Lori Perkins, Riverdaleavebooks Article; Drag Queen Protests Russia

Lori Perkins, Riverdaleavebooks Article

Someone sent me a link today with a very nice article about Riverdaleavebooks.com, and information about the owners, Lori Perkins and Don Weise. I’ve worked with both before as editors. I’ve learned a great deal by working with them both and I never take that for granted. In fact, the main reason I wrote “Fangsters Clan of the Jersey Boys,” was because it was with Riverdaleavebooks.

It’s a nice article, with a photo of Perkins. They don’t mention this, but she’s a very nice person. And Don is adorable.

 Ms. Perkins, who has lived in Riverdale for two decades, said she snatched up space in 5676 Riverdale Ave. because it once housed Baen Books, a science fiction, fantasy and horror publishing company, and she sought to continue to use the office as a place for publishing.

After noticing that several publishing companies she admired were named after the streets in their addresses, Ms. Perkins and Mr. Weise decided to name their company Riverdale Avenue Books.
As a side note, I’ve been to Riverdale, NY and it’s one of NY’s best kept secrets. You’re only miles from downtown Manhattan and yet it’s very historical and relaxed from what I recall. (Haven’t been there in a while.)

Drag Queen Protests Russia

I’m not even sure if it’s PC to refer to a female impersonator anymore as a drag queen, which is why I don’t write the phrase in books, and never use it. However, since it’s in Huff Po I figure it must be okay to use here, and especially within the context of this very serious article. A Berlin based drag queen has literally sewn his mouth shut in protest against what Russia is doing to gays. The magnitude of this act, not to mention how this entire ordeal in Russia has sparked outrage, is now a global issue.

In wake of Russia’s recent anti-gay legislation and violence against LGBT individuals, activists have united in their own forms of protest on an international scale.
These range in magnitude from gay bars boycotting the sale of Stoli Vodka to large-scale protests of individuals coming together in the streets.

Breakout stated to Die Welt newspaper (and translated by PinkNews) that the widespread violence throughout Russia has impacted him profoundly and emotionally. “The pain I felt inside when I had to see in the media what is happening in Russia was greater than the physical pain of the needle,” he said. “My partner held the camera while I did it. But he couldn’t look.”

While watching TV news last night, I saw a clip of gay men pouring Stoli vodka down the drain in a Center City Philadelphia gay bar in protest. I’ve also received e-mails from both gay and straight people telling me to boycott anything Russian produced in protest (hit them in the money belt with the gay dollar, which is not something to ignore). And when I posted about this article written by Johnny Weir about how he thinks we should support the Olympics based on his own self-serving needs, I don’t think I’ve been that angry in a long time. In fact, I think sewing his mouth shut would be way to extreme and violent, but I wouldn’t mind seeing someone put a big piece of duct tape over his mouth.

I had to re-read that paragraph a few times just be certain I wasn’t missing something. I hope his ass doesn’t wind up in prison. Way to go, Johnny boy. It’s always best to put yourself first, be self-serving, and forget about the majority of innocent LGBT people suffering through the physical and mental injustices of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights…or lack thereof.

In any event, you can read more here. There is also a photo list of anti-gay celebrities, including Kirk Cameron from the old 1980’s sitcom fame…a show I can’t recall at this moment.  Of course the comment thread with the article is dismal.

The One Shame in "Shameless;" Lori Perkins on Feminism: We Love Jenni

Tony and I have been catching up on episodes of “Shameless,” because we missed a few while catching up for the last three weeks on Season One and Two of “Downton Abbey.” And one thing is for sure, after coming from nothing but the fantastical world of “Downton Abbey,” to watching back to back episodes of “Shameless,” is an intense experience.

Last night we watched the Gallaghers and those close to them drink to excess, do drugs, sell drugs, dig for dead bodies, and yet show the kind of love that most TV shows lack. It’s often twisted, and yet balanced with characters like Fiona who is probably one of the best examples of modern feminism around today. They even get into some of the kinkier aspects of sexual exploration. And they even topped my erotic novels with one scene where the neighbor has sex with his wife’s mother in order to have a child…while having sex with his mother-in-law in the same room with his wife. Now THAT’S not something you see on TV often. Imagine Ricky Ricardo having sex with Mrs. McGillicuddy.

In any event, I often wonder if the writers and producers plan things ahead of time. The title of the show, “Shameless,” really does cover it all. Most of the characters are shameless in almost every respect. But I found it interesting last night when I noticed that the one shame still around is being gay.

