Month: October 2012

How NOM Works Against Marriage Equality by Fred Karger

I was going to share this FB post about how NOM (National Organization for Marriage) works against marriage equality in a Huff Po piece written by former Presidential candidate, Fred Karger, but then decided to post it here on the blog because I’d like it to get more exposure. And I don’t want it getting mixed up with so many stupid facebook political status updates by ill-informed people who can’t seem to focus on anything other than slamming political candidates in one direction or the other. We get it: you don’t like Obama. We get it: you don’t like Romney. But stop putting it in our faces. Go tell someone who cares and start doing something positive for a change.

But I digress (smile). I’m focused on a few issues, and marriage quality is one of them. In the article to which I’m linking Karger goes into detail about how NOM actually hinders marriage equality, and with a great deal of money.

The LGBT community and everyone who cares about fairness and equality face four crucial votes next Tuesday in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington State. All four elections are the doing of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

NOM has an unlimited amount of money at its disposal and is hell-bent on hurting millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans every conceivable way possible, especially at the ballot box.

In 2009 the Maine State Legislature passed and the Governor signed a historic bill allowing marriage equality in the Pine Tree State. On the first day possible NOM hired professional signature gatherers to qualify a referendum to repeal it. NOM was successful.

I’m not going to elaborate on this because Karger did a better job than I could ever do. If you care about marriage equality, I suggest you read the article in full. And feel free to share it. It’s a lot more positive than sharing touched up photos of Donald Trump’s hair flying around in the wind.

Gay Sex in Film Version of "On The Road"


I’m glad to see there will be a few gay sex scenes in the movie version of Jack Kerouac’s novel, “On the Road.” And really only because I can’t see how they could be ignored. To ignore the gay sex would be to ignore the rebellious aspects of the entire Beat Generation.

I’ve read a great deal about the Beat Generation and Jack Kerouac’s personal life. I keep “On the Road” in print version on my night stand, and that’s the only book I keep there now. Allen Ginsberg lived right here in New Hope, back when New Hope was a theater town and filled with all kinds of creative types. There was no “gay” then. Whether or not Kerouac and the rest of the most famous members of the Beat Generation were bi-sexual or homosexual is not always clear. But one thing’s for sure. There was gay sex.

I think it’s important to make the distinction, though, that “On the Road” is not gay fiction and was never meant to be gay fiction. It can get a little confusing to understand for those who are younger and have grown up knowing the word “gay” as it applies to homosexuals. In those days homosexual wasn’t something discussed openly…or even thought about in a positive way. In those days, a lot of the gay sex associated with the Beat Generation was almost shameful for some and for others a rebellious act against society. At least that’s how I’ve always viewed it.

There’s an interesting article here. The other thing I think is important about the entire topic has more to do with the evolution of “gay” men and “gay” sex since that time. What they thought of as rebellious back then has now become so commonplace it often goes by unnoticed. Not totally, but I don’t think anyone considers being gay a rebellious act anymore.

But while the movie is brazen about gay sex (well, male gay sex), it may not attain queer classic status like My Own Private Idaho, Bound, and Mysterious Skin. While some film critics accuse Salles of turning his nose up at the gay sex in the book, the truth is that Kerouac’s novel is not really a queer work, just a work with queers. While Truman Capote, James Baldwin, and Gore Vidal wrote about men loving other men, On the Road has male characters simply jumping into bed with each other. Also, the book is way too stocked with misogyny and homophobia to be a testament to the LGBT experience, says Don Romesburg, an associate professor of women’s and gender studies and the queer studies adviser at California’s Sonoma State University.

“On the Road’s homoeroticism doesn’t affirm homosexuality or bisexuality as much as it shores up the narrator’s and main character’s prerogatives, as Beat but ultimately straight white males, to go where they want and fuck who they want,” Romesburg says. “But it’s all in the service of their freedom, not ours. Being queer and reading On the Road can be like that drunken one-night stand with a straight boy who won’t make eye contact with you after.”

Coping With Sandy’s Aftermath

I’ve only posted with an iPhone once before, so this post won’t be long.

As everyone knows by now, the path of destruction from Hurricane Sandy goes on for miles. I have been trying to keep in touch with friends and family in Mahattan via text and e-mail, and it’s been difficult at best. Power is out all over NY, NJ and PA and most land lines don’t work. So far, everyone I know is OK, thankfully.

