Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
A small town in Arkansas is up in arms after an elected school board member went on an anti-gay tirade on Facebook and declared that he wanted homosexuals to kill themselves.Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/10/28/2010-10-28_arkansas_school_offical_clint_mccance_on_facebook_gay_people_should_commit_suici.html#ixzz13fYTDGaR
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I had no idea what I was going to see. I heard Rocky Horror and I was worried it would be a scary film. What did I know? I was seven. I don't even know if kids were allowed inside that night. But we slipped in with the crowd anyway and no one said a word.
I honestly didn't remember much about the film itself, because the audience keep me more than entertained. At that time, people dressed in character to see Rocky Horror, and they took it very seriously. And when the film started and everyone in the audience spoke along with the actors in the film, I was mesmerized. They sang the songs, they threw water, they lit candles and cigarette lighters during certain scenes. By the time we left, I was soaked and covered with popcorn.
Of course when my mother found out my sister had taken me there, my sister was seriously grounded. I didn't understand why, though. To this day, I don't remember anything obscene about the film. Different, yes. But not obscene. And I don't think it affected me much one way or the other, except for the fact that it was the first time I saw a transvestite in a movie. And, I haven't seen many transvestites in movies since then.
So when I heard Glee was doing a Rocky Horror show, I couldn't wait to see it. As usual, the performances were great. I'm never disappointed in how Glee puts it all together. But I was disappointed when no one wanted to play the part of the transvestite. I would have thought the part, though a bit cliche for him, would have been perfect for Curt. And being that his character is so open and political about standing up for what he believes in, I would have thought he'd jump at a chance to play one of the most famous transvestites in the history of film. But he declined, with what I thought was a lame excuse. And then everyone else declined, including John Stamos, which didn't surprise me at all. He's too macho; he's too cool (smile). Only he's not too cool to wear a transvestite costume in the privacy of his own bedroom. What was that all about?
Ultimately, when the girl (can't remember her name) asked to play the part of the transvestite, I felt like switching to another channel. I know they handled it well, and played upon our emotions by giving her the part because she'd always wanted to play a lead role. But it was more than disappointing, especially for a show that always seems to be on top of their game when it comes to the LGBT community. But this time I felt manipulated, as if they were trying to pull something over on me. Once again, I felt as if the T in LGBT had been pushed aside. And as a gay man who has never even worn drag for Halloween because I'm so conservative, I think that says something about how the T folks probably felt last night. Let's face it, any of those talented guys could have played the transvestite. Patrick Swayze did it once, and very well, too. But the Glee guys opted out with some very lame excuses. And even if the kids felt awkward about doing this, the teacher should have stepped up and taken the part himself.
The way they handled whether or not it was even appropriate for high school kids to do Rocky Horror seemed to be valid at first. It was real. But maybe a little too real? Schools in TV shows like Glee are nothing like real schools as far as teachers and administration are concerned. And what people love most is that shows like Glee are so unrealistic and exaggerated. But all that going back and forth about morals and ethics, and then the blond kid says he's worried about his "nuttage" showing, seemed just as lame as Curt's excuse for not wanting to be a transvestite.
The hard part, for me, was that the performances were excellent and yet the storyline was so weak. I'm not sure if that was really John Stamos singing, but even he came off looking good, which says a lot. And if they hadn't been so cowardly with the transvestite part, I wouldn't even be writing this post and titling it "Gleefail."
Evidently, I wasn't the only one who thought this was Gleefail. In this post, someone even goes so far as to say: "But Glee would have trouble addressing this issue (transvestites) without it taking over the show and making it no longer “family fun” or whatever, so it mostly just decides to toss in some jokes about transsexuals and call it a day. It’s more offensive than if the show had simply ignored the whole thing to begin with."
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
As I said this is the sequel, titled, DOWN THE BASEMENT II: SANTA SATURDAY. It is twice as long as the first story (13,000 words), which was originally pubbed in a Cleis Press Anthology that went on to win a Lambda Award that year. And this one is original and has never been pubbed before by anyone. I'll post more when the book is released. Just wanted to share the image now.
Friday, October 22, 2010
I'm thrilled to see this message from the President. It not only discusses the way lgbt kids are bullied, but also makes a strong statement about bullying in general. It transcends partisanship and attacks an important social issue that has always been around but never taken very seriously.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The gist of the post, for me, was that you have to take all the information you read on agent blogs...or any publishing blog, including mine...and decide whether or not this information is right for you.
I've been following this agent blogger for a long time and I can safely say I've never received any bad advice there. I even e-mailed her in private a few times several years ago, and she offered me free private advice without asking for anything in return.
It's. Worth. Reading.
