book banning

IKEA Bows to Russia; Obama Signs HOPE; FREE Gay Excerpt

IKEA Bows to Russia

Swedish furniture company, IKEA, had an article with a lesbian theme in their customer magazine. Because of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law IKEA pulled the article from their Russian customer magazine because they want to remain neutral. The interesting thing is that IKEA has always targeted the gay dollar. I know they call it being “gay-friendly,” which I always find amusing, but IKEA’s bottom line rests on money and getting everyone they can to spend money at IKEA.

The chair of Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) Ulrika Westerlund felt IKEA could have achieved more by standing their ground against potential penalization from Russia.

She said in a statement: ‘I find it disappointing that Ikea has simply laid down flat. ‘No one is really sure what “propaganda” is and if IKEA had left the article in, that could have served as a test case.’

Russian government officials maintain the new law is not anti-gay, as it only prohibits ‘homosexual propaganda’ to minors and not same-sex activity.

What bothers me most is that I’ve seen so many weak excuses about how important it is to follow the law. But we’re not talking about following laws that are fair and just. We’re talking about laws that violate human rights and an entire segment of the world’s population.

You can read more here.

Obama Signs HOPE

I didn’t know it wasn’t possible for one person who is HIV+ to receive an organ from another who is also HIV+.

‘Improving care for people living with HIV is critical to fighting the epidemic, and it’s a key goal of my National HIV/AIDS Strategy,’ Obama said in a statement. ‘The HOPE Act marks an important step in the right direction, and I thank Congress for their action.

You can read more here. This is something that won’t be mentioned in mainstream news because there are so many other things happening in Washington right now. But Obama continues to do these things without getting much recognition, and he continues to support equal rights. I’m not very political and I’m not a huge supporter of any politician, but I think he’ll go down on the right side of history. I just hope he gets that healthcare web site figured out.

FREE Gay Excerpt

This excerpt is from a more recent novella I published on my own titled, Internal Desires. This was also one of the few books I’ve had banned, and not because of content. Because of one or two words in the blurb that got caught in the crossfire of censorship and search engines. In this case, I get into the concept of rape culture. I don’t, and never have, glorified rape in the story…or any story. But I do mention rape culture from an academic POV and the search engines banned me for those words. So I’ve been wanting to post this excerpt for a while to show what I’m talking about. Readers can be the judges in this case.

This is a raw excerpt before final edits. Please take into consideration the final book has been well edited and I’m only posting this here because it’s easier to copy and paste from Word than a PDF file on google blogger. The book is on sale here for .99. It’s also at Allromanceebooks.com and other outlets where e-books are sold. It’s a gender-bending story where a young gay man who is not a transgender but likes a little feminine kink finds out how women are often treated by straight men.

He laughed and waved at the money. “Don’t worry about it, babe. This one’s on me. It’s not every day I get to wait on a sweet little thing like you. You doing anything later tonight.”

Although I wanted him to think I was a real woman, I didn’t know how to respond. “Well, I’m kind of busy. I’m meeting my boyfriend. But thanks anyway.” Then I tried to give him the money again.

This time he took my hand very gently and pushed it back into the car. He refused to take the money. “No problem. This one is still on me.” He stood up, tapped the hood twice, and said, “You have a good night, and stop back any time you want with those pretty legs. I work here every night of the week.”

His aggressive approach made me swallow hard and gulp. I knew I’d made a mistake and I shouldn’t have been sitting there with my legs open, but in the same respect I hadn’t given him any verbal signals to show I was interested in him. I glanced into his eyes, smiled, and said, “You have a good night, too.” Then I hit the gas and got out of there as fast as I could. I had a feeling he wanted to reach into the car and put his big greasy hand up my skirt.

As I pulled away, I heard him whistle and say, “Damn, bitches. Now that’s what I’m talking about.”

When I was back on the main road, my heart stopped racing and I felt more secure about going to the country western bar. It would be dark in the bar and so crowded I could blend in. And if I could pass that way all alone under the bright lights of a gas station, I knew I could pass anywhere. My only regret was that I hadn’t asked that horny guy to fill up my tank. If I’d known he wouldn’t charge me I would have kept my legs open longer. At the time, the full impact of his abusive gestures and comments had not registered with me. I wondered if this sort of thing happened often to good looking women in short skirts, because nothing like that had ever happened to me as a dude in jeans.

About twenty minutes later, I pulled into the parking lot of a western bar called, Cowboy’s Delight, and parked in a dark section in the back. Before I climbed out, I glanced into the rearview mirror and put on more pink frosted lip gloss. I checked my hair and made sure my breasts were even. I hadn’t worn a lot of make-up that night. I didn’t want to look like a drag queen or a hooker. And with the spray tan on my face I didn’t even need foundation or powder. All I needed was lip gloss, a little blush, eye-liner, and mascara. I’d added a little white frosted eye shadow for effect, but only enough to make my brow bones glimmer. I didn’t overdo anything. I wanted to look as natural as any other young woman in her early twenties.

