Excerpt

Free Gay Fiction Excerpt: Down the Basement II

Free Gay Fiction Excerpt: Down the Basement II

As promised in the earlier post today, here’s a free excerpt from the sequel to Down the Basement, Down the Basement II: Santa Saturday. It’s a novella that runs about 25,000 words, not a short novel. There’s a difference. And as I’ve done in the past recently with excerpts of this nature, I’ll post the g-rated parts here on google blogger, and then you’ll have to click the link to my WordPress blog to read the rest.

It’s also a .99 e-book. Here’s the Amazon link to the novella, and you can find it at Smashwords and other places where e-books are sold.

From the raw unedited version:

After the Halloween costume party, I started seeing Kadin on a regular basis. And this left me speechless more than once. I couldn’t understand why a popular guy like Kadin would want to be with me. Kadin was the star quarterback on the college football team, all the girls in school were after him, and all his fraternity brothers loved him. When he walked me back to my dorm the first night we’d fooled around in the basement of his fraternity house, he kissed me good night in the dark hallway. Though he was the only guy at the party who had figured out I wasn’t a woman, he didn’t seem to care. I just stood there gaping, with one hand pressed to my throat and the other dangling at my side.
            When he left a few minutes later, I watched him lope down the sidewalk with his hands buried in his pockets and his shoulders hunched forward. He hadn’t worn a jacket and the weather had turned cooler that night. As he rounded a corner at the end of the walkway and disappeared from sight, I stood there staring into the darkness for another fifteen minutes, wondering if this had all been a dream.
            But it wasn’t a dream. I’d given him my cell number and he called me the next day and asked if we could get together that night. I agreed, with reservations. Kadin had only seen me in drag, not as a man. I’d gone to the costume party at the frat house in drag for fun, never expecting to hook up with anyone. And I had no intentions of doing drag again for a long, long time. When he picked me up that night, I worried Kadin would expect me to flit out of the dorm in high heels and a pink dress.
            I wore an off-white sweater and faded jeans instead. When his huge black SUV pulled up to the curb, I was standing there waiting for him with my hands in my pockets. It occurred to me that he might not even recognize me as a man. But he reached over the front seat and popped the door open. When I sat down and buckled my seat belt, he smiled and said, “You look nice tonight. Nice sweater.”
            Well. Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, we started seeing each other at least three or four nights a week. He never asked me to dress up in drag for him and he seemed perfectly content with me as a man. We drove to dark parking lots and jumped into the back of his SUV. Kadin explained he was bi-sexual and wanted to take it slowly at first. He even went into great detail about his frustrations and his anxieties about dating another guy in public. He looked me in the eye; he was honest. He said he wasn’t ready to be open about it. And I decided not to push him into anything too soon. I enjoyed being with him. Spending time alone this way, even though it was on the down-low, allowed us to be together without any other interruptions.

As the weeks passed, I would sit in class daydreaming about our nights together. Kadin’s SUV had tinted windows all the way around. No one could see inside, not even if they walked up, cupped their hands, and pressed their noses to the window. We’d spend hours back there doing everything from kissing to intercourse. Most times it was hard to keep the SUV from rocking. We explored each other’s bodies and forgot about our inhibitions. He learned quickly that I preferred being the submissive bottom; I learned just as fast that he enjoyed taking control as the dominant top. One night we even fell asleep naked in the back of his SUV in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. When we woke early the next morning, I was flat on my back and Kadin was on top of me with his arms around my shoulders. I spread my legs, wrapped them around his waist, and whispered into his hear. I told him we’d better get up and get dressed before anyone caught us. He told me no one could see inside, and then he lifted my legs higher and put on another condom.

Then a week before Thanksgiving Kadin picked me up and we went to a parking lot behind a local bowling alley. We parked between two school buses and climbed into the back. After I blew him, he pulled me up to his chest and put his arms around me. I thought this was odd. Whenever I blew Kadin, he liked to lie back while I massaged his balls. He practically went into a deep meditative state, moaning softly and rubbing the top of my head. But this time he seemed animated and filled with energy, as if he couldn’t contain himself.

“I have a favor to ask you,” he said.

I rubbed his wide chest. His enormous pecs were covered with a soft layer of dark hair that made my mouth water. “What kind of favor?” There wasn’t much I wouldn’t do for Kadin.

“I have to do an act next week at Santa Saturday,” he said. “I was wondering if you’d do something with me.” He spoke with a cautious, almost hapless, tone.

“An act?”

He nodded. “Something for the variety show. Some sort of song and dance.”

“Ah, well,” I said. Santa Saturday was a charity event that Kadin’s fraternity put on each year the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was tradition; it kicked off the Christmas season; Kadin’s fraternity had been doing this for over fifty years. The event drew people from the entire campus and surrounding colleges. There were bake sales, fifty-fifty drawings, Chinese auctions, and games. And all the money they brought in went to a local Children’s Hospital. Aside from the D.J. they always hired, each year Kadin’s fraternity put on an outrageous, campy variety show that was always the highlight of the event.

“I’m going to be Santa Claus,” Kadin said. “And I was wondering if you’d be Mrs. Santa Claus. You could get dressed up in a sexy Mrs. Santa outfit like the costume you wore to the Halloween party. Something with a short red dress and spiky red high heels.” Then he ran his hand down my right side and slipped his fingers into my ass crack.

I took a quick breath and swallowed back. He knew this was my weakest spot. My body turned to mush whenever he touched me there with his large fingers. “Are you serious, Kadin?” This was the first time he’d mentioned drag to me since the night we’d met. For the longest time, I wondered why he hadn’t mentioned it.

“Dead serious,” he said. “It could be fun. And, it’s a way for us to be together in public. I’d like that. I can tell everyone you’re my date.”

His fingers were sliding toward my opening. My legs were parting and I was squeezing his bicep. “I’m not sure about his, Kadin. I only did drag that one time and I wasn’t all that comfortable then. I’m not sure I can pass as a woman with all those people around.”