Don’t get me wrong. “Shameless” handles LGBT characters better than most TV shows. They break a lot of the stereotypes and the gay men are the kind of gay men we don’t see often on TV. And yet the shame is still there, as if looming over the gay characters just as it looms over gay men in real life. For example, in one recent episode Ian who is openly gay is fooling around with Mickey who isn’t openly gay. One thing leads to another and Mickey’s homophobic father catches Ian and Mickey together and he goes ballistic. After the father pistol whips Mickey and beats him to a bloody pulp, he then phones a female prostitute. When she arrives he tells her to fuck the gay out of his son. And we see Mickey do just that, all in order to prove to his idiot father that he’s not gay and he likes screwing women.

And if you think that kind of thing doesn’t still happen in real life today you are sadly mistaken. Ian and Mickey are two excellent examples of how some gay men have to live and survive in the world. And that’s because that same brand of shame that has been following us around for years is still there.

Lori Perkins on Feminism: We Love Jenni:

New publisher Riverdale Ave Books just released a non-fiction book about the life of Jenni Rivera.

From Amazon:

“We Love Jenni,” is a frank and revealing biography of the late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera written by The New York Times best-selling author Marc Shapiro and journalist Charles Vazquez that goes behind the scenes to tell the riveting story of the iconic Latina, who was killed last December 9th in a plane crash in Mexico.

Shapiro, author of popular biographies of celebrities such as J. K. Rowling and Justin Bieber, says the book tells the story of a woman “who never shied away from any of the huge problems she faced in life – her rough and tumble childhood, her cheating husband, her first love who in reality was a child molesting monster, her son’s indiscretion with an underage girl and so much more.

I will most likely read and review this one. I love to read bios like this because I write fiction all day and sometimes it’s nice to take a break from fiction when reading for pleasure. But I would also like to post a few comments from Lori Perkins about Rivera and feminism, followed by a few of my own and how I feel about feminism.

From Goodreads:

I came of age in the feminist era, and still live by the feminist adage, “the personal is political.” It has been my guiding mantra.

It is also the reason why I wanted to publish WE LOVE JENNI: An Unauthorized Biography of Jenni Rivera by NY Times best-selling author Marc Shapiro and Charlie Vasquez.

Jenni Rivera was an everywoman. I felt like she was my sister-in-law or my cousin through marriage. She was so real and her life, the ups and downs, was so open for all to see. It’s what made her music and her TV show so powerful.

You can read more by clicking the link above. But I wanted to post about this book because I’ve always felt close to the feminist era, too. I come from a long line of women who worked as professionals and raised families at the same time. So does Tony. And while there’s nothing wrong at all with women who choose to stay home and raise their families, we truly don’t know any who do that.

In other words, our entire lives have been surrounded by strong, independent women. Even the women I work with in publishing…and it’s mostly women…are all strong, independent businesswoman, from Holly Schmidt owner of Ravenous Romance to all of my editors with loveyoudivine.com. And that’s always been the case.

I’m making a point of this right now because of an article I read last weekend that suggests gay men (and m/m authors) bash women in m/m books. And while I suspect the blogger isn’t talking about all m/m books, the article spoke in a general sense, but I didn’t see that distinction made clearly enough, and I took offense to that as a gay author who does write m/m books. I once had a very rude, arrogant male character who treated women poorly in a book, and this character used some offensive sexist dialogue in the book. But when my publisher talked to me about it I ultimately made the decision to remove his vulgar comments so I wouldn’t offend my female readers. The publisher would have let it go to print, it wasn’t me speaking it was the character, but I made the decision to remove it. And it wasn’t something that altered the content of the book. So I take this very seriously, and I personally don’t appreciate being lumped into categories by amateur bloggers who tend to bloviate.

Agent Lori Perkins Looking For "Trunk Novel Submissions"

Who: Literary Agent Lori Perkins

OK, so I’ve been a literary agent for 25 years.

 I’ve had 8 titles on the NY Times best seller list.

What: She wrote a blog post recently about “Trunk Novels.”

Or tell the author to come up with something new, and to put this one in the trunk (thus the term “trunk novels,” which always makes me think of that scene from The Hunger).
Why: She’s interested in reading “Trunk Novels.” As stated above, trunk novels are novels that never sold, and authors put them away in the proverbial trunk.

So send me your trunk novels. Tell your agent friends to send me their trunk novels.

When: You can submit them to her agency right now. She’s actively looking for them.

Where: Here’s a link to the original post on Agent In the Middle. You can do a search for her lit agency web site. It’s not hard to find.

