Category: m/m romance

Scientology Documentary and Travolta As Gay; Tab Hunter’s Fear of Being Outed; Books and Cultural Appropriation of People of Color

Scientology Documentary and Travolta As Gay

Maybe I’m being far too relaxed about John Travolta, but I don’t find the way “they” keep hounding him about being gay to be in the best interests of anyone. I’ve posted differently about other actors and how they react when people refer to them as gay, but in Travolta’s case I think it’s different because I have never once seen him insult the LGBT community, I’ve never seen him gay bait, and I’ve never seen him do anything offensive like James Franco. He’s harmless. So if he is gay, I’m willing to wait for him to come out on his own terms. If he’s not gay, then fine with me.

I really don’t think coming out is ever black and white, and in some cases forcing the issue only makes it worse.  As a gay man who remembers what it was like to be in the closet it would be highly disingenuous of me to tell any other man (or woman) what he should do. That, I think, would make me a douche. 

In any event, there’s a new Scientology documentary that is supposedly going to out Travolta yet again. Why they would do this is beyond my comprehension, but it is what it is and we all know there are people who will do anything to make a buck.

The film, based on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 book of the same name, details Travolta’s involvement in the church dating back to the early part of his acting career. Back then, he was a halfhearted supporter at best. Why, then, is he now one of Scientology’s most outspoke zealots?

The film strongly suggests that the church is essentially blackmailing him by threatening to out him if he ever betrays them.

The rest is here. I know nothing about Scientology and don’t care to know more, so I can’t comment.

Tab Hunter’s Fear of Being Outed

In a case not unlike John Travolta’s, actor Tab Hunter is talking about how he feared being outed during his career.

There’s a documentary about Hunter, too:

However, Hunter had a secret he needed to keep hidden: he was gay. In the new documentary Tab Hunter Confidential (adapted from the actor’s 2005 memoir), the now 83-year-old shares his fear of being outed during his hey day, his love affair with Anthony Perkins and the incredible story of how he endured to become a happy, healthy survivor of Hollywood’s roller coaster. 

The film will premiere March 15 at the SXSW film festival in Austin, Texas.

You can check more of that out here.   

Unfortunately, this hasn’t changed and there are still closeted gay actors and actresses living in fear they will be outed.

We still have a long way to go.

Books and Cultural Appropriation of People of Color

In an unrelated subject, I ran across this blog post the other day and it reminded me of the many, many discussions I’ve read in the m/m romance community about straight women writing and being in control of the entire sub-genre of m/m romance. I’m not getting into that, and I’ve gone on record when it comes to my feelings about writers being able to write whatever they want as long as they do it well. There are, indeed and action, many straight women writing good m/m romance.

In this case, the topic is about straight white people writing about people of color and I thought some of the blogger’s comment were interesting and worthy of sharing. Janet Reid, the blogger, is a long time blogging literary agent and she tends to get right to the point on topics like this.

A writer queried Reid about writing something with characters that are people of color and this part of the reply stood out the most for me.

Appropriation is a loaded word for writers, whose job it is to steal everything they can and write about it. When does it cross the line? Everyone is going to have a different view on this, but the thing to pay attention to are people in that culture.

I didn’t understand that The Help wasn’t a fun book until I read the comments about it written by Roxane Gay. While it’s not about appropriating culture, it does seem to say that stories are given a wider audience only when those in power agree to tell them.

And there you have it… “a wider audience only when those in power agree to tell them.” If I have to explain that it’s not even worth the effort. But I will say this. As a gay writer I don’t come from a place of privilege or power and it’s ten times harder for me to get the same results someone with privilege and power (straight and white) can get…writing in any genre in publishing. I don’t even get that power on Twitter and I censor everything I tweet for fear of losing followers. And if you’re too gay, you lose them.

It’s NOT about whether or not someone coming from a place of privilege can write about another culture well. That’s not the point. The point is when people of privilege get more advantages than people in the culture they are writing about, simply because they have that power. It’s not actually cultural appropriation, but it definitely is a fact of life for all minorities, including gays.

Check out the link to Roxane Gay’s comments, too.

You can read more here. 

There are 65 excellent comments that make fascinating discussion from some of the brightest writers I’ve seen in a long time, all very civil.

The Rainbow Detective Agency Book 1


Brokeback Mountain Author Pissed Off; Bubble Butts; Don Lemon Worst Journalist List 2014

Brokeback Mountain Author Pissed Off

The author of Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx, is making a few strong statements about how her short story was received and how it’s been interpreted in various ways over the years. The story, which became a huge bestseller and a ground-breaking feature film that many claim spawned the m/m romance genre, has never been without controversy. And that controversy has not always come in the form of traditional homophobia. I remember back when it was released and I was interviewing and reviewing gay male bloggers for many gay men weren’t thrilled with the story or the film.They found fundamental flaws in the storyline, but I’m not getting into that right now. I thought it was a nice story, in a general sense.