When I climbed out of the car, I smoothed out my skirt and headed to the entrance of Cowboy’s Delight. I could hear the twang of a familiar country song coming from inside, and the muffled sounds of people talking over each other. This wasn’t one of those nightclubs where they charged a cover, and I walked in through the entrance behind two other young women as if we were all together. Most of the people were busy talking and they didn’t notice me, and the bar was dark once I was inside. I continued to follow the two women past groups of men and women of all ages until the women decided to turn to the right. When they turned, I went to the left and found an empty barstool in front of a long bar that was set off to the side of the main action. You could see the dance floor from there, but everyone at that bar seemed to be observing more than participating.

When I sat down on the barstool, this time I crossed my legs and made a mental note to keep my knees together. The bartender walked over and asked me what I wanted and I ordered a beer. I would have killed for a dirty martini, but I didn’t want to drink anything too strong. The thought of getting stopped by a cop on the way home for drunken driving sent a chill up my spine. I couldn’t even imagine the excuse I would have to conjure up if something like that happened. I would have to move out of town and never return. I could see the expression of shock on the face of Chief Ludlow, my dad’s best friend, when he discovered that I really wasn’t a woman.

After the first half hour, I felt more relaxed. The people around me continued on with their conversations, the bartender served his drinks, and the music continued to play. I didn’t mind being an observer and I had no ulterior motives. I saw a few good-looking girls in shorter, sexier skirts than mine and they were getting more attention than me. But I soon discovered I wasn’t invisible. A nice looking guy in his thirties walked up to me and put his hand on the back of my barstool as if he were claiming his territory. He seemed nervous; he spoke with a slight stutter. “You wouldn’t want to dance, would you?” he asked.

I didn’t really want to dance, but I felt so bad for him I nodded and said, “Yes, I’d love to dance.” They were playing a new song that had recently been released by Kenny Chesney. I liked the song, and I’d never actually danced with a guy before. I also would have felt terrible if I’d turned this poor guy down. He seemed so nice and kind, as if he’d mustered up every ounce of courage he had to ask me to dance. Up until then my experience with men in this regard had always been with polite, cautious gay men on the down low. I had no idea what I was in for with straight men. Let’s just say I gained a whole new sense of respect for straight women that night.

He helped me off the barstool and set his palm on the small of my back. It felt awkward at first, but I remained expressionless and let him make all the moves. He guided me to the dance floor and reached for my hand. He gently pulled me to the dance floor, and then he reached down and held my waist. I glanced around quickly and noticed the way everyone else was dancing. This was one of those slow songs and people were just standing in one place rocking back and forth. I lifted my arms like the woman beside me who was dancing with a guy and rested my hands behind my dance partner’s neck just like her. Then I rested my head against his chest just like her and we started rocking back and forth like everyone else. It felt unusual to be in his arms and I had a feeling I didn’t have much control anymore. I liked the way he smelled of aftershave, though. He had a trimmed, but slightly scruffy, beard and he reminded me of the actor, John Cusack. He was by no means male model material, but definitely a nice-looking guy in a sexy, masculine way.

We danced for a while in silence, and then he pulled me closer and said, “You’re very pretty. I’m Mickey.” His hands went lower and he rubbed the top of my buttocks in what I thought was a harmless way at first.

I ran the long pink fingernails across the back of his neck slowly and said, “I’m Randy.” I figured it’s a unisex name, and I wasn’t going to give him my last name. I’d never seen him before, and I doubted I’d see him again after that night.

“You’re a great dancer, Randy,” he said. “You’re very easy to move around. You’ve got great legs, too. You’re so damn hot.” His hands went lower and he patted my bottom a few times in a more aggressive way.

I didn’t know how to respond to him. And I didn’t scratch the back of his neck with my fingernails that time to encourage him. But I didn’t want to piss him off either, so I smiled and said, “That’s because you’re such a great dancer yourself, Mickey.” I figured if I was nice to him he would be nice to me.

But his hands only went lower and he continued to pat and rub my bottom without asking for permission. “I’ll bet you’re great in the sack.”

“I like this song,” I said. I wanted to change the subject and I wanted to stop dancing. As far as I knew the only thing I’d done to encourage him was touch his neck with my fingernails. I didn’t think that was an aggressive gesture.

He grabbed me harder and the back of my skirt went up a little. “You smell so pretty and soft.”

When the song ended, they started to play something faster. Mickey patted the small of my back and said, “Let’s go back to the bar and sit down. I don’t feel like dancing fast.” I noticed he’d stopped stuttering and he seemed less timid now.