And who doesn’t have trunk novels? I have at least three that I can remember. In my case all three are actually in hard copy, in a file cabinet I haven’t touched in about six years. I’ve been meaning to dust them off and see if I can do anything with them. They aren’t LGBT fiction. These are mainstream novels I tried to shop and didn’t sell well over ten years ago. One, I think, deserves to remain in the trunk, but the other two are novels I’ve thought about over the years all the time.

In any event, if you have trunk novels you should check this out.

New Publisher: Riverdale Ave Books; Gay Cabaret Singer Michael Ferreri

In this ever-changing world of publishing there’s now a new publisher in New York that will be publishing LGBT books among other things, Riverdaleavebooks.com. You can get there from here, and here’s part of the who, what, where, and why…from their home page.

Riverdale Avenue Books (RAB) is at the leading edge of the changes in the publishing industry. We publish ebooks and audio books monthly under five imprints: Riverdale Pop, pop culture titles; Riverdale/Magnus Books, a joint venture with award-winning publisher Magnus Books, LGBT titles; Riverdale HSF, a horror, science fiction and fantasy line; Riverdale Truth, an erotic memoir line; and Riverdale Desire, an erotica and erotic romance imprint.

The owners are Don Weise and Lori Perkins. I’ve worked with both before and I’ve only had excellent experiences with them. Don is the former Publisher of Alyson Books, an LGBT publisher I worked with many times in the past. In fact, Alsyon was one of THE first LGBT publishers ever. He’s also worked as Senior Editor for Carroll & Graff and Cleis Press. I haven’t worked with C&G, but I have worked with, and I’m part of a new book coming out soon, with Cleis Press. Cleis is another of the first in LGBT publishing to pave the way for many LGBT authors when no one else was giving them a chance.

I’ve also worked closely with Lori Perkins as an editor. Although she’s a literary agent, my only working experiences with her have been author/publisher related. Those experiences have been excellent. Not one complaint. As an editor, Lori has a way of challenging authors and getting them to do things they normally might never have done.

An imprint of Riverdale is also going to be associated with this monthly event, below. I’m going to make a point of going to one of these myself very soon.While I’m not fond of doing book readings because of the nature of what I write, I love going to them. Especially in those little out of the way places in Manhattan.

Between the Covers is our branded erotica and erotic romance reading series held in the legendary East Village nightclub, Happy Endings, 302 Broome St, 8-10 p.m. the first Friday of every month. If you will be in NYC at the time we are holding a reading event, we would love to feature you. The reading series is open to all authors of erotica and erotic romance at all publishers. Please contact us at BetweenTheCovers@RiverdaleAveBooks.com. If you or your publisher would like to sponsor an evening, please contact Lori@RiverdaleAveBooks.com.

I think Riverdale looks like an exciting new venture. And most of all, I like the fact that the owners are experienced publishing professionals. I’m planning something new and exciting of my own in the coming year. It’s not as ambitious as Riverdale, but I’m taking my twenty years experience as an author and editor and putting it to work in a very different capacity than what I’ve done in the past. I’m still working on all the details, but I’ll talk about it very soon. I can say this: I’m more focused on quality and helping new authors get into e-publishing than anything else.

As for the Riverdale web site. It seems to be one of the cleaner, easier web sites around. I didn’t have any issues navigating to get information. And whoever designed it did a great job. I’ve also read and reviewed the first book up on the web site, Deeply Superficial, and I loved it. That book is what gay non-fiction should be all about. So based on that book, I hope to see more quality books coming from Riverdale. The one thing I didn’t see was m/m romance as a sub-genre. I saw LGBT fiction, but no m/m romance. I’m not anti-m/m romance, not by any means. I write it and I’m not one of those who talks against it. But I do think the market is saturated at this point. And I think for gay authors to survive…and be considered relevant…they are going to have to take different roads in the future. The former “Chick Lit” genre is a good example of what I’m talking about. I like that Riverdale seems to be offering gay authors something new, and there don’t seem to be any strings attached.

And now for Michael Ferreri, Gay Cabaret Singer:

I know I’ve posted before about how I’m not fond of show tunes, and I don’t always run to see cabaret shows. But this past weekend I went to a Christmas Party about three miles from my home, and the hosts hired LGBT entertainer, Michael Ferreri. I’d only heard his act in passing before this past weekend. And even I have to admit that when I had a chance to really sit down and listen to him, I was amazed at how much I enjoyed him. It’s like this new world opened up for me. It’s not the kind of cabaret you normally hear. There’s something different about it that’s hard to put into words. He’s not hokey or trite like so many others. I found Michael to be more cool New Orleans jazz mixed with cabaret…from the music he plays to the way he plays it. He’s also adorable and just as nice offstage as he is onstage. After his set, he came upstairs and sat down in the living room and spoke with a few of the remaining guests. Just the sweetest guy I’ve ever met! And he gave me a whole new outlook on cabaret.