In any event, this is what Proulx said, in part:

So many people have completely misunderstood the story. I think it’s important to leave spaces in a story for readers to fill in from their own experience, but unfortunately the audience that Brokeback reached most strongly have powerful fantasy lives. And one of the reasons we keep the gates locked here is that a lot of men have decided that the story should have had a happy ending. They can’t bear the way it ends — they just can’t stand it. So they rewrite the story, including all kinds of boyfriends and new lovers and so forth after Jack is killed. And it just drives me wild.

I really don’t know what she’s talking about when she says “men” are doing this. But I may have missed that. My only comment is that after writing and getting published for many years in the concentrated genre of gay fiction I’ve found more than a few things interesting in the past ten years, since BM became so popular. One of them is that I still can’t get over how many people coming from a place of privilege can’t wait to tell gay writers how to do “it.” Another thing is how little they really know about gay men.

But I really don’t want to get off track here. I’ve done parodies of mainstream classic stories with gay characters, like An Officer and His Gentleman and Pretty Man. But frankly, the one story I always thought was off limits as a parody in this case was Brokeback Mountain. I wouldn’t parody a gay story…unless I were to do it with straight characters.  And I think I know exactly what Proulx is talking about this time. I just wish she’d been more specific in her rant. 

You can read the rest here.  

I highly suggest reading the rest of this in full. I really don’t have any strong comments on this one. I actually find it interesting when readers take my books and stories and reinterpret them in various ways. I don’t mind it in the least.

Bubble Butts

This is all about the sexy photo column at I’ve been following it all year and I love some of the things they’ve done…especially about breaking body image stereotypes. I follow a pop star on social media and he posts some of the hottest photos online. But most are photo shopped. When he posts a real photo of himself, even though I think it’s hotter than the photo shopped pics, you’d be amazed at how many will criticize him. He’s absolutely adorable, yet they can’t wait to point out his flaws.   

This year, Queerty launched a new photos column, Homo Erotica, that highlighted various sexual styles and looks while celebrating sexy men of all sorts. Over the past 12 months, we’ve covered foot fetishes to armpit fetishes, hairy older hunks to twinks, with a few bubble butts and beer bellies thrown in for good measure. It’s been an interesting year, and we’re looking forward to bringing you even more homo horseplay in 2015.

You can check out the pics here. I think the cute guy with the belly is adorable.

Don Lemon Worst Journalist List 2014

I think most readers know I usually support everything LGBT. But I don’t think it’s wise to blindly support anyone just because he or she is LGBT, especially when an openly gay journalist like Don Lemon makes ridiculous comments about women and rape. Sexual orientation doesn’t give anyone a free pass to be arrogant or obnoxious. Dumb I can overlook. But I find it hard to believe anyone can reach the point of CNN anchor and be stupid. 

The worst journalist list was created by Columbia Journalism Review and those on the list are considered to have made the most “cringe-worthy” remarks during the year. 

David Uberti, the Review’s fellow wrote in a post why Lemon deserves to be ranked along with other missteps in journalism this year. 

‘As one of the most recognizable anchors on CNN, Don Lemon has helped lead the cable network’s coverage of the biggest stories of the year. Live television is exceedingly difficult to produce, of course, but Lemon’s gaffes this year offer a case study in how to choose words wisely — or not.’

 Uberti highlighted several controversial comments made by Lemon including telling an alleged rape victim of Bill Cosby, ‘You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you don’t want to do it… Meaning the use of teeth, right?’ 

The anchor also pondered whether Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was swallowed by a black hole.

You can read the rest here. It gives us all hope for the future journalists coming our way. At least they nailed this one. It’s also one reason why I refuse to even watch CNN anymore.

Chase of a Dream PG-Rated Version

Women Writing Gay Romance, Again; Michael C. Hall on Gayface Roles; Oprah and Michael Sam; Virgin Gay Hook Up Stories

Women Writing Gay Romance, Again

When I say I’m often smacked in the face daily as a gay man with something homophobic, I don’t exaggerate. Last night on Twitter I read a tweet by a straight male actor who has made his money and built his fandom playing a gay role on a popular TV series. We, as gay people, gave that to him without asking for anything in return. Yet last night he posted one of the most homophobic things I’ve ever read, promoting an age old gay stereotype, without even thinking twice about it. I expected better from him, but I’m not shocked either. I’ve seen it before. I’m not giving out names; I didn’t comment on the tweet. But many other gay men did. Whether or not this straight male actor got the message is anyone’s guess. My guess is that he’s absolutely clueless, sadly. 

When I read his tweet my first thought was, Wow. My second thought was at least I don’t have to deal with this in m/m romance or gay romance as a writer. I live in a much more open world. And then I went to my facebook inbox and found a private message that said that I’d been the topic of conversation over the weekend and there’s a straight woman author out there who thinks I’m not supporting women who write gay romance. I’m not giving out names or links here because I wasn’t there and I’m not sure how my name came up. All I know is that it was a “lively” conversation, and she’s mistaken about how I feel about women writing gay (or) m/m romance. So I figured I would once again try to clarify that here on the blog.

