Category: coming out

Donald Sterling Gay Allegations; Gay CNN Richard Quest; FREE Gay Book Cage James

Donald Sterling Gay Allegations

I actually hate posting about things like this because the underlying implication is that because someone is gay and they kept it quiet for personal reasons there’s something wrong with being gay. I think that’s something we need to work on more, and I get tired of reading articles that insinuate there’s something wrong with being gay. In fact, I can’t seem to find a reason to associate gay with shame. Evidently, some still can.

In any event, Donald Sterling’s former assistant, V. Stiviano, stunned people when she made the allegation in court this week that Donald Sterling is gay. In this case, V. Stiviano has been made out to be the femme fatale and she’s denying all the allegations coming in her direction and she’s fighting back by taking it one step further.

“V.S. was D.T.S’s beard for three years prior to the filing of suit,” the answer claimed. “V.S. is informed and believes that (Sterling) is a homosexual and enjoys sexual acts and or sexual congress with males.”

The answer said that Shelly Sterling was “acutely aware of his orientation and condoned” his behavior, including his decision to give “gifts, money and other properties” to Stiviano for her public companionship.

Actually, not to be a pedant, but sexual congress (I just learned this) cannot happen between two men, at least not from all the definitions I’ve read about it. Sexual congress isthe act of sexual procreation between a man and a woman; the man’s penis is inserted into the woman’s vagina and excited until orgasm and ejaculation occur…” according to most web sites I’ve checked. And how many searches are necessary to get a basic definition? Think coitus. Two men can’t share that either.

Stay tuned for more on Sterling, which I have a feeling will include the famous “I’m not gay and don’t you dare call me that,” or worse, reply…making us all feel as if there’s something wrong with being gay once again. And if he is actually gay, at this stage in his life, wouldn’t it be refreshing to see him just come out and be done with it. No one could hold him hostage anymore.

There’s more here.

Gay star news pubbed something about it here as well.

Gay CNN Richard Quest

In a much more positive piece about openly gay CNN anchor, Richard Quest, it talks about how everything has improved so much for him since he came out. (Too bad Donald Sterling didn’t realize this…if he is gay that is. He could have avoided that train wreck, V. Stiviano.)

 ‘I decided it was time to come out,’ Quest told a crowd on Thursday (21 August) at a gathering of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association in Chicago.

Quest said his ‘worst fears’ about the disclosure hurting his career ‘never materialized’ and believes his work is better now ‘because I’m honest about who I am.’

This is the most interesting thing about coming out that so many closeted gay men never seem to hear. You rarely ever hear a gay man who came out tell you how horrible his life became. It’s usually so much better because all that burden’s been released.

Unfortunately, in Quest’s case he didn’t come out because he wanted to make his life better, at least not consciously. (I don’t believe in accidents). There was an incident in Central Park that involved Quest, a controlled substance, and a rope around Quest’s neck. But he’s handled this well, and I think most gay men can understand and relate to what happened to him when he was in the closet. It’s really the kind of incident only gay men can relate to. And I think he’s even more interesting now that it’s all out in the open.

‘It was a terrible incident in my life which required a total appraisal of my life and huge support from my family. If the ship is sinking, you need help getting off that ship.’

At 52, Quest now appears confident as an openly gay journalist. But he remembers feeling differently in his 20s when he worked for BBC.

Didn’t we all. Getting caught when I wasn’t out was my biggest fear in life. And I knew I was gay from birth.

There’s more here.

FREE Gay Book

As I posted yesterday, Cage James, a new book I released this month, will be up on as a freebie this weekend. It might be free at other web sites, too, but that’s something I don’t completely understand (they do this, not me) and I don’t want to give out the wrong information. As it stands, it will be free on ARe, at this link. It should be free from Friday at midnight until Sunday at midnight. If there are any issues, let me know. You can also click the cover photo to get there as well.

This book is also a little different than what I normally write. It’s not a western, and but it is a love story with some mystery/suspense. The guy on the cover looks almost identical to the main character and I couldn’t believe it when the cover artist showed it to me. That doesn’t happen often. And there’s a reason why he’s wearing flip flops. It’s actually a big part of the story.
  The Sheriff and the Outlaw
by Ryan Field

Storme DeLarverie RIP; Russian Olympics: John Fennell; HBO Gay Drama "Open City" Follows Normal Heart

Storme DeLarverie RIP

One of the pioneers of equality who helped us all achieve the rights we have today died on Saturday morning. Storme DeLarverie lived to be 93 years old and was 49 years old during the Stonewall Riots in 1969, an event that sparked what we now know as The Gay Liberation Movement.

When the police raided the bar her scuffle with them spurred patrons to fight back.