“But you were great. All the guys thought you were a woman. They had no idea.” Then his voice dropped and he bit my neck. “And I thought it was hot. I’d love to see you do it just one more time.” He pressed his palms together and quirked his dark eyebrows. “Please.”

“There’s a lot of preparation involved,” I said, remembering Halloween. I had passed as a woman that night. And so well I wound up taking on a group of guys wearing football uniforms in the basement, which is how Kadin and I actually met. “And you didn’t give me much time.” The last time it had taken me two months to prepare. I didn’t know if I could do this in just one week.

He started to beg. “Please do it just this once. I never ask for much. And, it is for charity. I’ll never ask again.”

He was right about not asking for much. He was the most attentive, articulate lover I’d ever met. When he was inside me, he only cared about what I was feeling and if he was pleasing me. We didn’t just have sex: we made love. So I laced my fingers around his thick neck and said, “Okay. I’ll do it just this once, and only because it’s for charity.”

He smiled so wide his nose twitched. He made a fist and punched me playfully in the ass. “You’re the best. I was worried you’d turn me down.”  Then he climbed on top of me and buried his face in my neck.

I caressed the back of his head and sighed. “I just hope I can pull this off without anyone recognizing me.”

“You’ll be great,” he said. “The only thing you’ll have to worry about is keeping the other guys away from you. The last time they couldn’t wait to lift up your dress.”

How could I forget? My jaw ached for two days straight.

 

****

The next morning I started working on my outfit. Kadin said he’d be wearing a traditional Santa suit, so I figured I’d play it safe and wear a traditional Mrs. Santa suit. I scoured the internet searching for costume shops and web sites that catered to transvestites and entertainers. I found a few kinky, sexy, Mrs. Santa outfits online, but no one could guarantee that I’d received these outfits within a week’s time.

When I realized I’d have to go out and physically shop, I did searches for shops within a fifty mile radius of my school. There were more than I’d imagined there would be. And I finally stumbled across a shop called, Le Exotique. This shop was about forty miles away. It catered to anyone and everyone with a kink, fetish, or passion to dress up in fantasy clothes. I called first and asked about a sexy Mrs. Santa suit. The sales clerk told me they had three different styles in stock and that it would be best if I came in person and tried them all on.

So the next morning, a breezy autumn Saturday with a bright blue sky, I hoped into my car and drove sixty miles north. It’s a good thing the upcoming week was a slow time for me. I’d taken my mid-terms already and I knew I wouldn’t miss anything if I cut a few classes. Most people took off early that week. It was almost expected. I not only had to pull a costume together I also had to rehearse the act with Kadin. He said we were doing something kitschy and Christmassy. He promised me it was supposed to be campier than realistic. But as much as I cared about Kadin, I wasn’t taking his word. If I was going on a stage to perform, I was going to be well rehearsed and ready for anything.

Le Exotique was located on a back street in a touristy little town I’d never visited, the kind of place people from the city go to for daytrips to kill time when there’s nothing better to do. I had to park on the street and fill a parking meter, then walk two blocks north and one block east. The shop itself was nothing more than a converted row home, sandwiched between a small modern art gallery and a candle shop displaying all those new flameless candles everyone was raving about. The clapboards of Le Exotique were pale pink and the trim was soft lavender. I turned to view the flameless candles and tilted my head, wondering whether or not flameless candle was an oxymoron.

The owner of Le Exotique was unlocking the front door as I approached, a guy in his mid-thirties with dark wavy hair down to his shoulders, a scruffy goatee, and ripped jeans. He was a cross between a rock star and a jock. He carried a sandwich board sign down four concrete steps and placed it on the edge of the sidewalk. When he looked up at me, he nodded and said, “Good morning. I’m just opening. Feel free to take a look inside and if you need anything I’ll be inside in a minute.” The sandwich board sign read, “SALE,” in bold red letters. The owner had two thick silver earrings in each ear, a silver bolt through his nose, and more silver chains around his neck than I could count. I noticed his black leather boots: narrow pointy toes and a three inch Cuban heel. They weren’t quite western and they weren’t exactly biker boots. But something about them made my heart skip a beat.

I thanked him and went inside. When I looked up, I pressed my palm to my chest and sighed. For such a small space, the shop was filled with merchandise that catered to every fetish, kink, and fantasy ever invented. There were whips and chains above my head, hanging from rafters in haphazard positions. To my right were racks of dresses that ran down the entire right side of the shop. To the left were glass cases filled with sex toys that included everything from black rubber plugs to dildos the size of large eggplants. I gaped at the cock ring display. I blinked when I noticed an entire case filled with fake breasts in every size, shape and color. And I nearly lost my balance when I saw a mannequin wearing crotchless a nun’s habit with a slit up the side.

The moment the owner walked inside I crossed to him and said, “I need help.” Then I told him what I was looking for, that I didn’t have much time to spare, and that I’d appreciate his help. I spoke fast, with an even tone.

When I finished he just stood there gaping at me. “I’ll be more than happy to help you out,” he said, rubbing his goatee, looking me up and down. “What are you, about five feet seven?”

I nodded yes and said, “Exactly.”

“It should be simple to get you fitted into the perfect Mrs. Santa outfit,” he said. Then he looked me up and down again and smiled. “I’m just surprised, is all. You look like a typical college kid to me. You remind me of that actor. Can’t think of his name.”

“Zac Ephron.” I got this all the time. I didn’t think I looked like him, but other people did.

“Yes,” the guy said. “But you have lighter hair. It’s more of a sandy blond.”

I smiled. “And mine is natural.”

After that, the guy led me to the back of the store where there were dressing rooms and the windows were covered with heavy black draperies. He searched through a few racks and pulled out three different costumes. “These are the three Mrs. Santa costumes I have. If you don’t like them, we can always pull something together off the racks. Do you have shoes, or will you be needing them, too?”

