Category: the vegas shark

Fall Into Romance Free Give-Away

Fall Into Romance Free Give-Away

Update 3: Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. I’ve heard it’s been a huge success. And I’ll be posting a winner this week in a separate post, and then contacting them!! And like usual, I also have a few surprises in store for everyone who commented.

Update 2: I’m 99.9% sure all the comments from comment moderation are up. There was a little issue because one comment kept coming up a few times, but I do have back up copies and I think it was fixed. But if in any event your comment did not show up, please check this out and post again.

Update: I’ve been told there were a few additions to the guest list and in order to be certain what they were…or if there are any more additions to the list…check the link I’ve provided at the bottom of the post that will lead you to the Personal Marketing web site. The more additions the more chances to win. And all updates will be at that link for certain.

I wanted to put this post up early even though the event doesn’t begin until tomorrow. But I’m not sure I’ll get a chance to post anything until later tomorrow. Basically, it’s a fall event for romance readers where different authors gather and write short blog posts about all things love and romance. I’ll provide a link below, with detailed directions. The contest will run October 26, 27, and 28.

First, this is the short post I wrote, about a character I wrote for a book in the Bad Boy Billionaire series, The Vegas Shark. For some reason, he’s one of the most memorable characters I’ve ever written and his approach to love and to life in spite of his circumstances is always positive. This is the only post I’ll be doing because I have a lot of other blogging to do, so it’s really very simple.

When I started the Bad Boy Billionaire series the publisher and I brainstormed about themes and titles. And when she suggested the Vegas Shark title, I agreed but wasn’t totally certain how I would do it. Vegas is one of the places in the US with which I’m the least familiar. So that made is difficult for me to feel emotionally connected at first.

However, once I started writing the story and really started to develop the main character, Treston, I found it much easier to deal with the setting. You see, in spite of the fact that he makes his living in a way that some would find highly questionable, he’s also the sweetest, dearest soul I think I have ever written. There is one scene in particular where he is so trusting he winds up getting swindled in a horrible and embarrassing way. A way that would make most of us cringe. After that, he’s finished with love for good.

Or so he thinks. He eventually winds up getting saved by one man and accidentally meeting another who turns out to be the worst bad boy billionaire in Vegas. And in the end he’s forced into making a choice, a choice he didn’t see coming. I won’t give out any spoilers, but there is one scene at the end of the book that still makes me emotional to this day. And I think that’s because it’s really the first time the main charter realizes, and is introduced to, what true love really is all about.

Now, here’s the blog hop button:

And  list of participants.

Personalized Marketing's Fall Into Romance Blog Hop

Prize I’m offering:

I decided to offer two free e-books from the Bad Boy Billionaire series. These are the most recent I have out, and I’m hoping the winner hasn’t read them yet. The winner can choose between any two of them. Here’s an Amazon link where they are listed. If the winner has read them all, we’ll come up with something else. And, this contest (for me) is open to everyone all over the globe, not just US residents. The contest begins at midnight tonight, so please refrain from commenting until then to keep it fair for everyone.

In order to win the two free e-books I’m offering, just comment here on this blog post and I’ll choose the winner at random like I’ve done in the past. I might be posting other things this weekend, but this post will be up forever. And please make sure to leave an e-mail address or let me know how I can contact you within the body of the comment. You can comment anonymously, too, and just leave the e-mail address. The winner will be contacted by me no later than November 7th.

Here’s a link the main page for the blog hop.

Music and Fiction: The Vegas Shark; You Are My Sunshine

I often use music in fiction to show how characters relate to events and situations around them. I don’t always do it because it’s not always needed. In The Virgin Billionaire I used a web site to show how Luis feels about great art and artistic male nudes. But I used rap music in Four Gay Weddings and a Funeral to show that some gay men…me…like rap music and don’t like torch songs and show tunes. I’m doing it again now with The Silicon Valley Sex Scandal, which I’ll post about soon.

