FS Parody Video with Matt Bomer; Vagina: The New Normal; New Adult Genre

I’ve been a fan of Matt Bomer for a long time. I’ve also been following all the articles about him playing the lead in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey with newly conflicted emotions. On the one hand, I think he might be too good for it. On the other, I think it’s time *openly* gay actors started playing straight male parts just as straight actors have been playing gay male parts in films like that Busted Back Mountain.

And speaking of parody like Busted Back Mountain, here’s a great video parody of Matt Bomer starring in what might be a future trailer from the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Keep in mind, I said parody. It’s not real.

You can get there from here.

Vagina: The New Normal

I’ve written a lot of posts about how I’ve been on the fence about The New Normal. And I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I might not love everything about it, but I do love most of it. So I’ve been watching faithfully each week as they prepare for the new baby. Last week was particularly interesting because Bryan was asked to get more involved with the birth, and he decided to go to these holistic birthing classes to find out what they were like. That alone was parody at its best. Ultimately, they all wound up in the back of a Range Rover on the side of the freeway helping one of the women in the birthing class give birth to her child. And one of the things Bryan mentioned was that he’d never seen vagina before, and he didn’t seem too excited about seeing it at that particular time.

Of course I think they handled it well because once the miracle of birth took place Bryan forgot all about his issue with vagina and he discovered there’s a lot more to birth than he’d realized, mostly in a deep emotional way. And he forgot all about his phobia…for the time being anyway.

But Bryan’s issue I’m talking about with vagina is interesting. I’ve never seen one. I’m not joking about that. I have never seen a real vagina. Why would I see one? There’s never been a need for me to explore vagina up close and personal and I’ve managed to live a full life without ever seeing one up close. That is by no means a reflection on how I feel about women, not in the least. I’m usually the first to stand up and defend women in all cases involving equality. I was seriously disappointed/devastated when Hillary Clinton did not get the nomination in 2008 after I’d helped campaign for her. So disappointed I’ve never embraced our current President 100% and I’ve backed away from anything political since then. And as a gay man I can even relate to women because I know all too well what it’s like to live in a world dominated by straight men. Trust me, gay men don’t have it much easier than women when straight men are involved. We often even get the same sexual harassment. I think that’s changing. I think it will continue to change. But we do, indeed, still live in a world that straight men rule.

Although I’ve actually never written any snarky vagina jokes or scenes in any of my books because I’ve always been cautious about insulting women with vagina jokes (I know it’s a sensitive issue), I have seen it and heard it all my life from other gay men. So those who read gay fiction, or M&M romance, take into consideration that when some gay men write about vagina, like it was written in the most recent episode of The New Normal, they are not attacking women and not degrading women. They are only reacting to a normal instinct we all share as gay men with regard to vagina itself in a way that’s meant to be humorous. It’s camp; it’s sometimes snark. But it’s never meant to denigrate women in a serious or harmful way. I don’t think I know one gay man that would not stand behind women’s rights. So when you read posts like this one below, where someone doesn’t understand the mindset with which gay men think, take it with a grain of salt. She also lacks a sense of humor, too.

Some examples: In the pilot of The New Normal, Nana (Ellen Barkin), whose granddaughter Goldie (Georgia King) will go on to serve as a surrogate for David (Justin Bartha) and Bryan (Andrew Rannells), insists of a lesbian couple with a baby that, “those are ugly men.” True, Nana is not very p.c., but while The New Normal pushes back against many of her racist and homophobic ideas, lesbian-bashing sticks around into the next episode. In that half-hour Bryan, who in the pilot explained, “I faint at the sight of vagina. They’re like tarantula faces,” says that he and David have to have one last wild night on the town “before we fully morph into an old lesbian couple, minus the frowns and the gingerbread man bodies.” I agree, I suppose, with my colleague June Thomas, that these might be the kinds of comments that gay men make when lesbians aren’t around. But I don’t actually think they’re funny or insightful, and the stereotypes here were ancient when Alison Bechdel broke them down in her decades-old Dykes to Watch Out For comic strips.

