cherry soda cowboy

NY Mayor Bloomberg Refused Extra Pizza; Cherry Soda Cowboy Rant

Evidently, someone has a sense of humor, or they really didn’t want New York Mayor Bloomberg to have an extra slice of pizza. Maybe it’s a combination of both. He went into a pizza eatery recently in Brooklyn called Collegno’s Pizzeria and the owners flatly refused to serve him more than one slice of pizza.

According to this article, the owners did this in protest to Bloomberg’s proposed ban on soda where he wants to limit the portion size of how much soda we as free Americans can consume. But when you read more, and you see the exchange between Bloomberg and the owner, I really think they care about poor Mayor Bloomberg’s health and they don’t want to see him eating too much pizza, so they set their own limits on the amount of pizza he should consume the same way he wants to tell us how much soda we can consume. In doing this, they are helping him to eat in a much healthier way. And you can’t argue with that.

Only Bloomberg was not amused:

“I’m sorry sir. We’re serious,” Benito insisted. “We’ve decided that eating more than one piece isn’t healthy for you, and so we’re forbidding you from doing it.”

“Look jackass,” Bloomberg retorted, his anger boiling, “I fucking skipped breakfast this morning just so I could eat four slices of your pizza. Don’t be a schmuck, just get back to the kitchen and bring out some fucking pizza, okay.”

“I’m sorry sir, there’s nothing I can do,” the owner repeated. “Maybe you could go to several restaurants and get one slice at each. At least that way you’re walking. You know, burning calories.”

So, Mayor Bloomberg, a man used to getting his way partly because he’s worth 27 billion dollars, left in a huff and went down the street to a rival pizza shop.

Frankly, I haven’t had a slice of pizza in years. I don’t drink sugary soft drinks or soda. I don’t eat cake, ice cream, or pie. Once in a while I’ll have a cookie, but never more than one at a time. I basically stick to the theory of the Atkins diet, which I’ve been a fan of for many years. And I rarely eat carbs at all unless I don’t have a choice or I’m really, really in the mood for them. In fact, I’ve found I can live without things like potatoes and pasta and sugary things very well. My one weakness is chocolate, and always in moderation.

But in the same respect I don’t tell everyone else how to eat, or what to eat. Tony does not follow this diet like I do and I would never ever hold that against him. Because how much someone eats, or what someone else eats is none of my business. And if I’d been the owner of the pizza place where Bloomberg stopped I would have done the exact same thing. This need to control our food and drink transcends politics and puts freedom at a different level for me. When you start to tell people what they can and cannot eat you’ve crossed a line and you’re putting my freedom at risk now. I would much rather see people educated about food so they can make their own choices based on information. And I don’t think that’s impossible to do to get people to eat better.

So in my own little protest about this I wrote a short story titled Cherry Soda Cowboy and released it on Amazon as an indie e-book. It’s erotica set in the future…about fifty years from now…where we are actually living in a society where sugary soft drinks like soda are illegal, and cherry soda is one of the most premium sodas sold on the black market. That’s right. Soda is being sold fifty years from now like illegal drugs are being sold right now. I know there will be some who don’t like this, and I respect their opinions. But I also did this with what I hope is a sense of humor to show how ridiculous things can get when the government starts to tell us what we can and cannot consume. In other words, I’ll be the first to agree that a lot of food is bad for us, but don’t take away my freedom to eat it. I feel the same way about legalizing pot.

I know this is a little thing right now compared to all the huge issues we have going on. However, when you start to add up all these little things they begin to accumulate and you wind up with less freedom than ever. And billionaire zealots like Bloomberg, who don’t even practice what they preach when it comes to eating healthy foods as you can clearly see from above, only get more control in the end.

Right now the proposed ban on soda is being held up in court. Unfortunately, I have a feeling Bloomberg’s going to get his way eventually and my story, Cherry Soda Cowboy, will one day be more than just futuristic erotic fiction based on my imagination. And, soda will most likely be illegal.

Cherry Soda Cowboy; Clinical Definition for "Ass-Crack"

I’ve chosen a release date for Cherry Soda Cowboy, which will be April 19th. I will say that every single release date I’ve ever had has been exciting…even those I didn’t know about until the last minute. But the reason I don’t do hyped up promotions for release dates is because I’ve found that with genre romance/fiction like I write it’s more important to get the book out to readers and then let them decide when they want to buy it.

In other words, if JK Rowling is going to release a new Harry Potter book to millions of people on a set date, it’s important for her and her publishers to promote that as much as they can for readers. But I always felt…and I might be wrong about this…that if I do that kind of promotion for a release date with an erotic romance in a sub-genre I’m going to look like a pushy, annoying author trying to hock my readers into buying something they might not be ready to purchase for another month or so. I’m still getting letters from readers for books that were released five years ago. But, in the same respect, I also think it’s important to get the product information out to the reader so they know when a book is being released.