We got through the storm with far less issues than most people I know. We lost power on Monday night and we are not supposed to get it back until Thursday. The longest we have ever been without power has been a day, so that’s a pretty good example of how  destructive Sandy was around New Hope and the Philadelphia area.

After last year’s freak snowstorm on Halloween we bought a generator that sat in the garage for one year. It’s come in handy this week. I’ve also been thinking about my Amish friend I once posted about who never has electricity. It’s amazing how much we take for granted.

We got lucky this time compared to the thousands of people who have lost homes, and in some cases lives. With all the massive trees we have we are thankful for that as well. For those who are struggling with more serious issues, I wish you the best. I have been through a great deal in life and the magnitude of this hurricane is now in the top ten worst. But with a fully charged e-reader and my new AJ Llewellyn book I’m going to read this one out.

Deleted Matt Bomer Scenes from "Magic Mike"

It’s a hurricane. It’s slamming the entire east coast. For those who haven’t lost power yet, no one really feels like working much.

I was going to link to a post on well known publishing blog I thought was interesting, but I wanted to keep my readers awake.

So here’s a link to view a few photos of scenes that have been deleted from “Magic Mike.” Why anyone would delete these scenes passes me by.

I’m told that if you buy the “Magic Mike” DVD, a lot of the Matt Bomer scenes that were deleted in the final cut will be there as part of the promotional package.

The Perfect Storm…Creative Non-Fiction as a Genre

In l991 three unusual weather conditions came together and formed what’s been dubbed as “The Perfect Storm.” I found it interesting because there was a book and a film about it that became widely popular in the mainstream…and controversial to a certain degree.

It’s also been referred to as the Halloween Storm, or Halloween Nor’easter. And now it seems as if history is repeating itself all over again with Sandy.

Here’s an interesting article written recently about that’s focused on the reality angle of “The Perfect Storm,” with a few interesting comments about the book and movie.

On Oct. 30, 1991, Leonard and two crew members were several days into their voyage when they were caught in the confluence of three weather systems. They were about 60 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts.

One of the crew issued a mayday, and the three were plucked from the Atlantic Ocean by a Coast Guard helicopter.

The book and the movie, neither of which Leonard participated with, portrayed him as drunk and detached. Leonard has always insisted that the boat, which later washed ashore intact, was never in any real danger.

As you can see, Ray Leonard, who was actually the skipper of the boat that was allegedly portrayed in the book and film didn’t even participate in any of it. And, according to him what really happened was nothing like the book or film, which isn’t a surprise. He claims they were, indeed, equipped to ride out the storm, and were in better shape than the US coast guard.

This is even more interesting:

An exception is the portrayal of the yacht whose crew was taken off-board by the US Coast Guard. Its story is clearly based on the events surrounding the Satori, which are also dealt with in Junger’s book; Junger’s version of the event, however, is contested by the owner and skipper of the yacht, who was not interviewed for Junger’s book, but is supported by the two crewmembers on the Satori and the Coast Guard rescuers. The film highly fictionalizes the story of the Satori; it renames the boat Mistral, and leaves its crew anonymous, making no explicit claim about the “true” identity of the boat.

I think the key phrase here is “highly fictionalizes.” This evidently led to controversy and wound up in court.

