly spent a small fortune on vet bills since last summer. I know. I have two dogs and just going for a check-up is never less than two hundred dollars.

So I’m hoping Ginger goes into a full recovery, for her sake and for the sake of my friend. They’ve been through so much it this past year.

Facebook Control and Disabling Accounts for No Reason

I posted earlier this week about my experiences with Facebook disabling my account, for no valid reason and without any prior notice. And after sending facebook administrators quite a few e-mails about being disabled, my account was restored and they refused to give me a reason why it was disabled in the first place. I know it wasn’t because I’d violated any of their rights. I keep my facebook page as pg-rated as I keep this blog. Actually, my facebook page is g-rated…other than the fact that many of my posts are geared toward the lgbt community.

With all the Thanksgiving preparations I was making this week, plus working on edits for an upcoming romance novel I’m submitting to the publisher on Monday, I didn’t have much time to think about facebook. But late last night I started wondering about the control facebook has over people these days. And then I received an e-mail from my good blogging buddy, Ryan, telling me his facebook account had been disabled, which only made me think more about the control facebook seems to have over all of its members.

I’m gay and I write gay romance and gay erotic romance. For many people, books like mine are controversial in many ways. And I post about my gay romances all the time on facebook and I can’t help wondering if maybe some other facebook member reported me for posting about gay fiction. Though I can’t prove this because facebook refuses to let me know why my account was disabled, I’m fully aware of how many people there are who would rather not see or read anything about the lgbt community at all. Not even my dull, g-rated facebook posts. And please don’t tell me I’m being paranoid, thank you. I’ve been openly gay all my life and I’ve experienced the hate and discrimination first hand in far more important places than facebook. You’d think it would be simple: if you don’t like an lgbt oriented facebook post all you have to do is defriend that person. But that’s not how hate works. These haters would rather report someone for posting something lgbt oriented…no matter how g-rated it is…and then sit back and laugh.

And my longtime blogging buddy, Ryan, is openly gay and has been blogging about his experiences as an openly gay man for many years now. And though I’ve never been offended by any of his facebook posts, I can’t help but wonder whether or not someone else was offended and decided to report him. And without even doing a fair investigation, facebook decided to disable his account. This makes two in a row in one week’s time, which makes me wonder whether or not there’s something more going on in the background. Again, this is all alleged. And I can’t prove any of this because facebook isn’t a democracy, it’s more like an empire that makes its own rules and regulations and you either follow them or they banish you from their kingdom.

Unfortunately, the one thing facebook seems to forget is that there are many people like me who don’t take them as seriously as they wish we did. I rarely speak about politics on this blog, but I’m an American and I believe in democracy and as little government intervention as possible. I cherish having rights and I live to voice my opinion. And, as far as facebook is concerned, even though I’ve always respected their rules and regulations, I’m not too thrilled with this policy of disabling accounts without giving a valid reason. It’s the least they can do, after all.

In the grand scheme, it doesn’t really matter. It’s. Only. Facebook. And I’d rather die than make facebook my home page (argh, talk about control). I have a feeling facebook will be the hoola hoop trend of this time period and we’ll all look back and joke about it someday, the same way we joke about big cell phones and TV’s with knobs and dials. I’m already seeing signs of people getting bored with facebook. And if you’re like me, and facebook has disabled your account for no apparent reason, the trend is going to fade sooner than the folks running facebook thought it would.