I gazed down at the costumes hanging from his hand. They were all red with white fur trim, all very short, and one of them looked so narrow it resembled a scarf instead of a dress. “I’ll need shoes, too.” I wanted something in red. I could have used the shoes I’d worn for Halloween, but I figured since I was already buying an entire outfit I may as well spring for the shoes and do it right.

“What size shoe are you in a man’s shoe?”

I took the costumes from his hand and headed to the dressing room. Without thinking twice, I said, “I’m either a size ten or eleven in women’s heels, depending on how they are made.” I’d been through this before; I knew what I was doing.

He smiled. “How high of a heel do you want?”

I pushed the pink curtain aside and said, “The highest heel you have in red, in my size.” Then I closed the curtain and unzipped my jeans.

The first Mrs. Santa costume I tried on was the short red Lycra affair that resembled a scarf. Good thing I’d worn a tight thong to pack down my dick. When I slipped it over my head and pulled it down below my waist, it barely covered my crotch. I stepped out of the dressing room to view the costume in the full length three-way mirror. The guy was leaning against a rack and there a couple of pairs of red high heels resting on top of the rack on a glass shelf. He took one look at me in the tight red dress and his jaw dropped. He rushed to the mirrors and said, “Wow.”

My tone remained serious. I gazed into the mirror to see how the dress fell over my hips. “Is that a good wow or a bad wow? Be honest. I don’t want to make a fool of myself. I’m going on stage in this costume.”

He handed me a pair of red pumps with a six inch heel, dripping in ruby sequins. “Wow in a good way. It’s perfect.” Then he went down on one knee and reached for my right ankle so he could slip the high heel on my foot.

I would have put on my own shoes, but he seemed so eager I didn’t want to disappoint him. I knew he was looking up my dress; I saw his eyes tilting. So I reached down to hold his shoulder for support and lifted my right leg. He held my calf gently and put the shoe on very slowly, caressing my instep with his large, thick fingers. When he repeated this move with my left foot, I lost my balance and almost feel over. But he grabbed the back of my right leg just in time. And as I found my footing and looked into the mirror, his hand went all the way up the back of my leg and rested firmly on the bottom of my ass.

I smiled and rolled my eyes. He squeezed my flesh and pursed his lips. I’d had a feeling he was horny, only I hadn’t expected him to make such a bold move right there in the store. After all, anyone could have walked in and caught him with his hand up the back of the dress. I smiled and said, “Excuse me, but I think you have your hand up my dress.” Then I laughed and shook my head.

He gaped at my legs and slid his hand all the way up the back of the dress until it rested in the middle of my ass. Then he smiled and said, “You have smooth skin. You’re not wearing underwear.”

Small Town Romance Writer: The 113,000 Word Version

Small Town Romance Writer: The 113,000 Word Version

This is one of those posts I do every now and then when I’m getting ready to submit a book to the publisher. It helps me see what the book description looks like in print, it helps me check out the first few pages, and readers tell me they like reading these things.

This particular book is the final novel in the eight book series I’ve been working on for the last year for Ravenous Romance. And this time, with this final book, for some reason I ran way over the contracted word count and it wound up being 113,000 words. Before I started editing it, it was almost 150,000 words. It could have stood alone at 150,000 words, but I think it works better when it’s a little tighter. I think part of the reason the book ran this long is because it covers a time period of over twenty years, from l990 – 2012. I don’t usually do that, because I prefer to cover shorter time periods. However, this time the story seemed to take over and I didn’t have much of a choice.

Here’s the book description, in raw form. Below that is an excerpt from a part of the book where Ethan wants Travis to read his new novel…also unedited, in raw form, and set in the year 2000.

In this 113,000 word gay romance, when bad boy male stripper Ethan and quiet academic Travis first meet at the storied Iowa Writers’ Workshop in l990 neither one of them know this unusual relationship will consume the next twenty years of their lives…even as their lives change and they meet new people, and they each take different paths as career writers.

Ten years later, Travis is a well-respected author in the LGBT community who is up for a prestigious literary award and Ethan is still a struggling gay erotic romance author writing short stories for small presses that garner him a less than fifty dollar flat fees. But all this is about to change when Ethan soon becomes famous for a gay romance that Travis thinks is quite possibly the worst book ever written.

As Ethan’s mainstream writing career progresses and he becomes known as the Small Town Billionaire Author, Travis’s career moves forward in more subtle, literary ways. Although there are times when Travis is jealous of Ethan’s fame and fortune, he’s found the young man he thinks is the love of his life and nothing else matters. In fact, his life seems perfect…until tragedy strikes and leaves him with nowhere to turn but to Ethan.

Ten years after that, in 2011, both Ethan and Travis have evolved in many ways as men and authors. They also find themselves in situations they hadn’t predicted, and the tables have turned on them. Their long-lasting, unusual relationship is challenged once again when Ethan is up for the same award Travis won twenty years earlier, and this time it’s either going to make them or break them.    

Excerpt:
Ethan stood up and walked to a briefcase he’d left near the back door. He picked it up, carried it to the island, and set it down next to a large porcelain rooster that had the most ridiculous expression he’d ever seen. He hated cute things; he despised the way this entire house was decorated. As Ethan unzipped the case, Travis walked over to see what he was doing.
            Ethan pulled a thick stack of white papers out of the briefcase and set it on the counter. The stack wasn’t neatly piled and most of the pages were dog-eared. He pushed it toward Travis and said, “I’d like you to read this and tell me what you think.”
            Travis gulped and glanced down at the papers. “What is it?”

