AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN

Obama Picks Gays for Olympics; Coming Out to Rejection: Jonathan Allen

Coming Out to Rejection: Jonathan Allen

I’ll never forget one book review I had for An Officer and His Gentleman about four or five years ago where the book reviewer mocked the main character’s choices and slammed him for not changing his circumstances. Chance, the main character of that book, was thrown out of his home when he told his parents he was gay and had no other choice but to live with a mean old man who made him walk around naked all the time. What shocked me most about the review was that some people think this sort of thing doesn’t happen to younger gay men anymore. As if we all live in places like San Francisco and everyone welcomes it with open arms when their kids come out of the closet. But that’s not the case. And I haven’t read anything more definitive of this than the article to which I’m linking right now. Jonathan Allen, a finalist in America’s Got Talent, came out and his ultra-conservative family kicked him out of their home.

Allen came out to his conservative parents and was kicked out of their home but, thankfully for us, he’s since persevered with one of his natural gifts intact – his voice. Allen was a semi-finalist this past summer on NBC’s competition series America’s Got Talent where he shared his story and blew away the judges – Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel – with not only his commanding voice but also his self-effacing wit and natural charm.

He looks like a great kid. You can read more here. I find the story even more interesting because my character in An Officer and His Gentleman also wound up being a contestant on a reality cooking show in the book, and he depended on his best talent to get him through the worst of times…in his case it was cooking.

The review I’m talking about that slammed the Chance character can be read here. I’m glad the book reviewer left it up because I like having this point of reference when I’m writing posts like this. This is a quote from the review:

I had hoped from reading the blurb and excerpt that it would end up being quirky instead, but Dan treats Chance so abysmally, it might as well be abuse.And the problem is, Chance takes it.This was one of my biggest stumbling blocks in the entire set-up.Chance is an incredibly talented cook.He’s young.He’s reasonably bright.He’s a hard worker.How am I expected to believe this is his only alternative?

As a gay man I failed to understand there would be people who don’t realize these things still happen, or that I would be questioned as a gay man for knowing more about the gay community from personal circumstances than someone who is straight. It’s not good enough to show these awful things happen. You need to tell them, in detail, sometimes that we all don’t live in the loving accepting, cliched world of Modern Family. I wouldn’t mind the review at all if the reviewer were to have put up a disclaimer stating she’s not gay. You can’t fault people for not knowing something. However, I wouldn’t question Toni Morrison or her experience as an African American in African American culture and I don’t like being questioned as a gay man in gay culture. But what do I know?

Obama Picks Gays for Olympics

After an aggressive effort on the part of gay rights groups urging the President to include prominent athletes from the LGBT community in a delegation representing the US at the Russian Olympics this winter, Obama has chosen some impressive names making a clear statement to Russia. Billie Jean King will be part of this delegation at the opening ceremonies.

White House spokesman Shin Inouye said that the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States” and that Obama was proud to cheer America’s athletes on at the 2014 Olympic Games.

“He knows they will showcase to the world the best of America — diversity, determination and teamwork,” Inouye said.
 
 
Frankly, after hearing the most recent statement by an actor in Russia who wants to burn gays alive in ovens, I’m still for boycotting completely. I wish I were more of an optimist and that I had the faith some people have. But I don’t think anything we do or say in Russia at this point is going to change how they think. Sometimes you just have to order them to “take down that wall,” so to speak. We need strong leaders for this, not mediators who can give good speeches.
 
But it should be interesting to watch, and even more interesting to see how Russia treats gays this time next year. I don’t have much hope from what I’ve seen so far. History always repeats itself.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Matt Bomer Discusses Growing Up In the Closet…

Are kids gay? Do they realize they are gay at a young age? In yesterday’s post I talked about how people get horny at weddings, which is not at all related to Matt Bomer discussing how he grew up in the closet. But there is a small connection between this post and yesterdays wedding post I think is important to talk about that deals with gay kids, the way they hide it, and the topic of bullying. And how gay men like me, as adults, are often targeted in ways most people wouldn’t even expect.

I’m one of those people who can listen to six conversations at one time and absorb what everyone is saying without missing a word. As a writer, I’ve learned to observe people…their actions, their expressions, and even the tones in their voices. And weddings are great places to sit back and watch how people behave and react.

There are always a few kids at weddings. At the one I went to on Sunday there were about six or seven that ranged in ages from six years old to fourteen years old. I immediately focused in on one kid from the bride’s side I didn’t know anything about. He must have been around ten or eleven years old. He was wearing a small black straw hat, tilted to the side, and he stood out from the other kids without having to even try hard at it. As noticed him throughout the evening, I quietly watched how friendly he got with another boy who was probably about twelve. I even mentioned it to Tony, and then to my sister, and we all exchanged a glance. At one point, those two boys were having such a good time with each other I was sure they were going to dance together. I was hoping they would. They acted as if there was no one else in the room except them.