In that sense, I haven’t always had the opportunity to do that with the books I’ve had pubbed with e-presses. For some reason I don’t get, they usually tell me the day the book goes up that it’s been released. So, that becomes the release day, so to speak. It’s something over which I have no control. And in most cases I have not been able to do any pre-release promotions. Not all publishers work this way, but some do. So far I haven’t found a way to change this.

However, one of the best parts about self-publishing a book or story is that you can, indeed, pick a release date and stick to it. Sometimes there are tech issues, which causes a slight delay (it happens) and the release date isn’t always exact. But for the most part you can have a set release date whenever you want. It’s all about information.

In any event, Cherry Soda Cowboy will be released on April 19th. It’s a short story, it will be priced at .99, and it will be part of the Kindle Select Program for the first three months. This is something a little different than other things I’ve written because the story is set in the middle of this century, not in the present. I rarely do sci-fi or futuristic, however, I wanted to write an erotic romance that’s somewhat satirical about how politically correct we seem to be these days…often with things that shouldn’t matter too much. It’s not a political story, not by any means. The issue I get into is actually somewhat ridiculous. But it could happen.

It’s just something I thought might make people smile…or throw the book out the window.

Clinical Definition for “Ass-Crack” in Fangsters

I know that sounds like a ridiculous title for a blog post, or for anything. But something interesting came up in edits last week with a new copy editor who didn’t know me well and I figured I’d share the story. Take into consideration that I write highly erotic gay romance, I don’t hold back with descriptions, and there are times when I have to figure out ways to describe certain parts of the body while I’m writing a scene…or a scene that involves nudity. It doesn’t always have to be sexy.

And that’s not always easy to do, especially with respect to “ass-crack,” or, “butt crack.” And when I was going over edits with my newest release, “Fangsters,” the editor had a problem figuring out what I was trying to do in one scene. Without going into too much detail right now, the scene called for a description of one character’s ass, and then it went into descriptive detail about the fact that all ass is different. Some asses are large, some small. Some are heart-shaped, some are pear-shaped, and some, unfortunately, are even flat and square. It’s rare to find two asses that are absolutely identical.

In this scene the one character mentions how he’s not fond of short “ass-cracks,” and that he prefers longer more voluptuous “ass-cracks.” I thought I’d made that clear enough in the book. Personally, while I’m not clinical expert on human anatomy, nor do I think I need to be because that would be boring in erotic romance, I’ve seen “ass-cracks” that vary in length all my life. And the scene takes place in a nightclub in NY where there’s a “Best Buns Contest.” This is the scene I’m talking about.

As the DJ walked up and down the line, pointing to each bare ass and waiting for a response, Anton had a feeling Leo would win this contest hands down. The two skinny guys had bony asses with those painfully short ass cracks that had always been such a huge turn off for Anton. But Leo and the big guy had nice full round bottoms that resembled perfect upside down hearts, with long even cracks that went up to the smalls of their backs.

And this is how the editor reacted:

“How so? Again, I’m not sure what you mean?

I was completely and utterly stumped. I’m not joking. I sat at my desk gaping at the comment, wondering how in the world I would address it without being snarky. I even asked Tony, and he gaped right back at me. So this was how I replied:

I’ve seen short ass-cracks and long ass-cracks. I’ve seen crooked ass-cracks and some that even went a little sideways. No two ass-cracks are alike. If you don’t think it makes sense, you can cut it out, because I don’t know how else to describe the line that runs up the middle of an ass any other way. And they are all different.

Of course the editor and I both got a laugh out of this, and I added a line or two to make him happy. And I really wouldn’t have minded him removing that from the scene because it wasn’t intergral to the story. But I have to admit that it made me think twice about “ass-cracks” in general, and whether or not I’m the only one who ever noticed there was a difference in them. And, for the record, this wasn’t even a sex scene. This was a bar scene and there was nothing sexy about it.

I also started to wonder about what the clinical term for “ass-crack” is, so I did a simple search and found this at Wiki:


The intergluteal cleft, also known as the natal cleft, the vertical gluteal crease, the gluteal cleft, and, colloquially, the “butt crack” or “arse crack”, is the groove between the buttocks that runs from just below the sacrum to the perineum, so named because it forms the visible border between the external rounded protrusions of the gluteus maximus muscles. The intergluteal cleft is located superior to the anus.


And there you have it, plain and simple. So the next time anyone questions you about ass-crack, you now have the clinical term to use instead of the common term. And for those who don’t think there’s a difference in “ass-crack,” and think they are all the same, I highly suggested looking into this when you have some free time. The photo above speaks louder than anything I could write. I also think I’ll stick to “ass-crack” when I’m writing an erotic romance. I don’t think my readers would appreciate having to look up intergluteal cleft, or natal cleft, while they are reading. It might make me look more literary, but that could be debated.

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.