In any event, most writers use music in fiction sometimes to make a point or to show something about a character. Music is fundamental to all of our lives and readers can relate to this. The trick is to not become too self-indulgent. In other words, if I were to write a novel like Four Gay Weddings and a Funeral and I were to give a detailed playlist that went along with the novel with all my favorite rap songs I might come off as self-indulgent and amateur…or unhinged. I think it would be overkill, unless the book is all about rap musicians.

The one time I’ve used music more often than not was in The Vegas Shark. The main character, Treston, truly has a love for life, he believes in all that is wonderful and good, and he’s always making the best out of a bad situation…in spite of always getting knocked down each time. He gets right back up and continues through life as if there’s a miracle around the next corner. There’s nothing he won’t do for the man he loves. He is the most positive character I’ve ever written, and the most vulnerable as a result. And one of the things that helps get him through life is the old song You Are My Sunshine. It was something from a childhood that most of us can’t even imagine.

I won’t give out any spoilers, but I can say this about The Vegas Shark. I don’t always write books that have moments that will bring readers to tears. It just doesn’t always work that way for me. But on those occasions when I have books like that, and I’m brought to tears while I’m writing the book, I know it’s going to work. It can’t be forced. If I’m not feeling it the reader won’t feel it. In this case, at the end of The Vegas Shark there is one scene that brought me to tears the moment I started writing it. It’s at the very end and it has something to do with the song, You Are My Sunshine.

And this time I planned it. I think I’ve posted about this before, but just in case I didn’t I’ll repeat it. When my partner, Tony, was on life support in the hospital six years ago I bought him a felt sunflower. The entire thing was felt…the brown fake pot, the green stem, the yellow sunflower itself. It looks a little like the one in the photo above, but not exactly. And when you pushed a small button at the bottom, a music box started to play You Are My Sunshine. I’d never seen anything like it before and I bought it without even asking the price. When I got to the hospital and played it for Tony it was one of the first times I knew he was going to recover just by the smile on his face. And you should have seen the nurses have fun with it. It was an interesting summer, 2007, and I’ll have to post about the praying hands sometimes in the future. One publisher has been asking me about a memoir of that year, and I’ve been putting it off because it still too soon to write about it.

If anyone would ever like to purchase one, here’s a link I found. I got mine at a small local gift shop. But they aren’t easy to find. And trust me, they will put a smile on anyone’s face. It’s like a kitten: you just can’t be depressed around one of these things.

The photo below is the actual flower I bought six years ago. This is one of those times when I realize that I have to get my act together with webcams. I would love to have shown what it really sounds like.

Beekman 1802 Pasta Sauce; Gay Amish; FREE Bad Boy Excerpt

Yesterday I posted about a new brand of pasta sauce being made by gay couple, Josh and Brent, at Beekman 1802. You can read more about that here, and learn more about Beekman 1802. But the reason I’m posting about it again today is because I happened to see another brand of pasta sauce on a morning news show earlier today and I thought it was interesting.

First, the Beekman 1802 pasta sauce is organic and contains nothing artificial. It comes from heirloom tomatoes, and it’s priced at 7.95 for a 26 ounce jar. But more than that, 25% of all proceeds from this pasta sauce go to US farmers to help them pay off their mortgages. I like that. I know a few farmers here in Bucks County and I know how hard they struggle.

So when I heard another guy talking about his new pasta sauce this morning on TV, and I heard what he was charging compared to what Josh and Brent are charging, I had to post something about it again. This new 35.00 a jar pasta sauce I saw on TV this morning is called “Sunday Gravy.” Tony and I both have Italian American backgrounds, and we know that on Sundays the main meal of the day for many Italian Americans begins in the afternoon and there’s always pasta and gravy. Notice how we don’t call it sauce. It’s called gravy and I think that has something to do with the fact that there’s almost always meat in it.

In short, the Sunday meal begins with some kind of antipasto…cheeses, roasted peppers, stuffed peppers, etc…then goes to pasta with gravy, after that a meat course is served, and then there’s usually a salad at the end of the meal. That’s just a basic description of how it works. There’s garlic bread, and things like pizzelle.

