loveyoudivine

Goodreads Author Quote Feature; My Upcoming Anthology with Loveyoudivine; How Long is a Short Story?

When it comes to Goodreads.com I’m often very clueless about a lot of the features. One, I don’t have the time I’d like to have to really get into it. Two, I have this strong belief that Goodreads is more for readers than it is for authors. So what I do know about Goodreads has more to do with me thinking as a reader than an author. In other words, unless I’m leaving a review, rating, or comment about a book I’ve read, I let the readers talk about my books and I mind my own business. (Hint)

But sometimes I miss out on things I probably should have known about sooner. That happened last night when I discovered there’s a feature on Goodreads for “Quotes.” I honestly never knew this feature existed. For all I know, it’s brand new. I wasn’t even sure what to do with it when I first spotted it, so I did a quick search and found this article:

Is there a line in your book you are especially proud of? Did a reader quote you to yourself? Then add this snappy bit of text to the Quotes section on GoodReads. Tag it with relevant keywords and display it proudly. Readers can search for quotes by keyword or browse by topic. The quotes will also appear on your author page and on your book page (if you make sure to tag your book in the quote). And since GoodReads loves its trivia, readers can also play the “guess that quote” game.

What I still don’t know is how…or if…these quotes are rated (in terms of adult content ratings) on goodreads. I added a few quotes last night from a few of my published books but I played it safe. I read a few quotes by other authors who left things that were high in adult content, so I’m guessing you can do whatever you want? But I played it safe and left G rated comments just in case. If anyone else knows about this, feel free to comment here. I suppose I could contact GR, but I’d rather keep it simple in this case. Besides, the quotes I like the most are not of an adult nature…in spite of the often detailed sex scenes I write sometimes.

And, check out the article I’ve linked to above. If you don’t know anything about Goodreads, you will after you read it.

Upcoming Anthology with WWW.Loveyoudivine.com

Here’s another area where I tend to be clueless: I don’t keep track of my published works as much as I probably should. And my managing editor at Loveyoudivine.com recently informed me that I have enough western themed stories published with them to produce a western themed anthology. Here’s a list of the stories that will be included, along with word counts.

As for word counts in short stories, I come from old publishing, as you might notice, where short stories are really short stories. It’s only recently I’ve been writing longer short stories with word counts that go higher than 10,000. But the concept, to me, of creating a short story is knowing how to tighten it and get the point across with as few words as possible and still have the same impact. Writer’s Digest does a contest every year where writers can submit short short stories of 1,500 words or less. For me, creating the tightest work I can is what short story writing is all about…and what all writing is about…not bragging and boasting about how many words I’ve actually written to make it longer. Edit, Edit, and Edit. That’s what it’s all about. Not length.

I know a lot of you have read these stories individually. But I also know some people prefer to buy anthologies instead of reading stand alone stories. So we figured we’d put this anthology out for those who feel that way.

Missing Jackson’s Hole 5392

Kevin Loves Cowboys 6524

Cowboy Howdy 7646

Something for Saint Jude 8113

That Cowboy in the Window 5703

Cowboy Mike and Buddy Boy 5836

A Life Filled with Awesome Love 12041

                                                  51225
 

It probably won’t be out until sometime in February, and I’ll post more about release dates at the beginning of the year. I think I’m going to run a contest for this one. I haven’t done that in a long time. In fact, there are going to be a few surprises in the coming year I still can’t talk about yet.

 
 

If You Were Gay in 1959: A Life Filled with Awesome Love

First, if you were gay in 1959 the odds are you were either sipping from the gin pail or in a very good mood. And if you were attracted to the same sex you were homosexual in clinical terms or any number of offensive pejoratives on the street.

On December 21st I have a new book coming out that’s titled,”A Life Filled with Awesome Love,” that’s set in a remote western town, takes place during 1959, and has a story that revolves around a younger gay man trapped in impossible circumstances. So when I wrote “A Life Filled with Awesome Love,” I took into consideration how difficult it must have been for young men who lived in small western towns to meet other men like themselves.

From what I’ve heard from older gay men I know, one of the biggest reasons why men who were attracted to other men moved to large cities was because they didn’t dare come out of the closet in the small towns where they’d grown up. I just happened to set my story in a western town because it’s a love story with two cowboys. But I could have set it anywhere in the US, from the deep south to the smallest town in Vermont. And from what I read in e-mails from many of my most discreet readers, things haven’t changed all that much in those small towns.

