Month: November 2012

Was Richard Burton Gay?

If Richard Burton was gay we’ll probably never really know for certain. And that’s because anything homosexual in Hollywood has always been kept quiet. To a certain extent it’s still going on right now. After reading and reviewing a biography about Merv Griffin and writing several blog posts about the book, I came to the conclusion that everything in the book either could have been exaggerated or it very well could have been absolute truth. No one screws gays over more than Hollywood or Washington, D.C.

Two things happened earlier this week that prompted this post. One, Tony and I were watching the made for TV movie about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s complicated love affair and Tony said Richard Burton was gay. I’ve read a lot of celeb bios over the years and I just didn’t remember reading anything about Richard Burton being gay so I argued the point and we agreed to disagree. Then later that night I looked Burton up in the most basic of searches and read that there were, indeed, rumors of homosexuality linked to him. He even talked about it himself in an interview.

In a February 1975 interview with his friend David Lewin he said he “tried” homosexuality. He also suggested that perhaps all actors were latent homosexuals, and “we cover it up with drink“.[24] In 2000, Ellis Amburn’s biography of Elizabeth Taylor suggested that Burton had an affair with Laurence Olivier and tried to seduce Eddie Fisher[page needed], although this was strongly denied by Burton’s younger brother Graham Jenkins.[25]

The second thing that prompted this post was when one of my readers with whom I correspond on a regular basis talked about his situation. He’s married with children, living completely in the closet, he’s always known he was gay, and he thinks a lot of that has to do with the fact that he comes from an extremely concentrated, strict religious background and lives in an isolated area. I can’t go into details about that because it would violate his privacy. However, I did try to explain to him that his situation isn’t that much different from thousands of other gay men just like him who don’t come from his strict background. Some are Catholic and live in New York City. Some are Jewish and live in big cities like Chicago and LA. The point I tried to make to him was that his situation might be unique in many ways because his lifestyle is so strict and he is so isolated, but he’s not the only one who is in the closet for some very valid reasons.

Men like Richard Burton were victims of their times and their circumstances. This article backs up the basic search I did.

Munn disappears unconvincingly down the trail of trivial titivation. Was Richard Burton gay? You’d have thought you might as well ask if the Pope’s a Muslim. It turns out that John Gielgud assured Munn that Philip Burton, the teacher whose name the actor adopted, was a bit of a screamer on the quiet. “His mentor,” moans Munn, “had more on his mind than mentoring.”

It’s no secret that Liz Taylor had more than a few gay fans, or that she had more than a few gay friends…and possibly husbands. A lot of this info is backed up in other bios I’ve read, like the one about Merv Griffin.

But soon Hunter dumped the gorgeous actress in favor of Tony Perkins. Wilding and Taylor tied the knot and had two sons. But Wilding continued an affair with bisexual actor Stewart Granger. As her marriage to Wilding fell apart, Liz found consolation in the arms of yet another homo- sexual, according to the bio. Elizabeth and Rock Hudson became intimate, the book asserts, but the affair wasn’t a memorable one. “After several more between-marriage affairs, Elizabeth, then 24, landed in the arms of WIFE-BATTERING Hollywood producer Michael Todd, 47, who became her third husband,” said the insider.

This article is about as insulting to gay people as it gets.

But Burton’s brother Graham Jenkins described the claims as ridiculous.

He said that nobody who knew Richard would give it any credence because his brother was “the most heterosexual man most people had ever encountered”.

Whether or not Richard Burton was gay isn’t even the point. When a biography came out a few years ago suggesting that Burton might have been gay and that he had an affair with Sir Laurence Olivier, Burton’s family came out in protest and tried to dispute it as if being gay were an outright crime. They were vicious about it. In other words, no one ever comes out in protest about a man having too much sex with women. But God forbid a man should be linked to gays in any way at all and they all come out with their claws. And ironically, if Burton was gay he never would have told his family, so his family are not reliable sources. In fact they would have been the last people who would know for certain. In those days homosexual men remained in the closet mostly BECAUSE of family. But more than that, his family’s reaction to the possibility that he might have been gay is a perfect example of why he wouldn’t have come out of the closet if he had been gay. As a side note, imagine if Richard Burton had been keeping it a secret that he was half African American. He wasn’t doing that. I’m just showing an example. Would his family have come out in protest so viciously in that case? I don’t think so.