            “It’s a novel I wrote,” Ethan said. Although his short stories had been getting published in anthologies and magazine for years, he’d never actually written a full length novel. This was his first attempt and what Travis thought of it meant more to him than anything. “I’d like you to read it and tell me what you think.” He’d never asked Travis to read anything like this before. He’d never asked anyone to read his work before. The first people who read his short manuscripts were usually professional editors. He didn’t believe in feedback from non-professionals.
            Travis glanced at the title and read it aloud: “To Badly Feel the Darkness of Emotion.”
            “It is catchy,” Travis said. “You never mentioned you were writing a full length novel. How long did it take?”
            “About a month,” Ethan said. “It’s about 150,000 words. I would have finished it sooner, but we had a lot of events with Lance’s job. For a while it seemed as if there was a different party every night. Entertaining clients is a huge part of what Lance does. I’m so excited about this. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.”
            Travis continued to stare at the first page. “I see,” he said.
            “Is that all you’re going to say?” He’d expected at least a little excitement from Travis.
            “I’m not sure whatto say right now,” Travis said. “You hand me a manuscript for a full length 150,000 novel you wrote in a month and the title isn’t even grammatically correct.” He lifted his hands and wiggled his fingers. “You don’t feel badly. You feel bad on an emotional level, not badly. You feel badly with your fingers.”
            “I know that,” Ethan said. “I believe in common usage, and everyone says they feel badly. I write the way real people speak, and it’s the story that matters, not the grammar.” He’d always been a believer in common usage as opposed to proper grammar, and from what he’d been reading there were many who were beginning to speak out about this, even on academic levels. He’d recently read an article in a university review that talked about ending sentences with prepositions. “I want you to read it and tell me what you think about the story. It’s an erotic romance with light BDSM where two guys fall in love. It’s really an emotional love story this time, filled with schmaltz. I got tired of writing about just sex.”
            “I see,” Travis said, as if they were the only two words he knew. He turned the title page over and read aloud from the first page: “Like a chiseled and detailed statue, his elegantly muscle toned body crept up the elderly semi-circular staircase lovingly. It’s treads squeaked laboriously with each step he took, as he made his way slowly and carefully to Adam’s bed. His feet stopped abruptly at the top of the stairs when he saw Adam longingly and lovingly glancing in his direction. He smiled widely and muttered darkly with slight stutter, ‘I’m here. I’m here, my love.’”
            When Travis paused, Ethan leaned forward. “What do you think? Isn’t that a great first line?”

            “Well,” Travis said. “I’m not sure what to say.”
            “You don’t like it,” Ethan said. He knew that look on Travis’s face. He hadn’t seen it since the last time Travis drank too much and heaved his dinner.
            “This is an awkward position, Ethan,” Travis said. “I’m not sure what you want me to say. You show me a novel you claim only took one month to write. One fucking month. It took me years to write my novel. Then I read the first line and I see you begin the book with a simile, you misspell its, you use said bookisms for dialogue tags, and there seems to have been a sale on adverbs the day you wrote it.” Travis pointed to the next line and read it aloud: “’You’re here,’” Adam mumbled alluringly.” He closed his eyes for a moment and sighed.
            “I wanted the first few pages to be filled with emotion,” Ethan said. He wasn’t sure about the other issues Travis had mentioned, but he didn’t want Travis to know that. Travis could be so structured and picky sometimes, not to mention condescending.
            “Mumbled alluringly?” Travis said. He sent him a frown and shook his head. “That’s not good, Ethan. You need to work on it a little more. And maybe hire a good editor.”
            Ethan sat back and sighed. Why did Travis always have to be so condescending? “All I wanted you to do was read it and tell me what you think. But if that’s too much trouble, don’t bother. I’m never going to write literary books like you. I know and I’m okay with that. But I know I can write sexy books with a lot of romance and a killer story.”
            Travis rubbed his jaw and took a quick breath. “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll take the book with me and read it from cover to cover. I’ll overlook all the grammatical issues and I’ll let you know what I think of the story; just the story. I’ll be completely objective in that respect. But you have to promise you’ll take my criticism as objectively. In other words, you can’t get mad at me.”
            “It’s a deal,” Ethan said. “All I want you to do is read it and tell me what you think.”
            Travis glanced down at the page and saw the byline. “Who the hell is G. X. Cloud?”
            Ethan sat up higher and squared his back. “That’s my pen name for this. Everyone’s using them nowadays, especially in e-publishing. And since this is a first novel, I wanted something different than I’ve used before.”
            E-publishing?” Travis asked, with a sarcastic emphasis on the e.
            Ethan nodded. “Electronic publishing,” he said. “It’s where people read electronic books instead of print books. I’ve been reading a lot about it lately on the Internet. I’ve seen articles that claim everyone will be reading e-books on an e-reading device of some kind by the year 2010. And a lot of writers are using pen names with two initials.”
            Travis rolled his eyes. “Well this is the year 2000, and I haven’t seen any signs of thathappening in publishing, so don’t hold your breath, G.X.”
            When it came to technology, Travis had never been open to the concept of change. Ethan had been spending a lot of time on the Internet and he’d seen the changes already happening in the publishing industry. Of course most of the people associated with traditional publishing like Travis either laughed at, or scorned, anything that resembled the concept of electronic books. But Ethan didn’t agree, and he had a feeling the world would change in the next decade and he wanted to be part of that change.
            “You can take this hard copy manuscript,” Ethan said. “I have an electronic back up on file. I back up all my work now with digital copies.” He was by no means a tech genius, but he wanted to use technical words to impress Travis. He knew Travis wrote his literary books on the same old typewriter he’d used at The Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and he found this amusing and quaint. Travis didn’t even have an e-mail address yet, and most people Ethan knew did. About a year earlier, Ethan had been warned by one of the publishers with whom he worked if he didn’t get a computer and learn how to submit his short erotic stories as Word Documents, he would soon become obsolete and no one would be willing to read his hard copy manuscripts. At first Ethan ignored the advice, but then it actually happened. One of his small publishers wanted to buy a short erotic gay story for an anthology, but he told Ethan it had to be submitted electronically. On that same day, Ethan bought a computer and asked Lance to show him the basics. Lance had already been using computers for architectural design and he knew the basics.
            Travis made a face. “I’ll stick with my old typewriter for now, thank you. But as long as you have a copy, I’ll take the manuscript with me and I’ll read it.”
            Ethan jumped off his stool and hugged him. “Thanks,” he said. “I know I’m never going to be as good as you, but not everyone can write literary novels that win big book awards. Some of us just want to entertain people and have a little fun.” Although he wanted that to sound like a compliment, he also wanted to let Travis know he wasn’t a complete idiot just because he didn’t get his graduate degree in Iowa. The competition between them often equaled the love between them, which made moments like this more intense. They always seemed to be on the verge of a kiss or a slap in the face.
            And Travis always made sure he went insult for insult. He tapped Ethan’s messy manuscript and said, “And I’m sure I’ll have more than a little fun reading this.”
 
