The virgin billionaire

Holly Golightly’s Story; Cory Booker Gay Rumors



Holly Golightly’s Story

This article about the creation of Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, has several interesting points. One of which deals with her personality and how she thinks about men.

In her disregard for the conventions of polite society and her sexual adventurousness, Holly is something of an avatar of the liberated woman of the Sixties and Seventies, although she probably wouldn’t have approved of hippie sartorial practices, nor would she have likely appreciated the more strident male-bashing aspects of the radical wing of the feminist movement.

Truman Capote was a gay man, but not an openly gay man in the sense that he worried about equality and coming out. In his day the word gay meant happy and he was considered a homosexual, among other pejoratives. When he wrote the character of Holly Golightly it most likely came from many of his own personal experiences, because in his time, just like now, the world was owned by straight men.

I found this interesting, too.

One of the strongest endorsements of the novella came from Norman Mailer, normally the most competitive and certainly the most macho of all of Capote’s contemporaries, who wrote: “Truman Capote I do not know well, but I like him.

“He is as tart as a grand aunt, but in his way he is a ballsy little guy, and he is the most perfect writer of my generation, he writes the best sentences word for word, rhythm upon rhythm. I would not have changed two words of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which will become a small classic.” (Indeed, perfectionist that he was, Capote might well have placed a semicolon after the word “generation”. Capote was a master of that particular punctuation mark.)

On the surface that sounds like a compliment, but some gay men would take offense to the grand aunt reference. I know I do. As flamboyant as Capote was, he was still a man. A good deal of his career, however, was spawned as a result of his being so flamboyant, and I’m sure he knew that. Gay men have always done whatever they have to do to survive, and in some cases, if that means acting the part of a pet poodle they are not above that. I understand that, I don’t fault them for that, and I admire them for doing what they had to do to survive. I can tell you one thing for certain, if the character of Holly Golightly had been written as a gay man, the book would never have been published, Mailer would never have praised it the way he did in the quote above, and I probably wouldn’t even be writing this blog post about it.

I could ramble on with this topic for days. But the point I’m trying to make here is that when I parodied Breakfast at Tiffany’s the way I did with gay characters in The Virgin Billionaire, I was making my own statement, not trying to become the next Truman Capote. By writing the VB as an erotic romance only took that parody to another level because that’s also something Capote never would have been allowed to do during his time…books about gay men AND sex were hidden in the mattress. And there weren’t that many around in the first place. Gay men had nothing with which to identify in books or in films during Capote’s time…or any form of mainstream entertainment. So they wound up identifying with characters like Holly Golightly for lack of anything better. And Capote did do a great job of creating her, but I’ll always wonder that if he’d lived in a different time and place if he would have made her a gay man instead.

You won’t see that mentioned in the article I’ve linked to. I doubt the author, Jay McInerney, even thinks along those lines. And why should he? He never had to think that way.

Cory Booker Gay Rumors

I think this next article to which I’m linking is important for a variety of reasons. Cory Booker is a talented young politician I’ve been watching for a while now. He’s the mayor of Newark, NJ, and the things he’s done in that city to turn things around have been wonderful. I was born in Newark, NJ, and as a young child my family moved away because the city started to decay. And I never thought I would see such a huge rebound in my lifetime. No one can dispute this.

This fall Cory Booker is running for a seat in the senate, and another senate candidate, Steve Lonegan, has been throwing those proverbial darts in Booker’s direction. And the way he’s been doing this is not only shocking, it’s about as sickening as it gets with regard to what he thinks of gay men in general.

“It’s kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don’t know if you saw the stories last year. They’ve been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o’clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure,” Lonegan, the conservative former mayor of Bogota, N.J., told Newsmax.

This comment is an indirect result of the fact that Booker does not comment on his private life or his sexual orientation at all. Booker made this statement last week.

“Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven’t signed up for that yet?” he said. “And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’”

I understand what Booker is stating, and I don’t disagree with it…if Booker is NOT actually gay. I get the way the political machine works, too. But if he is gay, and he’s not disclosing that now, he’s really only adding to the shame other gay men have been experiencing all their lives, and promoting the concept that being gay does make a difference. I don’t like that. Openly gay men nowadays don’t like that. And we are tired of that brand of thinking. Mayor Koch of New York did that sort of thing all his life, and I would like to see that brand of thinking die with Koch’s generation so that future generations of gay men don’t have to worry about that “young lady” in the spotlight, and all they do have to worry about is that “young man” in the spotlight.

