American Idol

No More Tim Urban?

Was I shocked last night. Seriously. With about three or four average contestants left on AI, Tim Urban is the one who went home last night? I didn’t think he’d go to the final two (I think Bowersox will win), but I was hoping he’d at least survive the next two or three weeks.

Unfortunately, Tim Urban was one of the few reasons I watched the show this season. The quirky, cheesy Ford commercials they force the contestants to do had reached the level of intolerance for me. And when they sing those awful group songs, I just switch to another channel until they are over. But more than that, the songs these contestants are choosing this year are the worst in the history of the show.

I have a feeling that American Idol has seen better days, and now it’s time for Glee to take over.

Just One Reason to Watch American Idol this Season

I’ve been a fan of AI since the beginning. Justin Guarini is from Doylestown, PA, which is only fifteen minutes away, right here in artistic Bucks County, from where I live in New Hope. The local newspaper, at the time, wrote a piece about him every single day when he was on the show and I got hooked.

Then I wrote 2 satirical m/m romance novels called AMERICAN STAR and AMERICAN STAR II. The key word here is satirical, about what might happen behind the scenes of a show like AI if two of the contestants were gay men. They weren’t meant to be Pulitzer Prize winners (big grin to one reviewer in particular). They are campy and fun and quirky, which is what I intended.

So I’m a fan of the TV show, needless to say. But this season, with all the talk about how everyone misses Paula (I miss her too) and how a lot of the contestants aren’t very good, I found one simple reason why I can’t resist watching. And sorry, Ellen, it’s not because you’re so funny and clever and jump up to hug contestants in that funny way you have (bigger grin).

It’s Tim Urban. The. Guy. Has. Talent. And there really isn’t a need to elaborate. I even swiped this photo from my blogging buddy Ryan’s most recent post (here) to show rather than tell.

It’s not just about looks either. Even if he looked like the book reviewer who reviewed AMERICAN STAR last April (wicked smile), I’d still think he was the most talented singer ever to hit the AI stage.

It’s American Idol Time Again…Go Ellen Degeneres

I’m posting a link to amazon for people who don’t read e-books. AMERICAN STAR is out in print paperback, or digital format now. It’s a funny, satirical lgbt novel about what might happen behind the scenes of American Idol. I wrote this book long before there was a contestant like Adam Lambert, and a judge like Ellen Degeneres. And though the storyline is revolves around a TV show just like American Idol, what happens behind the scenes is a lot more fun than what goes on in front of the cameras.

There’s also a second novel in this series, AMERICAN STAR II, which has just as much lgbt fun as the first book. And, on Amazon, you can read the first section of the book and I’ve posted another free sample below that I thought was funny.

Then Emma stood up to clear the dinner plates and said, “I’ll start getting dessert ready. I made a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies late last night.”


Larry and Brian smiled, and that’s because they hadn’t tasted her butter cookies. Terrence gulped and stared down at his lap, hoping she’d tried a little harder to follow the recipe this time.
When she placed the cookies in the middle of the table, he waited for Brian and Larry to taste them first. They looked okay: perfect little rounds, with ridges and small dots of chocolate. But when Brian put one in his mouth and started to chew, he sat back for a moment and pressed his palm to his chest. Then he reached for a glass of water to wash it down. Larry was next. He was smiling when he put the entire cookie into his mouth, but the minute his taste buds kicked in his eyes widened and the corners of his lips turned down. Terrence had to look away; he focused on a large window at the far end of the room so he couldn’t see the defeated expression on Larry’s face.
Emma returned to the table with a pot of coffee. “How are they?” she asked. “I decided to add a few extra ingredients on my own.”
“What did you add?” Larry asked. Then he swallowed some water.
“Cracked peppercorns and cottage cheese,” she said. “I used the cottage cheese instead of butter to keep the calories down, and I figured if they could add salt in the original recipe, I may as well add some pepper, too, for extra flavor. You know, that spicy-sweet thing.” She smiled and smoothed out her skirt. Then she handed one to Terrence and said, “Here, have one.”
“I’m allergic,” he said. “I’m allergic to cottage cheese. I’m glad you mentioned that.” He’d never been allergic to anything in his life, but he wasn’t going to eat cottage cheese, peppercorn, chocolate chip cookies.

American Idol: It’s That Time of Year Again

Now that American Idol is going into full swing again, I thought I’d post about my novel, AMERICAN STAR. If you haven’t read the novel, I think this is an important post. And if you have read the novel, I think it’s even more important to read this post.

This book, so there is no confusion, is not a warm, tender romance like most of my other books. I just didn’t think the plot warranted being a warm, typical romance. AMERICAN STAR is, and was always supposed to be, an adult, satirical look at what might go on behind the scenes of a TV reality show like American Idol. It’s very erotic, in the true sense of gay erotic fiction, and there is romance. But not the kind of romance that will leave you with wet eyes. This is more of a modern romance, between very strong men, who do not apologize for their needs and the way they live their lives.

If anything, I hope AMERICAN STAR leaves you laughing, the same way I laughed while I wrote the book. Even the sexy scenes are satirical, campy and totally unreal compared to other books I’ve written, like TAKE ME ALWAYS and THE GHOST AND MR. MOORE.

And, I’d also like to explain, that while formatting this book as an e-book, there was a problem with the main character’s name. This happens all the time in e-publishing (so they tell me), and from what I hear it has something to do with the process of going from Word to digital format. It wasn’t a problem with editing. The book was edited very carefully, just like all my other novels and stand alones, by me and two other good editors at ravenousromance.com. So if you notice that the main character’s name is spelled differently in sections, there is a reason that went beyond my own personal control. But it’s only one letter, and it’s not hard to figure out. When the book was submitted, the names were all spelled correctly.

