Month: January 2013

Guys in Sweat Pants; Anthony Romero; "Queer" Book Bashing at Barnes & Noble

I like to post as much LGBT content here as I can, and a new web site that’s about to be launched called “Guys in Sweat Pants,” is something I’ve been following for a while on social media.

From what I gather, Anthony Romero, someone I’ve posted about before, is part of this site and I became a fan of his writing through a reader of mine. I’m hoping we see more of his writing in the future.

Right now you can check it out on tumblr, here. And follow them at Twitter with the address below.

All these guys will be on the site when we officially launch on Feb 7th (@guysnsweatpants)

You can also check out the main web site that will be launched here on February 7, 2012.

For those who might be faint of heart…or underage…this is adult content and you have been warned. From what I’ve seen it’s mostly explicit photos of men, as they say, in sweat pants.

Gay Book Gets Bashed by Barnes & Noble Reviewer

I hesitated to post about this for several reasons. One, I’ve always boasted about how superior the book reviews seem to be over at Barnes & Noble, and I’ve never actually had this problem with them myself…with my own books. I guess I can forget about that now.

Two, I don’t know this author and I know nothing about the book and I don’t like posting anything about anyone without a little knowledge. But I read about this on facebook and checked out the links before I actually decided to post about it.

Three, I don’t like it when authors complain about book reviews, at least not in a general sense. And sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between what is a valid complaint and what is not. In this case, I think it’s valid and the review should be removed. It’s not just a slur on the author or book, it’s a slur on the entire LGBT community as a whole. Any gay person who does not take offense to this would make me wonder.

And four, because this gay bashing book review only reinforces how much I despise the word “queer” and will never, ever embrace it in my own life. To me, it’s as offensive as the N word. As you can see the way this review was worded, the reviewer seemed to take pride in using the word “queer.” And words are powerful.

Here’s the one star gay bashing review, and here’s a link to Barnes & Noble where you can see it yourself:

Minus stars. I wish bn would put these disgusting, nasty queer books in place where normal decent ppl wont be offended by them when they are shopping.

So now normal decent people leave hateful reviews. I didn’t know that was normal or decent.

In any event, I think this qualifies as gay bashing, and it does NOT qualify as a book review. There’s nothing even remotely mentioned about the book. Just one star and a vicious comment about all books with gay material. But more than that, the review has been up since last September and from what I’ve gathered on social media the author has been asking Barnes & Noble to remove it because it is gay bashing. Evidently, Barnes & Noble doesn’t seem to agree, because the review is still up there.

This really isn’t something new. I’ve had people accuse me of promoting the “gay agenda” in reviews and I never even gave that a second thought. Because guess what? You’re damn right. I am promoting the gay agenda. And I’m going to keep promoting it for as long as I have a right to free speech.

Joel Stein’s Awesome Column On Public Shaming

For the past six years, I have been receiving a gift subscription to Time Magazine from someone close to me, and for the past six years I have sent them a thank you note and been gracious about receiving the gift. The only problem is I’m not fond of Time Magazine, because I don’t feel as though I’m getting objective news there anymore. In fact, the only reason I don’t throw it away every week is because I’ve come to truly enjoy Joel Stein’s Awesome Column and I don’t want to miss that one page of what sometimes resembles highly underestimated common sense, and other times absolute brilliance when you least expect it.

In the most recent column titled, “The Shame Game,” Stein discusses the Lance Armstrong debacle and the over-publicized interview with Oprah on her OWN network, pardon the horrible pun. I read the print version, but you can read the full piece here at Time online if you are a subscriber.

If you’re not, I’ll post a few excerpts, which I think the infringement police of all that is Internet now and forevermore will allow me to do. I’m not certain how this works, but I think you’ll be able to read it for free next week online, or the week after, because a lot of the content is released to the public after a certain date…at least I think that’s how it works, but don’t quote me on that.

In any event, I just couldn’t figure out why I had such a problem with the Oprah/Armstrong interview and I wound up not watching it at all. I even programmed the DVR and thought about watching later. But I wound up deleting it completely. First, I’m a runner and I’m not a huge follower of that particular sport, so I felt as if I were eavesdropping on something that was none of my business. Second, I remember a few other Oprah/Armstrong interviews where they both kissed and hugged each other so much I nearly gagged to death. Third, I haven’t watched anything on the OWN network since it began and I figured why bother now? I had been hoping we’d see more LGBT programming there.

