short stories

Reading Through the Newest Galleys: Pledges with Cleis Press

For those who might not know, I think the best way to explain galleys in publishing is that they are the final edits…the last chance to look something over and make small changes…before a book goes to print for publication. I do this with everything, including my own self-pubbed books before they are launched as e-books. I actually have my own galleys for my self-pubbed books. It’s those last minute details that sometimes make a huge difference.

In this case, I’m reading the galley for an upcoming book by Cleis Press I’m in. The title is “Pledges,” and it’s a collection of short erotic gay fiction about frat boys. I think I’ve posted about this one before, and I will post again on the publication date, but I wanted to post a little something now in case I forget. I get so used to things moving faster with digital publishing that some of the things I truly enjoy the most slip by unnoticed.

And being a part of books like this one is, and always has been, one of the things I enjoy most about being a writer. It’s also one the few remaining things I cling to as publishing makes so many constant changes and I’m forced to change with it. With books like these you aren’t going to see aggressive authors from small start up e-presses go for the kill with all kinds of annoying things they *think* will help promote their books. The audience for books like this is out there, it will always be out there, and the best kind of promotion for books like this is to talk about it, give product descriptions, and let the reader decide on whether or not they want to buy it and read it. In other words, no one has to go through hoops, click like on Amazon, give fake ratings with multiple fake identities on Goodreads, and talk about the new love of their life to garner devotion on other social media. It’s really about as plain and simple as it gets, and I’ve always considered myself very lucky to have been a part of the older publishing process that really worked hard to cater more to readers than they did to try and sell books to them like snake oil salesmen. It’s also why I tend to fall short in the self-promotion department with my own books.

This book is also what I consider classic gay erotica…or what’s left of gay erotica in these changing times when so many gay authors are growing disillusioned. Each writer writes about something erotic that deals with “pledges,” and each writer handles the topic differently. I’ve read a few of the stories already and I think readers are going to enjoy it. I didn’t read all the stories, though. I focused mainly on my own so that I have something to look forward to reading when I get my author copies. And that’s something else I have to admit I miss more than anything about old publishing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve embraced digital and I wouldn’t part with my e-reader for anything. But seeing that book you’re in, in print, in hard copy, is a feeling I just can’t explain. And as much as I love digital books, the feeling just isn’t the same.

At the bottom of this post is part of the introduction from Editor, Shane Allison, who is an underestimated and highly amazing gay author.

I will post an excerpt from my story when the book is released. The back story to this is that I wrote a novel with a pen name about a year ago and the editor with that publisher decided to cut 10,000 words from the novel. That had never happened to me before, and I hope it never happens again either. I smiled and took it like a professional, and I’m glad I did. Because the ten thousand words they cut I re-worked and turned into a short story for this book. I liked it too much to just let it crash and burn. And it is original and has never been published anywhere else before.


As I read over these hot new stories of pledge erotica, it took

me back to my days of being a twentysomething, when I used

school and studying as an excuse to be lazy, when

student was scribbled in a box when being asked what one’s occupation was



on a job application. I’ve been out of school for nine years now

but having the luxury of living in a college town where there’s

never a shortage of smoking-hot college boys, I am constantly

reminded of what I’m missing, especially during rush week when


an all-new crop of twinks set out to pledge their chosen frat.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Anthology with WWW.Loveyoudivine.com

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

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

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

Missing Jackson’s Hole 5392

Kevin Loves Cowboys 6524

Cowboy Howdy 7646

Something for Saint Jude 8113

That Cowboy in the Window 5703

Cowboy Mike and Buddy Boy 5836

A Life Filled with Awesome Love 12041

                                                  51225
 

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

 
 

Bruno Gmünder Just Bought One of My Short Stories

German publisher, http://www.brunogmuender.com/, just bought one of my short stories, NOAH’S ARCH. The story was originally published in an anthology with my favorite lgbt print publisher, STARbooks Press, a few years back, and someone in Germany read it, liked it, and asked if I’d be interested in having it re-released in one of their magazines.