I’m not a prolific cook, and I’m no stranger to pasta sauces that cost anywhere from fifteen dollars a jar to twenty dollars a jar, but I have never seen one that costs 35.00 a jar. They claim “Sunday Gravy” contains all kinds of braised meats and it takes hour to make. That’s true. It does take hours to make. When Tony makes a huge batch it’s on the stove from morning until the time we sit down to dinner in the evening. But that slow cooking doesn’t make it any more expensive than something that’s cooked in a half hour. And the meat thing with this “Sunday Gravy” makes me wonder, too, because traditionally it’s always been the cheapest cuts that go in to pasta gravy. I knew a woman from The Bronx who used to used chicken feet because she claimed it made the gravy silkier.

So I’m just not sure what warrants the 35.00 price tag on “Sunday Gravy,” especially compared to the 7.95 price tag on the new Beekman 1802 brand where 25% of the proceeds go to help pay off mortgages.

And this only makes me want to order the Beekman 1802 brand even more now. I will post a follow up after I’ve had it.

Gay Amish

One of the things I’ve learned from an Amish reader who guest posted here once, is that Amish people in general are not thrilled with the way publishing portrays the Amish in romance books. Most of the time they are insulted, and sometimes they even laugh at it. According to my Amish friend, it’s never right, it’s always glorified and unrealistic, and it makes Amish people look nothing like they really are. Many times it makes them look backward. And I can personally tell you that this is NOT true. I have never met anyone brighter, sharper, and more interesting than my Amish friend. And, he has this excellent knack for writing most published writers don’t have these days.

I know we’re talking about romance, where it’s supposed to be all about escapism and fantasy. And I’ve defended that before. But where do we draw the lines? Especially if we’re insulting a group of people who didn’t ask anyone to write about them in the first place.

I know how they feel. While most of the gay fiction I read seems to be accurate and the authors to take their time to get it right, I often find discussions on blogs, and comment threads on these same blogs, where they discuss gay people as if they are gazing at them through a microscope. Most of the time it’s all hooded opinion and conjecture. One in particular makes my blood curdle. She knows it all and as far as I know she’s not even gay.

But I’m talking about the Amish now, and gay Amish in particular. I found a few links that are interesting and I think they help portray the Amish in a more realistic way.

This one is interesting:

Unfortunately for many people, their “knowledge” of the Amish comes almost entirely from TV and movies. A columnist for the NEW YORK POST wrote late last year that “Everything I know about the Amish, I learned from the old Harrison Ford movie, WITNESS.” While undoubtedly an exaggeration, this is a bit like watching a Tarzan movie in order to learn about African culture, or “The Sopranos” to gain insight into the lives of average Italian-Americans today. While such shows may be entertaining, they also stereotype and make it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

This one talks about growing up gay and being Amish:

James Schwartz was raised in an Amish community in Michigan. In a segment on HuffPost Live, he shared his struggle to fit into this group when he realized he was gay.

The reason I don’t post about this often is because the Amish are extremely private and they don’t like to discuss themselves. It’s also the reason why it’s hard to find links about them. I understand that and respect it. But I also think it’s important to break stereotypes, too, sometimes. If anyone has anything to share, please feel free to comment. I handle all anonymous comments with aboslute discretion and no one will ever know who you are.

Free Bad Boy Excerpt: The Vegas Shark

I don’t think I’ve had as much fun writing a book in years as I did with The Vegas Shark. I actually hated to see it end and that almost never happens with me. I tend to look at the books I’m writing in a more objective way and I don’t get attached to them. This excerpt has never been published in retail web sites before. It’s a scene where Chad and Treston are just getting to know each other. Treston’s hiding in the closet, listening to Chad and his annoying boyfriend that he’s nick named “Pussycat.” And that’s only because his real name is “Dare,” which he thinks is stupid. In this case, Chad’s a the bad boy, the liar, and the scoundrel. And Treston knows it. I did have to edit a few things because this blog is rated pg, but nothing’s been edited in the version for sale.