I didn’t consider the shame aspect, not once, and certainly not in the way Stein writes about it in his column, The Shame Game.

“I too have been publicly shamed, though not by Oprah, whose shameless producers interviewed me and then used out-of-context clips during her public shaming of James Frey. Which I feel ashamed about. But I’ve been publicly shamed for writing offensive columns. Not all of them, because it would take up all of society’s time, but a few…none of which were ones I was worried about.”

I did catch the Frey interview on Oprah after it had been established that he’d embellished some of the content of his non-fiction book, and if that wasn’t public shaming I don’t know what is. I was actually waiting for her to lean over and slap a big red A on his shirt. And he just sat there, slumped over, taking it all in without a hint of defense whatsoever. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what was going through his mind at the time. Making a mistake is one thing. None of us are perfect. But to be put on a stage in front of millions of people and shamed quite that way brings new meaning to the word sensationalism.

And that’s another reason why I didn’t bother to watch the Oprah/Armstrong interview. I’m just not into public shaming in any form. Period. It’s not just Oprah. I like Oprah and I think she’s done far more good for the world than bad. But a lot of people in the mainstream don’t realize how rampant this sort of shame thing is on the Internets, especially with authors and those of the know-it-all blogging crowd that live to create controversy and brand themselves as far more important than they actually are.

I think I like this part of Stein’s post the most:

“We need to stop the public apologies in which we demand our pound of tears. Oprah, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Jay Leno and Jesse Jackson have become the tailors of our scarlet A’s. I do not believe that the people who watched the Oprah interview felt wronged for believing that an athlete didn’t dope to win a sport they’ve never watched. I believe that interview made us feel better about all the bad things we’ve done, because at least we didn’t cheat at cycling.”

Again, no one is perfect. No one should be expected to be perfect. I could add a few names to that list of the scarlet letter A group, most of whom have been doing their own brand of shaming online where only a handful of people see them do it. But the entire concept of public shaming leaves me wondering whether or not we crave public scandal, or we’re interested in watching imperfection at its best as it might possibly relate to us, as Stein suggests above.

And now I feel guilty and ashamed, because I still haven’t left a review of Stein’s most recent book release, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, and I’ve been meaning to do that for months now.

Sorry, no photos of Joel Stein this time. He’s a nice looking guy, but who knows what’s considered public domain anymore unless it’s marked and branded that way.

TJ Wrangler; "The New Normal;" Scott McGillivray "Income Property" Stephen King and Self-Indulgence

Living in Bucks County, PA for the past twenty years surrounded by horse farms like Fashion Farms I have seen and smelled my fair share of horse manure. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen it packaged as quite well as Scott McGillivray does on the HGTV television show “Income Property. But this post isn’t about horse manure and I’m not focusing on McGillivray. It’s more about self-indulgence and how things that start out with good intentions can often turn sour because of self-indulgence.

It does makes sense to own rental properties for income. Tony and I have a guest house on our property that we’ve been renting out for ten years. We’ve always been realistic about it and we’ve always had great tenants, and we’ve managed to avoid a lot of the horror stories other landlords have experienced. But it’s never been simple, from finding a good tenant to ending the tenant landlord relationship.

The basic premise behind McGillivray’s TV show is so unrealistic and so off base I have to wonder how it’s actually allowed to be in TV. Nothing adds up. For example, McGillivray will talk young home owners into turning extra space into rental property. But he does this by creating these complicated wildly expensive renovations that wind up being nicer than where the landlords live. You could put these places in Architectural Digest they are so wonderful. The young homeowners wind up taking out loans that can range from $25,000.00 and higher (and they always do go higher), as an added expense to an already high mortgage they are carrying. And they do this in neighborhoods that don’t look as though they will ever see a return on the investment…not to mention that potential home buyers are NOT interested in taking on income property for the most part. I’ve been there, too. In many cases you’re not increasing property value by adding a rental apartment, you’re just making it harder to sell your chopped up home.