This actually even gets more complicated in this article, where Booker talks about how he once hated gays.

He added: “Allow me to be more direct, escaping the euphemisms of my past — I hated gays. The disgust and latent hostility I felt toward gays were subcategories of hatred, plain and simple.”

Booker’s self-cleansing column seems to dispute rumors that he is a closeted homosexual. Is it possible for a man to be virulently homophobic and still be gay? One published study suggests that it is within the realm of possibility.

If I were Booker, I would say something one way or the other and address the issue openly. I will never forget the day I came home from work to a news conference on TV where Gov. McGreevey of NJ said, “I am a gay American.” It was as entertaining as it was pathetic. I had seen McGreevey in person once in Lambertville, NJ, up close, during a parade. I knew he was gay the moment I looked into his eyes. And this was long before his disclosure. When he did finally decide to come out, blogs all over the web branded him Governor “McCreepy.”   And I would hate to see Cory Booker turn into Senator Creeper.

Photo here

Is a GREAT First Line Realistic for Every Novel?

Among several things about the query process that has always left me somewhat bemused is the constant harping by some that every first line in every new novel written must be so spectacular it tops all first lines in every other novel that’s ever been written. Those of you who have spent any time querying literary agents, or reading some of the more sensationalized literary agent blogs, know what I mean.

There’s one agent who gets so excited about great first lines she posts what she considers great lines on her blog with the same highly charged enthusiasm she might display if she were to be invited to a White House dinner, all expenses paid…or if she were to meet Bradley Cooper and get asked out to dinner. But more important, the key phrase here is “what she considers great,” because more than half the time I see these alleged great first lines and I just shrug and wonder what I’m missing. Most look trite to me, at best.

And that’s because great first lines, like everything about fiction, are subjective. What is a great first line and impresses one reader is not always going to impress another. That’s about as plain and simple as it gets. I will admit there have been some stupendously epic great first lines written in some spectacular classic novels. One of them was written by John Irving in A Prayer for Owen Meany.

“I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.”

Now that truly is a great first line that I think would make most readers want to continue reading. But how realistic is it to try to top a first line like that? And, what about the people with whom it doesn’t resonate? Not everyone I know has read “Owen Meany” and they aren’t going to run out and read it just because I quoted that first line in this post.

I also find it difficult to take anyone too seriously when they put that kind of pressure on a writer, especially a new writer. Sometimes it’s the first *two* lines that are great. Sometimes it’s the first paragraph or page that’s great. And sometimes you have to wade through anywhere from the first five pages to the first thirty to really sink into a storyline in a great book. Not all of John Irving’s books have great first lines like the one I posted above. In fact, it took me a few chapters to actually get into his novel Last Night In Twisted River. Don’t get me wrong. You have to try to draw the reader into the novel from page one, but you don’t always have to hit them over the head with a two by four. I never thought it was realistic to expect writers to come up with great first lines each time…especially during the query process, which is flawed at best.

In other words, not even a seasoned novelist like John Irving can nail one of these “great” first lines in every novel he’s ever written. But that doesn’t mean Last Night In Twisted River wasn’t as good as A Prayer for Owen Meany. It just means he didn’t get as lucky that time. In fact, I think “Twister River” is every bit the book “Owen Meany” was, if not better. Some novels begin quietly and work into the story line by line. When I crafted my own The Virgin Billionaire, which has been a bestselling e-book on more than one web site, I started with the subtle line, When the taxi dropped Luis off at 95th Street and Riverside Drive, the sun had just begun to rise, and I started building the storyline quietly, on purpose, from there. I actually built the entire 10 book Virgin Billionaire series around that first line. But there’s nothing all that great about it.

So when you read about an agent who is looking for that “great” first line, take it with a proverbial grain of salt and hope for the best. Also take the time to see how many big books this agent has under his or her belt, so to speak. And whatever you do don’t spend days, or weeks, or months, trying to craft the greatest first line of all time unless that’s something you feel personally compelled to do (I did at one time, shame on me). I’ve known authors who did this during the query stages and they are still waiting for that great first line to come to them, and so far they haven’t been published anywhere. And not all literary agents think this way when looking to spot a great book, or to spot clients they might want to represent. They aren’t looking for the unrealistic great first line. Most are looking for well-written books with good stories they think they might be able to sell to publishers. It would be impossible to pin point what each individual agents wants or expects, but you see where I’m going with this post.

