Month: July 2012

The Berenstain Bear Family Addresses Chick-Fil-A

I have posted about the Berenstain Bears here before, only I can’t find the link. If someone else can, please let me know.

The reason why I posted about them previously was because the Berenstain family is local, in Solebury, PA, which surrounds New Hope where I live. In my next release, Chase of a Dream, I even mention the Berenstain Bears in my book because it’s Culum Mayfield’s favorite bedtime ritual…I had no idea they were associated with Chick-fil-a.

But in light of what’s been happening with the Chick-fil-a corporation, The Berenstain Bear family has issued this statement regarding their association with Chick-fil-a.

I read this in Towerload:

Following the Jim Henson Company’s abrupt decision to end its relationship with Chick-fil-a over the company’s anti-gay donations, the restaurant chain began offering a series of books from the Berenstain Bears series instead, which has apparently horrified The Berenstain Family.

I know the Berenstain family has always been supportive of the LGBT community in this area, and I’m glad they made a statement regarding this. Though I rarely get into anything political, I would have distanced myself from it, too. And I would have been just as horrified to be associated with Chick-fil-a. Of course I agree that Chick-fil-a has a right to their opinions. But we all have a right NOT to support those opinions.

The Secrets Gay Men Keep From Straights..Really, Bud?.

There are, indeed, little secrets gay men keep from straights. And when I read the article to which I’m linking now I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write a blog post about these secrets. I wish I could agree more with the secrets mentioned in the blog post. But it’s a great example of what I’m always trying to get across about gay people from my personal experience as a gay man who doesn’t have a political agenda.

As gay men and lesbians get closer and closer to the mainstream they’ve often traded in their image as the queer radicals who started the Stonewall Riots for the milquetoast assimilationists who want to get married and have kids and put HRC bumper stickers on their cars.

In some cases I’m sure this is true. But what the author of the article fails to mention is that all these gay men and lesbians who seem so conservative were always that conservative and they were always there lurking in the shadows. It’s just that they are now more visible than ever before as they mainstream. They are not, and they have never been radicals who have “traded in” anything, and not all would put an HRC bumper sticker on their car. In all fairness, the author also plays it very safe and states that not all gays are like this. But the overall impression the article gives is that most gays are like this. And I find that is simply just not true. At least it’s not true in my circles. Maybe in places like New York or San Francisco, but not in what I consider most of real America…you know, those of us unimportant gays living in flyover states.

This quote is interesting:

There, I said it. Bottoming is fucking great. Yes, it hurts every time. Yes it is sometimes messy (Santorum is just not a candidate in Iowa). But it is always fucking worth it.

Frankly, I’d like to focus more on the political comment this guy made than the vulgar reference to anal sex. Here’s a shock you won’t see on gawker: not all gays hate Rick Santorum. They might not get him all the time. They might not like everything he says and what he stands for all the time. But they don’t all hate him as much as the loudest radical gays do. I’m not political, and I don’t discuss politics anywhere any time. I probably wouldn’t vote for Santorum. But there are gay people who are conservative and have been pushed into corners and have been taught to believe that if they are conservative there is something fundamentally wrong with them. That’s beginning to change. Trust me, I know quite a few gay conservatives who are not feeling this way anymore and they are becoming more vocal about it. So this reference that all gays agree on the same politics always amazes me, and makes me wonder about how presumptuous some people can be, because in reality one of the biggest secrets gays hide are there political opinions these days.

This little gem made me smile:

For those who don’t know, poppers are an inhalant that is rather easy to come by in most adult book stores or gay leather shops. It’s amyl nitrite and it’s sold as “room deodorizer” or “video head cleaner” or some other preposterous bullshit like that. Homosexuals love this stuff.

So I’m supposed to love this stuff? Well let me tell you that this is NOT something I love, nor is it something I do ever. I did try it once, back when I was single and going to clubs all the time, and I thought I was going to die. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had and I still, to this day, do not see what some gay men find appealing about poppers. I think I would rather look at nude photos of Joy Behar than ever do a popper again. I’d rather see muscial comedy or read a romance with a woman in a long red gown on the cover than inhale a popper. And I know plenty of other gay men who will back me up on this.

This isn’t a topic I’d bring up in public anywhere, but since the author of the article wrote it I’m giving an example:

See the discussion about “power bottom” above, except the difference is, 99.9% of gay men love to suck dick. Therefore, if you call us a cocksucker, it says something more about you than it does about us.

No arguments here about the love of oral sex. However, if you call me a cocksucker in the wrong context, I’m going to kick the shit out of you. Now THAT’S a gay secret you don’t hear often, the gay guy sticking up for himself. And I’ll do it, trust me.