DeLarverie, dubbed by some ‘the gay community’s Rosa Parks,’ was born to a black mother and a white father in 1920 in New Orleans and in the 1950’s and 60’s was a drag king in a traveling drag show called the Jewel Box Revue.

In her later years she worked as a bouncer in bars well into her 70s.

You can read more here. For photo attribution click the photos.

Russian Olympics: John Fennell

An Olympic luger, John Fennell, came out to his teammates during the Russian Olympics in February, and recently came out in public during an interview with the Calgary Herald. It’s actually a two fold interview because he talks about his fears during the Russian Olympics and his fears about coming out in a sports oriented macho world.

 ‘The thing that scared me the most is our Canadian Olympic Committee debriefing that said any information in Russia is subject to being seen by the government,’ Fennell said.

 ‘I didn’t travel with my phone or my computer when we went there, which was a testament to how nervous I was going in.

 ‘I was a basket case going to Russia.’

The piece also goes on to mention how Fennell struggled with coming out prior to the Olympics, and how he dated girls to cover his tracks.

There’s more here.

HBO Gay Drama “Open City” Follows Normal Heart

The Normal Heart was so successful that HBO is now developing a new drama series that is set in the 1960’s. It will be directed and produced by Adam Shankman best known for directing the film version of Hairspray and as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance. I’ve never seen either, so I’m totally unfamiliar with him.

Open City is set also set in New York but in the late 1960s, nearly 20 years before The Normal Heart which is about the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Open will tell tell the story of characters from various corners of Manhattan who are navigating a cultural revolution at a time of great political turmoil.

It should be interesting to see how they do this. I still have a lot of good friends who are/were gay and around during the 1960’s and I love listening to their stories…even when they repeat them a little too often (smile).

Frankly, I would have preferred another Queer as Folk series, but it’s too soon to tell about this one. The retro/historical angle could be interesting. And none of the characters have to deal with condoms or safe sex.

You can read more about this here.

Ricky Martin On Coming Out; Katie Hopkins Slams Tom Daley

Ricky Martin On Coming Out

I think this article about Ricky Martin wishing he could come out again is something all gay men in the closet should read…as a means of support, not pressure. No one should feel pressure about coming out. It’s never an easy thing to do for anyone, but I have never seen one person yet who came out and regretted it. I’m not just saying that. I really mean it. Even though at times I’ve seen people go through absolute hell deciding whether or not to come out, I have yet to see anyone who regretted that decision and wanted to go back into the closet.

It felt amazing. I wish I could come out again because that moment felt very blissful,’ he told KIIS FM.

 ‘It really feels amazing and then when it happens you realize all your fears were in your head. The amount of support I received… from the media, obviously my fans and my family was amazing.

‘Unfortunately, society just pushes us to believe that our feelings are evil.’

It’s true. Every word.

You can read more here.

Katie Hopkins Slams Tom Daley

From what I gather, Katie Hopkins is a columnist and reality TV show personality. I don’t have the slightest clue, though, as to who she is or what she’s done in the past. But her comments on Tom Daley’s coming out video have garnered her some attention she most likely would never have received otherwise.

Last December, the 19-year-old athlete came out in a YouTube video.

But while Daley received massive support from the public, Hopkins has derided it as ‘really lame’.

Speaking to Varsity, Hopkins said: ‘It was really lame…we all knew he was gay.

Not really. I didn’t know he was gay, and I would never make assumptions about someone’s sexuality because that would make me both stupid and an asshole.

She thinks the people who watch divers are the kind of people who read Women’s Weekly.

Not really. I like to watch divers for a variety of reasons. One of which has to do with the bulge between their legs. I also like the way their butts round out when their bottoms get wet. I like men and I’m interested in men. I’m only being honest, in hoping I might disabuse Katie Hopkins of a few ill-informed assumptions she’s made about gay men. I don’t, however, give one flying polite fuck about the content in Women’s Weekly.

What she said about her own son growing up to be gay is about as rich as it gets.

Oh, I’m hoping he is…because he likes skipping, he likes hairdressing,’ Hopkins said.

‘When I’m 50 and I’ve got a gay son, I’m totally sorted. [He’ll say] “Mum your hairdo is awful, you have hair under your chin.

‘I think he might be – I mean he’s quite good-looking, like my girls aren’t good-looking but he totally is.’

Not really. When my mom was 50 she could have been bald with a full beard for all I cared. I was only interested in other men at the time.

You can read more here.

As for Tom Daley, I thought the video was excellent.

I would like to know one thing. When will it become dangerous for people like Katie Hopkins to make statements like this about gay people? In other words, if anyone were to make stereotypical statements about any other minority they would be hung out to dry by the media and probably lose their jobs.

