Burning Blue Gay Romance With “Top Gun” Theme; Big Bad and On Top by Ryan Field
The Advocate online publishes a “Hot Sheet” to let readers know what’s “hot” in gay entertainment. When I spotted this short description of Burning Blue, a new gay romance film, I had to post about it because they describe it as having a gay Top Gun theme. And I wrote a gay romance with a Top Gun theme titled, Big Bad and On Top. The most interesting thing about this is that no one is slamming the film. At least not that I’ve seen. I wonder if I should now claim that the creators of Burning Blue plagiarized my book because they did a different take on a classic storyline. I don’t think so.
This is how Burning Blue is described in short:
Our top 10 entertainment and events highlights this week include Girltrash, the Tony Awards, and a Top Gun gay romance called Burning Blue.
Here’s the long blurb:
Set in the era of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Burning Blue tells the story of two brothers in arms who find themselves in each other’s arms after a raucous night out at a Manhattan gay bar. Closeted and in committed relationships with women, Dan (Trent Ford) and Matt (Rob Mayes) must come to terms with their feelings for each other while enduring the focus of a military investigation into what happened that night. Burning Blue is available on demand and in select theaters this weekend.
You can read more here.
Here’s my Top Gun themed book, one of the books I loved writing the most. I get into Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, too. (Keep in mind the excerpt below is unedited and may have a few mistakes. I don’t like converting Google HTML.)
Duke’s driven by his ambition to be the best fighter pilot in the Navy, not the fact that he’s a closeted gay man. But he’s garnered a reputation for being overly aggressive and far too impulsive. He likes to think the chances he takes are heroic and wise, but there are many in the Navy who think he’s reckless and irresponsible.
And when the Navy sends Duke to the most rigorous flight class in the world, he becomes even more aggressive in order to be the big, bad “top gun” everyone expects him to be. But while he’s working hard to be number one, he meets an attractive young civilian flight instructor named Jaime who turns his entire life upside down. Though it starts out as a harmless flirtation, their connection becomes so intense Duke begins to wonder whether or not he can continue to abide by the rules of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
After a serious accident that leaves Duke so devastated he can barely fly a plane, Duke begins to question his goals, his ferocious need to be number one, and his unyielding devotion to a military that refuses to treat him with dignity and equality. He realizes the only good thing that has ever happened to him was falling in love with Jaime, and he discovers he has two choices. Both have the potential to change his and Jaime’s lives forever, and both come with serious consequences. But he can only choose one. And even while Duke is wrestling with the biggest decision of his life, his passion for Jaime burns hotter than ever.
At the end of a successful flight, Duke always experienced the same sensations. It was as if he’d taken a powerful drug or a magic potion. A moment after he landed, blood pumped through his veins so fast he went light-headed. Behind all the complicated head gear that covered his face, he smiled so wide his eyes turned to slivers and the vertical hollows in his cheeks became dimples. If anyone had unbuckled the straps that held him in place in the cockpit, they might have noticed an erection protruding through his G-suit.
Duke was one of the most promising young pilots in the Navy, second in line to a tall, strapping young man from the south named Buck. His real name wasn’t Duke. It was Ansel Armstrong and Duke was just the call sign he’d chosen to use for flying. All the pilots had edgy, dramatic names like this. Buck was really Henry Hose. And Duke’s flight partner and co-pilot, Hinky, was Scottie Macintosh. There was one guy named Killer and another named Riser. Some guys had been given call signs. Other guys had purposely chosen call signs that meant something important to them and gave them psychological strength. And though Duke couldn’t be sure why any of his Navy buddies had chosen their call signs, he’d chosen his because his father’s real name had actually been Duke.
From the time Duke was a small child, he’d always been fascinated with danger and living life on the edge. At three years old, he’d balance his nimble body on the curb in front of his house to see how long he could last before he toppled into the street. At ten, he’d climb up to the back porch roof at night when everyone was sleeping and stand on the outer ledge, above a thick row of yews, to see how long he could last there. And by the time he’d reached high school he’d become obsessed with hang gliding above the mountains of Scranton, Pennsylvania. For some reason Duke couldn’t explain, being in the air gave him a rush of satisfaction that couldn’t compare to anything he’d ever experienced. Just looking down from a high place caused a thrill that ran up his legs and stopped in his groin. And if there was speed involved, these feelings only intensified.
After college, he enlisted in the Navy and signed up to become a fighter pilot. He started at the bottom, with no friends or alliances, always pushing the limit and seeing how far he could go. When people told him how difficult it was to become a fighter pilot…and plenty did…he just shrugged and kept working harder. When people told him they didn’t think he had what it took, he smiled and tuned them out. He not only did the physical work, but also read everything that had ever been written about becoming a fighter pilot. For a long time, he lived on three or four hours of sleep each night, spent hours each day building his thin body into a lean muscular masterpiece, and gave up all notions of maintaining a social life. The only problems he ever had while in pursuit of his dream were usually related to his offhanded lack of respect for authority. He tended to take rules and regulations for granted, and sometimes did things without asking for permission. It wasn’t that he was a blatant troublemaker. It’s just he didn’t think first before he acted on his impulses.
And on top of all this, he had a secret. He never discussed his sexual preference for other men in public. He knew the rules of the military and focused on his work instead of his sex life. He managed to put up an invisible wall and keep his sexual preference on the down low. When the other guys talked about their girlfriends or their wives, Duke looked down at his shoes, or he opened a magazine and ignored them. Though he didn’t agree with DADT, he didn’t have a choice in the matter. He knew if anyone discovered he preferred men over women, his career as a fighter pilot would be ruined before he even had a chance to do anything against the rules.