About gay celebs:

Straight people think, “Oh, the gays love Madonna and Lady Gaga and Kathy Griffin.” Yes, it’s true, but there is a class of gay superstars you don’t even know about. You think gay people love Gaga?

Another myth all the way around. Kathy Griffin makes me gag…and I mean heave big time. Madonna I’m on the fence about. Lady Gaga is okay, but she’d do anything to get attention. No harm there; she’s extremely bright. But she’s also full of shit. Personally, this gay man would rather listen to rap music. And I know I’m in the minority there because I love rap music so much. But I also like some country, and some hard rock. This one is tricky because there are a lot of gay men who do like Madonna (I’m not so sure about Kathy Griffin) and Lady Gaga, but my point is that just as many don’t like them. You just don’t hear about those gays very often.

This one about having sex with straight guys made me laugh:

When homophobes always have a gay panic and say gay men “all want to have sex with me,” someone will always tell them, “That’s stupid. We don’t want to have sex with you.” That’s true—because that guy is ugly. If he was hot, gay guys will want to have sex with him.

Not always true. The fact is that gay men are attracted to men but that doesn’t always mean that because a guy, straight or gay, is hot a gay man is going to be attracted to him. Tony and I laugh about this all the time. He’ll see a guy and say isn’t he hot, and I’ll just roll my eyes. I’ll do the same thing at another time and he’ll look at me as if I’d lost my mind. There are no rules for attraction, gay or straight. You’re either attracted to someone or you’re not. Frankly, I find Joel Stein to be one of the most attractive men on the planet and he is straight. But I don’t find other good looking straight guys all that attractive. Gay men can also be attracted to women sometimes, too, and that’s never discussed. The only reason I watch HLN News in the morning is because Robin Meade is so hot.

This one kind of shocked me a little:

What HRC and other gay rights groups would like to sell the straight public is that gay couples are just like straight married couples.

The author is talking about monogamy here, and multiple partners. I’m not even going to comment on gay couples this time. I’m zooming right in on the straight couples I know. Has this guy seen the divorce statistics with straight couples? He clearly never my met my ex-sister-in-law…emphasis on the EX part. There are just as many straight couples out there screwing around as there are gay couples. Tony and I have lived in our home for ten years. In that ten year time span we have one neighbor who has been through three husbands. We don’t ask. We mind our own business. But you can’t help notice these things, and I do have an inquiring mind. The sad fact is that half the people I know in relationships, gay or straight, are screwing around now. The good thing is that the other half isn’t, so things aren’t all that bad.

How about this one?

Straight guys always say, “It must be great to be gay because you can get laid any time.” Yes, it’s true. We can get it anywhere, anytime.

Oh yeah, sure you can…if you are into trolls lurking around at rest areas and state parks. The fact is, and I learned this personally from my single days when I used to cruise, I usually went home alone and frustrated every single time. The people who go to those so-called cruise spots are NOT people anyone wants to have sex with. At least I never did. So getting laid is NOT any easier for a gay guy than it is for a straight guy unless you are willing to lower your standards considerably. Gay guys can also get laid anytime they want if they are willing to pay for it…just like straight guys. But I’ve never paid for sex once in my life, and I don’t see that ever happening in the future either. I have nothing against the concept of it, but I never liked the attitude of those who get paid for sex and think they have the upper hand. It never worked for me. And if I were going to pay for sex, my attitude would be I have the money and I have the upper hand, not you, cutie.

This is probably the only one I completely agree with. The author is talking about how gay men feel about drag queens and drag shows.

Drag queens are great! Some of my best friends are drag queens, and some of them put on great shows. But we see drag queens all the damn time.

I’ve never been a huge fan of bad drag. I like good female impersonators like the ones I’ve seen in Vegas. I like campy drag if the intention is funny. But as for low-end drag shows and lip syncing, I’ll pass. And don’t give me that double-snapping drag queen attitude if you know what’s good for you. I have never seen it to fail. You take a nice quiet guy and put a wig and earrings on him and he turns into an obnoxious, loud mouth who thinks he can get away with anything. I’ve had more run-ins in night clubs with obnoxious drag queens than I care to remember, and I stay as far away from them as I can. That kind of attitude doesn’t work with me, and if you think I’m bad you should see Tony go after them. It can be very entertaining sometimes.

