book covers

Matt Damon’s Tan Lines; Gay Kiss "Inappropriate"; Women Who Love Gay Romance

Women Who Love Gay Romance … Cover Preview

This is actually the first time I’m seeing the cover for The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance up anywhere. Because the majority of the book is so intimate, I opted for a cover that didn’t have a nude male torso this time. And although there are many steamy scenes in the book, and in each story, I thought the emotional aspects outweighed the sex…as far as covers go.



Matt Damon’s Tan Lines

There are so many serious things happening around the world right now, sometimes it’s important to focus on the silly things. And what could be sillier than focusing on Matt Damon’s tan lines?

For his performance as Liberace’s boy toy, Damon had to wear some pretty skimpy costumes, including several bikini-style swimsuits. Wanting to avoid noticeable tan lines in the film, he said he hiked up some bikini briefs and got spray-tanned from head to toe. The result, though, was a pretty epic tan line that was probably worse than he would have had otherwise.

Damon said the awkwardness happened the morning after his spray tan. “I start brushing my teeth and my wife kinda comes in,” he said. “And she screams, ‘What the hell happened to your ass?”

Damon thought the tan lines were so funny, he asked the director to leave them in his nude shots. Actually, I’ve read a lot of harsh things about Damon playing someone so much younger than he is, but I have to admit I think he pulled it off well. I even said to Tony the night we watched Behind the Candelabra that I was amazed at how young he looked for someone in his forties. If every forty year old ass in a bikini on the beaches in P’town looked like Matt Damon’s, I wouldn’t need dark glasses and Tums anymore.

You can read more here.

Gay Kiss “Inappropriate”

There was a youtube video with two men kissing that was flagged as “Inappropriate,” by users, and dubbed “Age-restricted” by youtube, simply because they were two men kissing. There was no nudity; there was no foul language. Youtube claims this was “human error,” which makes sense if you know anything about how poorly most social media web sites are run when it comes to things like this. When it comes to social media, the owners missed basic US history, because on social media you are always guilty before you are proven innocent.

The artist who produced the clip, Idan Bitton, released this statement:

“‘First Kiss’ offers a view into an intimate moment between two men. The kiss does not interact with the viewers nor seeks their approval. It just is, alive and present for 84:24 minutes. For me, the video is a reflection of the gay rights struggle momentum. At this point, everyone is welcome to take a look if they choose to, yet our kiss is here to stay with no apologies.

It’s the old double standard once again. It’s OK for a man and a woman to kiss, hold hands, or even make out in a parked car, but let two gay people do anything even remotely related to these things and it’s adults only. I even see this on some blogs where gay books are discussed, where there’s an adult content warning page that pops up before I actually get to the blog. But when I do get to the blog most of the time I only see things that have basic gay content and nothing that would require an age restriction. And I usually just leave and wonder why.

As of now, after complaints, youtube has removed the age-restriction. You can read more here, and check out the video.

About Book Covers, Self-publishing, and "Cherry Soda Cowboy"

Sometime this week I’ll be posting the preview of a new book cover for my upcoming indie Amazon release, “Cherry Soda Cowboy.” I will post a book description when I do this, and I’ll talk a little about the book in more detail. But now I’d like to talk about book covers with self-published books, and some of the issues that can, and do, come up.

And there’s a specific reason why. I’m designing this cover myself and I’m not using a cover artist this time. And even though it’s going to take more time than I really have right now, I’m doing it because I want it to look a certain way. I’ve also found that I enjoy designing these covers myself. It’s almost therapeutic.

For those who do know about designing book covers on a budget, you know there are stock photos that can be purchased and used on book covers. I would love to hire Julian Fantechi to model on the cover, but I would go out of business within a month if I made a stupid business decision like that. The goal in self-publishing is to be a businessperson and author during production, and I don’t know one businessperson who has ever dismissed weighing initial investment against return. For those who are thinking about self-publishing, you should pay attention to that closely. There’s no need to lose your nest egg to self-publish a quality e-book. And if someone tells you otherwise send them over here. A lot of e-presses use the same stock photos I use for my self-pubbed covers, so this isn’t something new. The covers are all different, and all original, but not always the models.

However, the last time I self-pubbed “A Sign From Heaven Above,” we came up with a cover that I really loved…LOVED (Above). It was simple, the print was perfect, and it had that clean look I tend to like in book covers. Unfortunately, when I released a preview here on the blog and on social media, another author told me her recent book had the same model on the cover. We’d never seen her book, nor had I read it. I had no idea her book had the same model when we’d designed my cover. But to be nice, I took the cover down and started from scratch again. (To clarify…I’d used a cover artist and worked closely with Tony on that book cover. With publishers, cover artists don’t ask your opinion, they just do it. I wanted more control with the artist and Tony, but I made it more complicated than necessary. I did that with Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street, too, and I’ve learned from my mistakes.)

The second time, without knowing it, I chose the exact same model that Gay Rom Lit had used for their web site last year. The people at GRL didn’t call this to my attention. I found it by accident while checking out a link about GRL I’d read on facebook last fall. I think it was right around the time GRL 2012 took place in Albuquerque, and if you check the link above you’ll see it was in October. So, I went back to the proverbial drawing board once again and re-designed the entire cover a third time. Tony was not a very happy man that week (smile).