This woman author clearly hasn’t been following me or reading any of my blog posts over the years. I’m on record supporting, blogging about, and even reviewing many straight women who write gay romance. I even spent eight months of my life working part time on an anthology titled, The Women Who Love To Love Gay Romance. Here’s just one post I wrote a while back on the subject. In that post I went after someone who was criticizing women who read m/m romance. Now if I were against women reading or writing gay romance or m/m romance would I have written this:

It’s called The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance and you can purchase it here for .99. Or, even better, you can find it here at ARe for free. That should tell you all you need to know, or at least it’s a good start because these stories come from the heart of the women who read M/M romance. And although there is sex, that’s NOT what it’s all about.

That’s not my only post on the topic, where I openly support women writing and reading m/m-gay romance. I posted this.    This link will lead you to a string of posts I did on the topic I love sharing. And this link is one I titled, “In Support of All the Women Writing M/M Fiction,” because I really wanted to make my point clear that time. Here’s an excerpt:

To be honest, when I first heard that so many straight women were writing (and reading) m/m romances, I was a little surprised. I’ve been writing lgbt fiction for almost twenty years and it just never occurred to me that straight women would be interested in writing gay romances. But then I read a few of their books and I liked what I was reading. G. A. Hauser dives right into her books with the kind of energy I look for in fiction. And the sweetest love story I read all year was written by a new author, Michele Montgomery.

Personally, I’ve been extremely annoyed with some of the things I’ve seen and read about straight women (or anyone who isn’t gay) writing m/m fiction, and I wanted to make it clear that I have always supported them, and will continue to support them. After all, as a gay man I’ve been fighting for equal rights all my life, and I’m certainly not going to discriminate against anyone else.

Now if I were against women writing gay or m/m romance would I have posted all that so long ago? That post dates back to August 2010.

I even work with women…for the most part. My publishers, editors, and cover artists are all women. I like to think they can all back me on this. I’ve recently made a point of supporting feminists because I don’t think we (gay men) do enough of that. So I just don’t get why this woman author would make those kinds of comments about me. It doesn’t make sense.

But just to make my point even clearer, last spring a gay man wrote a scathing piece about women writing gay-m/m romance and he slammed one of the most popular publishers who release m/m books. I don’t work with that publisher, but I found it very shabby and I posted briefly about it here on the blog. I don’t have a link to that one because the gay man read my post and he went after me in such a vituperative way that he actually went to goodreads and slammed me with one star ratings for books I know he didn’t even read. Once again, I’m not mentioning names because I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with someone who does things like that and I feel sorry for them. I took my post about him down because I didn’t want to call attention to him or to the vicious way he’d attacked me. In fact, I didn’t even know about how he reacted until October…months after it had happened. Which shows you how often I go to goodreads. My summer was spent in Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York with my mom who was diagnosed with bile duct cancer last January.

I will admit that I’m not fond of some cultural appropriation I see happening in discussions about gay fiction in a general sense, and about gay men. I’m not fond of the way some authors are constantly gaming to get attention. But that’s not about women writing gay or m/m romance. That’s a completely different topic and it has nothing to do with women writing gay-m/m romance. And the only reason I’m posting this now is because I’m going to use this as my “go-to” post in the future the next time someone brings up my name and makes allegations that are completely false. And if you see my name come up and I’m not there, take it all with a grain of proverbial salt. I’m either being misquoted, or someone’s having a little vicious fun at my expense.

Side note: I think it’s also interesting to point out that I’ve been the subject of many ridiculous rumors in the past ten years. One made claims I’m really a woman writing with a gay man’s pen name. Another said I was part of a group of frat guys writing gay erotica. And the best one so far claimed I’m an alien from another planet. I’m not joking. It comes with the territory, and most are amusing. But it’s important to clarify sometimes, too.

Michael C. Hall on Gayface Roles

Playing gayface is nothing new in Hollywood, and it’s been done since they started to introduce gay characters in films and TV shows. Mark Ruffalo blew me away when he starred in The Normal Heart. He was brilliant.

Michael C. Hall plays gay roles and he does it very well. And you never see him making stupid comments on twitter or other social media. He claims he’s drawn to those roles because ‘There is something about people, for one reason or the other, who are marginalized by their circumstance that is compelling to me’

I often wonder if Hall feels the need to explain himself like so many of us do these days.

In any event, you can read more here.  

Oprah and Michael Sam

Talk about marginalization due to circumstances and it’s hard to find a better example of anyone in the US than Michael Sam. That man is my hero just for that reason alone. He’s African American, openly gay, trying to break out in a straight male dominated world, and fighting for his survival every minute of his life. I face discrimination daily as a gay men in the world, and two or three times daily in publishing as an author; Sam faces it three times more so because of his circumstances. If that’s not difficult to do, I don’t know what is. And I’m glad Oprah’s doing this interview with him.