  

New Adult/MM Romance by Bella Stanberry

What I love most about a submission I received for The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance from author Bella Stanberry is that it has a new adult focus combined with m/m romance elements. I hadn’t specifically asked for that in the call for submissions, but when I started reading it I fell in love on page one.

In fact, I loved it so much I contacted this author and asked if she would be willing to submit three short stories to make the first story part of a small trilogy. And she not only did that she blew me away with the two stories that followed.

The story begins with the main characters in college, and then it moves forward and ends with them living their new adult lives after college. That one year in the final story is almost like a bridge between their young adult lives and the lives they will one day lead as adults. It involves a gay man, a bisexual man, and straight women. There are romantic scenes that are very sexy, but not quite what I would consider hardcore sex. These are more subtle, and lean more toward the emotion and feelings of the characters. When I asked authors to submit to this book, I told them they had the freedom to do whatever they wanted to do, and I wasn’t disappointed.

And as the editor, my goal with this book is to share the voices of these authors and remain in the background.

Here’s one excerpt that I remember very well from one of Bella Stanberry’s stories. This comes from the third story where the main characters are driving cross country, on their way to San Francisco to begin new lives. I love the feeling it captures…almost as if it is describing an era we’re living in right now.

We planned two weeks for the drive. We decided we might never get a chance to actually take a road trip like this again and we wanted to see and do all the pop culture historical things Jack Kerouac had done on his cross country road trip in the novel, On the Road. This had been Luke’s idea…fantasy…because he’d always been a fan of the beat generation. In many ways we identified with Kerouac because he’d been just as unusual for his time period as we were for ours. In other words, we knew we weren’t mainstream and we didn’t want to be. We thought of ourselves as the best part of our generation because we were breaking all the rules. And, at the same time, we weren’t doing anything that differently in a literal sense from previous generations.
 

Michael Vick Cancels Book Signing; Joan Rivers’ Lesbian Kiss; "He’s Bewitched"

In an unfortunate turn of events, football star, Michael Vick, canceled his book signing schedule and a book tour that would take him to Atlanta, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Whether or not he will be signing books in other states is unclear.

The reason for the cancellation was that Vick has allegedly received death threats that stem from his involvement with dog fighting. After serving time in prison for this he’s been outspoken about his mistakes, rectifying his mistakes, and he’s supported the Humane Society. The book he wrote is titled, “Finally Free,” and the canceled book signings were to be held in Barnes & Noble stores.

Vick spokesman Chris Shigas said the threats, first reported by McManus, were “very disturbing.” Since his release from prison, Vick has spoken publicly at Humane Society events. ”We understand that a lot of people out there will never forgive him,” Shigas said (via Philly.com’s Les Bowen). “But at what point do we say a line has been crossed?”

We’re living in interesting times. I’m a dog owner, one is a rescue. I’ve been involved with local Humane Society organizations since I was in high school…before it became the chic thing to do. I have never been to a dog fight, I know nothing about dog fights, and I don’t plan to ever know anything about dog fights. But I do think it’s interesting that people who are so concerned about dogs and keeping them safe from harm would threaten the life of a human being. If there’s something humane in that, I’m missing it. It would be nice to see a follow up on this, and to learn that whoever made these death threats was found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Joan Rivers’ Lesbian Kiss

I wrote a post once about how I sometimes find it offensive when comedians joke about gays in a way that promotes the same old stereotypes, and that gay men aren’t pet poodles for straight women. However, I’m not without a sense of humor and I often laugh at these jokes if they’re done right. I have many friends who are straight women and they don’t treat me like a pet poodle. I even make these myself sometimes…I’m all for self-deprecation. I write erotic romance and if you can’t laugh at sex sometimes what’s the point? Sometimes sex is funny.

Recently, Joan Rivers had a scene on her reality show, “Joan Knows Best,” where she kissed a lesbian, and this time she nailed it. Not only did she redeem herself, she did it with humor and the attitude that there’s no shame at all in a lesbian kiss.

Joan Rivers’ self proclaimed “lesbian” kiss and Rivers’ Costco book ban dominates the new season of Joan Knows Best premiere tonight on WETV. Joan Rivers makes out with a lesbian in a on-screen kiss tonight.

You can read more here.

The underlying message here is shame. Once you take the shame away from being gay there’s nothing left to worry about. And Joan Rivers did it with comedy this time.

He’s Bewitched

Being that “He’s Bewitched” has been on the bestseller list again at Ravenous Romance, I thought I’d post an excerpt that’s never been published before for free. As readers, we do get good excerpts at places like Allromanceebooks.com, but I think readers like more sometimes. So I try to pick out interesting things in the book and do them here on the blog.

This is a scene from the book where the main characters are taking a road trip in a vintage 1962 Lincoln Continental to Provincetown….as some gay friends I know refer to it: The Holy Land. A good deal of this book was written with parody and sarcasm and it wasn’t meant to be taken as seriously as other books I’ve written (thank you to one book reviewer, Gerry Burnie, who got it a long time ago). But I did make a few points I feel strongly about. And all the sex scenes at the infamous dick dock are based on experience. There are those who would lead us to believe there is no dick dock in P’town. They are lying.