I was ultimately pleased with the end  result of the third design of “A Sign From Heaven Above,” but it was more than frustrating redoing the cover so many times. And, as a side note, the first two covers were completely original and weren’t like anything else that had ever been done before. It was only the model himself that was the same as GRL and on the other author’s cover.

So this time I’m doing it differently. When I release the preview of “Cherry Soda Cowboy,” that’s the final cover and I’m not changing it again. If it so happens another book is out there with the same model (model being the key word), or a web site is using that model, so be it. I love my cover, I paid for permission, it took a long time to design (not simple putting cherry soda and cowboys together), and I can legally use it. If there are any other books out there with that same model, I’m telling you in advance I didn’t plan it. As I stated, there are photos and stock images for sale and some are more popular than others. I haven’t figured out a way to do an exact search to see where the model has been used before, and they don’t tell you that when you buy the image.

And I promise this: the cover will be different and there’s no other like it out there with a title similar to “Cherry Soda Cowboy.” I doubt there’s another story like this out there anywhere either.

Judging a Book By Its Cover…


Since I’ve been posting about my experiences with self-publishing, I’ve kept it real and posted about almost everything I can think of.

So I decided to mention this about Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street before it goes live to avoid any possible confusion…which I really don’t think will happen. It’s not the first time an author or a publisher made a change like this and it won’t be the last.

It was a publisher who once told me that people do, indeed, judge books by their covers. And I’ve learned from experience how true that is. Over the years I’ve been happy for the most part with almost every book cover I’ve had. My all time favorite cover to date is Chase of a Lifetime…but that could be because that was my first self-published book and I’m very partial to it. With my other published books I never had the final say or the control. Frankly, I didn’t want it either. I trusted their judgment and moved on to my next work in progress. I didn’t want to worry about covers.

Then I found myself interested in self-publishing and things changed. There were two ways I could have gone with the cover for JSoDS. One was to go more erotic and show a bare-chested guy. The book does have an element of light BDSM and I made that clear in the blurb. The other way I could have gone was to play up the more emotional side of the book, where there’s a kid in a wheel chair struggling to walk again with the help of the two main characters.

So when I sent the cover information to the cover artist I used for John Sweet, I asked her to focus more on the emotional parts in the book than the erotic parts simply because I thought they were more important to the book. And I was happy with the end result and loved the cover she created. I still love that cover.

But since the release of Jonah Sweet I’ve had people e-mail me asking for more details about whether or not there are erotic scenes in this particular book. I don’t mind answering them and I’ve always encouraged this kind of communication. However, I ultimately decided to change the cover of Jonah Sweet to the one you see in this post above. It will go live sometime over the weekend and that’s going to be the final cover for a while. NONE of the CONTENT of this book will be changed at all, not now or ever. When I released that book, like all the other books I’ve released, I was prepared to own my words and stand behind it regardless of what anyone else thinks.

This time I designed and created the cover myself. Though I’d never done anything like this before, I knew what I wanted, I didn’t think anyone would be able to deliver it the same way I could, and I decided to learn how to design book covers myself. I’m not certain how long I’ll be self-publishing or how many covers I’ll design in the future. But it made perfect sense that since I’m doing this commando now, so to speak, it would only make sense to learn how to design e-book covers.

For those thinking about designing their own covers, all the information you need is out there on the web. You just have to google,”How to design an e-book cover,” and tons of web sites and youtube videos will pop up. I wanted something simple this time for Jonah Sweet, with simple print, and with masculine energy.

Favorite Children’s Books

Authors who write erotic romance and erotica often get a lot of flack from people in other genres. I’ve seen them snubbed and shunned, laughed at and ridiculed. That’s okay. We keep moving forward and doing what we love. Besides, I’d bet more than half of those folks pointing fingers have a few erotic books under their mattresses.

Sometimes it’s interesting to turn the tables around. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of children’s books. I didn’t read them when I was a kid. I started reading adult fiction in elementary school and never quite “got” what other kids saw in kid’s books. And I certainly don’t read children’s books now. But I do have a few favorites I’d like to share. Just to show that there’s something for everyone in all genres.




More About Book Covers…The Virgin Billionaire’s Excellent Adventure: A Novella


Since I’ve been blogging about book covers so much this week, I decided to share this story, too.

When I submitted the manuscript for The Virgin Billionaire’s Excellent Adventure, the publisher and I thought it might be fun to possibly call it the Sexellent Adventure instead of Excellent Adventure. (Oh, someone will shudder and cross her legs about this.)

But when we received the first draft of the new cover on Friday, the artist still had the original title on the draft. Either way, I think it would work. And I’m always too close to the books to be able to stand back and view them objectively, so I let the publisher decide… and it’s going to be Sexellent Adventure. (I may not have spelled that right…we’ll see…you should see how it comes up on spell check.)

This is the first draft of the cover. I doubt much will change, other than the Excellent being changed to Sexellent. I’ll post more about the release date next week.

Sneak Preview of New Book Cover: GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Here’s a sneak preview of a new release, GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. The book focuses on gay marriage, and two strong gay men in love who come from two completely different backgrounds, without getting too political. But I did get into some politics. It would have been impossible not to.
I’m not sure when it’s coming out, but wanted to share the image. I like the new vibrant colors on this cover, especially the blue upper background.