Now teamless, Sam will sit down with Winfrey for an in-depth interview with OWN after the airing of the documentary about the man who was one of the top defensive players in the nation while playing for the University of Missouri. 

According to OWN, the documentary follows Sam as he enters the world of professional football and vies for a spot on an NFL team.Cameras get up close and personal as he openly discusses a childhood fraught with tragedy and poverty, as well as his emotional decision to come out as a gay man in the world of pro sports. 

The documentary also captures the moment when Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, the intense media scrutiny that immediately followed, and his struggle to stay focused despite the pressure and chaos.

You can read more here. I’m going to follow up on this as I see it come in. I’m starting to think a worthy crowdfunding project to get underway might be to help Michael Sam raise enough money to buy his own damn football team. I’d contribute to that any day.

Virgin Gay Hook Up Stories

Here’s an interesting piece where 15 gay guys discuss their first hook up stories. It’s done in a series of photos with captions. I think that’s what they’re called. The kind you see on Facebook with Grumpy Cat. It’s not all what you’d expect.

In any event, here’s one:

“I’m ashamed to admit my first gay experience was at a gas station glory hole.”

You can see the rest here. There isn’t one I can dispute. In fact, I have yet to hear the perfect story of a gay man who waited to have sex for the first time on his wedding night.

For me, unfortunately, it wasn’t a dream come true. It was the backseat of a Mercedes in the parking lot of a gay club. At least it wasn’t a mini van or a pick up truck. And I survived 🙂

Chase of a Christmas Dream

Gay Prides; M/M Rom Kerfuffle; Will Young Homphobia; Chase of a Lifetime by Ryan Field

Gay Prides

Even though June is winding down, gay pride parades are still in full swing. This AOL article mentions a sort of Gay Pride in Singapore, with a hugely colorful photo. This one in particular draws thousands of gay rights activists, which in turn has Christian activists asking for a ban on the event.

Previous Pink Dot rallies have been held without much opposition. But as they grew in numbers from less than 3,000 people when the first event was held in 2009 to more than 20,000 last year, so did their disapproval. Organizers said a record 26,000 people showed up Saturday.

26,000 is a lot of people and more support than ever before. This is interesting because the March for Marriage…an anti-gay march…on Washington recently garnered a handful of people compared to most gay pride events.

You can read more here. The article goes on to discuss more opposition. It’s the same old tired argument that gays are trying to persuade people, when in reality all gays are trying to do is get equal rights. If we had them were wouldn’t NEED gay pride events like this.

I also find it interesting that this article came from a mainstream source, not a gay news publication. I always support gay news first, however, I like seeing these things make mainstream publications.

M/M Rom Kerfuffle

I don’t know how else to title this part of the post. I didn’t want to use the title “Women Who Write M/M Romance” because I think that’s insulting at this point…to women writers and the genre. So I’m keeping it simple. And there was a bit of a kerfuffle recently on a blog where a few fairly well known authors were interviewed about why they like to write M/M Romance. As far as I can tell, the post is only a fraction of the full interview, with short quotes.

Evidently, the short quotes posted from these M/M Romance authors didn’t resonate well (for lack of a better way to phrase that) with some people and the comment thread expanded into a lengthy discussion that covered several interesting topics.

I interviewed three groups of m/m romance authors at the Romantic Times convention in May, asking the authors primarily the same questions. I let the discussions go in any direction the authors wanted with the idea that the mix of authors would put a different spin and focus on the topic.

One author said this:

Amy began by saying that “love is redemptive” and if any group needs the redemptive qualities of love, it’s gay men.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t argue with that comment. I did, however, find some of the others questionable.

However, I tend to look at these things from a blogger’s POV. And as a blogger who started out ten years ago interviewing gay bloggers for bestgayblogs, one of my goals was to make sure the interviews had a higher quality/integrity of sorts. I wasn’t actually protecting the bloggers I was interviewing, but if I thought they said something that might be questionable I usually asked them to rethink their comments before I published the interview. If they saw nothing wrong with what they said, I published it. I never censored or edited quotes, but I did feel a certain responsibility to the people I was interviewing. Maybe I was too kind.

In any event, you can read more here. As I said, the comment thread is interesting because the discussion gets into a lot of topics I think most writers care about while writing fiction, especially these days. My only other comment is that sometimes I think we should focus more on entertaining and telling stories than analyzing everything social or political to the last detail. And, if all authors and all fiction went without a little controversy things would be about as interesting as an afternoon with a sociology professor. Some day I’ll post my thoughts on THAT topic, and how I once had to suffer through the fresh hells of the worst sociology course in the history of higher education. And, the most mundane professor to ever open her big, boring sociological mouth (smile).

Will Young Homophobia

There aren’t many details about this one, but singer UK Will Young was allegedly the victim of some kind of homophobia on the day London Gay Pride begins.

Would you believe on the day of Gay Pride I have been the victim of homophobia. I am SO mad. #pride2014,’ tweeted the singer.