Although the Internet has many issues to work out yet, one of the most freeing things about it is that it’s opened up a whole new world for people in small towns who are gay and can’t come out. I’m keeping this ambiguous because it’s not just men; it’s everyone in the isolated part LGBT community. And one of the things I find interesting about writing stories set in time periods like the 1950’s is that there is a lot more hope for LGBT people when you compare then and now. And from what I gather, a lot of these people feel connected with the books and articles they read in digital format. So those of you who claim you love the smell of print books and you’ll never give them up for e-books, take a moment to fully understand the impact e-books have had on gay people living lives where they just can’t come out of the closet. My iPhone is something I use often and love, but I know someone who thinks of his iPod as his lifeline to the world.

In any event, I could ramble on about this forever. So here’s the story description and an excerpt from “A Life Filled with Awesome Love.” I don’t think the excerpt I’m using now will be posted anywhere else. And I will post more when the book is released on December 21st. It’s not actually a Christmas story, but there is a Christmas scene at the end.

  

 
 
Description:
 
It’s 1959 and young Travis Swanson discovers that living in the same small Montana town where he grew up is suffocating. So he devises a long term plan to get out of his situation and change his circumstances, but there aren’t that many options for men like him and he has to settle for the best thing that comes along. In his case, this comes in the form of an advertisement at the back of a rodeo magazine. He answers an unusual ad for a ranch hand job in Western Montana and finds himself communicating with a cowboy named O’Dell Johnston. After a series of letters pass between them Travis decides to take the job and move into O’Dell’s house. But he soon learns that although some things are better than he expected and O’Dell is an articulate lover, some things just don’t make sense. And Travis is not sure he can live with a man who has so many secrets, won’t install central heat, and rarely ever discusses his past…a past that includes the mysterious deaths of the two young ranch hands before Travis.          
 
 
Excerpt:
 
At times, Travis felt invisible. As he watched everyone else’s life move forward, his didn’t seem to move at all. At other times, he felt their eyes on him, as if they were scrutinizing him and wondering why he seemed so different from other young men his age. He didn’t look different; he didn’t sound different. To see him at a glance, no one would have looked twice. But he knew the people closest to him were wondering about him, and he wasn’t sure what to do about that.

Whenever Travis thought about the future, he felt uneasiness deep in his gut that lasted for hours. He knew he had no future there.

His only viable option was to marry the girl who lived up the road and settle down just like his mom and dad. He’d been dating her for two years. Her name was Sally Mae Somerloon, and she worked at a local bank as a teller: a pinched-face girl with wide hips and thick ankles. It would have been the easiest thing for him to do. But he just couldn’t seem to get rid of that uneasy feeling deep in his gut every time he thought about what his life might be like twenty years from now.


So, he started looking for other ways out. Though his options were limited, he figured if he could move away, at least he’d be able to live his own life in peace and quiet without having to live up to anyone’s expectations…in a place where no one knew him. He knew the things his family wanted from him were never going to happen. He’d begun to reach a point where going out with the insufferable Somerloon girl up the road caused his heart to race in a way that left him both terrified and depressed. At times, he felt so overwhelmed, he thought he might lose his mind. But most of all, he didn’t want to wind up being that peculiar old bachelor in the small town where he’d lived his entire life.

Then, one afternoon in late August of 1959, he went to the dentist’s office and found an interesting advertisement in the classifieds of a rodeo magazine he’d read millions of times in the past. He found the ad in the help wanted section at the back of the magazine and read it aloud in a soft whisper. “Strong, young man willing to work for room, board and a small salary on a small ranch. No experience needed. Just easy to get along with and looking for privacy.” The mailing address was in western Montana, far enough from where he lived right now to start a new life on his own.

He glanced back and forth to make sure no one was watching, and then he tore the ad out of the magazine and put it in his pocket. Later that same night, he replied with a note and dropped it in the mailbox the next morning on his way to work. He kept the note brief; he mentioned he had experience as a ranch hand and that he didn’t mind privacy. At first, he didn’t expect anything from it. The only reason he’d answered the ad was because it might be a way out of the situation he was in right now. In fact, he forgot all about it the moment he dropped his letter in the mailbox, and he went right back to his normal routine.

