ryan field books

AIDS: The Myth of Patient Zero, Gaétan Dugas; A Creepy Andy Cohen Story; Speedos Disappearing In Europe

AIDS: The Myth of Patient Zero

I’ve posted about Patient Zero before on the blog, and I think this article I’m linking to right now might clear things up once and for all.

For years people claimed that a guy named Gaétan Dugas was responsible for bringing AIDS to the US. However, now they are claiming it was all myth.

“The new analysis shows that Mr. Dugas’s blood, sampled in 1983, contained a viral strain already infecting men in New York before he began visiting gay bars here after being hired by Air Canada in 1974.”

There’s more here. The comments are a little off the proverbial wall with this one and you might not want to take them too seriously.

A Creepy Andy Cohen Story

I’m assuming this article was meant to be taken lightly, however, it’s the kind of thing that always bothers me slightly. There’s something creepy about it that just doesn’t sit well. You never hear a story about Andy Cohen encouraging Kelly Rippa to sleep with a “beautifully blonde” lady. But it’s okay to do it to the gay guy. Then it’s funny.

In any event…

Cohen proudly recounts that one crazy time Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos strongly encouraged him to sleep with a “beautifully blonde” lady, as well as her equally gorgeous husband — “a muscular, tanned mechanic.”

I really hate to take these things too seriously, but if these things were to happen to any other minority no one would be laughing.

That’s more here

Speedos Disappearing In Europe

I know this one is kind of silly, and we can all live without hearing about it, but I couldn’t resist.

For as long as I can remember, there have been jokes about men wearing speedos. And now this article claims the speedo is losing ground in Europe, too.

That’s the not-bitchy style writer and photographer Karlmong Tang, talking to How Stuff Works for their alarmist article “Why Is the Speedo Disappearing From European Beaches?”, a rather exhaustive investigation into why the Lycra-clad minions are no longer rocking swim briefs in the summer and what they’re choosing to wear instead.

Here’s more.  I have no strong opinions on this.

The Rainbow Detective Series
Saying Goodbye

 
 

Free Gay Excerpt: "Uncertainty" by Ryan Field

Free Gay Excerpt: “Uncertainty” by Ryan Field

Here’s a free excerpt from my upcoming release titled, “Uncertainty.” I actually do these things from time to time because it helps me with the very final editing. I have the book edited first, and then I do all the final revises alone. That’s the hardest part of indie publishing for me, and why I prefer working with publishers. I need to know that the final edits were done by me. And it never seems like enough. I don’t even have a cover yet for this one, but posting it here on the blog actually helps me see it differently.

This is a raw excerpt, so please keep that in mind.

Here’s the blurb.

When Gus Baldwin realizes that his gay dad is serious about marrying a much older man for safety and security instead of love, he concocts a plot that he hopes will change his dad’s mind. Even though his other dad has been dead for over a year, Gus wants his surviving dad to find love and happiness someday with a new husband. 

However, their financial situation is about as bad as it gets and they’re on the brink of losing their grand old Victorian home, and everything about their perfect lives is threatened. So Gus winds up putting his own marriage on hold with the guy he’s been in love with since high school. It’s so bad he’s even thinking of quitting college to help support his dad and his younger brother just so his dad won’t have to marry the older man. 

After Gus convinces his dad to take a road trip in their vintage 1950s station wagon to their getaway cabin in the mountains, along with his younger brother, his future husband, and their nineteen year old dog named Special, their lives change in ways none of them ever anticipated. And even though the future is still uncertain in some respects, they discover a few things about themselves on this trip they never could have predicted. 

Here’s the Excerpt:
 