I do think the article in gawker hit some points that aren’t completely wrong. Unfortunately, it’s just more of the same old thing we see far too often in the mainstream written about gay people. I know lesbians and bi-sexuals who feel the same way I do. I find that transgenders are the most misrepresented group of all time, and that’s a shame. Because we in the lgbt community get tired of always being misrepresented and expected to be a certain way. The worse part is that this often happens from other people in the lgbt community who aren’t as informed as they should be…or have a strong poltiical agenda they are trying to push. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again until my last breath: gay people are all different; just like straight people are all different. We aren’t all attracted to the same things, we don’t all agree on the same politics and religion, and we are not all the way we’ve been portrayed by the media. And that’s probably the biggest secret we’ve been keeping all along.

Cover Preview: That Cowboy in the Window…Gender-Bending Themes


Here’s the cover for my new Loveyoudivine.com release, THAT COWBOY IN THE WINDOW.

If you’re looking for romance with a woman in a long red gown on the cover, this might not be the book for you. This is more about the personal journey of an individual who has always known what he wanted but wasn’t quite sure how to get it. It’s funny at times; it stings at other times. It’s LGBT fiction, not m/m romance and I wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression about it.

There is a cowboy and there is a dark side to him. But I think there’s a happy ending, in spite of the fact that it’s not the traditional happily-ever-after. In fact, we should all be this lucky in our lives to come to this conclusion.

I’ll post more when it’s released.

As for the cover, I think Dawne Dominique nailed this one!

Almost All Gay Students Hear Homophobic Language in School and Why I Still Have Trouble with the "Q" Word

The reason I’m posting about this is because I do know that things have changed a lot since I was in school in the 70’s and 80’s. And, I also remember when I was in school there was a teacher who stopped someone in the middle of gay name-calling. I think I was like in the 3rd grade, and a few kids were bickering about something I don’t recall. All I remember is one calling another “fag.” And the teacher heard it, stepped in, and she “handled” it in a way I’ve always respected.

She didn’t just tell the kid not to use the word. She went into an hour long explanation for the entire class, explaining why it was wrong to use words like “fag” or “queer.” Maybe this is why I have such a hard time embracing the Q on the end of LGBT Q. To me that word has always represented something negative…or odd that doesn’t quite fit in. And even though I know where they are going by wanting to force the Q on us, I’m still not fond of it. And if you call me a Queer and I’m not paying attention, you’d better start running.

But this article is interesting because it shows that homophobic language still does exist in schools. I do know that it is markedly different now that it was thirty years ago because I hear this from nephews and nieces all the time. In fact, they don’t even seem to think gay is an issue.

But it sounds like the study is authentic:

The University of Cambridge research for Stonewall’s School Report 2012, launched at its Education for All conference, included a national survey of 1,614 young people.

This is interesting, too:

In schools where teaching staff never challenge homophobic remarks, the rate of homophobic bullying is far higher than in schools where such language is always challenged at 71 per cent compared to 43 per cent.

You can read more here. I honestly don’t think it makes a difference that the study was done in the UK. And I do think that if a study like this were done in the US the results would be the same. Because now the language isn’t as blunt and crude as it used to be. Many times when straight people call something “gay” in a derogatory way it’s just as insulting. They might not mean to do it. But it stings just the same.

Facebook At a Loss…Authors Be Wary of Trends

I’ve been following this saga with Facebook with great interest because I’ve always been an extremely conservative investor (real estate, and only in resort areas…never flipping), and because I’m curious about whether or not online businesses like Facebook actually generate money through advertising.

From cnet.com:

More specifically, since the close of trading on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg has lost almost $3 billion, at least on paper. (His total stake is still worth about $11.8 billion, a far cry from the $19 billion he held at the IPO price).

Of course this is just all hype now, and speculation to long term investors who invest wisely and are in for the long haul. No one really knows how FB will do in the future. I’m personally on the fence about it. It’s still a gamble any way you look at it, and I’m not convinced anything solely based on advertising revenue is a solid investment. I would be thinking very differently if they charged people to use FB. But then again, I wouldn’t BE on FB if anyone charged me to use it. So it’s going to be interesting to see how all this plays out. I was right about QVC stock, and wrong about EBay stock in the past. I knew home shopping would take off, but I thought EBay was a joke.

This article is also a little frightening:

If Facebook had a “dislike” button, the social media giant would have the most clicks. A new report shows that the company may be nearing the end of its timeline, setting a record low among social media sites.

After a year of radical changes to the world’s largest social media website, Facebook’s reputation is dwindling, with user satisfaction falling below Twitter, LinkedIN and Google Plus.

With users deactivating their accounts out of privacy concerns and frustration with interface changes and advertisements, Facebook’s endless transformations may do itself more harm than good.

Facebook scored 61 out of 100 in customer satisfaction among active users, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. While Twitter and LinkedIN scored only slightly higher, Pinterest received a score of 69 and YouTube received 73.