Mean Girls Gay; US Anti-Sodomy Laws

Mean Girls Gay

The actor who played a gay part in the classic Mean Girls film, Daniel Franzese,  recently came out in real life. Mean Girls is having a tenth anniversary this year and he wrote an open letter to his character. I kind of like that. Not the mean girls. The movie was great, but mean girls suck. I like that he came out in his own way, on his own terms, and in a way in which he felt comfortable.

He wrote in a letter published by IndieWire: ‘You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor. You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. I might’ve been easier to be gay growing up.’

That’s powerful. Most gay men can identify with that. I recently was informed by a middle aged gay man still in the closet (married with kids) that he can’t e-mail me for a while because he’s afraid someone might find out he’s gay through e-mails. The paranoia and denial always sets in sooner or later. He contacted me as a reader about two years ago and ever since then we’ve shared harmless e-mails about life, family, gardening, weather, and all kinds of things. I get e-mails from a lot of closeted gay men who aren’t sure what to do, but I don’t always get friendly with them. I’ll miss this guy’s e-mails. But I can’t push him to come out and I can’t fault him for not coming out. The best I can do is offer support.

You can read more here.

US Anti-Sodomy Laws

I would think most people are like me and they didn’t know this. It’s been 10 years since SCOTUS ruled that anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional, and yet 12 states still have them. I sincerely hope this does NOT portend the future of gay marriage in some states. Tony and I have talked about it at length and if PA doesn’t legalize gay marriage within the next year or two we’re listing the house and moving one mile away to New Jersey where it is legal.

Of 14 states that had anti-sodomy laws, only Montana and Virginia have repealed theirs since the Supreme Court ruling, said Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization.

Warbelow says that in addition to Louisiana, anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

I hope all my gay friends down in gay mecca Wilton Manors have heard about this. I would hate to think anyone I know is breaking the law 🙂

On a more serious note, the article discusses sodomy and homophobia in a few sections. But I can’t help wondering about all those straight couples who use the back door, too. Seriously.

You can read more here.

Steve Kornacki Out; New Harry Potter Fiction; Sisssyboy Insult

Steve Kornacki Out

I rarely watch anything on MSNBC, but I do think it’s important to post about things like this in a general sense. We often take for granted that it’s simple for gay men to come out, and when they don’t I sometimes hear people slam them. There’s even a day set aside each year called National Coming Out Day that I’ve never fully supported because I’ve heard from some gay men it puts even more pressure on them. I personally can’t even imagine setting aside a day like that to come out. The concept just passes me by. I think this story about MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki is a good example of how difficult it can be to come out.

He had spent 15 years surpressing this core part of his personality before writing  a deeply personal column for Salon in the fall of 2011 that took readers into the compartmentalized world that a lot of men feel they must live in in order to have the life they want.

He told his family only the weekend before the piece was published by passing copies of the column around at lunch.
Their first words after reading it: ‘We’re proud of you.’

You can read more here. Kornacki gave an interview where he talks about what it was like to be in the closet, and then what it was like to come out.

Many of you may find this next quote unusual. I don’t. I still think many gay men are living lives they chose to live instead of the lives they were meant to live.

‘I’m not sure I would have reached adulthood with a willingness to even start exploring this side of me, and I can imagine ending up getting married to a woman, having kids, and settling down just because that was the only thing to do.’

New Harry Potter Fiction

Even though I don’t follow anything Harry Potter because I’ve never actually read the books…it’s not my genre…I think it’s interesting that JK Rowling will be writing new installments from what’s called a fictional Quidditch World Cup. I have no idea what this means. The only cup I’m interested in is the extra large one Daniel Radcliff wears when he plays sports. But I’m sure many will find this worthy of checking out.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling will be filing regular dispatches from the fictional 2014 Quidditch World Cup, which is “taking place” this month in the Patagonian desert. The initial updates, penned by Daily Prophet Quidditch correspondent and Harry Potter spouse Ginny Potter nee Weasley, make the faux South America-based World Cup sound far more exciting than the real one that will take place later this summer, though, depending on your opinion of soccer, that may be damning the Quidditch tournament with faint praise.

You can read the rest here. I do love Rowling’s other fiction, especially The Casual Vacancy, so one of these days I’m going to force myself to read the Potter series.

Sissyboy Insult

The fascinating thing about this link is that it happened to a straight male with a wife and kids. Phone company, Sprint, allegedly called the man a “gay sissyboy” in an e-mail.

‘I expressed my concerns to them and how serious this is to me and my wife,’ he said, as reported by NBC News.

 ‘I don’t live a homosexual life, I never gave Sprint anything to go on and think that, and even if I did I don’t think it would be fair to say this on my account.’