Every year in June, Palmer Hill High School had an awards ceremony that focused on the achievements of students, faculty, staff, and parents. It was an end of the school year tradition held on the last day of school that had been going on since 1958. Almost everyone in the little town of Palmer Hill, Pennsylvania attended.
Even though the awards were the main focus, the program included local talent performing amateur acts that could range from Miss Ina Jennings, the school librarian, singing opera, to Mrs. Betsy Dare, the school nurse, doing stand-up comedy. Once in a while Ms. Sister Herbert…her legal first name was actually Sister…the biology teacher, gave a poetry reading. Last year one of the history teachers, Ms. LaTonda Shaqueille, read an excerpt from her recently self-published novel about the Alamo, which put a few people to sleep and tempted others in the back row to Tweet and Instagram.
In between the awards and entertainment, light refreshments were served in the main hall. Big Martha Jasper brought her homemade lemon squares, Elise Freemont came with huge trays of brownies, and Miss Johnson, the transgender gym teacher, brought gluten-free kale cookies that most people avoided. There was so much food baked by the hands of good natured Christian women everyone wound up taking something home at the end of the night.
There were also certain parts of the evening that everyone anticipated with smiles and whispers. Who would win Parent of the Year was one of them. It used to be called the Mom of the Yearaward, however, the award committee had changed that a few years earlier due to the fact that so many stay-at-home dads were now so involved with school projects. Even though Palmer Hill was only a small town in Pennsylvania, they prided themselves on being progressive in all things social and political. In fact, the school board actually gave Principal Mary Lucille a raise in pay after she came out of the closet and announced she was marrying a former nun named Joan Berkley, the town’s librarian, in the Gazebo at the town square. For one solid month, almost everyone in town had a rainbow flag hanging on their front porch in a show of support.
Another popular feature of the evening that kept everyone on the edge was a former Palmer Hill High School student and star football player, Gus Baldwin. Although Gus now attended the local community college where he majored in music, he still sang his version of Hallelujah at the end of the evening, right after they announced the Parent of the Year award. If Gus had had any say in the matter, he would have stopped performing after he graduated. However, his gay dad, Henry Baldwin, was the music teacher at Palmer Hill High School, and head of the Palmer Hill Glee Club, and he begged Gus to continue doing it every year. And when Gus’s other dad died suddenly in an automobile accident a year earlier, Gus couldn’t refuse.
The fact that Gus looked like Nick Jonas and sounded like Harry Connick Jr. drove most of the women to pull tissues out of their purses while he sang. The men tapped their feet and gazed at him. Little children would stop fidgeting and stare at the stage the moment he hit the first note. Gus’s smooth even voice, combined with his thick brown hair and tight slim body, brought the proverbial curtain down every year. The award ceremony wouldn’t have been the same without Gus, and it compensated for having to sit through Chester Bork’s awful accordion rendition of Stars Fell on Alabama, and curvy Misty Robinson’s fire baton twirling act.
During intermission that year, while everyone raced toward the lemon square table, Gus heard a text alert and he glanced down at his phone. He smiled when he read it. “Meet me in the locker room right now.”
He read it again, shook his head, and replied, “I can’t meet you now. I’m going to perform soon. I’ll see you later tonight after the award ceremony.”
Gus waited a moment, and then read the reply to his reply. He knew it was coming. “Get back here now.”
He smiled, turned, and headed back to the locker rooms where the football players showered. He knew it would be empty. They used the girl’s locker room as a dressing room for the awards ceremony because everyone claimed the boy’s locker room smelled too damp and musty. Principal Mary Lucille, who had always preferred the girl’s locker room anyway, claimed the scent of swampy young men in the boy’s locker room was so strong it made her left eye twitch and she refused to step through the doorway.
The smell of young men didn’t bother Gus at all. It made him feel comfortable in a way that was hard to describe. When he entered the dark boy’s locker room that night he took a deep breath, inhaled, and smiled. As he crossed to the back where the showers were located, he heard a locker door slam. He figured it had to be his boyfriend, Craig Hasselthorn, because everyone else was out front eating lemon squares and drinking surgery orange punch out of little cardboard containers.
“Where are you?” Gus said, as he rounded a locker room bench. He spotted a discarded jock strap on the floor. He hadn’t been back there since he’d graduated from High School and so many memories came rushing back to him.
“I’m back here,” Craig said. “I’ve got something real special for you.”
Gus followed the sound of his voice to a locker room bench near the shower room entrance and laughed. “Oh, I’ll bet you do.”
He found Craig sitting in the middle of the bench, with his strong, fuzzy legs hanging over each side, resting back on his hands. Craig wasn’t wearing anything except a jock strap and a great big smile.

Free Excerpt: Cowboy Christmas Miracle; Brian Boitano is Gay You Say; Boycott Russian Olympics

Free Excerpt: Cowboy Christmas Miracle

This Friday the free excerpt I’m putting up is from the release of my new novel, Cowboy Christmas Miracle, in the Glendora Hill series. It’s 70,000 words in length, I set the entire story in a fictional town, Glendora Hill, in Texas Hill Country, and I wanted it to be more emotional than usual because the story involves a life and death issue with one character. It was hard to do because I wrote it in August during a heat wave. But this is the one that made the copy editor cry, so I’ve been told. As with future books in the Glendora Hill series this book is a stand alone, but this series will always be set in the same small Hill Country town and most of the characters will continue to return throughout the series.

You can find the book here, here (it’s on sale @$4.99 there), and here. It’s also up at most places where e-books are sold and I think readers have their own preferences nowadays so I just provide links I think might be most popular. I know I shop at the same places for books.

Here’s the blurb:

In the little Texas Hill Country town of Glendora Hill, everyone decorates for the holidays as elaborately as they do for all seasons. Dr. Keith Elliot notices this his first night in town, and only moments after he also notices that his new neighbor, Judd, is the big strong cowboy of his dreams. But when Judd says something unthinkable to Keith after they make love for the first time, Keith throws him out and decides to focus on his new position at the Glendora Hill Medical Center and riding his new horse at a ranch outside of town. At the ranch, he meets Ben, another handsome young cowboy who just moved to town. Through a series of events between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve over which Keith has no control, he finds himself falling deeply love with two cowboys at the same time. Then Keith buys the old firehouse on Main Street, his new best friend and landlord, Sebastian, develops serious medical issues, and Keith’s love life becomes even more complicated. When Keith and his two cowboys finally admit they all love each other, will they ever find the peace they all seem to want so much? And will poor sweet Sebastian get the medical miracle he needs so Christmas in Glendora Hill won’t be ruined that year?