His followers ran to support him with more tweets.

Frankly, we’re all victims of homophobia in one way or another almost daily. Think Theresa Santai-Gaffney of the small town Pennsylvania Clerk fame who recently tried to appeal gay marriage by going over the Republican Governor’s head. Oh yes, good old St. Theresa of the Santai-Gaffney has been promoting homophobia by denying gays equal rights with her son-in-law, Hank J. Clarke, all week. She recently censored her facebook page with a lengthy message about how much vitriol she’s received. Well, forgive me for not feeling sorry for her. For every single action there is a reaction. And when you try to deprive people of their basic civil rights you deserve everything you get and more.

There’s more here about Will Young.

Chase of a Lifetime
By Ryan Field

FREEBIE: Small Town Romance Writer; Pope Gay Marriage; Gays Can’t Love

Freebie: Small Town Romance Writer

I have two releases scheduled to come out within the next couple of months. One is a self-pubbed novel in the Chase of a Lifetime series titled, Chase of a Holy Ghost. And the other is a 114,000 word novel in the bad boy billionaire series, Small Town Romance Writer. A novel with 114,000 words is long even for romance, but it couldn’t be helped this time. Each word is important to the storyline, and it has been edited down from 150,000 words, which wasn’t simple to do. I could have made it two books, but I hate doing cliff-hangers. And I think my readers…or at least I hope…will appreciate getting a longer novel this time for the same price. It’s really like getting two books for one, and this one is probably one of the most emotional stories I’ve ever done.

Here’s the blurb:


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, 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 LGBT presses. 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’s dubbed 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.

Years after that, 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.

This novel is more like an epic or a saga in the sense that it covers the span of a half a lifetime. Most romances I write cover a shorter period of time. So I think that made the book longer, too. I will continue to post more as we get closer to a release date. The Excerpt is below.

Pope Gay Marriage

In this interesting piece it says that Pope Francis has called a meeting to allegedly discuss gay marriage. From what I gather it’s more like a discussion on family issues, including divorce and contraception.

‘It is telling the pope and the Vatican what they already know. But it’s what the Vatican in the past has not wanted to hear,’ author John Thavis told the Los Angeles Times.

 ‘It’s strategic, but it’s also a genuine effort to find out what the voice of the church really is on this. It’s very much Pope Francis who wants less of a top-down model — the bishops preaching the rules and doctrine down to the faithful — and more of a dialogue.’

It should be interesting to follow up on this in the fall.

You can read more here.

Gays Can’t Love

I’m sure my m/m romance readers will get a huge kick out of this link, especially since m/m romance is geared all around LOVE. There’s a retired Greek business tycoon, Demetri Marchessini, who is claiming that gays are not capable of love. But that’s not all. Among other things that involve racism and some of the worst aspects of rape culture, he thinks married women can’t get raped. The arrogant piece of moose shit is also a UKIP donor. Sorry for that moose shit remark. Sometimes it can’t be helped.

The sixth largest individual donor to the UK Independence Party was interviewed on television recently, where he said gay people are only capable of lust.

[There is] no such thing as fidelity in their relationships,’ Marchessini said on Channel 4 News. ‘They just all go out looking for action. That’s the way it is.’

I urge you to read this because he goes on with more comments about women. Check out the comment thread, too.

Excerpt Small Town Romance Writer


            It was clear they were both bored waiting for Hank to arrive and they needed to kill time. But when Travis saw them fooling around that way, completely nude, his heart started to race and he had trouble breathing. Mike was stocky and fair, with wide muscular legs, a thick neck, and a penis that resembled Travis’s can of hair product. Chuck wasn’t as muscular or stocky, but he had sandy brown hair, long legs that bowed at the knee, and a sack of balls that Travis could have hung from for days. When they both started messing around in front of Travis, he tried to look up at the ceiling and concentrate on awful, hideous images, but his eyes couldn’t help darting to the way their endowments were flopping around while they played. And when Travis glanced down and tried to think about more horrible things, it was even worse. Their large feet and their hairy ankles drove him into such a state of frenzy he felt like ripping off his sweats, falling to the floor, and sucking their toes. He vowed then and there he would go out and have sex as soon as this modeling job was over.

           Oh, Ethan was right once again. Travis had given up sex for too long. It wasn’t natural for a single ay man to go without as long as he had. He hadn’t felt this way since the first time he’d entered a gay bar when he was in college and saw all those good looking gay men for the taking. The things Travis wanted to do to those four models even made him cringe. As Mike and Chuck continued to shove each other around, he imagined himself on his knees holding Chuck in his hand while he sucked Mike. He wanted to lick them and chew them until his tongue had explored every last inch of their bodies. When he thought about the magnitude of burying his face in their arm pits, he had to hold on to the bench so he wouldn’t get dizzy. Their deep throaty voices made his own penis swell so much he had to uncross his legs and clamp his knees together. The strong male scent they were giving off made the lips of Travis’s anus twitch in a way that would have made him laugh and roll his eyes if he’d read it in one of Ethan’s dirty books. As a writer who also reviewed books, he’d learned when to laugh and when to criticize.