And if you are lucky enough to come up with a great first line that tops all the great first lines ever written, good for you. The unfortunate thing here is you might think it’s the greatest first line ever written (we all think that way in the beginning), and your mom might think so ,too, but the opinionated agent who is looking for great first lines might not agree. And wouldn’t that be a waste of your time? 

Photo attribution.

Dirk Bogarde, Gay Film Stars, The Virgin Billionaire

It’s never actually been fully established that actor/author, Dirk Bogarde, was gay. But when you read the links below all evidence points toward that direction. The reason why I became curious had more to do with reading a bio of Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich, by Michael Menzies, and reviewing it earlier this week. Coward was also supposedly gay, and Dietrich was allegedly bisexual. And this made me think about a bio I read a while ago about Merv Griffin and how I tended to wonder about whether or not the information was all true. According to the Griffin bio, all of Hollywood was gay. And the more I read the more I’m starting to wonder about whether or not that bio is actually telling the complete truth.

Of course some of what’s linked to now about Bogarde is hearsay. But many of the facts are just too solid not to be true. The one solid fact that remains to be true is that men in those days did not admit to being attracted to other men. It wasn’t done, and for some serious reasons I get into below.

Dirk Bogarde’s Art of Decadence:

By the ’60s, Bogarde had had enough of being screamed at by adoring girls, and he began exercising a strong discrimination about the roles he took — at his point, Bogarde seems to have selected films on the basis that they actually said something. He flouted taboos by making “Victim” in 1961, in which he played a public figure being blackmailed for homosexuality.

(Bogarde himself was gay but denied it during most of his career; though he wrote of his early sexual relationships with women and his passionate love for Judy Garland, he never wrote about the love of his life, his manager and partner Anthony Forwood, whom he was with for more than 50 years.)

This is fascinating; I’m going to make a point of seeing this film. If he played a public figure being blackmailed for homosexuality, I have to wonder how much of this was the real Dirk Bogarde flipping the bird to the world for all the years he had to remain in the closet. I would imagine he’d reached his own personal saturation point by then. And he was tired of pretending.

Sexy Self-Image that Revved Up Dirk Bogarde:

Bogarde, says Fraser, indicated to him that the physical side of his homosexual affair with his long-term companion, Tony Forwood, had ceased but that he dared not take casual lovers for fear of publicity. Then the top British romantic screen star of the post-war era gave the younger actor a demonstration of the substitute he had found to turn him on: high-revving a static Harley-Davidson motorcycle in his loft while gazing at a poster of himself clad in crotch-hugging leather trousers as a Spanish bandit in the 1961 film The Singer Not the Song. “It looked like a Narcissus fantasy come to life,” Fraser said yesterday.

How much of this is true I don’t know. It’s not something I would have repeated in a biography had I been writing one on Bogarde. And I’m sure it’s not something Bogarde would have approved even if he’d been out of the closet. There are some places you just don’t go. This is one of them. What he did to get turned on was his own business. It’s interesting how these things always come out after the person is dead.

Dirk Bogarde Web Site:

 
DirkBogarde.co.uk is the official website of the Dirk Bogarde Estate. The site is a tribute to the actor, writer and artist, and is a non-profit-making endeavour.


It is widely known that Dirk destroyed a large part of his archive, but during his life he carefully deposited his annotated film scripts with the BFI and his literary manuscripts with Boston University. This website aims to gather together what remained and to point the way to the relevant collections, to give the uninitiated a reasonable understanding of Dirk’s important role in the Arts and to offer a glimpse of his world on and off camera.

This web site is not going to get into anything about Bogarde being gay, or anything deeper than what he would have told the press fifty years ago himself. But there are some fascinating photos and some interesting things to read.

Dirk Bogarde Wiki:

Bogarde was a lifelong bachelor and, during his life, was assumed to be homosexual.[11] Bogarde’s most serious friendship with a woman was with the French actress Capucine. For many years he shared his homes, first in Amersham and then in France, with his manager Anthony Forwood (a former husband of actress Glynis Johns and the father of their only child, actor Gareth Forwood (dec.)), but repeatedly denied that their relationship was anything but platonic. Such denials were understandable, mainly given that homosexual acts were illegal during most of his career, subject to imprisonment and against the conditions for termination specified in Rank Studio contracts with its actors,[citation needed] thus potentially putting his career as a major actor at jeopardy, which few actors of the time would risk.
 