I haven’t done any magazine work in a while, because I’ve been concentrating on full length novels and e-books. But when I was offered the opportunity, I didn’t hesitate. Not only do I like working with magazines, I like the way they tend to change the stories around to suit their readers needs. It’s a completely different market, and much less critical than book publishing. And when the revises are made, I’ve often found that I like the finished magazine stories even better than I liked the book versions. Most of the revises aren’t obvious; just subtle differences. But I tend to like the way magazine editors focus more on reality and less on what everyone else is doing in romance and publishing.

I’m looking forward to the publication, which should be sometime in September. I don’t know about the availability in the US, but I do know it’s going to be on German news stands for at least a month. And I think there’s going to be an online publication, too. So I’ll post links and where it can be read.

Happy Launch Day for SEX AND TAXES…

The new anthology, SEX AND TAXES, was just released today. The timing couldn’t have been better, and the stories are hot. I contributed a gay story to this that’s about a sexy personal trainer who seeks help with his taxes from a nerdy accountant. But once they start working together, it turns out the nerdy accountant is interested in much more than just taxes. Below is the intro to the book. I’ll post something from my story later this week.
It’s that time of the year again, when we try to make sense of every receipt, credit card charge, and explain how we spent so much on taxi cabs and dry cleaning. I am always fascinated by what I spent and how I spent it, but bored beyond belief at having to go through the process of tallying up these figures and explaining them to my accountant, who is another single woman like myself.
It takes me days to get my personal taxes in order because I daydream about anything but doing my taxes. I also daydream about some hot young accountant doing my taxes, and then about me doing some hot young accountant.
And that’s what inspired this anthology.
Believe it or not, I think the process of doing my taxes leads to erotic daydreams. And that’s the case with these ten stories about desperate taxpayers and the accountants who service them, as well as the IRS agents who take advantage of them, or allow themselves to be taken advantage of. There’s even a true bloodsucking accountant in the mix.
So we hope that after you’ve waited on that long line at he post office to send your taxes to the feds and the state (with your check enclosed), you’ll curl up with this nice ebook and think about what could have been. Or maybe start looking for a hot new accountant for next year (and send us a referral!).
Lori Perkins
April, 2009

How The West Was Done…

HOW THE WEST WAS DONE was released today by ravenous. It’s edited by Adam Carpenter, and a short story of mine, RUDY’S NEW KAZOO, was included in the book.

I haven’t read the entire book yet, but my story revolves around a young college graduate who decides he’d rather work on the family ranch instead of teaching school. When his father hears this, he decides to send him to the most dangerous, isolated part of the ranch to herd sheep. It’s actually such a bad job, no one has ever been tough enough to remain there very long. But Rudy is determined to succeed, and with the help of a very sexy ranch manager he learns more about being a cowboy than he ever expected.

This story, for me, is a classic example of how I prefer to write erotic fiction. It’s very sexy, but it you took the sex away there would still be a strong story. Below is an excerpt from the first few paragraphs of RUDY’S NEW KAZOO.
Rudy’s New Kazoo

Originally, the plan had been for Rudy to start teaching high school after graduation. He was only a few years older than most high school students, after all…almost twenty-one, of legal drinking age come August. He’d majored in science and could have taken a job in almost any high school in Montana, where science teachers were scarce. Not to mention that he’d graduated top of his class, with honors. But no, the day after graduation he announced that he wanted to work on the family ranch and learn to become a cowboy instead. And since his father thought he was just going through a passing phase…he’d done that a few times before…it was decided that he would spend one year working as a ranch hand on the north mountain and learn the necessary skills from the ground up. His job would begin with fence repair and general clean up, which when translated into an actual job description meant he’d be hammering bent, rusty nails and cleaning debris under the supervision of Cody Bloodworth, the manager.
In l968, the north mountain was an isolated part of the ranch, where sheep were herded and life was primitive. You couldn’t even get there by truck; you had to ride up on horseback, which took half a day. It wasn’t Rudy’s ultimate dream to be sent there; he would have preferred working with the other cowboys on the main cattle ranch. But he knew he had to prove a few things to everyone if he was going to be taken seriously as a cowboy, so he accepted the job with a smile on his face. One of the things he had to prove was that he was physically strong enough to endure the challenges of working on the ranch. He only stood five feet five inches tall, his body was slim and wiry and his features were delicate and chiseled. His hair was long and wavy and blond; the only body hair he had was a small patch of dark blond above his penis. Though he wasn’t effeminate in any way, there had been many times when people had mistaken for a young woman.