Oh, McGillivray is great at home renovations, and he’s not to bad on the eyes either. Half the reason why I watch is to see what he’s wearing and to get ideas for my own home…not my rental. But even that gets tired when I listen to the self-indulgence and the bad advice people are getting.

I think this article says it best:

After a bit of math, It does not add up.
It would take 35.7 payments to equal $25000. This would be 2.9 years of renting out that space. Lots of damage and wear can happen in 2.9 years.
At 850 a month it would take 2.45 years of payments to cover the original $25000. And again, lots of damage and wear and tear can happen in 2.4 years.
On the plus size size they increased the value of the property by 35%
On the downside, the home owner is out $25000 for almost three years. and when the downstairs apartment is paid for, they will have to renovate again. So far, no profit is made. and with in two years, the downstairs will be outdated and ready for an upgrade. Renovations and repairs we can estimate $2000 – $7000.


Tony and I have found that people renting small apartments want one thing: fair rent to keep their expenses down. And that’s what we’ve always tried to give them. The renovations we do in the guest house are constant, but we don’t go overboard and don’t put in the very best of everything because we would never see a decent return on that investment. The photo above is actually the kitchen in the guest house that we renovated about two years ago between tenants. We found good strong cabinets with a nice design at Ikea, a practical floor that will hold up to all kinds of abuse at Home Depot, and the walls are painted clean basic white. In other words, you don’t have to spend a small fortune and go deeper into debt to own a decent rental income property. What you have to do is provide good, decent living space for people who may or may not wind up taking care of it.

The New Normal Still On TV

Speaking of self-indulgence, “The New Normal,” I think, is going to be around for a while. But that’s still up in the air. I DVR it and I like it for the most part, but it’s nice to know I can fast forward when Ryan Murphy gets into his political BS. There was a TV show years ago where the creator used to get very political. It was called “Designing Women,” and it’s still on TV in some markets in syndication. In the beginning, it was a great show. But as each season passed it started getting more political and self-indulgent and it wound up being more cheese than actual entertainment. The only reason I watched it was because Delta Burke was hysterical and her character grounded the other big mouths who were always complaining and harping about something. And it always seemed as if the creator of that show, Linda Bloodworth Thomason, was standing on a soap box telling the world her political opinions: self-indulgence once again. The show wound up tanking after Burke left and Bloodworth-Thomason went on to create other shows that never did half as well as “Designing Women.”

And I’d hate to see that happen with “The New Normal.” I have gay friends who actually despise it so much they won’t even talk about it. But others love it. I think there’s a good storyline, good characters, and I’d like to see it stick around for a while. However, Ryan Murphy might want to watch a few old episodes of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The Mary Richards character was ground-breaking and controversial at the time in many ways: single working woman, independent of men, attractive, smart, not a virgin, and also very funny. They *showed* the politics and the changes happening within our society at the time more than they talked about it and ranted about it. And the show lasted and it’s still a hit over forty years later. And that’s because there was nothing self-indulgent about it.

Stephen King releases a new book/essay on Guns

I haven’t read this book. But I do think it’s interesting to go to Amazon and check out the reviews by people who have read it. Frankly, I don’t need to read it because I don’t own guns, never intend to own guns, and I do think anything that will help stop the violence we live with because of guns is worth doing. If that means stricter laws, I’m all for them. And yet, according the the reviews of King’s essay on Amazon, he’s dipped into self-indulgent hell once again and he’s turned a heated debate into his own personal pulpit. Again, I haven’t read it so I’m only commenting on the reviews I’ve read so far.

And no one ever seems to address the gun issues in our inner cities. The people who live in cities like Philadelphia can’t even go to sleep at night without worrying that someone’s going to shoot a gun and blow out their bedroom windows. These people are begging for help. I’m not joking about this. The gun violence in cities nowadays is raging out of control and most of these guns are being used by people who do NOT have legal permits and NEVER will have legal permits. So while I’m all for stricter laws in order to obtain guns, I’m still wondering why no one has addressed the other huge issue of how do we stop gun violence with people who will never have legal gun permits no matter how strict the gun laws are.

In any event, there are over 375 reviews as of today on Amazon for King’s gun book and about 70 of them are one star reviews written by people who think he turned what should be a balanced debate into a one-sided self-indulgent soap box.