I have many lesbian friends. Two of which I’ve talked about here on this blog many times before, whom I happen to consider best friends. They are both true feminists, one is beautiful and feminine and breaks all the stereotypes, the other is more down to earth and aggressive. It’s really the perfect balance. Both are college graduates, both have professional careers, and both are brilliant and beautiful. When I’m with them, we joke around about things like this all the time. It’s not just something gay men do when they are all alone. It’s something good friends do when they are alone. My lesbian friends make penis jokes and growl in horror at the thought of penis, and I laugh at each joke and I don’t take offense to it. So a clever writer could take a TV show like The New Normal and turn it completely around with two lesbian main characters who make penis jokes. It’s all relative.

The point I’m trying to make is lighten up a little. It’s not mean to hurt. It’s only meant to be funny, just like the sculpture Marie Barone made in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond in the photo above.

New Adult Genre

I have been posting about the new adult genre for a couple of years now. I remember when the concept first came out and so many literary agents blogged about how it would never be taken seriously. I remember how so many others laughed at it and just dismissed it completely.

And guess what? They were all wrong. Not only is new adult becoming a valid genre, it’s gaining in popularity all over the place and new adult books are doing well.

I’ve been incorporating new adult characters into my own gay erotic books for a while, and I haven’t been doing this by accident. When I think of new adult, I think of people between the ages of eighteen and thirty years old who are just beginning to make their way into the real world and build their lives. And nowadays that can be an interesting experience, considering student loans, lack of jobs, changing sexual attitudes, and a multitude of other things I could mention that would turn this post into something else. And because a huge part of life for new adults is sex, I’ve been writing about it in books I’ve written like “The Computer Tutor.” In my upcoming book with Riverdale, “Fangsters,” I’ve even written the main vampire characters as new adult, but in this case they are new adult vampires trying to figure out how to get established on their own terms…in spite of older vampires. I know that sounds a little far-fetched, but the concept of new adult is still there in the storyline, and the vampires do have human friends who are also real life new adult characters.

In any event, here’s an interesting article I found that defines new adult in more detail. It also gets into romance and new adult. I don’t totally agree with everything, but I do agree with most of it.

Enter the New Adult genre. These are the same stories that have always existed about 18-25 year old protagonists, but now they have the label to make them theoretically easier for those college-aged readers to find. Bookstores, especially those online, might create New Adult shelves, as they try to increase the discover-ability of these stories.

Even though there is some speculation on how new adult is being defined, I find it interesting that so many were wrong just a few years ago in the way they dismissed the entire concept. So much for gatekeepers, because this takes publishing to yet another new level. A lot of what we’re seeing with new adult (Anastasia in Fifty Shades) is being defined by small e-presses, small indie presses, and self-pubbed authors who decided to push their own gates open. Of course those who have been making the most profit from it, ironically, seem to be those who dismissed it a few years ago. Some things don’t change.

Another Free Book; Photo of Tony; New M/M Romance Publisher; Male Nude Scenes in "Girls"

Update: Having tech issues with the free promo for Jonah Sweet. I will post more when we get this figured out. And it will be offered for free within the next few weeks.

I will write a new post about this free read sometime this week, but wanted to mention it now so I don’t forget all about it. This blog is often like my big “to do” list, where I can reference a lot of things I might forget when things get busy.

In any event, my last free book at ARe is coming down (or it is down now) and I decided to do another free read with ARe with another indie published book, “Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street.” It takes time to get these free reads organized, trust me, when you’re doing it alone. But it will be sometime this week.

Now, I’ve had a lot of people ask about seeing a photos of Tony, my partner of 20 years. He’s usually very private and he doesn’t even like the things I post about us on facebook half the time. But I’ve been bugging him about giving me a photo to put up somewhere on the blog, and he’s finally granted me permission to use the one above. It’s a nice photo that was taken about four years ago at the Jersey shore…I think that’s where it was…in Brigantine.

I actually understand his reasons about privacy, and I try to post things that don’t cross the line when it comes to privacy issues. But, in the same respect, I also think that if I’m an author with published works out there, and I post about my partner of twenty years all the time, I should be able to at least post one simple photo of him. I have to admit, as a reader, I get a little frustrated (I want the right word here) when I can’t see photos of bloggers or authors…ever. I’m not talking about posting the family photo album, but it can be annoying when you read about someone for years and don’t see a face with the words…ever.