While there have been disputes over the context and research of the book, there have been controversies that surround The Perfect Storm. Families of two crew members sued the film makers for the fictionalization of events which happened prior to the loss of the Andrea Gail.[4] In 2005, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against the family of Captain Tyne by a 6-2 vote.
Aside from my personal feelings (I didn’t like the book or movie much), what I find interesting is that the book is considered “Creative Non-Fiction.”
Creative nonfiction (also known as literary or narrative nonfiction) is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as technical writing or journalism, which is also rooted in accurate fact, but is not primarily written in service to its craft. As a genre, creative nonfiction is still relatively young, and is only beginning to be scrutinized with the same critical analysis given to fiction and poetry. It is sometimes referred to as docufiction.[1]
It’s almost like Roman a clef, which is like biography but mixed with fiction…embellishment, satire, and even parody…which I’ve done a few times. Let’s face it, one key ingredient to most books is the “what if” factor. Without that, if books were based on real life, they wouldn’t be very interesting because real life isn’t that interesting to begin with. In fact, romance as a genre is based almost entirely on the escapism and rarely related to reality. That’s one reason why we read them.  
I think these things are important to know for a variety or reasons, especially with all the loud voices on the Internet speaking and commenting about things about which they don’t really have a clue. I understand why the author of “The Perfect Storm” did what was necessary to make the book more interesting. I also understand why the real people involved were not thrilled about that. But I don’t always think one thing is entirely connected to the other. There’s nothing that says the people who were actually involved in the storm can’t write a book of their own and replay their personal experiences. Whether or not anyone will buy it and read it is another story. Publishing is a business, not an outlet for one or two people to enjoy themselves. And while the real story might make a great PBS special, I doubt it would have been a huge bestseller.
One of the most widely discussed topics today seems to be the fact that so many think they have a great memoir. But all they really have is a story that is important to them, and not to anyone else. I may have posted this before on this blog, but I can’t remember so I’m posting it again. There’s an old saying in the antique business: “Nobody wants what grandma had except grandpa.” And I tend to think that’s true with books and stories as well.

Hurricane Sandy…

I went to look for photos about Hurricanes on google, and one that I’d posted last year came up and I thought that was interesting. I’ve been planning to do a long blog post about personal blogging in terms of personal legacy and this experience just reinforced my opinions about blogging. For many, what you put on your blog and what you put on the Internet will one day, indeed, become your personal legacy. So it’s important now to think about how your blog posts will look in the future when you or anyone else looks back at them.

In this case, I posted about Hurricane Irene in August of 2011, and then tropical storm Lee. But the photo above is from a nor-easter we had in the spring. That was just some of the damage. We get hurricanes and nor-easters in this part of the country, but usually not a little more than one year later. Most of the time it’s more like once every five years. So this “Frankenstorm” isn’t something we haven’t had to deal with before, but the frequency with which it’s happening is unusual. I know people who are still recovering from the last one.

The photo above is basically what Tony and I have to deal with during storms like this. We don’t have to worry about flooding, but we’re surrounded by huge trees and you never know which one might come down. So far, everyone is expecting the worst and hoping for the best with Sandy. I know for a fact that all NJ State troopers have been called in for duty and we’re in a state of emergency here.

I just hope everyone gets through this okay, especially those in areas that tend to flood. If they tell you to evacuate, listen to them. Don’t be a hero. It’s not worth it. This thing is going to be around until Tuesday from the latest report I heard.

Hurricane Sandy: Direct Hit on New York, New Jersey, Delmarva October 29…

Posts may be sporadic for the next couple of days, depending on where Sandy makes landfall and how bad it actually is. So far, the latest reports say it’s heading toward New Jersey/New York, and since New Hope is only an hour from NY, on the NJ border, we’re planning for the worst.

Hope that wherever it does hit, everyone is safe and there’s not much damage. So far I think it’s still too early to tell, but it doesn’t hurt to take precautions either.

Kindle Lending Library Now in France, UK, and Germany

The following is from an e-mail I received from Amazon. From my experience, I would recommend participating in the lending library for at least the first 90 days the book is released. I’ve found it helpful with the four .99 e-books I’ve self-pubbed on Amazon, and it offers readers a chance too not only see what you’ve done but it also gives them a break. The odds are if you are publishing for the first time you are not going to sell thousands of copies the minute the book is released. That takes time, hard work, and a great deal of patience.

The only problem I find with the lending library is that once you sign up you can’t distribute the books anywhere else for 90 days. Being that I like having my books distributed in as many places as I can get them to the public, I’ve only done it for 90 days and opted out after that. But not with all books. I’m keeping “Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street” in the lending library and offering a free promotion for everyone very soon. I’ll post more about that when I do it.

Reach even more readers and earn more money!

We are excited to announce that the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is now available in the UK, Germany and France and that the KDP Select fund has been increased to $700,000 for October.

Did you know that books enrolled in KDP Select in August earned 77% more royalties from paid sales than the three months before they were in the KDP Select program? Enroll your additional titles today and increase the discoverability of your books and your earning potential. Visit your Bookshelf and select the books you would like to enroll.

To find out more about KDP Select click here and for The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library click here (for the US) and here (for the UK).