If you are still curious about the book and not sure about whether or not it’s for you, read one of my stand alones that was published by loveyoudivine.com, like DOWN THE BASEMENT or VANCE’S FLAMES. AMERICAN STAR is more along the lines of these stories.

A New Cover for AMERICAN STAR

I noticed that they gave my book AMERICAN STAR II, a new cover. The transition hasn’t been complete yet and there are still old covers floating around, so I figured I’d put both up here to show the differences. The older one is on the left, and the newer one on the right.
This book is a romance, with a man and a woman, and a very happy ending. But it has a strong LGBT sub-plot, too. And the BT part of LGBT is where the focus lies. It’s also loosely based on the TV show, “American Idol.” All of my characters are fictional, and none are even loosely based on actual “American Idol” contestants. And yet one of the characters is almost identical to Adam Lambert. This was an accident. When I wrote the book, long before last season’s “American Idol” began, I had no idea there would ever be a contestnt like Adam Lambert on “American Idol.”
It’s interesting how these things happen by accident. I know other writers who say the same things happen to them. They write things that eventually come true. I wish I could predict lottery numbers this way.

American Star II…Now in Paperback on Amazon.com

AMERICAN STAR II is now out in paperback on Amazon.com. This is a sequel to AMERICAN STAR, which was the first, in a series of books that revolves around the hit TV show, American Idol. These books are sexy, they are fun, and they have completely fictional story lines.

Now, just to be clear, because I don’t want anyone getting the wrong impression. Although I’m a fan of American Idol, both these books are only loosely based on the TV show. They are LGBT erotic romances, but they are also satirical, fictional love stories that are not based on anyone who is actually connected with American Idol. I wanted to explain this, because I hate the thought of anyone spending their hard earned money on a book they think is total fan fiction. It’s not. One romance reviewer compared AMERICAN STAR to fan fiction, but she either didn’t get the satire, or she didn’t read the book in full. Either way, I wanted to clear that up so people don’t get the wrong idea.

You have to be a devoted fan of something in order to write fan fiction. I said I was a fan of American Idol, but not enough of a fan to stand in line for hours waiting to audition, I wouldn’t miss a good dinner party to stay home and watch American Idol, and I’m certainly not enough of a fan to write a book about anyone or anything involved with the show. And, to be totally honest, I’ve never even bothered to vote for any of the contestants. I like the show, I think the people involved are talented and dedicated, but that’s as far as it goes.

I wrote the books because I know that millions of people in the LGBT community are fans of American Idol and I thought it would be interesting to take a satirical look at what could happen, from a pop culture point of view, with a show like American Idol. And in order to make it more interesting, I took at look at what might happen behind the scenes. There’s very little music in the books, and the plots don’t revolve around the singing. They revolve around the personal, intimate relationships.

Erotic Romance is Sometimes Larger than Life

I remember seeing an old movie once where the female main character seduced the male main character with a large bowl of ice. It was a film based on a bestseller by a well known romance author. I’m not going into detail because this blog is not rated X, but I never forgot that scene. This all happened during a tender love scene, with partial nudity, and the film was rated R. I’m sure the intent was both romantic and erotic, but I couldn’t help wondering how uncomfortable it would be if it happened to someone in real life. Personally, I wouldn’t want my expensive dry clean only bedding soaked with ice, and it’s not something I’d enjoy in real life with cheap sheets either. We even laughed about this ice scene on the way home from the theater.

But in spite of our laughter, the scene worked. It fit within the context of the storyline, which is what they wanted to achieve. And without the ice, as outrageous and weird as it was, this would have been just another dull, cliched sex scene like all the others. It was, truly, unforgettable.

In AMERICAN STAR, which is a satirical erotic romance based loosely on the TV show American Idol, I refer to a certain body part of one character as a roll of paper towels. This character is extremely well endowed and the other is shocked to find out how well endowed he is. I set the scene up carefully so the reader will understand this is supposed to be funny and shocking instead of serious. I’m not the talented John Waters, but when I was writing it I wanted the scene and the body part to be larger than life. And, most important, I wanted the reader to laugh. And if a reader doesn’t laugh when he or she reads this scene, there’s something wrong.

I’m going to post an excerpt below from AMERICAN STAR, to show how I set the “roll of paper towels” scene up. I’ve censored a few words for this blog, but the point is still there. It’s the first time poor Terrence is intimate with Jude, and he’s about to get the shock of his life. They are just beginning to explore the possibilites of falling in love, and Jude is terrifed that he’ll scare Terrence away with his well kept secret.

Jude smiled, and then he squeezed Terrence’s thigh a few times. He whispered softly, “I have a problem I should warn you about first, man. I mean, I really want to do this…you’re hot…but there’s something you should know first.”

“A problem?”

Jude took a deep breath and said, “I have a mutant penis.”

Huh?”

“A mutant penis,” Jude said, still whispering, “It’s not deformed or anything. I’m not carrying a freak flag. It’s just over-sized; really big. Most guys run out the door when they see it. My last boyfriend just couldn’t handle it and that’s one of the reasons why we broke up.”

Terrence looked down at the bulge between Jude’s legs and pressed his lips together. He was used to Kevin’s size, and that certainly wasn’t small. And he had a good eight inches himself. How bad could it be? So he said, “Just relax and pull down your zipper, Jude. I promise I won’t run out the door screaming.”