And this is an excerpt in raw form that hasn’t been published anywhere else but here. It’s from chapter ten, where the main character goes house hunting because he wants to put down roots in Glendora Hill, and, he wants something very unusual.

It was evident to Keith that Kelly Williams had no intention of walking from the real estate office all the way up to the north end of town to the firehouse in those six-inch stilettos. So after she picked up the keys to the firehouse from a peg board, he followed her out to the back parking lot where she led him to a massive old white Cadillac convertible with the top down.

          As Kelly headed toward the driver’s side, he ran his palm along the windshield and glanced at the blue interior. “This is a great car,” he said. “It’s a 1963 Coupe De Ville, isn’t it?”

          She opened the door and said, “It’s a ’64. It was my late husband’s. I have a newer one at home, but I prefer to drive this one in nice weather. The top doesn’t work anymore and I keep meaning to get it fixed.”

          He sat down next to her and reached for the seatbelt. It was the old-fashioned kind, the type that only belted around the waist. “It’s in perfect condition.”

          She started the engine and said, “It only has fifty thousand original miles, too.” Then she put it in gear, hit the gas, and they jerked out of the parking lot so fast a gust of wind hit Keith and blew his cowboy hat right into the backseat.

          She drove so fast he didn’t bother to reach back for his hat until they reached the old firehouse. On the way, she waved at passersby, honked the horn, and barely missed one red light. Keith was amazed she could even see over the steering wheel. She’d held the top of the wheel with two hands and lifted her chin high. All the people they passed in town seemed to stop and step back when they saw her coming.

          When she pulled the keys out of the ignition, she patted the steering wheel and said, “She still drives like new, doesn’t she?”
          Keith reached for his hat in the backseat and took a quick breath. “Yes, she does, Kelly.” He was already thinking up an excuse so he could walk back to his truck.

          Kelly grabbed the keys to the firehouse and opened the car door. “You’re not going to like what you see. But it’s better for you to know than wonder. Follow me.”

          As they crossed the railroad tracks, Kelly pointed and said, “There hasn’t been a train through here in years. So at least that’s not an issue.”

          But Keith wasn’t paying attention to the railroad tracks. The first thing he noticed was the property to the right of the building, and how deep it went in back. It reminded him of the trail he’d been on with Judd yesterday, with green rolling hills, live oaks, and clusters of other trees that looked as if they’d been planted there on purpose. Yet he knew it was all natural.

          He also noticed there wasn’t a plant, tree, or shrub around the exterior of the building. The sidewalk leading to the front door was cracked and the grass had been neglected for so long anything that had overgrown had now matted into harsh clumps of brown. The building itself was red brick with white trim. The brick seemed to be in good shape, but the white trim was peeling everywhere.

          Keith glanced up at the massive garage doors that had once housed fire engines. He looked above the doors and noticed a round seal set right below where the roof arched at the highest point. He saw the image of a cowboy on the seal, riding bareback on a horse up on two hind legs in a dramatic way. Old buildings like this usually had flat roofs; this one had an A-frame, which he liked. He pointed to the round seal and asked, “What’s that?”
          Kelly looked up from the door and squinted. “I think that’s the old town seal,” she said. “It was designed by some famous artist, I think. But I can’t remember. I think his last name went something like Lexington.”

           Keith looked up again and said, “That’s an Arnold Lexington up there?” He’d been a fan of Lexington’s famous western artwork since he’d studied American fine art in college. Lexington was known for his vivid depictions of the Old West, Native Americans, and horses. Keith had never actually seen any of his work in person. That town seal had to be worth a small fortune itself.

          “That’s the name,” Kelly said, as she pushed the old front door open. “But it’s not Arnold Lexington. It’s Ashley Lexington, Arnold’s cousin.”

          He remembered reading about Ashley Lexington, too, who had never been as famous as his older cousin. His work wasn’t worth anything. But it didn’t matter to Keith. He wasn’t shopping for art. He was shopping for a home.

          Kelly went inside first and Keith followed. He glanced at the front door and had a feeling there was solid oak beneath all those layers of white paint.

          Kelly looked around and sighed aloud. “This is it. Not very impressive, I’m afraid.”
          The floor was concrete, the walls exposed brick. The windows on the sides of the building were all tall and thin. The exposed ceiling was so high Keith couldn’t even begin to predict its measure. He took a deep breath and exhaled. “I’ve never seen anything more prefect.” It reminded him of a million-dollar loft in an old factory one of his friends in medical school had shared with someone in Chicago.

          Kelly flung him a look and said, “Huh?”
          She clearly didn’t get it. He smiled and said, “It’s perfect.”

          “But the walls are just brick and the floors are concrete,” Kelly said.

          “I know,” Keith said. “I can just see these floors stained and polished. And you can’t find brick walls like that anywhere. It’s the look I’ve always wanted all my life and never thought I’d find.”