It's no secret that I've been a huge supporter of these awards. And not just because Elisa Rolle is a genuine, decent, honest person who works very hard on this project. But for various reasons, one of which is that *everyone* is allowed to participate in The Rainbow Awards.
This means that straight women and straight men who write m/m romance and other lgbt books are not left out. I've also been a huge supporter in this area, too, because I sincerely believe that everyone should have the opportunity to write in any genre in which they choose to write. Some people have told me I shouldn't be so vocal about it. But for me this is basic. And with The Rainbow Awards all authors are given the opportunity to participate, which is something we should all be proud of in these times of fighting for equal rights and tolerance.
I'll keep posting when I get new updates on The Rainbow Awards. For now, things are moving along very well from what I'm told.
And in this time period I've met some great people. I've learned a great deal, too. But there are also a few things about facebook I don't understand. One of which are these group notices I receive from people I don't even know. I see them in my in-box all the time. The subject line reads something like this, "Betty Jane, Jim Bob, and Ethel Mertz have invited you..." Most often, these are requests from other authors regarding events they are having to promote their books. Some are blogging events, some are free give-aways. And nine times out of ten they aren't valid requests from friends, they are publicity stunts geared to snag you into buying something.
The problem with this is two-fold. One, like most people I'm usually too busy to check out any events other than those I find are extremely important. As an author, I don't do this to my facebook friends because I don't want to bother them or disrupt their busy days. What I prefer to do is just post information about book releases and let people decide for themselves whether or not they want to read my books or stories. If people have questions...and they do...I'm always there to answer them either with this blog or through a personal e-mail. The second problem with these invitations is that most people who are sending them out aren't famous enough to make other people care. I'm not being snarky now; just realistic. In other words, if one of the famous people I'm following sends me an invitation for some type of event, the odds are I'll at least check it out. And only if I'm not too busy and it's something that really makes me curious. But if I've never heard of you, I'm just going to delete the message without opening it. And if I see it there repeatedly, I'm hopping over to facebook and blocking you from my account.
So for all those out there who are sending out facebook invitations to events and book promotions, you might want to re-think your strategy. Most people are on facebook to have fun, not get frustrated. This is just a suggestion; you don't have to listen to me. It's just that there's this thin line between aggressive and obnoxious when it comes to self-promotion, and I'd hate to see you turn potential readers off just because you think it's the right thing to do or you don't understand how facebook operates. And lets face it, no one's really going to tell you this out loud. Your friends will see these things, snort a few times behind your back, and just delete the invitation. And you run the risk of annoying people instead of attracting them.
We want information about your books. We really do. We just don't want you to hit us over the head with a sledge hammer while you're telling us about them.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
First, I actually have two facebook pages. One for family and social friends, another for work related, publishing related posts where I socialize with other authors, readers, and anyone interested in publishing news. To be honest, my family page suffers. I rarely post anything, don't have any photos there, and often have to force myself to check it. And that's because I'm usually having too much fun on my work page, interacting with readers and other authors.
I usually make it known to friends and family, in a polite way, that I don't add them to my professional facebook page because I don't think they'd be interested in my posts. It's not because I'm gay and I write m/m romance. I use my real name on both professional and work; I couldn't care less what they think. But I don't want them to think I'm trying to get them to buy my books, and I know for a fact there's nothing about publishing they would be interested in.
But this article I just read discusses family members interacting with each other on facebook. Are teenagers obligated to "friend" their uncles, aunts and grandparents? According to this piece, the mother of the teenagers thinks the only reason the aunts and uncles are interested in "friending" her kids on facebook is to find out personal information about them and gossip. I never thought about it this way. I have two nephews on facebook and I never looked at it that way. I simply always thought of it as a way to communicate with them because they live a distance and I don't see them that often.
On the other hand, I have a friend with a large family. And there have actually been blow ups about what family members have written on facebook. One aunt thought her niece was giving out too much information, and when she mentioned this at Thanksgiving last year, the entire family went after her for getting into territory that's none of her business. Unfortunately, it turned out the aunt was right, when her sixteen year old niece ran off with a twenty-eight year old guy she'd met on facebook.
Personally, I don't think people care all that much about who accepts friend requests and who doesn't. But I do know this much. If you have accepted a friend request from a family member and you decide to "de-friend" them, you'd better come up with a good excuse, because you're going to piss someone off royally. And the same applies to anyone on a facebook friend list. People don't seem to care about whether or not you accept them; just don't "de-friend" them without a good reason. I did it once by mistake, when I was creating another account for just family and close friends. I accidentally "de-friended" an author, and he let me know about it. And when I tried to explain, I don't think he believed me.