From what I can tell, the man did not get defensive or embarrassed about being called gay. Instead, he believes what the company did was degrading in a general sense to anyone because of the language used.

You can read more here. The company has since apologized.

For those who might be interested, there’s a web site, NSFW, dedicated to gay sissyboys.

I Love Penis Cake; Barry Eisler on Pot & Gays; Chase of a Lifetime Series by Ryan Field

I Love Penis Cake

I hadn’t heard about this until now, but evidently gay teens are now opting for more creative ways to come out, and they aren’t holding back a thing. In this particular case gay teen, Keanu Williams, came up with an “I Love Penis” cake for his coming out.

“I wanted to do something different to tell them and making a video let me tell people I don’t see everyday something that recently happened in my life,” Williams writes on his YouTube page. “I’m happy and don’t regret what has happened.”

Coming out is a different process for everyone. Good for him. At least he knows what he loves and he’s not ashamed to admit it.

You can read more here.

And here’s a link to a web site where, if you so desire, you can have erotic cakes of all kinds made to order.

Barry Eisler on Pot and Gays

According to a “poll” (and this article), Republicans should expect to lose the fight with same sex marriage and recreational pot. And, author and blogger, Barry Eisler, wrote an interesting post recently that discusses both. He said this, among many things:

The inability to distinguish between subjective taste and objective principle is the very confusion that takes people from “I don’t like gay sex” to “gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry each other.”  Obviously, the tendency is powerful — so powerful it causes a collapse in logic and reason in otherwise presumably capable people, people who can feel so strongly about their own preferences that they manage to leap from “I don’t like X” to “which means X is objectively bad for society” to “and therefore the best and only way to address X is to make it a criminal act.”

I do agree with Eisler’s post, and what he said above. The sad fact is that most…including the media…don’t know HOW to distinguish between subjective taste and objective principle. And the article I linked to above about “Republicans” losing both fights is an example of this inability to grasp the difference between subjective taste and objective principle. In other words, the article was written by someone with such highly subjective taste it’s not possible for her to even fathom that many Republicans are gay (or support gay marriage), smoke pot, and want both to be legalized. That’s not hearsay…though I didn’t take a “poll.” I know plenty of gay Republicans who feel this way. And as a lifelong registered Democrat it often bothers me that so many in my own party don’t understand the meaning of objective principle because they are so caught up in their own subjective taste.

You can read more here. Barry Eisler is probably the most intense, passionate blogger around. It’s not always easy to grasp what he’s trying to say, but it is interesting. He’s straight, too.

Chase of a Lifetime series by Ryan Field

I don’t think I’ve ever listed the Chase of a Lifetime series books in order. Someone asked me this week and I had to scramble to give them an answer because I don’t always remember everything I’ve written on a moment’s notice. So here’s a list of the books, in order, and I’m not sure if the series will continue. There might be a few more books in this series in the future. But not for a while because I’m caught up with deadlines for publishers as this point. All books are stand alones and don’t have to be read in order. But it does help if you read them in order because each book does follow the progression of Jim and Len’s lives.

The first two in the series were indie pubbed with Ryan Field Press.

Book One: Chase of a Lifetime

Book Two: Chase of a Dream (unabridged version with erotic scenes)

                   Chase of a Dream (abridged version without erotic scenes) I self-censored this one book and removed 7,000 words that contained erotic scenes…for those who might want to read a m/m love story without erotica. I can’t find the link on Amazon, but it anyone wants the book e-mail me in private.

Book Three: Chase of an Adventure Fifty Shades of Gay (This was published with e-publisher, Ravenous Romance, and the Fifty Shades part of the title has absolutely nothing to do with the mainstream novel Fifty Shades of Grey whatsoever. The storyline follows Len and Jim, and this time I get into Len’s family that I’d only skimmed over in the previous books.)

I’d like to do more of these books in the future because I set them in a part of California that’s one of my favorite places in the world. I love it so much I could live there myself someday.

I’d also like to thank those who left reviews for all the books. I know a lot of people buy them and don’t leave reviews, and that’s ok, too. But in making up this list it’s actually the first time I’ve seen any of the reviews for any of the “Chase” books and I’m always thankful for that because I truly hate to solicit book reviews from anyone. In a world where authors are always aggressively seeking out reviews, I know I fall short in that department and should probably work harder on it in the future. But we all have things we don’t like doing and hocking people for book reviews is one thing I don’t like doing. So again, thanks to everyone who took the time to leave a review.