          As they walked through the rest of the building Keith kept seeing things he loved and talking about what he would do there. Kelly kept looking at him as if she was now afraid to be alone with him and shaking her head. Toward the back of the firehouse the ceiling became lower because there was a second floor back there where the firemen used to take naps. He couldn’t believe the iron circular staircase was still there, and intact. And when he saw the pole where the firemen used to slide down in emergencies from the second floor loft he almost started to cry. Nothing in the building had been touched, or renovated. There was even an old kitchen in the back that had the original gas stove and art deco refrigerator.

          Kelly figured after he saw the kitchen he would turn around and want to leave. But he just smiled and said, “I would have to renovate it all. But I love the open concept and can you imagine the dinner parties I could have here?” Best of all, though he didn’t mention this aloud, because the asking price was so low he would still have room in his budget to do the renovations without going into huge debt.

          Kelly snorted this time. “I can’t even imagine making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in this shit hole.”

          This time Keith looked at her as if she’s lost her mind.

          “I’m sorry,” she said. “But I just don’t get it.”

          He laughed. “I know, but trust me. I know what I’m talking about. This place is a dream come true.”

          “Yeah, well, wait until you see this, honey.”  

          Then she gestured to the right of the kitchen to a set of more old wooden doors that had been painted with layers of white paint. She opened one door, stepped to the side, and said, “I think I should have shown you this part of the dream first. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

          Keith frowned and walked over to the doors. He looked at Kelly for a second, and then stepped into the room expecting to see something from a horror film. It was the only room closed off from the rest of the firehouse. Kelly seemed so repulsed by this room her lips twisted and she refused to actually look inside for any length of time. For a moment, he had a feeling she was getting ready to hold her nose.

          But when he walked into the room and he looked around, he pressed his palm to his chest and gasped. He held his breath for a moment and felt like pinching himself to make sure this was all real.

          Kelly laughed and said, “Pretty awful, isn’t it? A real shit hole.”

          He walked to the middle of the room and glanced all the way around. He wasn’t sure where to look first; he still couldn’t catch his breath. In one corner he saw a row of old white porcelain urinals, in another he saw stalls with toilets and doors that only went partially down to the beige tiled floor. The entire room had been tiled in large beige rectangles, from floor to ceiling. There were six old sinks lined up along one wall, a couple of metal towel dispensers, and all the original fixtures were still in place. He took a deep breath and found it even smelled like a men’s room. If there was such a thing as a gay God, he’d been looking down on Keith that afternoon.

          But more than that, to the left of the urinals he found a step-down shower room that had been tiled with the same beige rectangles. There were three showerheads each on three walls and he couldn’t help imaging all those big strong naked firemen taking hot showers together. He grew so excited he turned around, lifted poor Kelly up, and spun her around. “I have to have this place. What do I have to do to get it?”
          When he set her down she laughed and said, “You can’t be serious. Please tell me you’re joking.”

          He could see she wasn’t offended when he picked her up. In fact, he had a feeling she’d liked it. “I’ve never been more serious in my life.”

          She looked around and gestured to the urinals. “It’s a men’s room, dear God. There are filthy old urinals.” She spoke as if she were ready to gag and vomit.

          He wanted to say, “It’s a dream come true.” But he smiled and said, “I can make this one of the best homes in town. Just tell me what I have to do next.” He knew she didn’t get it. He knew she never would get it. But he also knew when he told Ben and Sebastian about buying this place, and when he showed them the men’s room, they would get it. And more importantly, it felt like home. And he now he would have enough property to build a barn of his own and keep Zabar there instead of at the Marshall Ranch.

          Kelly shrugged and said, “If you’re that serious, you put in an offer, give me a deposit, and I’ll present it to the town council. Then we see how they react and take it from there. But I have to warn you. They’ve turned down other offers because they want this building to remain commercial.”

          He smiled at the urinals again and said, “I’ll do anything they want. I’ll even put it in writing. I’ll open a small bookshop on the first floor and use it as a tax write-off. Just help me get this place.”


Brian Boitano is Gay You Say

Get my smelling salts again.

In keeping with the latest trend, figure skater Brian Boitano just came out…”as gay.” That’s right “as gay.” Also in keeping with the trend, everyone who comes out now is doing it “as gay,” at least that’s how the mainstream media keeps referring to these disclosures. I’m really not trying to be snarky, or to take anything away from Boitano, but seriously. Was there ever any doubt?

“It is my desire to be defined by my achievements and my contributions,” Boitano said in a statement sent to The Huffington Post. “While I am proud to play a public role in representing the American Olympic Delegation as a former Olympic athlete, I have always reserved my private life for my family and friends and will continue to do so.”
 
“I am many things: a son, a brother, and uncle, a friend, an athlete, a cook, an author, and being gay is just one part of who I am,” he continued. “First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance. As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations.”

And now he’s gay.

Again, I really don’t want to sound snarky here. The coming out (“as gay”) process is different for everyone and when Boitano was at the height of his career it wasn’t the cool thing to do. But more important, it could have hurt his career back then. Even though he sounds a little cliche here I do know a lot of men who feel the same way he feels and I respect that completely. On the other hand, I’ll be smiling a lot more when I see Tom Cruise (or someone as famous) just show up somewhere with a man on his arm and say nothing at all.