Here’s part of a two star review:

I’ve been a lifelong King reader and huge fan as well as having a keen interest in guns. So I made sure to lend it for my Kindle and check out what I was sure was going to be an interesting, balanced point of view. And it does start out good: the usual folksy, aw-shucks, appealing King style that he’s perfected. It draws you in and has something interesting to say about how his book Rage inspired several school shooters. But then about halfway through the appeals for gun control start and it builds and builds into the usual, tired anti-gun chatter we can hear all over the internet, appealing not to your logic but to your emotion.

Moving on to the TJ Wrangler, here’s where I get self-indulgent sometimes when I’m writing. I always try to stay away from anything too political unless I balance it out. That’s often hard to do with same sex marriage because I believe in it so deeply. In The Virgin Billionaire series I wanted Luis to be political and left-wing and all the things we expect young gay men to be…to the point of stereotypical, but I also turned things around and tried to balance them by making Jase a conservative gay man who focuses on equality as a fact and an issue more than an emotion.

But I do tend to get self-indulgent with cars in my books. I’m not actually a car junky like a lot of gay men I know. In fact, I couldn’t tell you one dink little model from the next that came out of Japan in the past ten years. I think the Prius design looks like a skunk with an armadillo up its ass. But I know a 1962 Lincoln Continental when I see one, and one of my all time favorites is the TJ Wrangler made by Jeep. I’ll be getting into more details about the TJ in my next book, which I’m working on right now. You’d be amazed at how interesting the TJ motor can be, too. Why I was literally shocked when I started to research it. 

But I promise, I won’t make it too long and I’ll spare readers of the technical details without getting too self-indulgent. You’re reading my books for sex and love and emotional reasons, not to read about cars or politics or religion. And I hope I never deviate from that too much.

Reading Through the Newest Galleys: Pledges with Cleis Press

For those who might not know, I think the best way to explain galleys in publishing is that they are the final edits…the last chance to look something over and make small changes…before a book goes to print for publication. I do this with everything, including my own self-pubbed books before they are launched as e-books. I actually have my own galleys for my self-pubbed books. It’s those last minute details that sometimes make a huge difference.

In this case, I’m reading the galley for an upcoming book by Cleis Press I’m in. The title is “Pledges,” and it’s a collection of short erotic gay fiction about frat boys. I think I’ve posted about this one before, and I will post again on the publication date, but I wanted to post a little something now in case I forget. I get so used to things moving faster with digital publishing that some of the things I truly enjoy the most slip by unnoticed.

And being a part of books like this one is, and always has been, one of the things I enjoy most about being a writer. It’s also one the few remaining things I cling to as publishing makes so many constant changes and I’m forced to change with it. With books like these you aren’t going to see aggressive authors from small start up e-presses go for the kill with all kinds of annoying things they *think* will help promote their books. The audience for books like this is out there, it will always be out there, and the best kind of promotion for books like this is to talk about it, give product descriptions, and let the reader decide on whether or not they want to buy it and read it. In other words, no one has to go through hoops, click like on Amazon, give fake ratings with multiple fake identities on Goodreads, and talk about the new love of their life to garner devotion on other social media. It’s really about as plain and simple as it gets, and I’ve always considered myself very lucky to have been a part of the older publishing process that really worked hard to cater more to readers than they did to try and sell books to them like snake oil salesmen. It’s also why I tend to fall short in the self-promotion department with my own books.

This book is also what I consider classic gay erotica…or what’s left of gay erotica in these changing times when so many gay authors are growing disillusioned. Each writer writes about something erotic that deals with “pledges,” and each writer handles the topic differently. I’ve read a few of the stories already and I think readers are going to enjoy it. I didn’t read all the stories, though. I focused mainly on my own so that I have something to look forward to reading when I get my author copies. And that’s something else I have to admit I miss more than anything about old publishing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve embraced digital and I wouldn’t part with my e-reader for anything. But seeing that book you’re in, in print, in hard copy, is a feeling I just can’t explain. And as much as I love digital books, the feeling just isn’t the same.

At the bottom of this post is part of the introduction from Editor, Shane Allison, who is an underestimated and highly amazing gay author.