The facts are sketchy and no one will ever really know for certain if Burton was gay or not. For that matter, no one will ever know if any of these alleged gay film stars and celebs were gay either. I’ve always been against things like National Coming Out Day and events that put pressure on gay people who are in the closet. I don’t think it’s fair and I believe that coming out is a personal choice only the individual should make when he or she is ready. In the same respect, I also think it’s a little sad that if there were (or still are…lol) gay men like Richard Burton who have the power to change the world and give other gay men hope, they didn’t/don’t come out. I do think that’s going to change in the future, thanks to men like Matt Bomer and Neil Patrick Harris. But what a shame it is to think that someone as talented and powerful as Richard Burton might have been gay and never admitted it. Burton was a heavy drinker…some say alcohol ruled his life. They say that most heavy drinkers drown their problems in alcohol for a reason. And I can’t think of a reason better to drink than not being able to admit who you really are.

Chase of a Lifetime, Allromanceebooks Holiday Promotion, Free E-books

I’m going to be posting reminders next month about the holiday promotion/event allromanceebooks.com is having partly because “Chase of a Lifetime” was selected to be in it and partly because I’m a fan of smaller boutique retail web sites where e-books are sold.

I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again. Amazon is great for many things, and they are important players in the publishing industry. I’m a huge fan of the KDP program. But there’s just something so discount store and shabby about Amazon in a general sense. You don’t get that personal feeling you get with smaller retail web sites, and frankly, you can’t trust any Amazon reviews for anything, from toasters to condoms. I once bought a pasta machine there and it turned out to be one of the best pasta machines Tony’s ever had. I don’t cook, so I don’t know much about those things. And it’s a good thing I didn’t pay attention to one of the reviews for that pasta machine left by some wing nut who probably never made fresh pasta in her life. We’ve had it for about four years and never one single complaint.

But I digress. I think most people would agree that Amazon reviews suck and they offer very little personal assistance when you need consumer help. The product descriptions are even worse. So that’s why I’m always trying to steer readers to smaller more personal web sites like Allromanceebooks.com.

And aside from getting great customer service, you get excellent product descriptions and the reviews can usually be trusted on smaller sites. Just like it’s important to support your small retail business where you live, it’s as important to remember to support small retail web sites. They are working hard to compete with monsters like Amazon and I often wonder if most shoppers realize this before they make purchases. As a small business owner, I know how important this is.

One of the things I’ve found I love the most about self-publishing the four books I wrote this past year was that I get more control over what I can do with marketing and promotion. And when I submitted “Chase of a Lifetime” to be in allromanceebooks’s holiday promotion, I was hoping it would be selected so I could give something back to readers who’ve given so much to me. I’m not sure if any of my other books with publishers will be part of the promotion, but I wanted to make sure at least one book from Ryan Field Press was there.

There will also be other books by other authors in this holiday promotion and I’ll post more details about it as we get into December. But check out the allromanceebooks web site this month for their announcements and you’ll be able to get a few free e-books for your own enjoyment. This time of year is busy and can be stressful, and there’s nothing that relaxes me more than shutting “it” all out and burying myself in a book.

From my inbox:

We are so excited about the upcoming promotion of your book, Chase of a Lifetime in our annual Christmas promotion, the 12 Days of Christmas.

 Your book will be the 4th free read and available for download to readers on December 16th and December 17th.
 
 
Photo from my own personal collection 

Gay Marriage: Not Just About Love and Romance

When I saw the photo below on social media I decided to post it here because I sometimes think that people think LGBT men and women are fighting to legalize same sex marriage for romantic and emotional reasons only. That’s only part of the fight. A big part, yes. But not the whole story. It’s about all kinds of human rights most people have and take for granted that we’d like to have as well.

Author Copies; Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey; When Bad Reviews Help

I just got my author copies of “Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey,” and getting author copies of a print book is still as exciting now as it was twenty years ago when I saw my first story in a print book…even in a world where e-books are starting to take over completely.