I’m still for a full boycott. What’s going to happen is that we’ll get through these Olympics without any incidents at all. Everyone we’ve forgotten about for years will get a lot of attention, make a lot of money, and hug and kiss to the point where they might have to call the Russian schmaltz police. But what happens to the LGBT people in Russia after the Olympics? Are things going to change for them or are Russian actors from bad Russian sitcoms still going to call for gays to be burned alive in ovens?

I wish I could be more optimistic about this. You can read more here, if you think it’s necessary to do that.

Boycott Russian Olympics

I’m not the only one who still thinks we should stop playing games and just boycott the entire thing. John Grant and Lady Gaga both think there should be a boycott, along with many others. This article is about how Grant feels:

We recently spoke with Grant about everything from Woody Allen movies to collaborating with Sinead O’Connor to that Elton shout-out being “one of the greatest nights of my life.” Additionally, Grant told us why he agrees with Lady Gaga that the U.S. is morally bound to boycott the Russian Olympics, but why it’s important for artists to keep touring Russia despite the government-sanctioned oppression.  

You can read more here. As I’ve said, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens in Russia with LGBT people six months or a year from now. A lot of people predicted the holocaust and a lot of people ignored them. I’d hate to see anything like that ever happen again in the history of the world.

 

My Releases on Allromanceebooks.com; FREE Excerpt Sheriff and Outlaw

My Releases on Allromanceebooks.com

As I’ve posted previously, getting back listed books up on web sites where digital books are sold is not as simple as it sounds…especially if the back list is long. We finally put up most of the former loveyoudivine.com titles on ARe, and here’s a list of those that went live today.

Babycakes

Another Regular Bud (Sequel to “A Regular Bud”)

A Young Widow’s Promise (This was originally published under “R. Field” because it’s not gay fiction and the publisher thought it was important to do. I decided to keep it with my won name this time. It is a historical with hetero main characters, but there is a gay subplot.)

A Regular Bud

A Life Filled with Awesome Love (This is a long 12,000 word short story, or a short novella.)

FREE Excerpt Sheriff and Outlaw

Here’s the raw (unedited) version excerpt of a new full length novel I just submitted to the publisher today, The Sheriff and the Outlaw.

Blurb:

When Sebastian loses his wonderful husband of ten years in an accident, he’s not only emotionally devastated, but also financially ruined. He can’t turn to family because they turned their backs on him when he told them he was gay, and Sebastian’s late husband owed so much he’s about to lose everything, including the mobile home he spent so many years making perfect. But just when Sebastian thinks there’s no hope at all, he inherits the meager estate of a distant uncle he’s never even met.

The fictional town of picturesque Glendora Hill, Texas appears to be perfect, which is exactly what Sebastian and his teenage son need after all the heartache they’ve gone through. But it’s not going to be easy. And as they begin to make new lives in this odd but friendly little town so far from their lives in Houston, Sebastian stops playing by the rules for a while. That is until the town’s cowboy sheriff, Avery Baldwin, confronts Sebastian about a few rules he’s overlooked.

As Sebastian rebuilds his life and the dilapidated property he inherited, with perfectly pruned shrubbery, a bright white porch swing, and two very strapping young studs he takes in as tenants, he also discovers a few secrets about his past through the one man who seems to understand him. And as the secrets of Sebastian’s childhood unfold and emotions he thought were dead forever begin to reawaken, he’s terrified of the only man who can actually help him move forward.
 
Excerpt:
           By that time Sebastian knew the sheriff wasn’t a mean man. He smiled and signed the check. As he handed it to Avery across the desk he said, “I can see I’m not going to win with you. Is that all?”
            “Just one more thing,” Avery said. “You’ll have to write a check for a sign fee.”
            “A sign fee?”
            Avery laughed. “There’s a two hundred dollar fee for hanging a business sign out front. All the businesses in town are required to pay it. But that’s only a one-time fee.”
            Sebastian made a face and ripped another check from his black leather folder. He made the check out to the Borough of Glendora Hill, signed it, and handed it over to Avery.
            “I almost forgot,” Avery said. “This one is the most important. There’s the sheriff’s fee, too.”
            “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Sebastian said. So far all these ridiculous fees were starting to sound like one huge scam to him.
            “Seriously,” Avery said. “In order to date the sheriff you have to pay another fifty dollars.”
            It took a moment for Sebastian to realize he was joking. At first he didn’t process it. But when it sank in he smiled at Sheriff Avery Baldwin and said, “What if I pass on that one, and I don’t date the sheriff?”