I will post an excerpt from my story when the book is released. The back story to this is that I wrote a novel with a pen name about a year ago and the editor with that publisher decided to cut 10,000 words from the novel. That had never happened to me before, and I hope it never happens again either. I smiled and took it like a professional, and I’m glad I did. Because the ten thousand words they cut I re-worked and turned into a short story for this book. I liked it too much to just let it crash and burn. And it is original and has never been published anywhere else before.


As I read over these hot new stories of pledge erotica, it took

me back to my days of being a twentysomething, when I used

school and studying as an excuse to be lazy, when

student was scribbled in a box when being asked what one’s occupation was



on a job application. I’ve been out of school for nine years now

but having the luxury of living in a college town where there’s

never a shortage of smoking-hot college boys, I am constantly

reminded of what I’m missing, especially during rush week when


an all-new crop of twinks set out to pledge their chosen frat.


Release Date: With This Cowboy I Love So Freely; Boy Scouts of America on Gay Members

I just found out the release date of “With This Cowboy I Love So Freely,” will be February 8, 2013. This is an anthology with some of the western themed gay romance stories I’ve had pubbed with loveyoudivine.com over the years. I didn’t even know I’d done enough with them to come up with an anthology, but when the editor said I did and she suggested we do the anthology, I figured it would be a good way for people who don’t like to purchase short stories alone to get a collection in a larger book.

Here’s the book description, and I’ll post again with links when it’s released on the 8th.

 In this collection of Ryan Field stories that is focused on erotic cowboy love, the gay romance and emotion isn’t overlooked either. In “A Life Filled with Awesome Love” set in 1959, young Travis finds the cowboy of his dreams through an ad in the back of a rodeo magazine. In “Something for Saint Jude,” the main character finds his passion, but he had to take a cruise to discover it was in his backyard all along. And then there’s poor Noah in “Cowboy Mike and Buddy Boy” who falls in love with a married Cowboy and he doesn’t know where to run when the wife finds out. One story is slightly quirky, and the love and emotion is focused more on positive self-discovery than finding a man. And then there’s a New Adult story in “Cowboy Howdy,” where two young guys from different parts of the country meet and fall in love their first semester in college. This is a book of true love in its finest form, and the ability with which to love freely and openly. In a world where love is the only thing that promises a happy ending.

Here is a list of stories in the book. The book is about 50,000 words in length, and the stories range from 5,000 words to 12,000.

Cowboy Howdy
Missing Jackson’s Hole
Kevin Loves Cowboys
Something for St. Jude
That Cowboy in the Window
Cowboy Mike and Buddy Boy
A Life Filled with Awesome Love

Boy Scouts of America Rethink Gay Members:

In an interesting turn of events that most people didn’t expect, the Boy Scouts of America are about to rethink the idea of banning gays from becoming members. I honestly don’t know much about the Boy Scouts. I was never one and never wanted to be one. But I do know gay men who were Boy Scouts and of course no one knew they were gay at the time. Half of them didn’t even know it at the time. And, all of the gay men I know who were Boy Scouts, or who supported Boy Scouts, have stopped all support because of their stand on banning openly gay members. I know straight men who have gay brothers, cousins, neighbors, and friends, who have also stopped their support because of the ban on gay members.

So while I’d like to think this is a nice gesture and that the Boy Scouts of America are starting to truly believe gay men are not threats to them, and that gay men will not hurt or change their organization in any way, I tend to think the main reason this has come up is because of the pressure they’ve been getting and the lack of support they’ve been receiving, which could lead them into extinction.  

In any event, at least it’s progress and we’re moving forward. If the Boy Scouts do allow gay members I think the rest of the world will see nothing really changed and all that controversy was much ado about nothing. But there’s also a catch to all this:

The organization’s national executive board is expected to discuss lifting the ban on gay members at its regularly scheduled board meeting next week in Texas.

“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue,” spokesman Deron Smith said in an email to Reuters.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church have the largest youth membership in the Boy Scouts among faith-based organizations.

What I think this is basically saying is that they aren’t lifting the ban against gays completely. They are offering choices to those organizations overseeing scouting. It sounds like a way for the Boy Scouts of America to put an end to discrimination in a general sense, and yet at the same time support the stand they have always had in an indirect way. But I could be wrong about that. It’s too soon to tell.