As usual, wiki seems to be on top of it. Just by reading the beginning of the paragraph above you’ll see how this mimics the lives of so many other male Hollywood stars of the 20th Century. And, more important, the fact that “homosexual acts” were illegal sheds a new light on why so many remained deeply closeted. There’s also the career risk. In those days no one watched films with fags or homos unless they were laughing at them. To a certain extent, this still rings true today.
 
So whether or not Dirk Bogarde was actually gay remains to be seen, and it’s always going to be a mystery. Just like with so many other well known actors of his time…and actresses. I would also guess there was a certain amount of bitterness with which he both lived and died.
 
Although I took a beating from a few book reviewers with “TheVirgin Billionaire,” when I decided to parody Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” as a gay erotic romance, I don’t have any regrets about doing it. I never kept it a secret; I told the truth from day one. What I did with that hetero story, by turning it into a gay story as parody with a sense of humor, isn’t anything different than other writers have been doing for years with storylines like Pygmalion. And, Capote was also gay, but never actually came out with it openly. All you had to do was meet him once and it was obvious, so they say. And I’m sure that when he was writing “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” he didn’t have any choices. He couldn’t write gay fiction back then. He wouldn’t have had a career if he had.
 
And I could never stop wondering about how wonderful “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” might have been if there had been two gay characters falling in love instead of a straight couple. And that’s because I’m gay, and that’s what resonates with me. And sometimes we all like to flip the bird a little, with a smile.


List of Books in the Virgin Billionaire Series in Consecutive Order


While each Virgin Billionaire book is a stand alone and it doesn’t have to be read along with any of the other Virgin Billionaire books in order to be understood, I get a lot of requests from readers about the order in which the books were written and published.

So here’s a list, in order, that should help you out.

Book 1 The Virgin Billionaire

Book 2 The Virgin Billionaire’s Wedding

Book 3 The Virgin Billionaire’s Secret Baby

Book 4 The Virgin Billionaire: Revenge

Book 5 The Virgin Billionaire and the Evil Twin

Book 6 The Virgin Billionaire’s Sexellent Adventure

Book 7 The Virgin Billionaire’s Dream House

Book 8 The Virgin Billionaire’s Hot Amish Escapade

Book 9 (Soon to be published) The Virgin Billionaire: Reversal of
Fortune

I’m contracted to do one more book in the series. After that, I’m honestly not sure at this point.

The Virgin Billionaire Series



I was recently asked to write a guest post for a blog that’s focused on m/m romance, so I decided to write it and post it here first. The administrator asked me to write about plotting a series. In this case, The Virgin Billionaire.

I guess I should start this post with the fact that I never intended to write a series in my life…about anything. When I end a book, I like knowing that I’m not going back to it…ever. I almost feel as though I’m putting it to sleep and locking it up. It never even occurred to me to write a series. I’m like this with everything in my life. I’ve never returned to a place where I once lived; I’ve never gone back to a friendship or relationship that has gone sour. I like to move forward all the time.

When I was contracted to write The Virgin Billionaire for Ravenous Romance, I’d been contracted to write ten other books along with it. The editors at Ravenous are extremely flexible and they allowed me the freedom to choose which books I’d write first. And I was so intimidated about writing The Virgin Billionaire, I put it off until it was the very last book in that particular contract that had to be submitted. I actually had sleepless nights thinking about it…I really didn’t want to do it at all and kept thinking of ways I could talk the publisher into letting me out of it.

But I eventually decided to do something I’d always wanted to do and have a little fun with it. It’s no secret the first book in the series was loosely based on the old movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It wasn’t supposed to be fan fiction; I had a reason for doing this. As a gay man, I’d always wanted to see a film or read a book like this that revolved around two gay male characters instead of a straight couple. Growing up, the only gay romances I ever saw or read were dark, depressing stories filled with angst and self-loathing. In fact, they weren’t even romances; just sad stories about gay men living in a world that would not tolerate them. I still see a lot of that around. So I figured the publisher was giving me a chance to do something I’d always wanted to do and I took advantage of it. I still can’t thank them enough for allowing me the chance.