            “Then the sheriff would have to put you over his knee and spank you,” Avery said, as he cracked his right palm with his left.
            Although Sebastian hadn’t intended to get this personal with the sheriff, he’d never been against a harmless little spanking or flirting. He sent Avery a sideways glance and laughed. “I’ll take the spanking. I have no more money.”
            Avery’s eyebrows went up and he laughed. “I had a feeling you would.”
            Then Sebastian stood up and reached over to shake the sheriff’s hand. He didn’t want to get this personal with anyone. “I really have to get back now. One of my tenants is doing me a favor and planting boxwoods today and I don’t want him doing the work all alone. But it was very interesting meeting you. I hope you come to the grand opening in a few weeks.” He wasn’t flirting. If anything he was trying to be nice without getting any closer to Avery because he felt a connection to him that was hard to explain. Avery was the kind of guy he could get serious with, but he didn’t want to get serious with anyone at that point in his life.
            Avery stood up and took his hand. He held it tightly and said, “What about our date. And the spanking. Don’t forget about that.”
            For such a discreet, conservative man, he had aggressive tendencies Sebastian admired. “I would love to go out with you as soon as the grand opening is over. I have so much work to do right now I’m not even sure what day of the week it is half the time. And, I do have a teenage son and I’d have to explain that to him. He comes first. So for right now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to put dating anyone on hold for a while.”
            Avery released his hand and said, “That’s good enough for me. Actually, I admire that. Good luck with everything, and if you need any help let me know. I’m always willing to lend a helping hand.” He smiled and cracked one palm against the other again.
            As Sebastian turned to leave, he sent Avery a backward glance and said, “I’m sure you are, sheriff. And thanks for everything. I mean that. I was so worried.”
            On his way out he noticed Angie had returned from lunch and he nodded and smiled in her direction. She was pretending to file a few papers but Sebastian had a feeling she’d been trying to listen to his conversation with the sheriff.
            As he headed toward the half door that would lead him into the hallway, Angie said, “I’m looking forward to the grand opening. I’ll be there bright and early with mom and pop.”
            “Thanks,” Sebastian said. “We’ll be open from nine in the morning until six at night, and every day thereafter except for Wednesdays.”
            On the way out of the building, he felt a sinking feeling in his stomach all at once. Then his face grew warm and his heart began to race. When it dawned on him this would be the first time in his life he had ever held a full time job it overwhelmed him. It wasn’t that he hadn’t worked hard his entire life taking care of Dan, Kick, and doing the part time retail jobs. And he’d always been a reliable, responsible employee wherever he’d worked. He showed up fifteen minutes early and left fifteen minutes late. He’d even had former employers beg him to work full time because of his work ethic, but Dan had always preferred him working part time and taking care of the house and family things full time. Sebastian had preferred it that way, too. He’d never had the urge to have a career or work full time outside the home in any capacity. And now here he was, pushing thirty, no husband, and this never ending business he’d started looming over his head day and night.
            As he headed back to the parking lot to his car, he was so engrossed in his own thoughts he almost didn’t hear the shout from across the street. The woman who owned the dress shop, the one who had been seeing Judd, was speaking to him and he stopped short and turned to look at her.
            “I’m sorry,” Sebastian said. “I didn’t hear you.”
            “I was just saying that I can’t wait for the grand opening on Labor Day,” she said. She was leaning back against the rail of her front porch, next to a huge urn of red potted geraniums that were so perfect they didn’t look real. He knew they were real. No one in Glendora Hill would have dared plant anything fake.
            “Thanks,” he said. He figured Judd must have told her who he was. “We’re working hard to make it a lot of fun for the whole town.” He was so used to speaking in terms of being part of a couple after all those years of being married, he didn’t realize he’d made this mistake.
            “I’ve heard all about it from Judd,” she said. When she mentioned Judd’s name her expression grew somber, as if she were angry now. “He says you boys are working all the time over there. Judd tells me everything, and I mean everything.”
            If there was one thing most in the world Sebastian hated it was being referred to as a boy. He was a grown man, with a son of his own, not a little boy. Though he felt like correcting her, he didn’t want to get on her bad side, so he forced a smile and said, “Judd’s been a big help. I’m Sebastian, by the way.” He also had no idea about whether or not Judd had mentioned he was bi-sexual and that they were having sex once in a while.
            She sent him a smug grin, turned back toward her dress shop, and said, “Don’t I know it. I’m Luanne.”
            After that comment, she went into the shop without looking back. He had a feeling Judd had said something. So when he returned to the house and found Judd packing dirt around the last boxwood, he parked up front and walked over to him. He glanced at the round boxwoods and said, “They look great. But I told you to wait. I wanted to help.”
            Judd’s entire body was drenched in perspiration by then. It literally dripped down his bulging chest muscles and made wet spots on his jeans. He wiped his brow with the back of his hand and said, “I don’t mind, and you can do all the mulching. I have to go into town. I promised a friend I’d have a late lunch with her.”
            Sebastian knew he was talking about the woman who owned the dress shop. “This friend is the woman who owns the dress shop in town, isn’t she? Her name is Luanne.”
            “Yes,” Judd said, setting the shovel done next to the wheel barrow. “The blond woman in her thirties. She’s a great lady.”
            “I know,” Sebastian said. “I spoke to her a few minutes ago when I was leaving the sheriff’s office.”
            “How did that go?” Judd asked. “Did the permits cost a fortune?”
            He wanted to talk about the woman in the dress shop, not the permits. “It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It wasn’t cheap, but I won’t have to skip a meal yet.”
            “Well that’s good,” he said. He was so sweaty even the bulge in his jeans was damp.
            But Sebastian resisted the urge to flirt with him, in spite of how sexy he looked standing there with no shirt, with dirt all over his hands, dripping in sweat. “I’m curious about something. How much does the woman in the dress shop, Luanne, know about you?”
            It seemed as if Judd caught on to him all at once. He flung Sebastian and glance and said, “She knows I’m bi-sexual. But I never said a word about us. I don’t kiss and tell.”
            Judd seemed excited now, as if he were upset. “Simmer down,” Sebastian said. “I didn’t mean it that way. I know you wouldn’t say anything about us. I just wanted to know if she knew you were bi-sexual.”
            “I had to be honest with her,” Judd said. “It wouldn’t be right not to tell her the truth.”
            Sebastian smiled and reached for his bicep. He squeezed it gently and said, “And that’s what I like most about you, Judd. You’re always honest.”