In this world of ever changing social networks and trends, I think this particular piece I read tonight hits home for a lot of people. I just hope none of my nephews, nieces, or family members think I'm trying to spy on them for gossip when all I'm trying to do is keep in touch because I care about what's going on in their lives.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Me: Dear E-publishing Editor,
Something important came up and we need to talk. You know I never e-mail you about these things unless they are important. I'll be around all day.
E-Publisher response within an hour after contacting them:
Here's what I think we should do. I'm glad you contacted me. It is important and we should take care of this immediately. Readers care about these issues.
Simple. Fast. To the point. No one is left hanging. And everyone knows where they stand.
Version Two: Here's the same exchange with a traditional print publisher. (Picture me bowing and genuflecting to the Pope.)
Me: Dear Grand Editor with Traditional Publisher,
I'm getting back regarding your questions about the matter we discussed the other day. Below you should find everything you need. If you need anything else, please let me know.
It sounded as if you wanted to discuss this right away.
Traditional publisher response from Grand Editor, day one:
Traditional publisher response from Grand Editor, day two:
Traditional publisher response from Grand Editor, day three:
Traditional publisher response from Grand Editor, day seven:
And so it goes...
But now, with so many new authors entering the arena, I'm noticing in certain cases no one seems to want to give them a break. If their books aren't absolutely perfect, they take all the heat. I've seen new books with some editorial problems that probably weren't even the author's fault, and yet they still take all the heat in the end. And if there's one thing all authors will agree upon, it's that whenever it's time to take the heat everyone disappears and leaves you standing there alone...especially the publisher.
Let's face it, there is a lot of competition out there. Inexperienced authors are now competing with seasoned authors. And it's growing in numbers daily. Everyone who ever wanted to write a book is now able to write a book, thanks to the Internet. And I will agree that a great deal of these books are not ready to be published. But that doesn't mean the author isn't a great writer, and it certainly doesn't mean the next book won't be much better than the first.
With the concept of the "big" book slowly dwindling away these days, it's rare to see a first book by a new author that's ready to compete with books written by more seasoned authors. But that doesn't mean the potential isn't there. In the past, authors wrote constantly and suffered more rejection than they'd ever care to admit, before an agent or editor would take them seriously. For most, it wasn't until they started shopping their third or fourth book that anyone took them seriously. In many cases, it takes that long for the writing to be ready for publication. Rejection and criticism isn't a bad thing. Only in the past it was more private; now it's gone public...in some cases viral. Oh, I've read good reviews on review web sites that normally receive twenty or thirty comments a day. But the minute the reviewer goes after a new author with a snarky review, the comments rise into the hundreds and everyone jumps on the band wagon for sport. People send each other e-mails; it spreads within a matter of hours.
With so many new authors releasing books for the first time, I would have thought people would take a step back and go a little lighter on them. But these days it often looks as though people can't wait to dig into them and rip them to shreds, which is partly due to the fact that the Internet is so anonymous. Anonymity, especially on book review sites, creates a certain sense of power. And, simply put, mean people love this. I've seen comments where people even attack the author's name with snide comments and snarky insinuations. And I don't think I'm exaggerating on this. I've seen too many examples in the past five years, where new authors have been absolutely devastated by book reviewers using pen names, and sometimes for reasons that aren't even related to the book. Some were so devastated they stopped writing. Others took it hard, but continued. Personally, and this is mainly because I don't use a pen name for my m/m fiction, I refrain from following book reviewers who don't stand behind their real names. I find it hard to take them seriously as professionals and I dismiss them. I have a background in journalism and I was always taught that when writing non-fiction, your name is your best, most important asset. And if you can't stand behind your own name, what else is there?
The authors that continued to write after scathing reviews for first books have never let me down. The second book was better than the first, and each book after turned out to be better than the one before it. We speak of tolerance all the time these days. But no one ever talks about tolerance for new authors. If Moms treated their children this way, with mean comments and snarky insinuations, each time they made a mistake for the first time, we would have a lot of troubled kids in the world. So I think it's time we all take a deep breath, go easier on these new authors, and wait to see what's coming down the line. I'm not suggesting they should be coddled. If there are problems with a book there are constructive ways to express them. All I'm saying is give them a little slack and be smart about it. And please don't blame them for editorial problems, especially with digital books. Once the digital book goes to editing, there's very little the author can do to change things. And there's very little an author can do about a cover. If they are lucky, they can make suggestions. But the final result comes from the publisher, not the author.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Most of my books are e-books that sell very well, but they can be downloaded as print books on demand at Amazon if a reader so wishes. But this also means if I want copies of my own books in print, I have to order them just like everyone else and pay for postage. As a reader, I've made the switch to reading only e-books. I save money, enjoy the reading process ten times more, and will never go back to reading print books again. Evidently, the LLF has not made the switch and e-books are not eligible.