            By the time Hank finally did arrive, Travis was so worked up he wanted to jump all of them, including the skinny photographer named Fred. But when Hank set a box on the table next to the photographer and he reached inside to pull out a tiny blue piece of cloth with string attached to each side, Travis gaped at him and said, “What’s that?”

            “Isn’t it divine,” Hank said, as he stretched the blue strings apart. “It’s our newest line of undies. It’s called, Brunch at Tiffany’s because it’s all made out of fabric in a shade that’s so close to the baby blue color of the infamous Tiffany’s bags. Don’t you just love it?”
            Travis’s erection subsided immediately. He stood up, crossed to the table, and glanced down at the thong Hank was holding. It was nothing more than a blue pouch with strings. And there was a large, white fake pearl where the two strings met at the front of the pouch. “Isn’t that awfully skimpy,” Travis said, for lack of a better way to phrase it.

            That week during the photo shoot Travis had worn boxer shorts, boxer briefs, plain briefs, and bikini briefs. He’d also worn square cut briefs, briefs with built-in cock rings, and briefs that were cinched in the back to make his ass round out more. On top of all this, he’d worn jocks traps, thongs, and underwear made of fabric so sheer he could have put his fingers through it. The other models had worn similar things, too, and no one had felt self-conscious about it. But this little blue piece of fabric that was only connected to two thin strings was not something Travis had expected. He wasn’t even certain he could pack his dick and balls into something so small.

            Hank put the blue stringed thong back into the box and he handed the box to Travis with a great big smile. “Go over and put on the blue body suit first. I think we’ll start with the least revealing piece and go from there. In this last shoot, you’ll be the only one wearing the underwear. The focus is all on you this time.”

            There was nothing Travis could have done about it by then. He’d signed a contract and he was obligated to finish the shoot. And, he didn’t want to be like one of those models who behaved badly by complaining all the time. So while Hank told the other four models to gather around him so he could tell them what to wear, Travis went to the far end of the room, set the box on the bench, and started to remove his clothes. At least he wasn’t aroused anymore. Now all he could think about was what his snob literary friends would say when they saw him in the catalogue wearing nothing but a pale blue piece of fabric with a big white pearl above his dick.

            As the day wore on, there were issues with the photographer, issues with the lighting, and Hank had to take a phone call that wound up lasting almost an hour. Each time they shot someone wearing something different, it took longer than usual for some reason because Hank was obsessed about making it look natural. He kept complaining he couldn’t get the right light because they were indoors as opposed to out on the beach where they’d been shooting all week. One shot with Travis in a light blue bikini took so long poor Chuck fell asleep on one of the locker room benches.

            Travis saved the string thong for last, because he kept hoping Hank would forget all about it and wrap up the session. As it was, they wound up working well into sunset that evening and they only had the house that one last day. It wasn’t as though they could finish in the morning. This was it. So when Hank told Travis to go put on the thong, Travis went back to the bench and followed his order.

            While Travis removed a pair of light blue box cut briefs, he overheard Hank talking to the other four models in the background and he almost tipped sideways. Hank said, “Now I want you guys to put on these blue football pants and nothing else. We’re marketing them as workout pants, but that could be debated.” He laughed and starting tossing the blue football pants to the guys. Then Hank said, “And I want this last shoot to be fun and way over the top. I want you to all have fun, with a homoerotic appeal, if you get my drift. Does anyone have an issue with that? I want you all to push this to the limit and make it as sexy as hell, as if you can’t get enough of Travis in the light blue thong.”

            Travis glanced over at them to see how the guys were reacting to the homoerotic comment. They exchanged a few glances and Skip said, “It’s cool. What do you want us to do?”
            “Just have fun with Travis,” Hank said. “Lift him up when I tell you to lift him, toss him around in a playful way, and treat him as if he belongs to all of you. Objectify him and own him…but always make it look playful. I’m going for a suggestive look here, without actually doing anything wrong.”

            When Travis heard that comment, he glanced down at the floor and pretended he hadn’t heard a thing. He had a feeling they were all looking in his direction and he didn’t want to make eye contact with them. Travis knew Casual Manwasn’t a gay catalogue and it was marketed to all men, but he also knew there had always been homoerotic undertones in some issues that had always been harmless. This didn’t bother or frighten Travis because he’d been openly gay since he’d been in undergrad school. But when he thought about those four young straight college football players lifting him up and tossing him around with their big strong hands, he wasn’t sure how much longer he could control his urges. And when he put on the Tiffany blue string thong and packed his dick into the tiny pouch and he saw the big pearl, he felt so stimulated at that moment he had to bite the inside of his mouth to keep his erection under control.

Duck Dynasty Dropped; Dogbert and Tito; Tom Daley Art; The Word "Tranny"

Duck Dynasty Dropped

If you recall, reality TV show Duck Dynasty was associated with gay slurs not too long ago. I posted about it here. And now, according to this piece, it seems a Duck Dynasty concert was canceled due to lack of sales.