New M/M Romance Publisher on the Scene

According to a blog post I read over the weekend, m/m romance authors, Geoffrey Knight and Ethan Day will be starting a new publishing venture this year.

But does the world of gay publishing really need another press? I believe whole-heartedly that the answer is ‘Yes’. Gay Romance has been growing at a rapid rate over the last two years, and I firmly believe that 2013 will be the year that Gay Romance comes into its own. No longer will it be considered the poor queer cousin of straight romance, and its quickly-growing legion of fans (the vast majority of whom are women) will need quality content to feed their almost insatiable appetite for Gay Romance.

However, when Ethan and I decided to jump into the fray, we were very conscious that many writers of Gay Romance enjoy writing more than just romantic tales, including ourselves. Sometimes a story belongs within the bounds and definitions of romance; but sometimes as a writer you want to break the rules. And so we made the decision to publish both traditional Gay Romance, but also publish other genres. We wanted to create a press that builds a bridge between Gay Romance and all other forms of Gay Lit, and to create a hub where fans of all quality gay tales could come and explore and potentially delve into genres they haven’t tried before.
I wish them all the best. I like breaking the rules as often as I can. From my own personal experience in indie publishing I know it’s not a simple venture. We just figured out how to do formatting an easier way with Smashwords one year later, and it’s all about the formatting with digital publishing. HTML is a language in itself.
I’d also like to add that I hope others in the m/m romance community will support them in this new endeavor. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are those on the Internet who like to critique and slam new publishers before the new publishers even get started. It’s a left-handed bully tactic that I think is changing now because people like me aren’t afraid to challenge these highly opinionated bloggers anymore who sneak around and conspire in the dark corners of the Internet.
And when someone is beginning a new venture, especially in gay fiction, I believe in offering them support.  And though I know nothing about either Ethan Day or Geoffrey Knight, from what I’ve read this venture looks interesting to me.
Male Nude Scenes in “Girls”
I’m a huge fan of the TV show “Girls.” Unfortunately, Tony isn’t so I have to DVR it and watch the shows in tandem sometimes late at night when he’s sleeping. I love that show so much, and the new adult reality factor it has brought to TV, I can’t get enough of it. In fact, Lena Dunham does such a great job, and makes what she’s doing look so easy, I’m hoping this show sticks around for a long time.
Here’s more about the show from one almost/kind of snarky reviewer. But, it’s actually a good review overall. You can read more here.  
Last season, Hannah had a dead-end relationship with never-working “actor” Adam (Adam Driver), with whom she had painful, afternoon anal sex. It was ugly to watch and uglier to remember that it always took place in his ugly, dirty apartment on sheets that look like they were last changed during the Clinton administration. She should have put paper down before she got down!
I think the reason the review was written the way it was is because this show seems to challenge a lot of the fakery of TV and it hits real issues that real people can identify with in an entertaining way. They also handle gay issues, and gay characters, in a different way than what I normally see. I like the way it’s done and I don’t have any complaints this time. And I think that’s because it is so real. Even the setting: they live in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. If you are not familiar with New York at all, you might not get this. Manhattan is now such an expensive place to live it’s virtually impossible for anyone just starting out to actually be there. In old TV, like “Sex in the City,” they would have made it possible by creating a fake storyline.
There is also some male (and female) nudity in this show that’s done appropriately with each scene so that it adds more dimension to the scene. In other words, it’s not about the sex in most cases. Unlike the squeaky clean reviewer above, I personally don’t think it’s dirty either. It’s mostly about the underlying issues behind the sex, and what led to that point. I haven’t seen any male full frontal, though. But the one male nude scene I saw in a recent episode was definitely worth hitting the rewind button on DVR. 
I also think this type of entertainment is going to be a new trend that’s going to change a lot of things. One of my best friends is a straight guy in his early thirties and I gather a lot of great material from him on various topics, like how men like him think about sex, or how straight men his age think about gay men. It really is, in a way, breaking the ultimate stereotypes and incorporating gay into the mainstream. 
There’s not much on the web about the male nude scenes in the show, or much to link to…yet. But I have a feeling there will be more to come if Lena Dunham has her way.   

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