FREE Gay Excerpt Friday; Thomas Hitzlsperger Comes Out

Thomas Hitzlsperger Comes Out

Hitzlsperger is a retired footballer who recently came out and also discussed the issues other closeted gay footballers face nowadays. There’s evidently a great deal of fear from negative reactions and many don’t come out because they don’t want to take the chance of dealing with all this while they are playing professionally.

‘I’ve never been ashamed of it and towards the end I thought about it. ‘But I thought I still I wanted to be a football player more than I wanted issues of talking about my private life.’

Hitzlsperger is the first player to have played in the Premier League to come out as gay and believes players are reluctant to come out because of the uncertainty surrounding the possible reaction.

You can read more here. I find it interesting that this will shock some people. Being part of the gay community for so long I’ve known men like Hitzlsperger who remained in the closet for the very same reasons.

This is totally unrelated, but they called Hitzlsperger “The Hammer.”

FREE Gay Excerpt Friday

Hot Italian Lover

This excerpt is from my book, Hot Italian Lover, and it’s one of my favorites because it was set in Italy. It’s also one of the few times I wrote about a female impersonator who is the exact opposite of who he is on stage and in real life. I’ll post the blurb below, and an excerpt. You can find it here on Amazon, or other places where e-books are sold. It also gets into how a gay celebrity who is still young and gorgeous starts to deal with the thought of middle age approaching soon.

Joey King likes the spotlight. He’s worked hard for over twenty years to reach a pinnacle of success and to achieve a cult following, and now he’s the big star in one of Broadway’s most successful shows.. But when he’s not on stage performing, Joey King is an attractive gay man just turned forty who is terrified of growing older.

On the last night of his show, Joey overhears people snickering about his age and it leaves him questioning his future as an actor- he’s terrified of becoming a joke, and being laughed at.

In a state of confusion, Joey travels to Chicago in the middle of the night to be with his longtime partner of twenty years, Ned Stevens, who is there on a business trip. Ned has always been the one constant strength in Joey’s life.

But when Joey reaches Chicago, he is met with a devastating shock.

When Joey King returned from his daily bike ride in Central Park,

he passed a gilded Baroque mirror in the lobby of his building and stopped

short. For an instant, he thought he saw his father’s face reflected back at

him—when his father had been around the age Joey was now. Joey pressed

his palm to his throat and lifted his chin higher. Then he tilted his head

back and turned a little to the right.

This wasn’t the first time Joey had noticed his father’s middle aged

face looking back at him in a mirror, especially in the past year.

Though it didn’t happen often, and Joey could never predict when it was

going to happen, he’d catch a quick glimpse that would leave him so

stunned his heart would start pounding in his ears.

Joey stepped back from the lobby mirror so he wouldn’t be

standing directly beneath the bright crystal chandelier, and his heart began

to slow. He took a breath, exhaled, and turned to the right. He looked like

himself again, the handsome, well-built, image of male perfection he’d

worked so hard to create all his life. In this angle, without the harsh

overhead lighting, his dark brown hair was still shiny, his lightly tanned

skin still firm, and he still had a slight cleft in his chin. He looked more

like thirty than forty; his father’s middle-aged face disappeared. He almost

laughed at the mirror, because he should have known better than to stand

directly in harsh lighting. Joey had been an entertainer long enough to

know that no one, no matter how old they are, looks good lit from above.

When he was upstairs in his penthouse and stripped out of his

biking gear to take a fast shower, he glanced at his naked body in a full length

mirror to the right of the black marble shower. In this soft light,

with steam pouring out from the shower, he looked nothing like his father

had looked at forty years old. Thanks to a strict daily workout routine,

Joey’s defined chest bulged and rounded. He ran his palm down his flat

stomach and stopped just below the two lean muscles on his lower

abdomen that led to his groin. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on him—just

lean muscle and bone.

He spread his legs wider and tightened his thighs. The definition

in his legs matched that of his upper body. Thanks to regular waxing, the

only visible hair anywhere on him was a neat little patch that resembled an

arrow above his penis. Before he stepped into the shower, he turned and

gazed at what had always been his most flattering feature: his tight, round

buttocks. When he arched his back and looked over his shoulder at the 

mirror, he smiled and took another quick breath, hoping he still had a little

time left to do a few things he wanted to do.

After he showered and shaved, he put on sweatpants, a sweatshirt,

and a navy blue baseball cap. Then he grabbed a black backpack that had

been resting on a gilded stool at the foot of his Louis IV bed and jogged to

the elevator. He still had plenty of time to reach the theater before the

show began. He never rushed anywhere on purpose, but he’d always been

so filled with energy he couldn’t help moving at a fast pace. He jogged

through the lobby and smiled when the doorman held the door for him.

When he reached the long black Town Car waiting for him outside the

building, he patted the driver on the arm and climbed into the backseat.