The planned musical extravaganza from the stars of reality show Duck Dynasty has been canceled because of low ticket sales.

The Robertson family was to bring a concert, called Faith, Family & Ducks, to Springfield, Missouri (a midwestern US state).

The presentation was to be a mixture of songs, and speeches, on how the family lives the American dream and keeps ‘family values.’

You can read more here.

I don’t want to speculate on why ticket sales were so low, but I’d like to think it could be because most people realize it’s a stupid show, there’s nothing “real” about it, and it’s geared to make some people a great deal of money by sensationalizing topics like gay issues and portraying southerners with bad stereotypes.

Tom Daley Gay Slur Art

When Tom Daley came out he suffered a great deal of abuse, in public. An artist has taken all of this anti-gay abuse and turned it into an interesting form of art. In other words, he turned it around.

Collins revealed the finished portrait on his Twitter account this week (17 April).

‘My finished portrait of @TomDaley1994 made out of the homophobic tweets sent to him when he came out. #art’ he said.

The artwork shows Daley, and his signature six-pack, against a backdrop of the British flag.

 You can read more about that here, with a link to all of the anti-gay slurs Daley received. Once it’s online, it is there forever.

Dogbert and Tito

Here’s a video of Dogbert and Tito. This is Dogbert and Tito’s Facebook page. I follow them on social media through Trevor Donovan who once played a gay role on 90210, and will be part of the cast in upcoming episodes of  mini-series, Texas Rising.  (DVR alert for m/m romance western fans.) I see a lot of animal posts and videos and photos, but there’s something about Dogbert and Tito that’s highly amusing. I did have an issue watching the youtube version on my iPad, but this link to vimeo worked well on iPad and everything else.

The Word “Tranny”

I’ve posted about the controversy over the word “tranny,” here, many times. For the record, I don’t use it and never have. I understand the power of words and never take that for granted. However, there have been many interesting discussions about all this, especially with respect to gay culture and intent, and I’m passing along some of the most interesting I’ve seen.

Personally, I’ve always regarded being called a “tranny” not as a slur but as a term of endearment. Growing up in Philadelphia, close to the origin of the ball and house scenes, it wasn’t that strange to hear words like “tranny,” “she-male,” and “he-she” being used in that way within the queer community of color. It was especially popular with the predominantly black and Latino kids at the Attic Youth Center. You could also hear it from the older trans matrons who worked the community tables at Outfest and Pridefest, and even occasionally from the trans sex workers you’d pass while walking home from the Gayborhood. Out of all the lingo, it’s “tranny” that I remember most vividly. It wasn’t just a word but a cultural moniker celebrating a certain type of effeminacy. Though I never sought it, I wore it as a badge of pride. It was coded speech between queer people of color that few white LGBT people noticed or even understood at the time. It was part of an underground language that also included words like “shade” and “reading,” which have since gone mainstream.

You can read more here.

Important note: anyone is free to comment an offer and opinion on this topic (or any topic like it) as often and as long as they want. You can comment anonymously or with a name. I don’t even mind pen names. However, keep it civil. I respect everyone’s opinion and right to free speech and will publish it, as long as it is civil. This is a not for profit blog and unlike publications like Huff Po that are multi-million dollar operations that make Arianna Huffington a very wealthy woman by taking free content from writers I don’t have to deal with incivility. And I won’t. Plain and simple.

You can’t say anything that would offend me at this point in my life. You can’t even think of one slur or word that I haven’t already experienced twice. But I don’t want my readers offended.

Clueless About Gay Romance; Russia Gay Fear; Nasty Mom Hates Gays

Clueless About Gay Romance

Update: the story I linked to below about the birthday party invitation was yet another Internet hoax. It was concocted by morning radio show hosts in NY, because, ya know, they are so hysterical and knee-slapping funny. Reason why I would rather hear absolute silence than listen to commercial radio in the morning. These asshat douches should get a fucking life.

I have to admit that when I noticed a message in my inbox about a review/commentary about a m/m romance I found the urge to ignore it close to impossible. I tried. I really did. There are so many fascinating stories right now this should be the last thing I would post about. But as a blogger I’ve learned to separate myself from fiction and politics, and I always take an offensive approach to pieces like the one to which I’m linking now. I also blog for free, as a hobby, which means I don’t have to answer to anyone but my readership. And when I write posts like this my readers are the only people I’m taking into consideration.

If this had just been a review for one book I wouldn’t be posting about it right now. It would be none of my business. But in this case the blogger, Joel B. Pollak, made comments about gay romance in general. Even though it’s impossible to disabuse bloggers like this of the many misconceptions they have, or their superior attitudes, because, ya know, they know all about fine Lit-ter-aye-ture, sometimes it’s amusing to let them know in a nice, polite way that it’s just not cool to compare a contemporary m/m romance to a classic novel like  Anna Karenina. Seriously! WTF is that about anyway? Can anyone say apples and oranges without cringing?