This is interesting, too:

The Boy Scouts has also faced criticism for keeping private files covering decades of child sex abuse incidents within the organization. The Scouts released thousands of pages of files in October covering incidents from 1965 to 1985.

But this quote I find fascinating:

The Family Research Council, which said in December it would pull its business with UPS because the package delivery company had decided to cease funding of the Boy Scouts, said on Monday the Scouts should resist the pressure to change its policy.

“If the board capitulates to the bullying of homosexual activists, the Boy Scouts’ legacy of producing great leaders will become yet another casualty of moral compromise,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.

The problem with this statement is that the Family Research Council underestimates gay people in general, and just how many of us there are that are not represented well. This is something I’m always talking about here on this blog and I have a feeling I’ll be talking about it as they lower me into the grave someday. Yes, there are “homosexual” bully activists who do apply pressure. I agree with the Family Council on that 100% and I really don’t like to see anyone being bullied. But then there is the issue of discrimination, and what the Family Council fails to realize is that I’m gay and I’m not a bully activist. I’m not a radical, I’m not a left wing liberal carrying a vegan sign, and I’m not shouting or screaming at them to change anything. And I think I’m speaking for the silent majority when I say this. And not just for gay people. I think I’m speaking for straight people who have gay relatives, friends, and co-workers. We’re not bullies and we’re not activists. What we are is tired of this brand of discrimination, and we’re tired of the double standards that have been pulled with regard to child sexual abuse. And what happens when we get tired is we dismiss you completely and you become obsolete, and I don’t think you want that to happen.

As I said, I’m far from a bully activist. But I’m not willing to be suppressed anymore either. And I think a lot of these conservative religious based organizations fail to actually grasp that the world around them is changing. We aren’t willing to put up with bans on gays and at the same time pretend pedophiles within organizations like the Boy Scouts haven’t been abusing little boys in the worst possible ways. We aren’t going to bully you or pressure you. Nope. We’re just going to forget all about you and you’ll become obsolete. Frankly, as things stand now, I wouldn’t allow a child of mind to be in any groups like this just based on the child abuse allegations alone.

 

Cover Preview: The Vegas Shark

Just got the new cover for the next book in the bad boy billionaire series, The Vegas Shark. I did more than a few different things in this book that I will post about more in the future…soon. I’d never really written about a sweet, but clueless, little guy who only wanted one thing in life…to be happy and live happily ever after. I think most of my characters have always had ambitions in life that included some lofty goals. This time I just wanted him to be sweet, sincere, and always getting dumped on. And, at the same time, strong as hell. And who can’t identify with that?

As you can see, there have been a few changes at Ravenous, and new models added to the collection of covers. I know for a fact these models are paid professionals. And the publishers themselves go to New York, to a modeling agency, and shoot on a set or on location sometimes.

Free E-book On Allromanceebooks.com: "A Sign From Heaven Above"

Who: Me

What: I’m offering a free e-book. $0.00 “A Sign From Heaven Above.” (Photo to the right)

When: For a week.

Where: On Allromanceebooks, at this link.

Why: Because I love the way Allromance offers promotions all year to readers, and I like their product descriptions even more. And because it’s winter, it’s dreary, and we all can’t be in exotic places with palm trees and beaches covered with white sand.

Description
 

Although Ricky has been living in his new home in the Hollywood Hills for a few months, he hasn’t had a chance to meet his new neighbor. All Ricky knows about him is that he’s young, attractive, and seems to live a fast life. This doesn’t bother Ricky much because he’s not looking to meet anyone at this time in his life. Ricky is forty years old and the reason he moved to the West Coast was because his partner of twenty years passed away suddenly and he’s still grieving.

Then one afternoon when he least expects it, Ricky meets his neighbor in a very unusual situation and finds him as smart and funny as he is attractive. Ricky likes him so much he invites him to dinner and they talk about Ricky’s love of horses, riding, and his Amish background. But when it comes time to get more intimate, Ricky’s not sure he wants to proceed. He feels guilty, as if he’s cheating on his deceased partner, and he silently prays for a sign from heaven to tell him he’s doing the right thing.