I’ll be honest about e-books. That’s all I read now. For the most part, that’s all I write now, too. And I can’t even imagine going back to print books…reading or writing them. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting to get an author copy of a print book in the mail. Especially a book like FWoFSoG, where forty-nine other authors I admire wrote about their thoughts on what has become one of the biggest books of the year, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” And, more than that, FWoFSoG is also available as an e-book for those who don’t want print anymore. I offered my own mom a copy of the print book and she declined because she only reads on her iPad now. Never thought I’d see that day.

In any event, I wanted to post a few afterthoughts about FWoFSoG. This book is more than interesting to me because I didn’t plan to be part of it. When the editor of the book, Lori Perkins, mentioned it to me, I jumped at the chance to be in it. I also respect and admire Lori as an editor and I like working with her. She has ways of challenging writers that don’t happen often. I also I had a few mixed, unresolved emotions about E.L. James’s novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I’ve posted a little about this before. But I’d like to get into more detail now. I read FSoG the novel before it went mainstream…about a month before it really turned into a big book. And the reason I read it had more to do with a vicious, scathing, nail-spitting book review I’d read on a web site that’s now being accused of bullying in some circles.

I stay out of bully issues and all the drama that’s going on right now with various authors, readers, and web sites. I really am neutral and I’m going to remain that way. I’ve had my fair share of bad reviews I’ve thought were questionable and I’ve never addressed them, not once. I’ve also had bad reviews that helped me learn and grow as an author. I’ve never “behaved badly” and I never get involved in reader discussions about my books on goodreads, Amazon, or anywhere else. I’ve been around long enough to know that I can’t please everyone and bad reviews are part of the game. I’ve also been around long enough to know that there are, indeed, fake reviews written by sockpuppets that are designed to hurt authors, publishers, and books. I think most people know this, readers and authors. We know how to spot the fakes and we know there’s no point in addressing them.

What prompted me to read “Fifty Shades of Grey,” was a scathing review on this web site that has been accused of bullying. I posted about it here, without mentioning the title way back in February before the firestorm happened this summer. That review of FSoG was so bad, and so carefully designed to hurt the author, I had to go over and buy the book just to see what it was all about. Sometimes the worst reviews help sell books, too. In my case I wouldn’t have bought FSoG at the time because it’s not a book I would typically be drawn to. But when I read the bad review, knowing the awful taste this particular web site has in books, I figured I’d give FSoG a chance. I’m not joking around about this either. This particular web site has such bad taste in books, films, and all content, I’m amazed they actually have a readership. But then their readership could be based on freak show entertainment…everyone loves a good sideshow at the circus. In the same respect, I also have to thank them for pointing me toward FSoG. If it hadn’t been for their vitriol, I wouldn’t have been able to say I read FSoG right before it went mainstream.

And I liked FSoG. I could see how the elite in publishing wouldn’t. It took a while, but I could see how those who are into BDSM wouldn’t. But I’m not an elitist and I’m not into BDSM, and I read FSoG from the POV of a reader who just wanted to be entertained with a nice story. And that’s exactly what I got. No complaints then, and none now. And I’m thrilled to see that an author like E. L. James found that kind of success with a book that’s considered erotic romance, and also a book that took so many hits from vicious bloggers in the beginning. I think this proves a few things to both readers and authors. One, there is a market for erotic romance with mainstream readers. Two, these vicious snarky web sites where “mean girls” hang out and books and authors are ripped to shreds are not as relevant as they once were. In fact, they are starting to look a little lame now…dull, bland, and lifeless as a pencil skirt.

So I wound up buying the novel, FSoG, out of curiosity, and I will admit out of pity for the author. As I said, the scathing review was so vicious and so hurtful, I actually felt compelled to buy it and read it in support of the author. This isn’t the first time that’s happened. Thanks to bad reviews from that one particular web site, I’ve found some of the best books I’ve read in years. And they were books I normally wouldn’t have purchased…like FSoG. I also know I’d never like a book they reviewed well, so they help me decide which books I don’t want to purchase. I know that sounds a little convoluted, but try it sometime. It’s a great way to vet books when you’re reading for entertainment.