They left Manhattan after eating large breakfasts in a crowded restaurant in the West Village. Michelle directed him out of the city, along the busy Henry Hudson Parkway. She wore a white cotton dress, and her hair was pulled back in a French twist; a few thin strands fell from the sides and blew back because the top was down. Eloise’s tight, sprayed hair never moved, but she wore a scarf anyway. She sat up front with Brett. In the backseat were Rhys, Michelle and Tag. The little designer dog carrier sat between them in front of the rear fold-down arm rest. “Watch the signs for the Merritt Parkway, Brett,” Michelle said. “I will,” said Brett. He’d been driving this route all his life and knew all the short cuts to Cape Codby then.

He wasn’t speaking much that morning. He was concentrating on how well Michelle and Rhys seemed to be getting along in the back seat. While they laughed and joked about a book they’d both read, he watched the road and hunched forward to change lanes. Michelle’s face was animated and bright, and her arms, waving around in the rear view mirror, went up every time Rhys said something clever and funny.

There were times when he felt guilty about his relationship with Michelle. They were as close as brother and sister, but sometimes he felt as if he’d let her down. She would have been the perfect fag hag if only he’d been the flamboyant, limp-wrist type who loved chick flicks and shopping. But his idea of shopping was walking into a store and buying the first outfit he saw on display so he could get out fast. And his idea of a good movie was usually an action adventure film starring Bruce Willis. When they saw “Brokeback Mountain” together (she’d dragged him there), she was so excited that a gay film had finally hit the mainstream she couldn’t stop bouncing and chattering in the ticket line. And he just stood there and smiled, nodding his head and agreeing with everything she said. And after the movie, when she’d raved about how well they’d treated the subject, he smiled too. But he didn’t agree with her. He saw fatal, fundamental flaws that only a gay man would notice.

The Merritt Parkway was smooth and simple. But I95 North was stocked with traffic when they reached New Haven. The endless road construction was still going on. In the afternoon sun, you could see waves of heat rippling up from cars; an impatient idiot in a large SUV kept dodging in and out of lanes. It was stop and go for a ten mile stretch, and after that you could barely do 50 miles per hour. So Brett got off 95 and took a short cut up I395 North toward Providence.

When he finally passed through Providenceand reached The Fall River Bridge in Massachusetts, he took a deep breath and sighed. Depending on conditions, The Cape was usually a four or five hour drive from New York. And when he reached Fall River, the trip always seemed to go faster. He knew he was close to the bottom of The Cape; he could actually smell the salty, ocean air. He’d never actually been in Fall River, but he loved it just the same because it meant he was almost home.

Then halfway across The Fall River Bridge the rear end of the car started to bounce and wobble. It was the same bouncing that had happened in Maryland when the tire had gone flat in Martha Falls, but now it was even worse. Eloise had been dozing. She jumped up and pressed her palm to her throat. He slowed down and inched to the far left lane. Good thing the left lane was closed for construction work (even though there didn’t seem to be any work going on), because the old Lincoln didn’t have automatic flashing lights. Thankfully, it was safe there and they wouldn’t slow down the flow of traffic.

Gay Erotic Fiction: Free Excerpt

With so many things happening in the world, I often back away from promoting my own books and focus on issues that deal with things either publishing related or LGBT related. I also don’t like to promote too much because it always feels so awkward. Actually, it feels creepy and declasse.

So I often do the exact opposite and don’t focus much at all on book promotion. Which isn’t fair to readers either. To rectify this, one of my New Year’s resolutions will be to post unpublished excerpts from published works that I think might be of interest. And, offer an explanation as to why I wrote the book and what the general theme behind the book is. I find it much easier to do this after the book’s been pubbed and sold what I’d hoped it would sell at the time. That distance for me is important because I can talk about the book more candidly.

Here’s one from “Ricky’s Business.” This book was a parody of the old film, “Risky Business,” with Tom Cruise. I’d like to emphasize the word parody this time. What makes it a parody is that it’s highly erotic with detailed sex scenes, and the characters are gay. And while it does NOT go scene by scene from the film, and I did deviate from most of the storyline in the film because it didn’t work for the book, I’ve always been up front about it and never kept it a secret that I’ve done this with gay fiction.

If I had been trying to hide it I wouldn’t have titled the book “Ricky’s Business.” That wouldn’t make sense. But more important, I would never parody a *gay* film…unless I were to write a book with straight characters. I would NOT try to re-tell the “Brokeback Mountain” story because that wouldn’t work. My focus with these het mainstream romance films is to give gay readers something they didn’t get for so long. And, to try to do it with a sense of humor. Not all sex scenes have to be taken seriously, especially with books designed purely for escapism.

In any event, here’s the excerpt. It’s g-rated because this blog is g-rated. But the book itself has more than a few explicit gay sex scenes. If I had to describe the book in a sentence, I would focus on the fact that it’s a gay coming of age story with a character who finally discovers what he truly loves in life: men and money.

Chad exhaled and released Ricky. He pushed Ricky forward and took two steps to the right. “Look, Ricky, if you want to be friends, I don’t want you judging me. I did what I had to do after I graduated from high school. And I’ve worked hard to be good at what I do. It wasn’t easy losing the Staten Island accent. But I did that by watching and listening to wealthy male clients.”

Ricky looked into his eyes. “I didn’t mean anything. I wasn’t judging.” He was telling the truth, he didn’t understand Chad’s sudden change in tone.

“We’re standing next to your father’s expensive boat, at your father’s expensive yacht club, and your father’s expensive foreign car is parked over there. It’s easy for you to judge me. You have it all.” Then he turned his back on Ricky and walked toward the club house.

Ricky let out an exasperated sigh. He stood there, naked, with his arms spread wide, and asked, “What did I do?”

Chad continued walking; he didn’t look back.