On the way to the theater, he checked his e-mail and listened to a

few messages on his voice mail. When he returned his BlackBerry to his

backpack, he smiled because there didn’t seem to be anything urgent to

deal with that afternoon. There had been a message from his agent about a

deal he was negotiating for Joey’s next acting job. There was another

message from his sister in California, and one from his life partner, Ned.

Joey’s sister had called to wish him well that night, and his life partner,

who was away on a business trip in Chicago, had just called to check in

and say he’d arrived there safely. Ned was a high-end New York art dealer

and he had wealthy clients all over the globe. He’d been traveling like this

since he and Joey had started dating almost twenty years earlier.

Joey rested his back against the plush leather seat and gazed at the

passing cars. He’d call his sister and his partner back later, and he’d deal

with his agent tomorrow. The only important thing Joey King had to do

that night was give an excellent performance on the final night of the long running

Broadway show he’d been starring in. He smiled when he

remembered how everyone had predicted the show would fold in three


When the Town Car dropped him off at the theater, he jogged to

the stage door entrance and went directly to his dressing room without

stopping to talk to anyone. His makeup took a long time and he knew it

was better to start sooner than later. But something happened on the way to

his dressing room that made his heart race even faster than it had raced

when he’d caught a glimpse of his father’s face in the lobby mirror an hour


Two attractive young guys with small parts in the play didn’t see

Joey coming down the hall. They were standing on the other side of his

dressing room, talking about their careers, and Joey couldn’t help but

overhear them.
A guy with a deep voice said, “When this show is over I’m

not sure what I’m going to do.”
Another guy with a softer voice replied, “I

guess we just have to keep going on cattle calls, because there’s nothing

else we can do.”
The guy with the deep voice made a groaning sound and


said, “And with people like Joey King around, who will never retire and

give guys like us a chance, we’re totally fucked.”
The one with the soft

voice laughed and said, “Yeah, they’ll be pushing that old queen out on

stage in a gilded wheelchair ten years from now.”

Joey blinked. He was barely forty, and in ten years he’d be fifty. A

wheelchair? How old did they think he was?

The dressing room door was wide open and Joey’s assistant, Karla,

was standing there with one hand on her hip and the other pressed to her

stomach. Joey knew Karla had overheard the young guys, too, so he sent

her a glance and shrugged his shoulders as if trying to make light of their

comments. He tried to smile but his face felt so hot and his heart was

racing so fast he started to feel lightheaded. This wasn’t the first time

someone had made a reference to Joey’s age in the past year, and he knew

it wouldn’t be the last.

Joey was one of the few successful female impersonators in show

business who had reached the pinnacle of starring in his own Broadway

play. And it wasn’t just any old musical comedy. Joey’s show consisted of

elaborate set designs, special effects, cutting-edge costumes, and intricate

dance routines. It was sexy, outrageous at times, and had gathered the kind

of cult following that only happens once in a while. Most theater critics

had compared the show to a rock concert, and one of Joey’s songs, Vicious

Bitches, had hit the mainstream top forty.

For Joey, a lot of this success had been unexpected. But he’d

worked extremely hard to achieve everything in his life and he took

nothing for granted. He’d made the crossover from small-time drag queen

in dingy gay bars to major Broadway star and recording artist, which

hadn’t been easy. Joey knew that even though his show had been one of

the most successful on Broadway in years, there were other young female

impersonators—just like he’d been once—who wanted their chance to star

in a big Broadway play. They would have killed to be successful recording

artists, and they weren’t shy about letting anyone know it.

Karla, always the devoted assistant, punched the wall beside the

dressing room door and the two young actors jumped. They were already

in costume—blond wigs, glittery showgirl outfits, and high heels—and

waiting for the show to begin.
“Don’t you two assholes have anything

better to do than stand around wasting time?” Karla asked them.

The two guys turned. When they saw Joey standing there and

realized he’d probably overheard what they’d just said, they both gulped at

the same time. The one with the deep voice nodded fast and said, “Sorry,

we didn’t think anyone was around.”
The one with the softer voice looked

down at his high heels and smoothed out his sequined showgirl costume.

Joey forced himself to smile and said, “Let’s kill them out there

tonight, guys. It’s the last show and we don’t want anyone to be

disappointed. This has to be the most perfect show we’ve ever done.” He’d

learned a long time ago the best way to handle negative criticism was to

 pretend it didn’t bother him.   