You can check out his web site here, where I think you can order CDs (I recommend them without concern) and you can see more photos of him. I’ve posted his bio below. And he’s also on facebook.

Pianist/singer Michael Ferreri is a musician and entertainer of exceptional talent whose outstanding musicality and seemingly endless repertoire have made him a consistently popular and working performer in cabarets, clubs and concert dates. His talents have also garnered him a devoted fan base in New York, in London, and across the United States.

His debut CD, Michael Ferreri: Sweet Dreams is an ethereal collection of songs that tell a story–songs perfectly suited to Michael’s intimate phrasing and musicianship. The CD contains 12 cuts showcasing his engaging and highly personal style of performing, including “Move On,” by Stephen Sondheim; “Sweet Dreams” and “A Dream” by John Bucchino; and “Lullabye” by Billy Joel.

Michael has appeared in concert and in galas with such celebrated performers as Michael Feinstein, Andrea McArdle, Beth Fowler and Greg Edelman. Other concerts include a “Tribute to Sondheim” at Primary Stages and a benefit concert version of “Into the Woods” chaired by Stephen Sondheim. He has performed in the Musicals Unlimited revival of Pipe Dream and the acclaimed Lincoln Center production of The Happy End, produced by the Kurt Weill Foundation. Michael has also been given the unique honor of performing at an intimate New York reception for HRH Prince Philip of England.

His solo cabaret engagements have been enthusiastically received, including a sold-out cabaret show with Meg Flather at one of New York’s cabaret epicenters, Don’t Tell Mama. His engaging playing and ability to establish immediate rapport with his audience have made him one of the most popular musicians at such New York landmarks as One if by Land, Two if by Sea and Tavern on the Green and at the clubs Eighty-Eights and The Townhouse.

A New York resident since 1986, Michael is originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

The photo above of Michael is from my own collection, and if you’d like to share it feel free. I’m not that grand that I’m going to sue anyone for sharing anything I took with an iPhone. And I swear, I won’t call you a “sook” or a plagiarist…SMILE.

New Book I’m In: "Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey" Edited by Lori Perkins…

When I was asked to participate in the book “Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey” edited by Lori Perkins, I jumped at the opportunity to do it. I had just finished releasing “Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street,” and I’d done a great deal of research about BDSM erotic romance.

The Fifty Shades erotic romance series by E.L. James inspired me in more ways than one. First, because I’d never done a full length novel that included BDSM until I read FSoG, and second, because I’ve been stunned by the reactions to FSoG since I discovered it last winter through a scathing book review. I posted about this last winter, and the scathing review is what actually promoted me to buy the book.

And I liked it. I posted about that here before “Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey,” was even a concept.

But after doing my research for my own book with BDSM, I grew to understand why there were so many scathing reviews and why so many who know the BDSM market so well didn’t like FSoG. It took me a while, but I “got” it. I still love the book, but now I understand why some didn’t. And I believe the reasons why I loved FSoG are the same reasons why the mainstream fell in love with it and turned it into such a huge book. I tried to make this my main point in the essay I wrote for FWoFSoG.

I think “Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey” is going to be a fascinating book where we get opinions from all sides about FSoG. Here’s a link to an Amazon page where it can be pre-ordered, and below is the product information taken from that page. I will post a cover image and more when I get more details.

Can’t get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey?

Fifty Shades of Grey has gone from underground e-book sensation to runaway mainstream bestseller—it’s the book everyone is talking about.

Now, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey extends the conversation women (and men!) are having across the country. The perfect panel of insiders—from the editor who first “discovered” Fifty Shades of Grey, to BDSM experts, to erotic fiction authors, romance authors, and a whole lot more—takes you deeper into the trilogy that has captured the imaginations of so many.

From the books’ sexual politics and its fanfiction origins to what sets it apart from other erotic fiction and romance (and what doesn’t), everything you ever wanted to know about Fifty Shades of Grey is right here.

Whether you loved Fifty Shades of Grey, or just want to know why everyone else does, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey is the book for you!