           Chad said, “I love you so much pussycat. But all I want to do tonight is hold you in my arms and fall asleep. I don’t want to ruin the moment with sex. It would bee too cruel. I want this night to be about emotion and the love between us. We’ll make love in the morning.”

            Treston rolled his eyes and laughed into his hand. He had to admit this was one of the best lines he’d ever heard a guy say when he didn’t want to have sex. He knew damn well Chad couldn’t get his forty-seven year old penis up again until morning. 

            The poor fool believed every word Chad said about love and emotion. “That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to me, sweetie-pie,” Dare said. “Let’s get into bed right now and close our eyes.”

            “I’ll be there in a minute, pussycat,” Chad said. “I think I left the light on in the closet.”

            When Treston heard Chad coming toward the closet door, Treston moved away and backed into a row of expensive dark suits. There had to be hundreds.

            Chad opened the door slightly and slipped inside. He lifted his index finger to his lips and started to whisper. “Don’t say anything; just kiss me.” Then he grabbed Treston by the back of the head, pulled him closer, and shoved his tongue into his mouth.

            Treston didn’t understand, at least not at first. But it only took a minute of kissing and he realized what was happening. He reached down, grabbed the erection poking out of Chad’s black sweat pants, and said, “I thought you were going to just hold the poor dumb bastard in your arms all night because it’s so romantic. We just had sex. I thought you said you were on a twenty-four hour erection cycle.”

            Chad reached around and grabbed his bottom. When he did this he seemed to grow more sexually aroused. “I wanted to see if I could get it up again sooner. And thanks to you I can. You’re the best.”

            Treston couldn’t believe what he’d just heard. This guy had no limits. “You really are a fucking asshole. I should go out there right now and tell the poor dumb fuck what’s been going on here all night. I’m starting to feel obligated to do the right thing.”

            Chad kissed him again and smiled. “But you won’t do it, will you?”

            The saddest thing of all was Treston knew if he did go out and tell Dare the truth, Dare probably wouldn’t have believed him anyway. They never do. Treston wouldn’t have believed anyone if he’d been in Dare’s place, so he knew it would just be a waste of his time and energy. Besides, he’d learned in life people usually have to figure things out on their own.  So he stroked Chad a few times and said, “No, I won’t. But I’d like to go home soon, you forty-seven year old fucker. I’m tired. I’ve had a long day and I’d like to brush my teeth.”

            “Just wait until he’s sleeping,” Chad said. “As soon as it’s okay, I’ll get you out safely. I promise. I’ll even have a car take you home.” He looked into his eyes and smiled. “Please do this for me.”

            Treston shrugged. “I’ll do this for him, not for you. So don’t give me your helpless look. There’s nothing about you that’s honest or decent or helpless. And frankly, I don’t feel like getting into any drama tonight that’s none of my business. You people mean nothing to me.”

            Chad kissed his forehead and said, “Thanks. I owe you.”

            “You don’t owe meanything.”

            As he turned to leave, Chad pointed to his crotch and said, “And thanks for this, too. You’re the best.”

            Treston lowered his head and laughed. Then he twirled his finger and said, “Any time, idiot.”

Ravenous Romance: The Vegas Shark; Phila DA Goes After Zuckerberg; Sen. Menendez Gets Online Wank

Update: Here’s a purchase link to ]

Ravenous Romance Link here.

Amazon Link here. 

I’ve been told my new book in the Bad Boy Billionaire series, The Vegas Shark, will be out sometime today or tomorrow. I don’t have links right now, but I will come back and update as soon as I get them.

I posted something about The Vegas Shark a few weeks ago, and did an interview blog hop with a group of authors and talked about a few things I don’t normally get into. If you are so inclined, you can read that here.

I did a few different things in this book I don’t normally do, and for some reason I find hard to explain, I felt much closer to this book than I have to any books since I wrote “Chase of a Lifetime.” It’s not a parody or based on any films or straight romances, but I do hope it’s funny in certain sections…or at least someone will think it’s funny. I also hope they think it’s sexy, because Treston is a hot little guy. He is a gentle, loving male stripper who makes a name for himself in Vegas by shooting ping pong balls out of a very interesting part of his body. And I used music this time, which I don’t always do.