But that’s not all. He even shows, in a polite voice, how superior he is to hetero romance as well. In case I forgot to mention it, that’s because he’s a straight man. He does disclose this up front, to let us know that he didn’t read a gay romance because it “piqued” his interest in a sexual way. Not him. It “piqued” his interest because he claims to wonder about “the internal dialogue of the gay community.” (Smile) I don’t know about any other gay people out there, but my internal dialogue with Tony this morning consisted of what time I would shovel the snow today, whether or not to cancel the guy coming to see the car I’m selling tomorrow morning, and how important it might be to get another generator in case the lights go out again. Yup, that was our internal dialogue this morning. Sorry it wasn’t more interesting, and I wish I could tell you that we spoke about something more political or social, but that’s how we gay people speak and think most of the time.

But I digress. Here’s a real gem from Joel B. Pollak’s post:

The book arrived, and I will admit that it is not an easy read, at least for this straight man. I don’t read too much romance literature anyway, and I’m certain that plenty of straight stuff is equally awkward.

I felt the same way about Pollak’s post: not an easy read. I wonder if he’s read Jonathan Franzen’s books…any one of them. I love Franzen, so don’t get me wrong. This is by no means a slam against Franzen. But if this dude thinks romance is awkward to read I shudder to think what he might say about Franzen’s books…especially the sex scenes.

In any event, Pollak’s commentary continues to devolve in one of the most polite ways I think I have ever seen with an article that has such a passive aggressive hidden agenda in both tone and substance. After a brief description of the gay romance he read, a description with which he actually uses the word “treacly,” he gets into more social commentary with several references to politics that left me wondering about more than a few things I won’t discuss here now. Let’s just say he chose his words with care on purpose, and just as important to note, I don’t want to be accused of the “off-putting politics of the literary academy.”

 I don’t know enough about the world of gay literature to know whether these themes are explored in greater depth by other authors. When I think about why I don’t know enough, I come up with a few reasons: my own philistinism about literature; the off-putting politics of the literary academy, more concerned about tearing down convention than enjoying good writing, etc. Reed’s novel didn’t change that, but I appreciated the effort.

The off-putting politics of the literary academy?

More concerned about tearing down convention than enjoying good writing?

First, never trust anyone who says they know what good writing is. That’s the sure sign of an amateur. I’ll admit that at times bad writing can be defined and identified. But last I heard good writing is as subjective as taste in furniture design.

Second, I truly don’t even know what to think about either of those two comments above. My gay Republican friends who are doctors and attorneys and literary agents wouldn’t get that either. And that’s because when bloggers like this write comments like that they either don’t know what they’re talking about or they just don’t care. I also didn’t read the book in question, so I can’t comment on that either. But I can comment on the fact that bloggers like this should always take a different approach to any romance book than they might take to other works of fiction that might be called “literary.” (I would never be presumptuous enough to define “literary” so I’m leaving that open for now.) In other words, the romance market is vast, and it’s also defined by a certain amount of tradition and convention. And this same tradition and convention in romance is what fuels the industry from reader, to publisher, to author, to book reviewer. Romance readers expect certain things in romance books, and romance authors like to please their readers. Romance authors also love what they do. This blogger clearly knows nothing about romance in general, or that the people who read romance come from all walks of life.

You can read more here.

Side note: Treacly means sticky sweet. It comes from the word treacle, which was once commonly known as molasses. Foodies would know this more than the average person. But, ya know, Joel B. Pollak is so superior he doesn’t take that into consideration.

Photo attribution here.

Side note II: the vituperative comment thread at the bottom of this article will show you what the blogger was going for.

Russia Gay Fear

I think this link is important because it’s a mainstream piece that talks about how fearful the LGBTI community is in Russia, especially during all the praise I keep hearing about the Olympics in Sochi. It discusses a popular gay nightclub and how gays are coping right now.

With its bullet-sprayed doors and protective razor-wire fencing, Central Station management says it has been subjected to shootings, water and gas attacks, and vandalism. Considered by many patrons as “the cultural center” for gays in Russia, the lively venue is known for its colorful, irreverent drag shows and modern house music. But the staff says a recent spate of homophobic attacks has terrified the gay community there.

You can read more here, and find out when to watch this on ABC Nightline where they’ll be doing a special report. DVR alert in my house. (Maybe that’s too political.)

Nasty Mom Hates Gays

A mean mom recently refused to let her kid attend the birthday party of another kid because the other kid’s parents are gay. I’m serious. The gay parents contacted a local radio station in Long Island to let everyone know what this nasty mom did.

This is what the mean asshat wrote:

 It reads: ‘Tommy will NOT attend. I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your “lifestyle.”

You can read more here if you can stomach it. Poor Tommy. It’s painful to see the photos of the birthday invitations because they are so adorable and innocent at a glance, without a hint of hate…until the nasty mom replied.