I nodded yes and removed my arms from his shoulders, relieved to get off the dance floor. He took my hand and I followed him back to the barstool where he’d found me. There were all kinds of images running through my head by then. He thought I was a real woman and I knew this could get dangerous. He kept looking at my chest, my legs, and my lips as if he wanted to rip off my clothes and throw me down on the floor. I decided to be more aggressive myself, and to keep it as casual as possible at the same time. I figured that because I was pretending to be a woman, and he thought I was a woman, this would be simple enough to do. But boy did I get the surprise of my life.

When we reached the bar and I lifted my leg to climb up on the stool, he put his hand up my skirt and grabbed my ass without any warning whatsoever. This time it wasn’t in a playful way. I had a feeling he meant business. And when he realized I wasn’t wearing panties and I was only wearing a thong, he squeezed harder and said, “That’s hot, baby. No panties. I had a feeling you were a very dirty girl when I saw the way you were dressed.” He emphasized the word dirty.

I froze for a moment, and he continued to grope me. I wondered what had happened to that nice shy man who had been stuttering. I finally reached for his hand, pulled it out of my skirt, and sat down. In a playful way, I smacked his arm and said, “You be a good boy. I’m wearing a thong.”

He smiled and moved closer. He lowered his hand and grabbed my thigh. “Open those pretty legs for me. No one can see us. I know what girls like you want.” His hand started to slide up between my legs.

I removed his hand from my leg and smiled again. I wanted to keep this friendly. “I said be a good boy. I don’t even know you, Mickey.”

He ignored me and grabbed my leg again. His hand moved up, only inches from my penis…or what he thought was my vagina. “Let’s go outside. My truck isn’t far.”

“I think I have to go to the bathroom,” I said. “I’ll be right back.” It was the first excuse that popped into my head.

“I’ll come with you,” He said. “We can go to my truck after that and you can sit on my lap. I’d like to see that pretty thong up close.”

I took a deep breath and exhaled. “Mickey, you seem like a nice guy, but I’m really not interested in anything more than dancing tonight.” I figured I would be honest; he would be okay with this and he would appreciate my honesty.

He squeezed me leg harder and said, “I know what girls like you want. Don’t play innocent with me.”

I got a sick feeling in my stomach. I didn’t know how to handle him. No gay guy had ever treated me this way. I couldn’t be too aggressive because he would find out about me and that would have been disastrous. So I pushed him away gently and said, “I think I’m going to go home now.” I stuttered a little then.

“I’ve got something nice to show you,” he said. He refused to let me get up. “You know you want it. It’s nice and big. You wouldn’t be dressed that way if you didn’t want guys coming on to you. Let’s stop playing games, sweetie.”

What an asshole. The things he tried to do to me that night reminded me of a sociology elective I’d taken in community college that had focused on rape culture, where they blame the victim instead of the asshole douchebag who objectifies her. If I’d been a real woman I would have kicked him in the balls and started to scream. If I’d been in a gay bar and he’d been a gay man I would have hit him in the jaw. But I couldn’t take that chance dressed as a woman with all those people around me, so I continued to be nice and hope I could get through to him. “I’m really not playing games,” I said. “You seem like a nice guy, but I just want to sit here alone for a while. Thanks for the dance, seriously.”

“I know what a girl like you wants,” Mickey said.

“What do you mean, a girl like me?” I asked. “I didn’t say or do anything to lead you on.” My faced started to grow warm. I had a feeling he was about to cross the invisible line and I would have to do something to stop him.

As Mickey leaned forward this time, his hand went down between my legs again and someone behind him grabbed his arm. A deep voice said, “She’s not a girl. She’s a young woman. And she is trying to be nice you, buddy. Can’t you take a fucking hint? She’s not interested in you, dude. Now get lost.”

Visa (And MasterCard Now) Responds to Letter About PayPal Regarding Book Banning

(Update: Here’s something from this comment thread, left by Banned Writers, I wanted to add to this post: “We have now received a letter from MasterCard saying pretty much the same thing: they aren’t behind PayPal’s policy.” You can get there from here to read the entire post and the letter from MC. For those who don’t know, this was PayPal’s comment.)

Banned Writers sent a letter to Visa and they received a response. The book banning issue gets better each time I read something new. For a while there I almost believed it was the credit card companies pressuring PayPal.

Thank you for your email regarding PayPal’s recent decision to limit the sale of certain erotica content. First and foremost, we want to clarify that Visa had no involvement with PayPal’s conclusion on this issue. Nor have we seen the material in question. This fact is made clear by PayPal’s recent blog post where it states that its own policies drove the decision. https://www.thepaypalblog.com/2012/03/paypals-acceptable-use-policy-on-sale-of-certain-erotica/

To read more, click here.