Here’s the plot description that will be up on all web sites:

Even though life is far from perfect, handsome young Treston Fair Leigh believes in heroes and fairytales. His favorite song is You Are My Sunshine and he’s certain love can conquer all.

But when the man he’s supposed to marry does something so unthinkable to him he’s not sure he’ll ever recover, he stops looking for love altogether…until he meets the one man in the world he believes is intrinsically decent enough to save him from all the bad boys he’s ever known.

While he’s planning to marry his hero, he quits his job as stripper and part time escort and rearranges his life. The only problem is the most notorious billionaire bad boy in Vegas has fallen in love with him, through no fault of his own. And no matter how hard Treston tries to fend off his advances and insult him the bad boy won’t give up.

Only this time Treston is serious and he’s going for the good guy instead of the bad. He doesn’t care about money or looks or fame. But will the billionaire bad boy leave him alone? And is the man Treston’s going to marry truly ready to forget about Treston’s past, the unusual way he shoots ping pong balls out of his body, and all the men he’s been with?
When I heard about the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office going after Facebook, I had to read more about it. I live in a Philly suburb and I find these online legal issues fascinating for many reasons. One, I’ve been working online for a long time, in the wild west days of the Internet, and I have been amazed at the things I’ve seen people get away with online they normally wouldn’t be able to get away with in real life. Two, because I think as more people become familiar with the Internet we’ll be seeing more legal issues arise. A lot of the Internet is lawless…as it stands now…and many of these Internet businesspeople have been playing by their own set of rules as if they don’t have to be held accountable to anyone. This recent turn of events with the Philadelphia DA’s Office I think is just the beginning of more to come.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is publicly calling on Facebook to remove photos he says threaten the safety of a cooperating witness.

A Philadelphia woman agreed to testify against drug dealers for whom she purchased guns.

Williams says Freddie Henriquez posted her statement to police on his Facebook page along with other postings about killing “rats.”

The DA’s office has asked Facebook to take down the posts, but the company said the images do not violate its policies. Williams held a news conference Monday to display the offending images and throw some weight behind his request.

You can read more here. What I find interesting is how many times have we heard that last line before. This shows you the arrogance the DA is working with, and how the people at Facebook set their own rules and standards and are not held accountable to anyone…or at least not until now.

This is also interesting:

Williams called on Zuckerberg to be a “good corporate citizen” by ordering Facebook to remove the page of a Philadelphia man Williams alleges used it to solicit the killing of a witness in a case involving illegal firearm purchases.

So far, Facebook – if not Zuckerberg personally – has said no, because Freddie Henriquez’s page urging people to “kill rats” does not violate any of Facebook’s terms of use.

“I asked to be district attorney. . . . Victims didn’t ask to have their car stolen, didn’t ask to be raped or shot,” Williams told reporters.

Williams said he had sent a letter to Zuckerberg asking him to order Henriquez’s page removed and his Facebook account deactivated.

In an e-mail, Facebook did not directly address Williams’ remarks.

Of course they didn’t address the remarks. That’s because they don’t have to follow any rules like other businesses and they can make all their own rules up as they go along. As I said above, it will be interesting to see how more of these issues are handled in years to come. I don’t see this going away.

In an even more amusing post about all things Internet, it seems Sen. Menendez from New Jersey has received some classic online treatment and he’s stunned, simply stunned. I’m really only smiling out of the side of my face with this, and I know how serious it is and how these allegations can hurt people. Once something is online it’s up there forever. And there are clever, devious people who have figured this out while the rest of society has not been taking the Internet very seriously.

This is a statement from Menendez, and you can read more at the link above. I don’t know if these allegations are credible or not and that’s not my point with this post. I’ve reached a point where nothing a politician would do would surprise me anymore. I’m talking more about the nature of the Internet, how vicious it can be, and how permanent these things are. They don’t go away.  