Were they both gay? I couldn’t say for certain. But I would bet they were because I rarely see two boys look at each other they way they were. They never actually danced with each other, and they maintained that invisible line all young gay people learn how to draw and they never crossed it. But they way they looked at each other, and the way they seemed so into each other was fascinating to watch. And a little sad, too. Both kids come from families where they have gay relatives like Tony and me, and yet they were still terrified to actually show how they felt about each other.

And that’s because gay kids still don’t talk about being gay, at least not most. I never did and I knew it at three years old. Thankfully, Matt Bomer talked about it recently and what he said backs up anything I could say in this post about how gay kids hide who they are, and about how they grow up with a set of extra baggage straight kids don’t have to deal with. I hate to make Matt Bomer sound like the spokesperson for gay men on topics like this, but so far he’s the only one honest enough who WILL talk about it openly.

“When I was in high school, there was no safe haven, there was no outlet for you to speak your mind. So I did what any self-preserving 14-year-old would do—I signed up for the school play and also the football team to cover my tracks.”

I don’t think there’s a gay man alive who can’t identify with that. I’m sure those two boys at the wedding would know exactly what he’s talking about. I even wrote about a young gay man in “An Officer and his Gentleman,” who was a victim of his circumstances and one reviewer said it wasn’t realistic. I let her get away with it at the time without making a fuss. She obviously didn’t like the book and she had something against my publisher, and I can live with that. But the comment about it not being realistic will bother me until the day I die. I think if she were do to this today, I would confront her in a different way. Why didn’t I confront her with more force at the time? Because I’ve been taught and conditioned as a gay man to keep it quiet, let it go, and pretend it doesn’t exist. In other words, join the school play and the football team to keep everyone else happy. This is a quote from that review:

 He’s reasonably bright. He’s a hard worker. How am I expected to believe this is his only alternative? There’s never enough reason or depth provided to make this situation plausible in the slightest. Its only purpose seems to be to put Chance in the most awful circumstances possible and then show him a man who can save him from all that.

At the time, I didn’t realize I had to go into detailed over-kill back story about a young gay man’s experience. Since then, I’ve had letters from gay men all over the world who could identify with that story. The gay men all got it. I said his family threw him out and that, I thought, was good enough in order to move the story forward. This reviewer asks how she’s supposed to believe this. Well she’s supposed to believe this because I am the gay man writing about a gay character and I know better than she does what it’s like to be the gay man. And that’s as plain and simple as it gets. I don’t see anyone telling Toni Morrison what it’s like to be African-American, so don’t tell gay men what it’s like to be gay.

But I digress. Here’s a comment from the Matt Bomer article I thought was nice:

“You are the example that the rest of our country needs to wake up and see in terms of equality and putting an end to the bullying epidemic and making sure that every family is respected in our schools and our society,” Manganiello, who also reportedly attended college with Bomer, is quoted as saying.

You can read the rest of the article here. There are more interesting links and even a mention about that idiot Bret Easton Ellis. And I’d like to add one more thing. If you see bullying, stop it. Even if it looks like harmless teasing it can be harmful to kids and they don’t even realize it. Things are better now than they were when Matt Bomer and I were growing up, but things still aren’t all that great.

Audible.com: An Officer and His Gentleman as an Audio Book


I’ve been wanting to post about this for a while but something keeps coming up and I keep postponing it.

The reason I’m posting is I’ve had a few readers e-mail me and ask if any of my books are available on audio. One is: AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN. You can find it here, on audible.com. There are a lot of reviews, too. Unlike goodreads, where who knows what goes on, I’m always comfortable with the reviews left on web sites like audible. In fact, as a reader, I often go there to check out the reviews when I’m thinking about buying a book.

Why do I do this? It’s simple. I trust the authenticity of the reviews at places like audible more so than I trust them at goodreads and amazon. I won’t go into detail about why in a general sense. It’s partly because I believe readers, and only readers, make purchases at sights like audible and leave reviews. And I’ve explained it partly in this post. And as a reader, I’ve found that most reviews on audible have never let me down.

Will there be other books of mine on audible.com? I honestly don’t know the answer to this. If I had the power to control this, I would invest my time and money to do this without any questions. If I ever decide to indie publish, I will definitely do this. However, I don’t have any choice in the matter. Publishers decide these things. So if you are interested in listening to more books, contact the publishers and let them know. They usually like hearing these things. And if enough people do it they might even pay attention.

AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN Free for Limited Time Only (Take that, Book Pirates)

If you haven’t read AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN, it’s now being offered for free, for a limited time, here. …on allromanceebooks.com. I love this site. I download a lot of my own books there. It’s very simple to use.

And, for the people that patronize book pirates. Maybe you should take a little click over to allromance and check out this free offer. There are other books for free, too. You guys might find that it’s a good feeling to download free books that were authorized to be free books instead of stealing your books from sleezy pirate sites. All publishers do these free offers all the time, not just ravenous romance. And this way, even though you guys don’t seen to care about supporting your favorite authors by buying books (or about the fact that you could get caught and prosecuted), at least you can support them by acknowledging their free offers.

Apple and AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN

In case anyone is interested in reading AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN on iphone or itouch, or any Apple product, here’s some info below that might be of use. To be honest, I’m just learning how to do these things myself. Here’s the link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/an-officer-and-his-gentleman/id362507932?mt=8

An Officer and His Gentleman
By Hollan Publishing, Inc.View More By This Developer
Open iTunes to buy and download apps.
Description
“Ryan Field has written a very sensual love story that will leave the reader wanting more. The characters are engaging and the story is definitely not the typical fare. This was the kind of story that deserves to be read more than once. An Officer and His Gentleman is definitely a four star work that will leave the reader wanting more from this very gifted author.” –Sensual Ecata RomanceChance Martin, who dreams of becoming a chef on the Food Network, works at a grocery store for a quirky old man who gives him free room and board as long as he walks around naked when the store is closed. But Chance is only interested in cooking, until an attractive stranger walks into the market one morning. Brody Johnston, bad boy naval officer on extended leave from his post in Europe, can’t take his eyes off innocent Chance’s round buttocks and smooth legs, and is determined to get to know him better.So when the old man goes to bed, Chance sneaks out to meet Brody and discovers his talents in the bedroom rival his talents in the kitchen. Though they are complete opposites, Chance is ready to submit to all of Brody’s sexual kinks and desires, but it never occurs to him they might actually fall in love with each other. As Chance fights to live his dream as a chef, and Brody wrestles with the opportunities and limitations imposed by the military, will they be able to find happiness in each other’s arms?…More
An Officer and His Gentleman Support
What’s New In Version 1.1

Alyson Books: They Kept the LGBT Community Connected

Before there was an Internet, there were small publishers within the still newly established LGBT community. One of them was Alyson Books. They were located up in Boston, on Plympton Street, and they were revolutionary in a sense because they started publishing lgbt themed children’s books in l990, Alyson Wonderland. This was new and it was a risky thing to do back then.

But they did it anyway. And they gave lgbt authors a voice, and they catered to the lgbt community in a way that hadn’t been done before. Alyson is very special to me. I read my first gay novel, published by Alyson Books. I bought it in a small news shop, on the corner of Seventh Ave. South and Christopher Street in The Village. They published my first short story back in the late nineties. I’ve always been proud to be in their books. And now they recently released my book, AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN in partnership with ravenous romance. This is a traditional print book and it can be purchased in bookstores or directly at the Alyson web site here: http://www.alyson.com/9781593501648.html

There was a time when publishers like Alyson kept gay men and women connected, through good books, both fiction and non-fiction. It’s hard to believe for people under thirty that things were so different then. But there was a time, not too long ago, when books were the only things gay people had to keep them going.

AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN: Released by Alyson Books

I’ve been late in posting about this one. But there’s been a lot going on with a new project I’m submitting tomorrow to Ravenousromance. Alyson Books just released AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN and it’s listed on their web site. If you do a search on the blog, you’ll find out more information about the book, and there are even a few excerpts. Personally, I’m thrilled to be part of Alyson’s long list of excellent books that serve, and have been serving, the lgbt community proudly for many years.

An Officer and His Gentleman

Ryan Field

The first book in Alyson’s new series of M/M romance novels published in partnership with e-publisher Ravenous Romance.

Brody Johnston, bad boy naval officer on extended leave from his post in Europe, can’t take his eyes off innocent Chance’s round butt and smooth legs. He is determined to get to know him better, and Brody is used to getting what he wants. Though they are complete opposites, Chance is ready to submit to all of Brody’s sexual kinks and desires. And it never occurs to either one of them that they might actually fall in love with each other.

Ryan Field is the author of ten books published by Ravenous Romance, including the best-selling e-books Pretty Man and Take Me Always. His short story “Down the Basement” is included in the Lambda Award–winning Best Gay Erotica 2009.