“C’mon, Chad,” Ricky said. “I didn’t mean anything. Don’t get mad.”

When he realized Chad was not going to turn around, he slapped his forehead and stomped on the grass. Then, without thinking, he bent down to get his jeans and his naked ass bumped into the rear fender of the Porsche. He heard crunching twigs; his head went up, his eyes widened. And when he turned and saw that his father’s Porsche was slowly moving forward toward the dock, he dropped his pants and ran to the driver’s side.

Only the door was locked and the keys were still in his pants pocket. So he ran to the back of the car and fumbled with his jeans. The faster his fingers moved the harder it seemed to grasp the keys. Did his hands grow or did his pockets shrink? He heard the keys jingling around, but he’d forgotten which pocket he’d put them in and had to check them all. Of course they were in the last pocket he searched, and by that time the car had slowly crept up to the dock and was heading toward the lake.

On the way down, he ran so fast he tripped over a rock and the keys went airborne and landed in a row of azalea bushes that had a fresh fertilizer/horse-farm smell, as if they’d been recently mulched. He knew there wasn’t enough time to find them in the dark, so he ran down to the dock in his bare feet, stepped in front of the Porsche stark naked, and tried to stop the car with his hands. The car was in the middle of the dock and it was moving faster.

He pressed hard on the hood and started shouting. “No! Someone help! This can’t be happening!” His parents had only gone away on a short trip. And in the time they’d been gone he’d lost his mother’s putto, become tangled with a male prostitute, been threatened by a pimp, gone on a high speed chase through mid-town Manhattan, and now he was about to sink his father’s car in the lake. “Fuck no.”

He pushed the front of the car until his hands ached. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get a good enough stance. His bare feet kept sliding on the rough dock, the car continued to inch forward. And as it reached the end of the dock, he jumped up on the hood and went down on his back to avoid being run over.

When the car reached the edge, with less than an inch to spare, it stopped moving. Ricky remained sprawled across the hood dead still, on his back, with his arms and legs spread wide, exposing his entire body. Everything around him turned silent. His heart pounded in his ears; his stomach felt as if it was in his throat. He looked up at the sky and exhaled with relief. Then he gazed down at the water with his mouth open wide. There was hope; this wasn’t so bad. All he had to do was carefully get up and find the keys in the bushes. It was all good and he still had time to save the car from ruin.

But as Ricky lifted his shoulders and moved his right leg, he heard a crunch from below the dock. Then he heard two or three splits and one large crack. The end of the dock collapsed, there was a sudden jerk and Ricky’s legs went up. He screamed for help as loud as he could. But it was too late for anyone to save him. The Porsche rolled forward and slipped into the lake with a quiet splash, almost as if it had crawled into the water in slow motion. As it sank to the bottom of the lake nose first, Ricky slid off the hood, tumbled to his side, and landed face first in the ice cold water.


Excerpt: "Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street"

I’m now winding down to final edits and I wanted to post an excerpt from “Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street” before the book goes live on Amazon next week. I’m not sure of the exact release date. But I’ll post soon about this.

Excerpt:

When Jonah went home that night, he started practicing his cutlery skills right after dinner. His mom and dad lived in one of those older row homes in Queens. The house had been built so the front door opened into the living room, the living room led to the dining room, and the door at the back wall in the dining room led to the kitchen. Three years earlier his mom and dad had renovated the entire first floor, making it an open concept floor plan. They’d knocked down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and put in a center island with a gray granite counter top to define the kitchen. Jonah’s mom liked to talk while she was cooking and hated being alone in the kitchen. Jonah’s dad wanted good resale value for when he was ready to move to Florida.

Jonah cleared his mom’s vintage cookie jar collection of elves and gnomes off the center island and started practicing his cutlery skills for an exam he had the next day for a class that was called, The Art of Chopping Yummy Veggies. On the way home from school he’d purchased four large bags of onions and picked up a sharpening stone at a small kitchen supply store. While his mom and dad sat in the living room on brown chenille sofas covered with plastic slipcovers watching a fifty-two inch flat screen TV, he went to work on the sharpening stones with his mom’s old knives. They weren’t the best knives. But he didn’t have a choice and he had to make do with what he had.

About the same time he sliced into his first onion, the doorbell rang and his mom got up to answer it. Before he sliced into the onion again, he glanced across the room to see who was there. He frowned and took a quick breath when he saw it was Stanley Minford. Stanley had been dating him off and on since high school. Jonah had dated a few other guys, but mostly Stanley because there wasn’t anyone else.

Though Jonah had never actually been with a man in a literal sense, he’d come out of the closet to his mom and dad his senior year in high school. Coming out of the closet that young hadn’t been easy. He wouldn’t have done it at all if he hadn’t been terrified about something. He’d gone on a class trip to the mountains to a ski lodge and he’d met a cute guy from another school. He wound up making out with the other guy for hours in the backseat of an empty school bus, which ended in mutual masturbation. He forgot all about it when he went home. But two weeks later he was diagnosed with mononucleosis and he was convinced he’d been infected with HIV because he’d made out with this strange guy. He went into an adolescent panic and confessed everything to his mom and dad because he thought he was dying.

Of course he didn’t get infected with HIV, not from making out with a guy. And all that teenage drama and fuss had been for nothing. It was too late to turn back and deny it all. He learned that once a guy comes out of the closet he’s out for good. There had been screaming and histrionics followed by more than a few tears. But his mom and dad eventually calmed down and accepted his lifestyle with silent resignation. Lately, which raised Jonah’s eyebrows more than once, they’d even started to push Stanley Minford on him. Jonah’s mom thought that if he had to be “a gay” Stanley seemed to be good “gay partner” material.