“It’s amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a website can drive that type of story into the mainstream,” Menendez said. “Now nobody can find them, no one ever met them, no one ever talked to them … The bottom line is that all of those smears are absolutely false.”

Well, where the hell have you been, Sen. Menendez, because this is exactly what they do, and they have been doing this for a long time. In fact, some have made it their lives. Others, like a few publishing web sites, are only popular because they smear and lie this way. All I can say is welcome to the real world, Sen. Menendez, as it stands today. If you could see some of the corruption I’ve seen you’d be amazed. And guess what, they’re only going to call you a politician “behaving badly” now because you actually had the audacity to complain about it. You see, Sen. Menendez, there’s nothing wrong with being anonymous on the Internet. In fact, it’s encouraged by some of the loudest voices on the Internet. But I guess you’re learning the hard way like the rest of us.

As a side note, just because it’s interesting, I recently read a blog post where an author actually tells readers to go to Goodreads, create a fake identity, and leave anonymous comments to complain about something. I swear I’m not joking about this. I’m not linking because the blogger is an idiot and I don’t feel like promoting an idiot. My point here has nothing to do with the topic the blogger/author is talking about in the post. I couldn’t care less about her feelings or concerns. I’m only talking about how she actually encourages people to go to Goodreads and create fake names and identities.

I’m actually starting to think I’ve been doing things all wrong by not having fake identities.  

But then again, you can’t make this stuff up. And I have a lot more fun knowing I can use my name and real identity in the long run.

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Matt Bomer Fifty & Shades Again; The Vegas Shark; RIP Mayor Koch

I haven’t posted on this for a while, but the interest in actor, Matt Bomer, playing Christian in the film version of “Fifty Shades of Grey” has not subsided much. I’m not sure it will either, at least not until the part’s been given to someone officially.

Would Bomer be the best Christian? I think he could do anything and play it well. I’m actually looking more forward to him in the upcoming HBO film based on Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart.” In other words, he just might be too good for Fifty Shades. While I don’t think anyone should ever be defined by their sexual preferences, Bomer has, in a way, defined a generation of gay men without even trying. He’s taken the old stigma about being gay and famous and turned it around, which in turn will make it easier for the next generation.

In any event, Bomer was recently asked about how he feels about playing Christian, and this is the first time he’s responded in public:

“No comment. That’s my line on that. But it’s very flattering I’ve got fans who would like to see me in these things.”

Well done, sir.

The Vegas Shark: ending a novel with the first line you started with.

My upcoming novel, “The Vegas Shark,” will be released next Tuesday as part of the ongoing gay romance series about bad boy billionaires I’ve been doing this year. This book was interesting to write for many reasons, some of which I’ve talked about. But one thing I haven’t talked about is how well the book worked out for me in a structural sense. I like order; I like novels to fall into place the same way things often fall into place in real life sometimes. And one of the things I like most in a novel is when I can end it, in the very last line, with the same line I began with on page one.

That doesn’t happen often for me. It’s not something you can really plan either. Tying up the lose ends in any novel can be tricky, and ending a novel with the first line you started with is almost impossible unless you force it too much. And I like those things to come naturally. And this time it did. I’ll post a little more about this novel next week before the release, but here is the line I’m talking about. It’s the first and last line of this book, and I don’t think it’s a spoiler.

Whenever Treston had a man of his own, he felt special in a way that gave him both hope for the future and peace of mind about his sordid past.

It would be nice if every novel was able to end this way, tied up so neatly and precisely. But that’s not always how it works.

RIP Mayor Ed Koch

When I was a kid, Mayor Koch was a daily fixture in the local news. I remember him being almost a caricature of himself. He was the kind of man who seemed to command attention even when he wasn’t trying too hard. He could be tough, abrasive, friendly, and often unpredictable. And he did something a lot of Mayors aren’t able to do: he created an era of his own while he was mayor.

He passed away earlier this morning from congestive heart failure. He was 88 years old. He was also the best kind of politician:

The mayor dismissed his critics as “wackos,” waged verbal war with developer Donald Trump (“piggy”) and fellow former mayor Rudolph Giuliani (“nasty man”), lambasted the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and once reduced the head of the City Council to tears.