I’ve also taken a lot of flack for doing this, too. But I had another reason. Truman Capote was gay and he didn’t have the chance to write about gay characters in his time. He would have been shunned from publishing and from the mainstream and he never would have been able to survive if he had written about gay characters in his day. So he did what he had to do in order to survive back then. He played their game and he played it well, too.

As I stated, I didn’t look forward to writing this book and I put it off for a long time. But when I did start to write it, I found myself absolutely engrossed in the characters of Luis and Jase. There were days when I wrote three chapters in a row. And I ultimately finished the entire book in less than two weeks. I was so worried because I’d finished the book that fast I took another three weeks to go back and edit it to be sure I hadn’t done anything wrong. It took another three weeks after that to go through the line edits.

But The Virgin Billionaire was never supposed to be a series. It wasn’t plotted and it wasn’t planned. And when the publishers, Lori Perkins and Holly Schmidt, at Ravenous Romance approached me about doing a sequel I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. First, because the characters of Luis and Jase consumed me so much I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back there. Second, because I wasn’t sure I could do them justice in another book. I eventually agreed to write the next book in the series, and at the time I thought that would be the last one.

Then I was approached a third time, only this time the publishers had a list of Virgin Billionaire books they wanted me to write now. And once again, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. I’m not one of those authors who sits and plots everything, especially not with my characters. I like to know the basics, like are they moving forward, are they constantly changing. And I always know my storyline. But I also like my characters to let me know what they are going to do rather than me forcing them to do what I want them to do. It’s a difficult process to explain sometimes. But the easiest way to put it is that I give the characters the freedom they need in order to move forward. I also draw a lot from my own personal experiences as an openly gay man to make things a little more realistic. For example, I have a gay brother just like Luis does, and I put in a lot of examples about the dynamics between gay brothers who are close in age and slightly competitive. I didn’t even know my brother was gay until I ran into him at a club in New York on a Saturday night.

Right now I’m working on the next to the last book in The Virgin Billionaire series. It’s tentatively titled, The Virgin Billionaire: Amnesia. But that is subject to change. In this book, Luis and Jase, and Jase’s family, are recovering from the death of Jase’s father, Barry. And they all gather together at Cider Mill Farm to celebrate a huge Thanksgiving. But there’s a twist. Jase and Luis wind up going away for a few days and their little trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country becomes more intense than they’d expected.

After that, I’m contracted to do one more book in The Virgin Billionaire Series, and I think that will be it. One important thing about all the books in the series is that I wanted each one to stand alone. In other words, if someone picked up the fourth book, they didn’t have to read the three books before it to get the book. And I already know the basic plot of the last and final book, and I know what’s going to happen to the characters. It’s all in my head, not on paper or e-ink. I try to be at least three books ahead while I’m writing the current book. But it’s never set in stone. And any plotting ahead I do is usually subject to many changes that usually come from my characters, not me.

Product Information: The Virgin Billionaire Series…


Since I’m now posting more product information for all my books and short stories, I figured I’d better post this information about The Virgin Billionaire series, too. Sometimes it’s difficult to get all the facts out, and authors and publishers get busy and tend to take things for granted.

I’ve had a few e-mails from readers asking whether or not the books in the Virgin Billionaire series could be read as stand alones. In other words, would someone have to begin with the first book in the series and then read the others consecutively.

And the answer is no. Though each book follows a pattern in the series, each book can also be read on its own. You don’t need to read the first book in order to “get” the fifth. It helps, but I try to make quick explanations in all the books with back story, without getting too long and stopping the story. Also, there are no cliffhangers at the end of the books; no teases to get readers to buy the next book.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to continue to e-mail me. All e-mails I receive are treated with privacy and absolute discretion. You won’t wind up getting spammed.

Sequel to THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE

I just found out late last week there’s going to be a sequel to THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE. The title is going to be THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE’S WEDDING, the main characters will remain the same, and the little Chinese Crested is finally going to get a name of his own.

I’ll post more details later. But we’re looking for an October release date right now. It might be out sooner, though. It all depends on how the contracted books I’m working on now come along.

And, best of all, TVBW will be set, mostly, in Alaska, which is perfect timing. I’m leaving for a four day trip to Alaska myself in September and I’m going to be gathering all the little details I can. It will be a fast trip, to visit old friends from college who are getting married. But I like when these little coincidences between my work life and my personal life happen. Makes it feel as if it was meant to be.