Jonah had grown up with Stanley and they’d been childhood friends. Before he’d moved to an apartment of his own on the avenue, Stanley had lived four doors down the street. While Jonah had been more introverted growing up and less inclined to show signs he might be gay, Stanley never had any problems skipping down the street with picnic baskets, coloring his hair various shades of blonde, and sitting with the neighborhood women while they talked about knitting or their monthly cramps. Oh, that Stanley Minford could tell you more about a uterus than most women. He even crocheted a blanket for Jonah when he went away to college to study puppetry. Stanley used all the colors of the rainbow for the blanket and referred to it as his “fabulous pride” cover. Jonah kept it hidden in a dark green plastic bag the entire time he lived in the dorms.

And now Stanley was here again and Jonah wasn’t in the mood to deal with him. Before Jonah’s mom closed the front door, Stanley threw his arms in the air, told her how much he loved her new hairdo, and then kissed her on the cheek. He turned to Jonah’s father and smiled. Then he glanced back at the kitchen and lifted his right arm, “Yoohoo,” he said. “I just popped in to say hi and to see if you want to see a movie on Saturday night. There’s something fabulous playing I’ve just been dying to see.”

Jonah felt a pull in his stomach and his heart started beating faster. Stanley was wearing a purple sweater vest, a pink shirt, and tight low-rise jeans with a white belt. Jonah noticed his hair was a lighter shade of blond since the last time he’d seen him. And he wore so much eye-liner that night Jonah saw it all the way back in the kitchen. He shrugged and said, “I have to work on my knife skills for the rest of the week. If I don’t, I might not pass.” His voice remained low and even; he kept his head down.

Jonah’s dad looked up at the ceiling and rolled his eyes. His mom lowered her head and shook it slowly. Jonah read their minds, which was something he didn’t do often. He’d learned it was often wiser not to know what his mom and dad were thinking. He was right, too. They weren’t reacting to Stanley’s flamboyant behavior like most people would have, and they were reacting to the shabby way Jonah treated Stanley. And Jonah knew they were right.

Preview: "Unmentionable: The Men Who Loved on the Titanic"


This is the post Edwardian story I’ve been working on and posting about for the past six months: UNMENTIONABLE: THE MEN WHO LOVED ON THE TITANIC. With the 100 year anniversary approaching of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, I wanted to write a love story about what might have happened between two men who were in love in those days.

Because the word “gay” didn’t exist until later in the century (in this context), and because the love between two men wasn’t discussed at all, ever, I wanted to write a story about what might have happened if there were two men in love aboard the Titanic. I’ll never know this for sure. In those days homosexuality was considered a flaw or a mental illness, but I would bet there was at least one homosexual couple in love, living in silence, sneaking around to protect themselves.

Here’s the unedited blurb and excerpt. I’ll post more when the cover comes in and the edits are finished. We’re shooting for a March first launch right now, but that could change. I can promise it will be launched before April 14th, which is the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

Blurb:

One hundred years ago on April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg on its way to New York. Though it had been considered unsinkable by all standards, it went down in the cold waters of the Atlantic, taking with it stories of love and romance that weren’t discussed openly in those days. This was especially true with stories of love between two men. One of those hidden stories of the Titanic dealt with the unyielding love and strong romance between a young man named Liam and his older lover, Oliver. Because Oliver was a wealthy business man in America with a great deal of notoriety, the only safe way to bring Liam aboard the Titanic was to dress him in fine women’s clothing and claim he was Oliver’s shy, distant cousin returning to America for the first time in many years. They finally begin to relax when they realize that everyone on the ship believes Liam is a woman, until that fateful night on April 14th when destiny intervened and changed their lives forever.

Excerpt:

“I absolutely refuse to wear dainty, frilly undergarments and a corset on the Titanic,” Liam said. To emphasize his feelings, he punched a wall next to a tall bookcase. A brass candlestick tipped and landed on the floor. “And I’m not wearing women’s shoes. This is absurd, Oliver. I’m a man, not a woman.” Then he kicked the baseboard.
Oliver Prendergast crossed to where Liam was standing and picked up the candlestick. He placed it back on the shelf and then set both palms gently on Liam’s bare bottom. They were both naked in Oliver’s bedroom, in the tiny hidden flat Oliver had been renting in London for the past six months so his staff wouldn’t find out about his young male lover, Liam Singleton. Oliver moved his palms up and down Liam’s buttocks and said, “There’s no other way, my love. Discretion is extremely important right now if you’re going to return to America with me.”
Liam turned so fast his penis slapped against his thigh. He sent Oliver a glare and said, “Why can’t I just go as part of your staff? I don’t mind acting as your valet, or whatever way you want to describe me. I just want to be a man, not a woman.”
Oliver turned and walked to the window. He ran his fingers through his dark brown hair and took a deep breath. “Because that would be too conspicuous, my love. We don’t have enough time to set up a new plan. Everyone knows I never travel with more than three staff members. And what would I tell my staff? They’d suspect something immediately if I brought in a handsome young man now, and I can’t take any chances in my position. I’ve already booked a first class suite on the Titanic and I’ve told everyone I’m escorting my shy female third cousin back to America. People would ask too many questions if I changed plans now. They’d wonder what happened to my cousin.”
“This is insane,” Liam said. “No one is going to believe it. And I’ll be the one who winds up getting in trouble.”
“Trust me, it will work,” said Oliver. “I wish there were another way.”
When Liam heard the low disappointed tone in Oliver’s voice, he slowly walked to the window and leaned into his back. Although there was about a twenty year age difference, Liam had never met a man who could satisfy his needs and emotions the way Oliver did. At forty-one, Oliver was just as good as any man in his twenties or thirties; if not better…he didn’t have any inhibitions or insecurities. But more than that, no one had ever been so devoted to Liam in his entire life. So he put his arms around Oliver and kissed the back of his neck. “I’ll do this for you. But I’m not going to like it. And I’m not wearing anything dainty or frilly. I’ll wear one of those long corsets to cover my groin, but that’s it. The thought of dressing up as a woman is bad enough at any time. But to have to spend that entire time crossing the Atlantic on a ship dressed as a woman kills me.”