“I’m not the type to get ulcers,” he wrote in “Mayor,” his autobiography. “I give them.”

When President George W. Bush ran for re-election in 2004, Democrat Koch crossed party lines to support him and spoke at the GOP convention. He also endorsed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election efforts at a time when Bloomberg was a Republican. Koch described himself as “a liberal with sanity.”

We don’t see that kind of bipartisanship much at all anymore. But more than that Koch was never married and never spoke about his personal life in public:

During the 1977 mayoral campaign against Mario Cuomo, posters that read, “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo” mysteriously appeared in some neighborhoods as Election Day approached.

A lifelong bachelor, Koch offered a typically blunt response to questions about his own sexuality: “My answer to questions on this subject is simply, `F— off.’ There have to be some private matters left.”

He never did talk about his sexuality again either. And I understand that completely. He came from a generation that guarded privacy and he didn’t want a label. He also came from a generation that was taught we don’t discuss certain topics aloud because they are wrong or bad, homosexuality being one of them. Though we’ll never really know whether or not Koch was gay, I’ve never heard anyone say he was straight either.

As I said, I understand his reaction to questions about being gay because of the times in which he lived. But I also would like to see an end to the negativity that always seems to revolve around all gay people. In other words, we should not have to worry about whether or not it’s right or wrong to admit we’re gay, because there should be nothing wrong with telling the world the most fundamental part of our being.

Cover Preview: The Vegas Shark

Just got the new cover for the next book in the bad boy billionaire series, The Vegas Shark. I did more than a few different things in this book that I will post about more in the future…soon. I’d never really written about a sweet, but clueless, little guy who only wanted one thing in life…to be happy and live happily ever after. I think most of my characters have always had ambitions in life that included some lofty goals. This time I just wanted him to be sweet, sincere, and always getting dumped on. And, at the same time, strong as hell. And who can’t identify with that?

As you can see, there have been a few changes at Ravenous, and new models added to the collection of covers. I know for a fact these models are paid professionals. And the publishers themselves go to New York, to a modeling agency, and shoot on a set or on location sometimes.

Public Sex At Lake Mead; 2013 Great American Fiction Contest; Nasty Gay Men in Coffee Shops

When I was writing “The Vegas Shark,” the next book in my bad boy billionaire series, I had to do some research for Lake Mead for a scene that’s probably one of the most pathetic and vicious I’ve ever written. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I can say it has something to do with sex in public, public nudity, and something most people would never do to their worst enemy.

And while I was researching information for Lake Mead, I came across an interesting article about sex in public without even looking for it. I thought I’d just get basic maps and facts about trails. But I soon discovered that public sex must be something fairly popular for a lot of people, and not only at Lake Mead.

This link will take you to a website called “Private Hiding places.”

This page is dedicated to the disclosure of secluded little places that abound at Lake Powell, perfect for a little hanky panky. These places are too small to camp at and at least a half mile from the nearest camping area. We’re talking tiny beaches just big enough to beach a small boat or PWC, but up on shore you’ll find another sandy area, comfortable, but hidden around a corner, or over a ledge.

And then, of course, there’s the infinite Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson, sex tape that was shot at Lake Mead. If you haven’t seen it, you might be surprised to see just how gifted Tommy Lee truly is in one specific department.

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee tied the knot on the shores of Cancún in February 1995. Shortly after they got busy with making sex tapes. It is speculated that the infamous sex tape, which set the standards for celebrity sex tape and was widely circulated, was shot sometime in 1995. The most interesting part was shot on a boat on lake Mead.

So it seems that public sex is more popular than even I thought it was. And I was only doing basic research about Lake Mead. This has nothing to do with my own private research on the East Coast. There are Dunes in Provincetown, MA, where I’ve spent some interesting afternoons. Of course no one will ever admit to this; they don’t want anyone to know what they are doing. I know one guy who will swear (in front of his partner) nothing ever happens in the dunes when he’s out there alone. But it happens often, especially during the off-season after Labor Day.