            “You’re not mad at me for telling her, are you?”
            “Of course not,” Sebastian said. “That’s up to you, and it’s none of my business.” Then he looked to see if anyone was watching. When he knew it was safe, he patted Judd on the bottom and said, “Now go take a shower and get out of here. You’ve done enough hard work for one day. I’ll go up and change and do the mulch alone. I don’t mind. I actually like doing it.”

            A few minutes later, he waved as Judd backed his new pick-up truck out of the driveway. Though he knew Judd was going to visit Luanne, and most likely have sex with her, he felt no jealousy or discomfort. But he was worried about her. Women like her had a sixth sense about men like him, and he knew she suspected he was playing around with Judd even though Judd had never said anything. It wasn’t something Judd had to tell her. She could guess this on her own without having to be told. It didn’t bother Sebastian in a literal sense. He just wanted her to know for certain that what he did with Judd was not leading anywhere, and that he had no intentions of ever getting serious with Judd. The only reason this was important to Sebastian was because he’d seen the look on her face when she’d mentioned Judd, and she clearly had future plans for good old Judd that didn’t include Sebastian.

Ryan Field Books Smashwords; Bloggers and Pen Names

Ryan Field Books Smashwords

I’ve had books published with publishers up on Smashwords for a long time. Here’s link to that page.

But we recently uploaded all my indie books, which include backlist titles I’ve been publishing alone since June on Smashwords and other web sites, and I wanted to mention that link, too, because I’ve had a few e-mails from readers about it.

I honestly don’t know how this works, but for people looking for books I think it’s a good thing to know that with authors like me you won’t find the same results with just one search. In other words, my books with publishers are not grouped with books I’ve indie pubbed with Ryan Field Press. So if you’re looking for other authors and for a specific book and you don’t find it in one search, try another and be more specific (book title and author). There are a lot of imperfections still with online booksellers, and if you don’t know these things you’re going to get confused (me).

In any event, here’s the link to my recently uploaded indies on Smashwords. All are .99 e-books. I think there are thirty-eight right now.

Side note: You can also find me here at Barnes & Noble. If you notice all my books on B&N, both indie and those released with publishers, are grouped together in one place.

Bloggers and Pen Names

First, this is only about bloggers, not about fiction writers or authors who have blogs that only deal with their fiction. I want to make that clear, because the most popular bloggers don’t write fiction. They focus on news, pop culture, opinion, and other non-fic related topics, which include book reviews. So again, this isn’t for fiction writer who have blogs or use pen names to write fiction.

If you search the web for articles about pen names and bloggers you’ll find many varying opinions on the topic, and there doesn’t seem to be a set rule. Mostly I found that those bloggers who use pen names defend pen names, naturally. Those who don’t use pen names, don’t trust bloggers who use pen names. If you search for journalists and pen names you’ll also find a few different opinions. However, none of the opinions I found that are pro pen names for bloggers and journalists make a significant argument…at least not enough to sway my opinion about those who blog about real things with fake names and identities. And I found a post that sums up the way I feel about blogging news with a pen name.

I think this article sums it up well, and makes a few valid points about honesty and integrity when blogging. I’ve always believed that if you’re a journalist or a serious blogger writing non-fiction oriented news or even reviews and opinion pieces you should be able to stand behind your own name, and be proud to do it. I realize there are some cases where the rules can be broken, but not in most cases. This excerpt below from the article is the best I’ve seen so far, and why I decided to use my real identity a long time ago. I have no regrets.

It keeps me honestThe Internets (word to George “Dubya” Bush) are a safe haven for anonymous and over the top speech — and by anonymous and over the top I mean ratchet and uncouth verbage slung by those who would never say such things in real life. The allure of going all in on somebody is decreased when you affix your real name to the end of a tweet, blog or article. I’ve gone hard on people before, but I have no problem standing behind what I say (and such was the case when I got blasted over my UFC rankings on a popular MMA website, which has left my Google search in shambles).

Ryan Field Books; Paid Book Reviews; Finding Beta Readers



Ryan Field Books Facebook

On facebook, I have an author page that’s been around for at least the last five years. However, I’ve personally been on facebook for almost as long as facebook has been around with my own name, and in that time I’ve built up a list of friends who are a cross between readers, family, and friends from all parts of the world.