Talk about passing the buck. Now I’m not sure whom to believe.

All I can say is authors and publishers make sure your tags, titles, and blurbs don’t contain anything that would cause a search engine to put you on the banned list. I’d hate to think that a children’s book titled “Dad’s Favorite Little Girl,” that was written for children was banned because a book retailer trusted a search engine to decide which books are banned and which aren’t.

Should "Daddy-Daughter" Date Night at Chick-fil-a be Censored?


Even though Chick-fil-a has been involved in controversy regarding allegations involving opposition to LGBT rights, I can’t think of anything more wonderful than what they are doing with “Daddy-Daughter Date Night.” I have a recently divorced younger brother who has 50% custody of his three kids…two boys, one girl…and I’m always telling him to make just as much time for his daughter as he does for his sons.

But I have to wonder whether or not Chick-fil-a would be allowed to advertise something like “Daddy-Daughter Date Night,” if they were in e-publishing these days. Of course when normal, rational people read about “Daddy-Daughter Date Night” they immediately assume it’s a nice time for fathers and daughters to bond together. That’s how I took it this morning when I heard about it on the news.

Unfortunately, in digital publishing these days a simple harmless phrase like “Daddy-Daughter” has been taken out of context and turned into something taboo and obscene. This past weekend I spent hours working on a blurb, tag line, and tags for a new release with loveyoudivine.com titled, “Cowboy Howdy.” The book is erotic romance, it is for adults only, but there are no underage characters or anything on this list of “taboo” topics that are being banned these days. (For those who don’t know, this list of taboo topics is basically the same list I’ve seen for the past 20 years in all submission guidelines from publishers.) I’ve never written about underage characters and never will, and yet I spent hours searching for certain words in “Cowboy Howdy” to make sure this book wouldn’t be banned and censored. Frankly, I’m a little concerned about “cowboy,” because “boy” is part of it.

Words like “Daddy, Dad, boy, student, college, etc…” have now become target words used in order to ban books. Here’s an example of two different blurbs from “Cowboy Howdy.”

Example One, which is perfectly harmless:

Payne is a typical young gay man from New York City, with the right haircut, clothes, and attitude. He spends a great deal of time keeping his slim body smooth and well-toned for strong, dominant men. Although he’s not looking forward to his new college roommate at first, he soon discovers things could have been much worse. The minute Payne meets Howdy he can’t take his eyes off his huge shoulders, long legs, and the bulge in his jeans. Howdy’s thick Texas accent and his authentic cowboy hat make Payne cover his crotch with a sweatshirt. When he finds out Howdy is there on a football player scholarship, Payne wants to bury his face in Howdy’s jock strap. In fact, Howdy is the man of Payne’s dreams and he considers seducing him the first day they meet. This leads to an interesting experience that may wind up changing the rest of their first semester. Will Howdy accept Payne’s romantic, subtle advances? Or will he find them repulsive and move out of the dorm room that night?

Here’s the revision, which had to be changed in order to pass through the search engines that are picking up words that target authors and books:

Payne is a typical gay guy from New York City, with the right haircut, clothes, and attitude. He spends a great deal of time keeping his slim body smooth and well-toned for strong, dominant men. Although he’s not looking forward to his new roommate at first, he soon discovers things could have been much worse. The minute Payne meets Howdy he can’t take his eyes off his huge shoulders, long legs, and the bulge in his jeans. Howdy’s thick Texas accent and his authentic cowboy hat make Payne cover his crotch with a sweatshirt. When he finds out Howdy is there to play football, Payne wants to bury his face in Howdy’s jock strap. In fact, Howdy is the full grown man of Payne’s dreams and he considers seducing him the first day they meet. This leads to an interesting experience that may wind up changing the rest of their lives. Will these two full grown consenting adults fall in love and will Howdy accept Payne’s romantic, subtle advances? Or will he find them repulsive and move out that night?

If you notice, words like “young, college, semester,” have been removed from the original. I had to be sure no one would think I wrote something with minors. Even though we assume that everyone in college is over the age of eighteen years old, I even added words like “two full grown consenting adults,” to the revision so I wouldn’t have to deal with the issue of being banned again. When a book is banned, even without cause, the publisher has to go back and search for the words that caused the book to be banned, and then the retail web site has to go through a review process to see if there’s anything in the book that was reason enough to ban it.

These are all harmless words that we use every day in our normal lives. (I removed “scholarship” because I didn’t want the book associated with schools.) There’s nothing obscene or pornographic about them, and yet now authors will have to be on guard to make sure their books don’t get banned. There’s something seriously wrong with this. And I hope it never crosses over into the mainstream, because it would be a shame to have to change “Daddy-Daughter Date Night” to something like “Guy-Parent-Female-Offspring Greasy Fast Food Night.”