A week later, he received a reply. When he came home from work and his mom handed it to him and asked him what it was, he shrugged and said, “Just a letter from a fella I knew at work. He moved away last year.” Then, he put the letter in his back pocket, sat down in his usual seat at the table and read it later that night when he went to bed.

That Cowboy in the Window…New Announcement Coming Soon

Before I get into a new short I’ve been working on for Loveyoudivine.com, I’d like to drop a hint that there’s going to be something new over at loveyoudivine.com very soon. I can’t talk about it now. But I will on August 3rd. With all the drama slithering around the Internet this month, it’s nice to see something positive for a change.

I don’t have an image yet for my upcoming release, THAT COWBOY IN THE WINDOW, but I do have a blurb and here’s a short excerpt. It’s something I don’t normally write about…gender-bending…but I’ve been reading John Iriving’s newest novel, which not only gets into gender-bending but also bi-sexuality and I’ve been taking it all in, so to speak. It’s interesting to see a well known mainstream novelist like Irving get into a theme like this. This story of mine, however, wasn’t influenced by Irving.

I wrote my story story a long time ago and never did anything with it. The original title was “Bananas Foster,” which I decided to change with this release because it sounded too contrived.

Burb:

This is the unusual gender-bending story of Paige living as a woman by night and a harmless effeminate man named Paul by day. Though her best friend knows the truth about her, no one else does, especially not the handsome young straight guy in the cowboy hat who lives in the apartment across the alley and likes to watch her undress every night. She’s always been able to pass without working too hard, but never felt complete as a woman. But when she finally decides to get the exaggerated breast augmentation she’s always dreamed about, her life changes in ways she never expected. Although it’s not the kind of happily-ever-after ending found in most romance stories, it is the kind of emotional happy ending in modern romance that begins on the inside where it counts the most.

Excerpt:

Before Paige found a really good set of fake boobs, people assumed she was just another flat-chested lanky woman with a nice smile. There were no obvious telltale signs. Even her hands had a small, delicate appeal most real women would have killed for.

She kept her hair long and blonde and parted dead center. It fell perfectly straight and stopped at the middle of her back. Her small frame never gave her away. Although average in height…some would have considered slightly tall for a girl…she practically lived on lettuce and carrots to maintain a small waist. But she compensated for this one minor drawback in height with small features, large blue eyes with long natural lashes, and a perfect button nose. She’d never needed hormones or surgical procedures to cross-dress and pass as a real woman; just lipstick and earrings and a cute short dress did wonders.

As a child, strangers would say isn’t she a pretty little girl…such long, silky eyelashes and glorious high cheekbones, and the sweetest smile they’d ever seen. When corrected by her frowning father, they would gasp and assume apologetic expressions with their palms pressed to their open mouths. You couldn’t blame them, they would say. It wasn’t their fault she was such a pretty little boy.

If nothing else, she deserved credit for one thing: she knew she looked like a little girl and she liked it when they thought she was a pretty one. Most little boys would have cringed and either slipped into a shell of embarrassment or a defensive rage. But not Paige…or Paul as she was called back then. Sometimes, if her father wasn’t around when they thought she was a girl, she’d even dip, curtsy, and thank them herself.

Once, when her father caught her smiling too much at a handsome young waiter in a restaurant he took her to a barber shop the next day and had all her blond baby curls cut off. It wasn’t the waiter’s fault. He just smiled back and said, “What a cute little girl. She’s gonna break a lot of hearts someday.” It wasn’t really her fault either. The waiter was cute and she would have loved to sit on his lap and stare at his beautiful lips. She was only about five years old and too young to realize there was something wrong with this.

Her hair finally grew back and she refused to ever go to that barber shop again. She even told her father she’d stab him in his sleep if he ever shaved her head again. She was lucky enough to have had a mother who stood by her side, which eventually left her father turning his back in a hapless daze, as if he realized he may as well finally face facts. Deep down, he must have known that his little Paul would never play baseball, football, or basketball. How could he not know this when on her seventh birthday her grandmother asked her, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” and she replied, “A pretty girl with lots of boyfriends.”