Thank you for choosing KDP to publish your work and for enrolling in KDP Select.

Kind Regards,
Kindle Direct Publishing
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Why I had to Revise This Book Cover; Kergan Ewards-Stout Wants to be Defriended; Frankenstorm

(Update #2: With regard to the Kergan Edwards-Stout article in the Huff Post, being that the post was centered on President Obama’s support of same sex marriage, and when I think of support I’m talking about support on a federal level, not on a state to state level, I wanted to post this link to an ABC news article on the President’s latest comment on same sex marriage. Evidently, he’s not supporting same sex marriage on a federal level if he should win a second term, and he’s basically saying that same thing all the other candidates before him have said in the past. It’s not very encouraging, because gay marriage on a state level means nothing for most of us. We need equality on a federal level.)

(Update: The moment I posted this cover on facebook, author Janet Post, told me this cover model has been used on her book, so this cover won’t be used either and it’s back to coming up with a new cover. So this will now be an ongoing post about the difficulties of coming up with decent book covers. Of course I’m not using it. And I’m sure the cover artist will agree. I’m just glad Janet caught this in time before it went to print.)

Earlier this week I posted a preview cover for a new .99 e-book I’m self-pubbing on Amazon next month. It’s titled, “A Sign From Heaven Above,” it’s very erotic gay romance, and you can read more about it with the link.

Unfortunately, I thought I had the perfect cover. Simple and clean; nothing I found offensive. And then I wrote a post thanking Gay Rom Lit for a contest they held last weekend where I won a copy of a gay film on DVD. While I was linking to the GRL web site in my post, I noticed they had the same image that I’d used for the cover of ASFHA. I’d purchased mine from one of those stock photo sites to make it all legal, and I guess they did the same thing. That was the first time I’d ever been to the GRL web site. I usually get all that information from social media.

So I thought about it and decided to change the entire book cover. The cover artist agreed. I doubt the folks at GRL would have minded, but I didn’t want to usurp their territory. I bought another image, revised the entire cover, and this is what we came up with. I still like the first one better, but I’m okay with this.

Sometimes these things happen and sometimes you catch it before it goes to print. I once released a short story titled “Strawberries and Cream at the Plaza,” and soon discovered after it was released another mm romance titled “Strawberries and Cream” had been released around the same time. In that case, there was nothing I could do about it. My story was a re-print from an older anthology and it had been titled years ago. And I’m sure the other author had no idea either. It happens. At least this time I had a chance to revise it.

Kergan Edwards-Stout Asks People to Unfriend Him on Social Media…

If people are not going to vote in the next election the way Kergan Edwards-Stout is voting, and they are not supporting his candidate of choice, Edwards-Stout is turning his back on them, will have nothing to do with them, and wants them to unfriend him on all social media.

I’m not a friend of his on any social media, so I didn’t have to unfriend him. But I probably would have it he’d been a friend. I’ve been openly gay all my life, and I’m with my partner for twenty years. We’ve bought, renovated and sold property together. We’ve started and sold small businesses. We’ve buried parents and grandparents in those twenty years. We’ve helped parents and family members through everything from divorce to chemotherapy. We’ve also buried good friends and watched older gay couples go through all the legal issues same sex couples face. We’ve had our attorney plan and organize our affairs so that we both have legal POA for health issues and financial issues. I’ve stood by Tony’s side while a priest gave him last rites when they thought he was dying five years ago. I brought him home after a three month hospital stay when he weighed 90 pounds so he could recuperate in his own home instead of a nursing home…against everyone’s advice…they didn’t think I could do it alone. So I may not be father of the year like Kergan Edwards-Stout, but there’s nothing he can even imagine that I haven’t already been through twice by this time in my life. And I don’t take kindly to people giving me orders as to who I should vote for in either party, Democrat or Republican. I happen to be a registered Democrat and have been all my life. But I still don’t want ANYONE telling me who I should vote for, just as I would never tell anyone who they should vote for. That’s an individual choice we all have the right to decide for ourselves.