So when I use facebook, it’s not only just for book promotion. Facebook for me is also a social outlet that I enjoy daily. And what happens as a result of this is the author page, Ryan Field Books, usually suffers and my own personal facebook account is where you’ll find me. And, I accept all friend requests unlike some people because I do think of that account as a place for readers, too. Frankly, I never got the concept of “Do you know this person?” on facebook. Part of the reason I’m on facebook it to meet new people, and not just stick to those I already know. It’s social media. Isn’t that the basic point of it? I’m supposed to turn people away just because I don’t know them? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose?

The reason I’m posting about this now is because I checked out my author page late last night for the first time in months and found messages and comments left by readers who were thoughtful enough to take the time to do that. And I felt awful about not knowing this, and even worse because one of my biggest pet peeves about authors and social media is when the author is too grand and mighty to actually communicate and socialize with readers in any capacity. I see readers leaving comments on author status updates all the time and when the author never replies I get a little put off by that. I personally think it’s important to at least take the time to say something once in a while.

So I will try to start updating that author page, and I will keep up with things more frequently now. But if you did try to reach me on the author page and you didn’t get a response, please understand that was just me being absent minded and I always reply to everyone who contacts me. I would actually like to delete that author page, but I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea either.

Paid Book Reviews

I know I’ve posted about paid book reviews before here somewhere, but for those who don’t know what I’m talking about I’ll explain it again. This basically falls under the category of “Everyone says you should do this,” and authors are always being told that reviews are the most important way to promote their books. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve read this advice. And in the quest for book reviews some authors pay outside sources to read their books and review them.

I’m only going to link to one place right now, because some of the places where you can buy these book reviews are questionable at best. This link seems reputable. Although I’m not an expert on paid book reviews, I do know that Kirkus seems to have a good reputation in the field. But it’s not without pitfalls either, as this author notes in this blog post titled, “Kirkus Reviews: Is it Worth the Money?”

Not only was I starry-eyed, but I was also impatient. Instead of paying $425.00 for a review that might take 9 weeks, I decided to fork over the extra money and paid $575.00 for the 4-6 week review.

Once the review was published, however, nobody saw it. It got tucked away three or four layers deep into the Kirkus labyrinth of thousands of reviews, and you wouldn’t find it unless you searched for it specifically.

I’ve personally never paid for one single book review in my life, and at this point I don’t intend to do that. I’m not being holier than thou; I just prefer unsolicited reviews all the time. I also write some highly erotic gay romances, and most people tend to be discreet about leaving reviews for books of that nature. In other words, I get e-mails in private from someone who writes middle grade books telling me how much he loves my books, but I don’t expect him to review one of my books on his middle grade web site. Or for that matter, to review one of my books on Amazon with his real name. And that’s part of what comes with choosing to write anything highly erotic…and gay. No complaints. Everything about the genre deals with discretion and privacy…even what I post here on this blog. I self-censor all the time.

I’m also too damn cheap to pay Kirkus $575.00. I’d rather have this, or this instead.  And when I think as a business person, and I think about how many books need to be sold in order to make a paid review from Kirkus worthwhile, the numbers simply don’t add up unless you’re writing something mainstream with the potential to attract hundreds of thousands of people. Even in that case, I have a literary agent friend who advises his newer clients against paying that much for book reviews from anyone, and then he tells his authors to focus on social media and unsolicited reviews from readers. He’s a great agent and good friend and I trust him completely.

But the general point of this post is to show that paid book reviews are not uncommon, they aren’t unethical, and authors and publishers have been doing this for many years, both large and small. Of course there are a few questionable web sites out there that will review books for a fee (one for five bucks a book), but I think it’s safe to say that you’ll know them when you see them. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Finding Beta Readers

This is something one of my authors who contributed to The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance asked me about a month ago and I was at a loss. I know there are tons of beta readers out there, but I’ve never personally had one so I couldn’t name anyone specific. But I think beta readers are great, and when I saw this article I figured I’d link to it for those who are looking for beta readers, or even those who don’t know what betas are.

Don’t ask family or friends; their critiques are worthless. Are you part of any writing groups? You should be! Go join a few now for your next novel. I have a group of awesome friends online who have been invaluable beta readers for me. For now, go to Goodreads and find an author who writes the same kind of stuff as you. Look at the people who’ve reviewed his stuff, and consider if their reviews are accurate and insightful. Message 5 of them and ask them if they would read and critique your work. But really, fellow authors are the best because they can point out tangles in your structure and help you fix them better than readers can.

Whatever you do, don’t ever pay for a beta reader. The author who asked me about beta readers mentioned a company that will read and critique your book for a fee of $200.00 and I think that’s just insane. There are more than a few readers out there who would be willing to read your work and critique it for free. They love doing this, they are usually the best critics, and you’ll get an outside opinion that’s objective and more reliable than you can get anywhere else. In most cases, the beta reader is going to be the same type of reader who will be reviewing your book when it’s published.

Small Town Romance Writer: The 113,000 Word Version

Small Town Romance Writer: The 113,000 Word Version

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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