I think those who’ve read FSoG, whether they liked it or not, might find this book FWoFSoG interesting because it’s not filled with glowing reviews. It’s not filled with short erotic stories either. I figured I’d mention this, too, because I saw one bad review on Amazon left by someone who thought he/she was getting a short story anthology. This is a book of essays and opinions. Not a book of short fiction. It seems clear enough from the book description, but I’ve learned never to assume anything and I figured I’d mention that again in detail. Product description is so important.

I know there are a lot of people out there who didn’t like FSoG. And I respect their opinions. I also think that this book written about FSoG helps readers and writers understand why the book resonated with people in so many different ways. But there’s no ignoring one huge fact about FSoG. It’s a book that came from fanfic, was never expected to do anything special, and now millions of copies have been sold and there are non-fiction books being written about it. So love it or hate it, the author must have done something right to spark that kind of controversy. And the most entertaining thing E. L. James did was to prove that one particular web site where books are reviewed really sucks big time. You don’t see THAT happen very often. But when you do you enjoy it for all it’s worth. Don’t screw around with karma. It’ll always come back and bite you in the pencil skirt.

Angus T. Jones of Two and a Half Men Should Just Give All That Dirty Money Away

 
 
 
 
 

Because of the nature of what I write, and because I write for *adults only*, I find what Angus T. Jones recently said about his TV show, Two and a Half Men, interesting.

“I’m on ‘Two and a Half Men’ and I don’t want to be on it,” Jones said in one of the YouTube videos. “If you watch ‘Two and a Half Men,’ please stop watching it and filling your head with filth. People say it’s just entertainment. Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television — especially with what you watch.”

And then someone from the PTC responded this way:

Recently, the Parents Television Council lambasted the pervasive lewdness of “Two and a Half Men”: “The content on ‘Two and a Half Men’ is not appropriate for children of any age. … Far worse than the frequent use of foul language is the constant barrage of sexual scenes and jokes.”

I don’t actually watch Two and a Half Men anymore. I think the show’s had its day and it’s time to move on to sitcom eternity. But I do think that if Angus T. Jones feels this strongly about the TV show on which he’s made so much money and gained so much fame, in an industry where less than average looking actors without specific acting skills are rarely offered the opportunities he’s had, he should take the matter even further.

After all, he’s a good Christian, and that’s what good Christians do when they truly believe in something. He should take all the money he’s made from that show (roughly $300,000.00 per espisode) and give it to his church, or to his favorite charity. All of it, every last cent. He’s been very vocal about how he feels about the show but says nothing about all the money he’s made on that show. This way, if he gives the money away, he’ll be cleansed of all his sins and he can go work with the rest of the people his age struggling to get by in a society that is becoming less upwardly mobile by the day. I’m sure they could teach him how to make a killer latte at Starbucks.

I really do hope his producers let him out of the show for this one. Give him exactly what he wants. If I were in charge of that show I’d find an interesting way to kill off his character that would make what Linda Bloodworth Thomason did to Delta Burke’s character on Designing Women look tame.

Who is Harvey Milk?

I was dumbfounded recently when legendary Harvey Milk’s name came up in conversation and two gay people didn’t know who he was.There’s something so sad about this it’s hard to put it into words. I could understand them not knowing who Fred Karger is because he doesn’t have the backing or the resources to sway minds like other politicians. But Harvey Milk is so fundamental to LGBT history you really have to wonder what’s going on these days.

So if you are LGBT, or you write about LGBT people, and you don’t know who Harvey Milk is, and you don’t know that he died a violent death on November 27, 1978 in San Fransisco, at least take the time to check this link and find out something basic about him.

New Release: The Ivy League Rake…Bad Boys of Harvard Yard

“The Ivy League Rake” is the first book in the Bad Boy Billionaire series I’ve been working on for Ravenous Romance. As a series, the concept is focused on full length stand alone books with different characters. The book after this is “The Wall Street Shark,” and I’m working on “The Vegas Shark” right now. It’s been a challenge to take the traditional romantic concept of “rakehell” and apply it to a modern gay romance. Those who have known or dated these bad boy rakes will know what I’m talking about.

The part of the “rakehell” concept I find most interesting is how we always want to change them and turn them into the perfect men. In reality most of us know that’s never going to happen, and yet we still try time and again. But in fiction, where anything can happen, sometimes there are happy endings.