On the day he took it upon himself to save someone’s life, he was preparing to lower his jet onto a landing deck aboard a naval air craft carrier. He wasn’t thinking about men or his non-existent sex life. They were somewhere in the middle of The Indian Ocean, and Duke and his co-pilot, Hinky, had just finished a successful practice mission in the air with that guy named Buck and his co-pilot, Strongman. Normally Duke would have been smiling and tapping his fingers. He would have been thinking about how he’d celebrate his successful mission later that night. But that afternoon he just lowered his eyebrows and listened to the radio with a somber expression. Duke and Hinky were supposed to land their jet first, and then Buck and Strongman were to follow them in their jet.
Only Buck wasn’t answering anyone on the radio. His co-pilot at the back of the plane kept repeating, “We have to land. We’re low on fuel,” followed by long moments of dead silence. The officer on the carrier below continued to repeat, “Bring it on deck, Buck. Bring it home now.” But Buck made no attempt to respond. It was as if he’d frozen in mid-air. When Duke finally broke in and said, “Buck, can you hear me? It’s time to bring it in,” and didn’t receive a response, Duke lifted the nose of his plane, veered away from the landing deck, and took off in the opposite direction of the carrier to see what was wrong.
Hinky, Duke’s co-pilot, spoke into the radio, wondering what was happening at the front of the plane. “We’re low on fuel, man. We gotta bring this home now.”
A voice from the carrier said, “Duke, what the fuck are you doing? Bring that fucking plane in.”
Duke took a quick breath and ignored them all. He headed back up to where Buck and Strongman were still lingering in the air. Duke adjusted his position and told everyone, “Buck’s having a problem. Something’s not right. I’m going back to see if I can do something.”
In spite of more protests from Hinky and the guys on the carrier, Duke continued to ignore them and flew as close to Buck’s jet as he could. Duke had a feeling he knew what was happening, because he’d experienced a similar situation himself when he’d first started flying. On that memorable day, Duke’s body had turned on him. He’d experienced an overwhelming sense of panic and his fight or flight responses kicked in full force. He broke out in a cold sweat and couldn’t catch his breath. He felt light-headed and dizzy, trapped and hopeless. For the first time in his life he felt as if he was going to die. For a minute or two, as his heart pounded out of his chest, he wasn’t sure he was going to make it back to the carrier. And then something interesting happened. He remembered how hard he’d worked to become a pilot and a sense of calm filtered through his body. Though he was a little shaky, he brought the jet in for a perfect landing and never told anyone what had happened. He had a feeling Buck was experiencing this same anxiety right now, and he had to do something to help him get through it.
So he made a few dangerous, unauthorized moves in the air and lined up his jet as close to Buck’s jet as he could, then he spoke into the radio with a slow, even voice. “Hey, Buddy. I’m gonna stay on your wing and get you through this. You can do it. I’m gonna be right here by your side all the way down.”
Duke knew he was low on fuel. The gage was lit up with red bars and it was flashing nonstop. He knew Hinky wouldn’t be thrilled about taking this kind of a chance with limited fuel. And he knew his commanding officer would probably ground him. But Duke couldn’t just ignore Buck. This was an emergency and Buck needed assistance. The main reason Duke had joined the Navy was to save lives, not follow rules.
“I’m here, buddy,” Duke said. The more the fuel gage blinked the higher his rush of adrenaline flowed. Oh, this would be a day he’d remember for a long time. “I’m sticking with you all the way down. We’re gonna land this baby on deck and celebrate tonight. You hear me, buddy?”
But there was nothing from Buck. At a quick glance, Duke could see Buck’s head gear dangling and his face exposed. Buck was taking deep breaths; his head was tilted back and he was gasping for air.
Duke bit his bottom lip and said, “Okay, buddy. Let’s go now. We don’t have much fuel left. We’re gonna do this together.”
Buck didn’t respond. But when Duke saw Buck reach for the controls and he noticed Buck’s jet begin to descend, he took a deep breath and exhaled into his mask. He followed him all the way back, sticking as close to his wing as he could. He watched closely as Buck’s jet wavered and tilted from side to side. Poor Strongman, Buck’s co-pilot, he must have been holding his breath the entire time. Duke clenched his fists as Buck lowered the jet and headed toward the carrier. When the plane touched the deck, it jerked to the side and lost one of its wheels. The guys on deck ran in different directions because they weren’t sure where the jet was going to end up. But somehow Buck managed to land on deck and come to a full, safe stop. Duke finally took another deep breath and followed him in with a smooth, flawless landing. It wasn’t until his jet came to a full stop and men came running toward them that he realized the full, pounding erection between his legs.
If you check out the Amazon reviews for this book, one is a five star and two are one star. One openly states, with just one letter as an identity, that he/she never wanted to see Tom Cruise in a gay book. I’m not joking about that. This is the kind of discrimination I’ve faced from the beginning. Of course there’s nothing about this book that was plagiarized. The basic storyline is very different just because the main characters are gay.
Here’s the review that didn’t want to see Tom Cruise gay…
I must have seen TOP GUN a hundred times – loved that movie. But I never wished that Tom Cruise was gay. If you did then this is your lucky day and you should read it. Or, if you for some reason never saw the movie, then I guess its a pretty good story…
I think I should start paying for reviews and gaming the system like the rest of them on those alleged best seller lists. I’m reaching a point where frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn. (smile)