Heather Graham
Sylvia Day
Andrew Shaffer
M.J. Rose
Sinnamon Love
Judith Regan
Stacy Agdern
Laura Antoniou
Jennifer Armintrout
Tish Beaty
Mala Bhattacharjee
Rachel Kramer Bussel
M. Christian
Suzan Colón
Joy Daniels
Sherri Donovan
Angela Edwards
Melissa Febos
Lucy Felthouse
Ryan Field
Selina Fire
Megan Frampton
Sarah Frantz
Louise Fury
Lois Gresh
Catherine Hiller
Marci Hirsch
Dr. Hilda Hutcherson
Debra Hyde
Anne Jamison
D.L. King
Dr. Logan Levkoff
Arielle Loren
Sassafras Lowry
Rachel Kenley
Pamela Madsen
ChrisMarks and Lia Leto
Master R
Dr. Katherine Ramsland
Tiffany Reisz
Katharine Sands
Jennifer Sanzo
Rakesh Satyal
Marc Shapiro
Lyss Stern
Cecilia Tan
Hope Tarr
Susan Wright
Editor X

Changes At Ravenous Romance…

I literally just found out that Lori Perkins, editorial director at Ravenous Romance, resigned last Friday. You can read more in an announcement she made on her blog, here.

It was a very busy Monday. I’ve had deadlines with one publisher and I’ve been multi-tasking with issues at Amazon. I didn’t have time to read my e-mails until about an hour ago, which is something I rarely put off all day.

I have had a lot of titles published with Ravenous in the past four years and I’ve enjoyed working with Lori. She’s not only a professional in every sense of the word, she’s also a very nice, decent human being. I met Lori through blogging. I started to follow her blog about six years ago and I enjoyed her posts about publishing. To say I was stunned to hear this news would be an understatement. And I’ll miss her. Lori challenged me in ways no one else ever did.

And I’d like to wish Lori the very best. I’ll miss working with her. If you go back to some of my posts from four years ago you’ll see where I described how hard everyone involved with RR worked in the very beginning: authors, editors, copyeditors, and all staff at RR. It was a very intense…and challenging…time for me. I don’t think I ever posted about this before. I had slowed down a year before that to having only about four or five things published that year because Tony had been hospitalized, near death, in a coma for three months, in the summer of 2007. There is a doctor in Doylestown Hospital that calls Tony his, “Miracle.” Tony came home from the hospital weighing 99 pounds. He was still recuperating when I was approached about writing for Ravenous Romance. The timing was perfect; I was ready to jump back in full time after so many intense months of dealing with doctors and hospitals. I plunged into the work and didn’t stop for a break for almost a year.

I also received an e-mail from Ravenous Romance today letting me know that they are moving forward with a few exciting plans for the future. Part of being in publishing is the ability to constantly change and move forward. As an author I’ve had to do this many times and I will continue to do it. I don’t know any details about what Ravenous has planned for the future, but I’m very excited to hear what they will be. I have a soft spot in my heart for Ravenous Romance and I always will for many reasons. I’m very fond of Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn, who are still in charge at Ravenous. And they know they have my full support.

Is It "Mommy Porn?"

I’ve posted about the popular book Fifty Shades of Grey a few times. My interest in the book is mostly geared toward the fact that an erotic romance became popular in the mainstream. It’s not something I would normally read. But I have to say I’ve enjoyed reading it in spite of this.

Over the weekend I read a few posts about FSoG with regard to romance, erotic romance, porn, and women. One by Lori Perkins, and another by Sarah Wendel. The mainstream, as usual, came up with the ridiculous term “Mommy Porn,” and people are commenting about this everywhere. These aren’t the only things I’ve read. They just happen to be the two I found most interesting.

There’s also an interesting post here, on the Dystel & Goderich blog, which discusses books like FSoG going mainstream and whether or not the publishing industry has overlooked the fact that digital books offer readers a certain amount of discretion that print books never did. In other words, no one knows what someone is reading on an e-reader, which makes it safe to read erotic romance anywhere. I’ve posted about this more than once. Erotic romance is, and always has been, a secret pleasure for most people, and this includes men, and it’s always been about discretion.

But I’m on record about never commenting about women’s issues because I’m a man. I like reading about them and learning about them because many of my own readers are women. But for me to comment on how a woman feels about an issue would be as bad as a woman commenting on how I should feel about issues as a gay man. I don’t like it, and I don’t think women would like it very much if I started talking about women’s issues.

But I do think the posts that I’ve linked to are interesting in the sense that they give insight into something that seems to have everyone talking. The buzz about FSoG covers a lot of territory, from fanfic (where this book allegedly originated) to women reading erotic romance. And I walked away from each post learning something I didn’t know before.