Here’s the plot description:

Elroy Donahue, the spoiled heir to a billion dollar ice cream fortune, must get a degree from Harvard in order to gain control of the family fortune. Thankfully, what he lacks in academic skills he makes up for in looks, personality, and a deep seated desire to get what he wants no matter how he has to do it.

Then humble Kyle Sparrow comes along and changes everything. Kyle’s an excellent student, he’s grateful to be at Harvard on an academic scholarship, and he’s never been promiscuous. When Elroy discovers Kyle is his new roommate, he immediately begins to figure out ways to seduce him.

But Kyle isn’t like the other guys Elroy has known in the past. He wants love; he craves emotion. For the first time in his life, Elroy is not only rejected, he’s forced to examine his careless lifestyle and take responsibility for his actions. The harder he tries to do the right thing the more he fails.

Will Elroy’s thoughtless attitude discourage Kyle? Or will Kyle turn out to be the only man on the planet who can transform this billionaire bad boy into the man he knew he could always be?


The book will be released today sometime, but I’m not sure exactly when. And when I get links I’ll update this post. But “The Ivy League Rake” will be on Amazon and all other retail web sites where e-books are sold as soon as possible. As a sidenote, after publishing four e-books on my own, I now understand why it’s sometimes difficult to get a set time for an e-book launch. Some web sites take longer than others, and you’re never really sure.

Here’s a short excerpt that won’t be published anywhere for free other than here. It shows how they develop a mutual sense of humor as they build their sometimes tumultuous relationship.

Kyle agreed to go shopping as long as they went to discount department stores where clothes didn’t cost a fortune. This passed Elroy by. If someone had offered to buy him new clothes he would have gone to the most expensive designer boutiques in Boston. When they walked into the discount store Kyle had chosen, Elroy looked around and rubbed his jaw. He’d never even been to a place like this. The people all seemed so downtrodden and dreary it depressed him. The lights were harsh, the floors scuffed, and the people who worked there wore name tags. For Elroy, these were stores people passed on their way to the good stores.
It turned out to be an education for Elroy. When he saw that most of the clothing wasn’t all that different from what he usually shopped for in more trendy shops, he went to work selecting simple classic things for Kyle. And when he glanced at the price tag for a pair of beige chinos and saw they were only twenty-five dollars, he scratched his head and said, “I just paid two hundred bucks for a pair of pants just like this in Boston.”
He wound up getting Kyle a few basic outfits he could wear anyplace without looking unusual, including a warm black pea coat and a few mock turtleneck sweaters. He would have bought him a few suits and ties and some formal wear but Kyle refused. He said he had no intention of going anywhere formal in the immediate future and when he did need something formal he would buy it himself. “I’m here to study and learn, not to run around trying to keep up with the most important social circles in Harvard,” was how he’d put it. So Elroy found solid colored polo shirts, faded jeans, and chinos without pleats. He didn’t mention this to Kyle, but he liked the way the chinos hugged his ass. They made Elroy want to bang him even more. Along with the outfits he bought for Kyle, he wound up buying six pairs of pants for himself because he couldn’t resist the prices.
While they were in the fitting room trying pants on, he offered to share a fitting booth with Kyle and help him change his pants. Kyle smiled and declined. But Elroy did have a little fun to Kyle’s chagrin. He couldn’t resist the temptation. Kyle had finished trying on pants and he was waiting for Elroy outside the fitting room. While he waited, in a store filled with other people browsing through racks, Elroy walked out of the dressing room wearing nothing but a pair of tight red boxer briefs in front of everyone. The underpants were so tight his junk resembled a sack of walnuts. Kyle’s back faced the fitting room entrance. Elroy walked up behind him in nothing but the red underwear, tapped him on the shoulder, and asked, “How do these look? Are they too tight?”
A woman pushing a baby stroller took one look at Elroy’s junk, turned around fast, and walked in the other direction.
Two young guys in hoodies stopped and gaped for a moment.
One woman in her sixties giggled.  
An older man with gray hair took one look at Elroy in the red underwear and licked his lips.
Another older guy carrying a man-purse tripped over his own feet and knocked over a necktie display.
Kyle turned and stared at him for a moment. With a deadpan expression, he looked Elroy up and down and said, “They make your penis look small.”
Elroy sent him a smile and said, “I knew there was hope for you.”