2013 Great American Fiction Contest

I still get a few print magazines, and in this month’s Saturday Evening Post I read a story by the winner of the 2013 Great American Fiction Contest. You can read more about the contest here, and here’s an excerpt from the winning story title, “Wolf,” by Lucy Jane Bledsoe. By coincidence, the characters in the story are at a park…but no public sex in this one!

 I wasn’t exactly happy with Jim wanting to change his name to Anatoly, but I tried to roll with it. Change is good 
in a relationship, right? That was the whole reason we went to Yellowstone 
in the first place, to zest up our marriage, have a little fun, do something new.

 I didn’t think we needed an overhaul, though. Nor did I think the change needed to bleed outside our marriage. But after the first trip to the park, he started asking our neighbors to call him Anatoly. It was embarrassing.

“Been reading our Dostoyevsky, have we?” said our next-door neighbor Clarence, pleased with himself for dredging up a literary reference.

There’s a reason why this story won the contest. It’s well written and doesn’t make any of the offensive mistakes I often see new writers make in e-books. I know there’s no definition of what good writing is. And I’m not trying to define it now. I also make allowances for little things I find offensive if the story is really good. But there are a few things about writing bad fiction that shouldn’t be ignored. In order to know this, you have to have read some good fiction. One of them is dealing with dialogue tags.

To see what I mean all you have to do is read the above excerpt a few times. It’s simple, tight, and clean. No one “barked longingly,” or “wretched lovingly.” Clarence “said.” He didn’t “quip” or “joke.” I don’t think there’s anything that annoys me more than said bookisms used too often. There are cases where it’s okay; there are exceptions to every rule. But if I see them all the time I stop reading.

In any event, here’s a link to read the story in full. And I think they talk about the 2014 contest if anyone’s interested in submitting work.

Gay Contradictions

This is actually something that came up yesterday while I was going over copy edits from the publisher for “The Vegas Shark.” For some reason I’m not sure I understand, I feel close to this book in ways I don’t feel about other books I’ve written. And nothing in this book is even remotely connected to my real life…or even past experiences. It’s pure fiction in that sense.

In one of the notes from the copy editor…a woman…I found something interesting I wanted to share. Nowadays we see a great deal of information about gay men on social media, but that information doesn’t always represent all gay men, especially gay men of a certain generation. We see the politically correct types crying bully all the time, while they are close to crossing the bully lines themselves and don’t even realize it. One dear, sweet reader I know who is in a situation where he can’t come out of the closet now…or maybe ever…recently told me a story about how a group of nasty gay men bullied and ridiculed him in a public coffee shop just because of the way he looked and the way he was dressed. That infuriates me to no end. Had I been there, I would have buried those nasty little queens and I probably would have been kicked out of the coffee shop. Unfortunately, we only see this type of gay man lately…the vegan hispter type with the puff of hair sticking up above his forehead…and that’s not all there is to gay men.

So I had to politely explain a scene and a character to the copy editor and it wasn’t easy. The biggest frustration for me is that I’m the gay man and I don’t like to be questioned about being a gay man or my experiences as a gay man. It’s one of the main reasons I never question anyone else. But I know the copy editor and I know she had good intentions. And I don’t blame her at all for not getting it at first because the contradictions within gay culture run so rampant it’s hard to keep track sometimes.

Here’s a quote from the book. I had to add this make it clear, and to show the copy editor what I was trying to say. I thought it would be clear just from what I’d already written. Evidently I was wrong, and I figured if she didn’t get it, readers might not get it either. Frankly, I’m not sure they will get it now. But that’s all she wrote, so to speak.

When men did touch the strippers, which they often did, it happened fast and no one talked about it. Chickey said he didn’t like it, but never really screamed at anyone for doing it. As a gay man of a certain age, Chickey was often filled with contradictions most people wouldn’t understand. He came from a generation of gay men that cared more about where they’d find their next big penis than rainbows and equality. And the only thing he liked better than big penis was money.