The winners? Google+ and Wikipedia, tying at 78 points.

You can read more here at rt.com.

The article goes on to explain a few reasons why FB is experiencing this problem, and some of them are good reasons. A lot of this has to do with privacy. But I’ve always felt that FB is more of a trend and that people jump aboard with rigor in the beginning and slowly get tired of toward the end. If there were a shelf life for social media I would venture to guess that FB’s lifespan would be about six months. I’ve been on FB since the very beginning when everyone had only a handful of friends. I now have almost 4,000 and I don’t even know how I got there. But I do know one thing I’ve seen that never changes: over the years I’ve seen people come and go countless numbers of times. And it’s usually sudden, too. One day the status updates I’ve been seeing from so-and-so will completely disappear and I’ll never hear from that FB friend again. I’ve come to expect it. And I’ve also become very good at predicting who will hang on and who won’t. Oddly, the guy who got me into FB in the beginning is still my friend…a writer named Jonathan Stephens. We met through blogging a few years before that.

And don’t forget about the snark/mean factor. I’m sure people have unfriended me for various reasons over the years. And I’m guilty of it. I’ve unfriended people myself for reasons that aren’t always very solid. I dropped a woman author last night because she commented on the blog post of a blogger I’m not fond of. In that sense, I’ve always managed my friend list. And I prefer not to be associated with people that are associated with people I don’t like or trust. This particular blogger where the author left the comment has a long history of *VACUOUS* posts that promote vitriol within the writing community. She also seems to have a lot to say about gay fiction and yet she doesn’t write it, she’s not gay, and she’s in no way associated with gay fiction. So it was an easy decision to make. One click; unfriend. No drama.

But ultimately I’ve always believed that anything based on trends never lasts for very long. In the 80’s there was a huge boom in self-help books…everyone was reading one, writing one, or publishing one (not me). And we all know what happened there. A few got lucky; a few became popular and got rich; most crashed and burned and moved on to the next trend…I think it was chick lit.

This is why it’s also important for writers to be on guard with trendy genres as well. They don’t usually last. And that’s because there’s usually some kind of fundamental flaw that comes from so many people jumping onto the proverbial bandwagon to get rich quick. The market floods. The authenticity isn’t there. It becomes an insult and a joke at the same time. I’ve seen THAT happen before, too.

About Friend Requests on Goodreads…

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while and something keeps coming up to distract me. But it has been on my mind and I don’t want anyone to think I’m snubbing them.

I just left a review for Joe Mihalic’s book on goodreads yesterday and saw that I had a ton of friend requests. I approved them all after I posted the review, and then told myself I’d write this post before the weekend started.

I don’t get to goodreads often, and usually only go there when I’m posting a review for a book I’ve read. I just don’t have the time to spend there that I would like to have right now and that’s no reflection on anyone.

So if I don’t approve a friend request right away, please know that I will do it eventually. It’s just me being absent-minded and not having enough time to do everything all at once.

Melissa Jenna’s Good Christian View on Fifty Shades of Grey…

When I saw this post by blogger, Melissa Jenna, I thought I’d link to it. Given that I’ve been writing an essay for a book about 50 Shades to be released this fall, and given the fact that I’m about to do something interesting with my next release that hasn’t been done before with erotic romance, I found Melissa’s POV more than interesting. I tend to look at things from a publishing POV and I forget that others don’t sometimes.

What I find interesting is that I can find it simple to respect and honor opinions like this with regard to the good Christian bloggers, and yet I rarely find that same respect in return from the good Christian bloggers who rant about books like 50 Shades and movies like Magic Mike.

It’s an interesting concept. The author of erotic romance and erotic fiction doesn’t mind when a good Christian bashes erotica, but the good Christian thinks nothing of bashing the erotica and the erotica author…and reader. In the quote below she talks about 50 Shades and Magic Mike.

Christian women need to reject both of these works, and instead, use our voices in support of what is good, right and true. It is our responsibility, as daughters of the Heavenly King, to remain set-apart from the poisons of our culture, to rebuke temptation, and to celebrate and honor righteousness.

One of the 1800 people who commented on the post said this about 50 Shades:

I understand what you are saying here, but the books could have gotten the same point across without going into such graphic detail.

I don’t have a problem with that. I agree books can be written in different ways to get different points across. I’m not going to bash Melissa Jenna for expressing her beliefs and views. I don’t agree with them, but I respect them. And what I’m going to do with my next release, which I will talk about in detail next week, should be something that calms her down a little and keeps her free from the “poisons of our culture,” like erotic romance, Magic Mike, and all that other sinful stuff. It does have a lot to do with getting “the same point across without going into such graphic detail.”