Her grandmother gasped and looked up at the ceiling. Her father dropped his spoon on the floor and blinked. He mother changed the subject and cut the birthday cake. Though her mother didn’t encourage her, she didn’t discourage her either.

July 13th Loveyoudivine.com Release: Something For St. Jude


For upcoming release, “Something for Saint Jude,” I wanted to post something ahead of time in case I forget. It seems that something new comes up all the time and I often wind up posting more about other things than I do my own fiction.

“Something for Saint Jude” is a short story…8,000 words…, it’s set in both Wyoming and on a cruise ship (one of those gay cruise ships), and it’s about two people from the same small town who wind up falling in love on vacation. It’s being published by Loveyoudivine.com, as are most of my other short stories. And the release date is set for July 13, 2012.

It’s a gay erotic romance with an adorable geek and a big strong cowboy. The story is there, the love is there, and so is the sex. There is one scene where the two main characters explore voyeurism that I found fascinating to write.

The cover art was created by Dawne Dominique, who has been doing most of my covers for the past five years at least. She’s also done the covers for my two self-published novels on Amazon this past year.

Here’s a blurb:

Jude Franklin lives a quiet conservative life in a small town in Wyoming. He’s head librarian, lives at home with his aging mother, and is terrified he’ll wind up like his spinster aunt…”Poor Patty Ann.” Though it’s too late for Jude to be considered a virgin, he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life alone. The trouble is the one guy in town he’s attracted to is a handsome young library patron who also happens to work on a ranch on the edge of town. Only Jude knows he can’t have him, so he makes a drastic move and books a summer vacation on one of those gay cruise ships he’s read about millions of times. Little did he know love was waiting for him in the most unusual place, and he had to travel halfway around the world to figure it out.

Here’s an excerpt:

Jude Franklin went to church services on Sunday mornings and played the violin in a small chamber group every Thursday evening. He met with his fellow birdwatchers on the third Wednesday of every month at the community college, where he parked his Dodge beneath the same oak tree in visitor parking.

Though he was on the wrong side of thirty years old, he still lived at home with his aging mother, a frail slip of a woman who spent most of her time in a Bentwood rocker knitting things no one would ever use. His dark pine bed was the same twin sleeper he’d slept in since his tenth birthday, with the same dreary beige coverlet and doomed white sheets. Every now and then he’d replace a dog-eared copy of a gay porn magazine with the newer release. He kept them hidden between old childhood comic books in a hope chest that rested at the foot of the narrow bed. He knew he needed to learn how to navigate the Internet better so he wouldn’t have to deal with magazines. It was getting harder to find them.

He worked as a librarian in a small town in Wyoming. His shirts were white button downs and his bow-ties dark solids. His slacks were either brown or gray or navy, usually a heavy wool or tweedy material, and always pressed and creased to perfection with a sharp line down the front and back. He wore either black or brown oxfords with round toes and chunky heels; at the end of his small nose fell black eyeglass frames that were thick and dated. To say he stood out in a town filled with men wearing cowboy hats and boots would have been an understatement.

But more than all this, Jude was a soaring, handsome man, with a lean swimmer’s body and a head of golden hair. And even though his slacks were as dreary as pond waters, his firm round buttocks turned more than a few heads when he walked down the street. He had the kind of perfect ass that made even straight cowboys stop and glance when no one was looking.

All this furtive attention usually passed Jude by. He knew men and women were attracted to him, but he wasn’t attracted to them. The only guy in town that made his heart beat faster didn’t even know he existed. This young guy had no idea that Jude came unhinged just standing next to him.

His name was Ricky Lorne and he came into the library on a regular basis. This handsome voracious reader of mystery novels stopped by two or three times a week, usually when Jude was working out front. He always removed his cowboy hat when he came inside. He wiped his cowboy boots on a mat at the entrance to make sure he wouldn’t track any mud inside. Though Jude always became too flustered to speak at length in Ricky’s presence, he assumed that Ricky either stopped by on his way to work, or on his way home to return or check out his books. Jude had overheard one of the young female library volunteers once mention to a girlfriend that Ricky worked as a cowboy on a ranch on the outskirts of town, and then they whispered something and giggled. Jude glared at them, glanced down at their muffin tops, and sent them to the non-fiction shelves to sort by author.