Robin Roberts Inspires; Pretty Boy Dead Best Book; Wicked Gay Blog

Robin Roberts Inspires

In the summer of 2007 Robin Roberts disclosed she had breast cancer. By August 2007 she had surgery and the follow up treatments she underwent continued into 2008. At the time, I followed her story closely because that same summer Tony was going through his life/death crisis. And the bravery Roberts showed during her own crisis left an impact on me personally and I think helped give me a sort of indirect support to deal with all the things I was going through that summer. She was a huge inspiration to me, and I never forgot that. And once again, Roberts recently became an inspiration to millions of LGBT people in disclosing that she’s a lesbian and has been with the same woman for ten years.

Unfortunately, Roberts was diagnosed with a bone marrow disease in 2012 and it gutted me to hear that after all she went through with breast cancer she had to deal with something else. You’d think once in a lifetime would be enough, but we all know that’s not how it works. Once again, Roberts has showed the same strength, dignity, and grace she showed while battling breast cancer.

On December 29, 2013, Roberts came out on Facebook:

 “At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude. I am grateful to God, my doctors and nurses for my restored good health…I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.” Roberts and Amber Laign, a massage therapist, have been together for 10 years. This was the first time Roberts publicly acknowledged her longstanding same-sex relationship.

You can read more here. Photo is in the Public Domain.

The support I’ve seen for Roberts has also been inspiring. This isn’t just fandom. It goes way deeper than that.

 Pretty Boy Dead Best Book

I usually don’t post these things because I find that any best book list tends to be fundamentally flawed at best, and highly subjective at worst. In small genres like M/M Romance where there are thousands of wonderful “best” books, best book lists also put writer against writer and book against book in ways I don’t always think are fair. It’s also a way for aggressive book bloggers to promote themselves and garner hits. As a small, humble blogger I absolutely refuse to do these things to exploit authors. I don’t mind doing it to other bloggers. But not to authors.

In the same respect, there are exceptions to every rule. The reason I’m mentioning the book, Pretty Boy Dead, by Jon Michaelsen, is because sometimes book bloggers do get it right and sometimes best books are given the credit they deserve. As it happens, I’m right in the middle of reading Pretty Boy Dead and it’s such a great book I wanted to post something about it. There’s a “best” book post up at the now defunct Jessewave web site, and Pretty Boy Dead is listed as one of the best books of 2013. In this case, I couldn’t agree more with this choice.

You can read more here. Along with Pretty Boy Dead, there’s a list of other best books for 2013. Some I read, some are excellent choices. But one or two leave me wondering…without the ambition to comment further because they’re so bad. Like I said, it’s all highly subjective. 

Wicked Gay Blog

Once in a while I come across a blog that’s for gay men that makes me smile. In this case, it’s a blog titled, Wicked Gay Blog, and you can check it out here.

I’m not going to link to any post right now because I like the whole package as far as blogging goes. I just want to give examples in a general sense to nudge people over there. There are posts about gay news, posts that are more personal, and topics discussed that are geared for gay men without a hint of judgment. And the photos are excellent, too. I have no idea how they get permission to use these photos, but I can only assume they have taken copyright into consideration, they are aware of how litigious people can be nowadays, and they know what they are doing.

They do have ads, but I don’t find them intrusive or annoying. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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.

Sean Hayes Apologizes; What Is a Book Blogger? A Book "Influencer?"

Sean Hayes Apologizes

I love when LGBT people with high profiles back me up this way. I’ve often posted about how I’m not fond of National Coming Out Day, and how coming out is such a personal thing no one should ever feel pressured about it. And now actor, Sean Hayes, from Will and Grace, made a few recent comments about how difficult it was for him to come out, and why he didn’t do it sooner.

“I was so young,” Hayes said. “It made me go back in the closet [with the media] because I was so overwhelmed at 26 or 27. I didn’t want the responsibility, I didn’t know how to handle the responsibility of speaking for the gay community. I always felt like I owed them a huge apology for coming out too late. Some people in the gay community were very upset with me for not coming out on their terms. They don’t stop to think about what’s going on in somebody’s personal life, and the struggles that they’re having. It was all very scary. We got death threats. It was a really rough time for me, but I was also having the time of my life.”

For me, that’s heart wrenching. If I were in the room with Hayes when he said that I would need a box of tissues. But that’s not all. It gets even deeper when Hayes talks about how gay news organizations like The Advocate slammed him for not coming out sooner. And what really bothers me the most about this is that those who scream for tolerance the loudest always seem to be the most intolerant. I don’t think Hayes owes anyone an apology.

In any event, I hope Hayes knows how much good he did for the LGBT community. And this is the absolute truth: I sometimes post about getting letters and e-mails from closeted gay men who can’t come out…or aren’t ready to come out. One of these people lives a truly closeted life because of his religion/culture, his family circumstances, and his background. And he’s recently been telling me that he has been watching old reruns of Will and Grace and it’s helping him a lot. So the things actors like Sean Hayes did for the LGBT community continue to evolve in many different ways so many years later.