What prompted me to comment on this Edwards-Stout post was an e-mail I received from a good friend in Brooklyn. I’ve posted about her before. She and her partner have been together for thirty years, and they were here, in New Hope, offering me all the support I needed when Tony went through his health crisis five years ago. This friend of mine was a lifelong Democrat who became disillusioned with politics in the last five years and now she’s an independent voter. She was wearing a “Vote for Romney” button in her Brooklyn neighborhood one day this week. I don’t always agree with her on politics, but she’s still my friend and I still respect her choices. She was attacked verbally by six people that day for wearing that Romney button. Of course the poor thing was terrified. She’s not wearing that button again any time soon. But you see where I’m going with this. She wasn’t out to attack anyone. She was minding her own business, doing her own thing.

I’m not a political person. I do work hard to support same sex marriage, and all things LGBT all the time. I even get into some of these issues in my fiction even though I know no one reads my books to get political insight (smile). But I would never have the audacity to actually tell someone how he or she should vote. And I’d like to make that distinction clear here, in writing. So if you aren’t supporting my candidate of choice, I’ll still be your friend on social media, or anywhere else, no matter who you are voting for this November. I have no right to tell you how to vote just as you have no right to tell me how to vote. And I don’t want to lose your friendship, whoever you might be, because of the same kind of discrimination I’ve been facing all my life.

Frankenstorm Approaches

In case you have not been following this, we are bracing for what might be the perfect storm here in the mid-Atlantic. There’s a hurricane moving north up the Atlantic and it’s going to collide with a front coming from the west. The link will provide more details, and I’m no weather expert, but I do find it interesting that this same time last year we had a freak snowstorm here on Halloween that created problems for days afterward. I lost so many small trees I stopped counting.

As far as the models go, this approaching storm might still go out to sea, which would be nice. Tony and I don’t live near the coast but we do live on three heavily wooded acres with massive tall trees. And when the wind goes above sixty miles per hour, we go to the basement. Living with so many trees is interesting because you can never predict which tree will go down. We’ve had some trees removed we thought were unsafe, but then a storm would come along and a tree we thought was perfectly safe would go down. You can never predict anything with trees.

So I’m hoping that if this storm does happen, we ALL get through this with as little damage as possible. You’ve heard that old saying about “if a tree goes down in the forest…” Well, trust me, they do make a sound, and it’s not a sound you want to hear often.

Big Thanks to A.J. Llewellyn and Gay Rom Lit 2012

For those who don’t know, every year there’s an event held for authors and readers and publishers called Gay Rom Lit…GRL. This year it was held in Albuquerque, NM, and though I would have liked to have attended it was just too far and there were too many things happening. I’ve had four weddings this fall so far, and one more to go. And Tony and I don’t travel often these days because we have two dogs and we take them with us when we travel because I don’t trust pet sitters or boarding kennels. I’ve seen and heard too many bad stories. And one dog is going on thirteen years old and it’s not easy for him to travel anymore, so we’re basically stuck with taking short weekend trips for the time being.

So when I received an e-mail last Monday morning informing me that I was one of the winners of the Final Give Away for GRL 2012, I was both thrilled and surprised. It’s a DVD of “Is It Just Me?” and I haven’t seen it yet. So I’d like to send a big shout of thanks to the people at GRL for this.

Next year, from what I’ve been told, GRL will be held in Atlanta. And that’s nice to hear. Not only is Atlanta one of my favorite cities in the US, Tony and I are both familiar with it. Tony traveled there on business for years, and I actually lived in Spartanburg, SC one summer taking classes, which was only a few hours away from Atlanta. I spent a lot of good times there, and I LOVE the south. It’s also not that bad a drive from New Hope…about twelve or thirteen hours…and we don’t consider that a long drive at all. So I’m hoping I’ll be able to attend next year, and get to meet so many of the people I know online.

I’d also like to thank author A. J. Llewellyn. A. J. had a contest about a week ago and I entered never thinking I would win. I don’t usually win contests, not even small amounts in the instant lottery, so that was a nice surprise, too. And I’m a big fan of A. J.’s work. I’ve collaborated with A. J. on blog posts, I’ve ranted about piracy when I was frustrated, and I’ve posted about A. J.’s work here on this blog a couple of times. A.J. has a writing style that draws me into the story from page one, and keeps me there until the end. I can even remember certain characters (I’m bad with names, but I do remember the characters), which doesn’t always happen. I like that. It means I’ll take that with me forever.

The book I won is titled, “Mating Tomeo,” and you can read more about it here.  So a huge thanks to A. J. as well for having the contest.