You can read the full article here.

What Is a Book Blogger?

Someone asked me this question a few weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to post about it for a while. First, I looked all over for one set definition of what a book blogger is and couldn’t come up with anything definitive. In fact, the places where I’m linking today even state they don’t know the definition and it’s only their opinion. So it’s important to keep in mind not all things have set definitions, at least not at this point.

This web site discusses what book blogging means to her. She makes no claim to define book blogging:

When I began book blogging six years ago, I had no idea just how much of a community there was out there. Suddenly I found myself among likeminded people—people with a passion for books and writing—for talking about those books and other bookish tidbits. While we share in our love for books, our experiences with those books can vary widely. It gives me the chance to hear a different perspective, think a little differently, and branch out to try something new.

This next web site talks about something more definitive, and yet makes no claims to give a set definition of a book blogger. They’ve also created a book blogging directory, which is discussed with what I thought was a very open-minded approach.

So, what do we all think? Is an author a book blogger, or do they need to at least be chatting about other people’s books as well as their own to qualify? What about other types of bloggers who occasionally talk books? What about blogs that are attached to bookstores? Often there are reviews amongst their posts, but really the aim is to try to get people to buy from the store.

I find that interesting because I don’t consider myself a book blogger, not with this blog. I’m an author and I present information about my books to readers. I also review books on occasion here. I often discuss books I like. But I keep this blog more focused on pop culture, LGBT issues, and publishing in a general sense.

I even discovered there is a book blogger week, and this web site gives the most definitive answer of what a book blogger is that I’ve found so far.

Let’s step back, first, and ask, what is a book blogger? The answer is simple: it’s someone who blogs about books. About the books they love, the books they like, the books they hate. It’s someone who usually does it all on their own time: the reading, the writing, the posting, the commenting, the (insert all the stuff it takes beyond reading and posting to be a blogger).

But then what’s the difference between a book review site and a book blogger?

I won’t even try to define that because I think it’s vague at best. But I have always considered book review site more geared toward criticism…good and bad…than actual book discussion. But even then there’s a certain amount of book discussion on book review blogs, so it gets even more confusing.

A Book “Influencer?”

Now this was something I’d never seen before: a book influencer. And the blogger I’m linking to here asks the question, “What’s the Difference Between an Influencer and a Book Reviewer?”

I’m not exactly sure where or when the term Influencer originated. But in the publishing world Influencer is often used to refer to a reader who signs up to help in the promotion of a book in exchange for a free copy of that book. The author puts together a list of interested Influencers (a limited number), along with their addresses. The publisher then sends the book to those people (usually a couple weeks before the release).

The piece goes on to state that influencers are fans of the author, their goal is to promote the author and the book, and they do it in a variety of ways that may or may not include a book review. Then the term “Launch Team” is mentioned, which is a group of influencers who are strictly out to promote the author. I take this to be the same thing as a Street Team, but don’t quote me on that.

Essentially the terms are synonymous, except that an author may choose to keep a Launch Team ongoing via a Facebook Group or Email Loop.

Ultimately, this means that when you…the reader…see your favorite author on facebook getting tons of comments and photos posted to his or her timeline there is a good chance they aren’t coming from actual facebook friends or fans, at least no in the literal sense of fandom. There’s a good chance they are coming from influencers and teams of people who are only interested in promoting the author as much as they can so they can receive something in return. I don’t do this. Whatever you see on my timeline is coming from people that I didn’t solicit with gifts and free books. But it is common nowadays with many authors, and it’s getting easier to spot the more I see it. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with it because in most cases the influencers are fans in a twisted ethical sense. But I do wonder what would happen if the authors who do this didn’t offer the influencers anything in return. In an offhanded way it reminds me of circus people who plant shills in audiences.

But this is a very honest article and I found it highly informative, especially the part where the author discusses the difference between a book reviewer and an influencer. She’s up front and totally honest, and I think this is one set definition we can trust.

In other words, a Book Reviewer’s goal is to help the reader make wise reading choices. An Influencer’s goal is to help the author with promotion.

As an author and a blogger it’s often hard to get into topics like this because one of my goals as an author is to promote my books and my publishers, and the other as a blogger is to provide honest objective information to readers with regard to any topic. Sometimes I’m not that objective. But when I do post about things like this I tend to lean more toward being a blogger than an author and I also tend to piss a few people off (other authors). A lot of authors don’t want you to know they have influencers or launch/street teams. Some of these authors are so promotion oriented they will cut your throat to sell a book that may or may not be a very good book. But in the spirit of full disclosure, as a blogger, I think it’s important for readers to know these things, and to understand what these terms mean so they can decide for themselves.