My print books sell, but not nearly as well as the e-books. My fan base (thanks to every single one of you), according the hundreds of letters I receive each week, are lgbt as well as straight readers who only read e-books. So for me to take the time out of my busy writing schedule to go through the Lambda submission process and order my own print books to submit to them is costly. I'm just like everyone else in America right now. I have a mortgage. I have bills. I have car payments. I have priorities to consider. And by the time I'm finished adding up what it will cost me to submit something to the LLF for the Lambda's, it runs into the hundreds. And in this economy I'm not willing to part with money as easily as I would have been in the past.
I'm thankful to Elisa Rolle for sponsoring The Rainbow Awards, which doesn't cost authors a dime out of their own pockets. I'm sure the LLF will survive without me this year. Who knows? I may even wind up as a participant in the Lambda's if an editor of an anthology I'm in this year decides to submit his book. And I'm sure there will be some great lgbt books submitted to the LLF by some very talented authors. I wish them all well, and if anyone reading this post is interested in submitting their print books to the LLF for the Lambda's, please follow this link and support them
But, like I said, he's not my agent. We decided years ago that if we were going to be friends we would separate business from friendship. I have gone to him for advice from time to time, and I've become a fan of his clients books. But we keep it simple and rarely discuss publishing at social events.
However, last night he told an interesting story. Evidently, an author sent one of his associates a copy of her new self-published cookbook and his entire office went wild. When he saw the book, he loved it so much he brought it out here this weekend to show friends how in-depth it was and how detailed all the recipes were. And he made no bones about mentioning the fact that it was self-pubbed, he's going to offer representation to this author, and shop it to publishers.
I thought this was interesting. I read many publishing blogs that focus on queries and what to do when querying. I've seen authors slave over writing query letters, to the point of making themselves sick with worry. I've read blog posts written by agents, anonymous assistants, and even anonymous interns who've built a large following offering potential authors advice about how to write a query letter. One anonymous intern once actually offered her query services for hire. But I've never once read a story about a self-pubbed author sending a book to an agent and getting representation. If anything, I've always read this is absolutely taboo.
So I thought I'd share this post with other authors today. It's not urban legend. It happened last night during a dinner party and I was there and saw it with my own eyes. I have no reason to lie; I'm not self-pubbed and I've never contacted an agent with anything other than a query letter. But I thought it was interesting for other authors to read, so they can grasp the concept that what they read on blogs and see in comment threads is simply the tip of what constitutes the publishing industry, how books are acquired, and how agents differ from one another.
If this self-pubbed author hadn't sent out copies of her self-pubbed cook book, my friend would not have paid attention to her query. But even more than that, I can't help but wonder how many of the grand Internet blogging agents who seem to enjoy this query business so much have already rejected her because she didn't follow normal protocol and stick with just the query. I'm sure there are plenty, too. And while they are laughing at her for sending a self-pubbed book instead of a query letter, my friend will undoubtedly be laughing all the way to the bank after he sells this book.
Yesterday I had a few extra minutes, so I went over to goodreads.com to accept a few new friend requests and leave a few ratings for books I've read in the past month. And while there, I happened to notice more than a few snarky comments written by authors about other authors. Some were downright vicious, leaning more toward Internet bullying than constructive criticism. If an author did this to me, I can take it, trust me. There's isn't much I haven't experienced. But I know there are newer authors out there who take this kind of criticism to heart, and it literally ruins their entire sense of well-being.
Personally, I don't care what kind of comments readers or reviewers leave. Readers pay for books and have the right to leave any comments they want. Not everyone is going to love every single book and nothing can be done about that. In all honestly, some of the worst reader reviews for a few of my books have turned out to be exactly what I wanted them to write. (I'll save this topic for another post.) However, I have a rule that when I don't like a book I simply leave a rating, not a review. I do this because as an author with almost twenty years of experience in publishing I read with a different "eye" than the average reader. And naturally I'm going to be more critical than the average reader. I even hesitate to leave reviews about a book I love because I'm not sure I can be totally objective.
But I've seen several authors leave vicious comments on goodreads. They take personal pleasure in attacking other authors, with snide attitudes, and never bother to consider their own reputations in the process. When I see this happen, my first question is how good is the snide author making the scathing comment, and then I hop right over to where I can read an excerpt of their book. Nine times out to ten, I find the author who made the mean comment isn't very good, knows very little about m/m romance, and suffers from not only a sense of entitlement, but also an unwarranted sense of superiority. Which then makes me wonder whether or not the scathing comments and ratings are nothing more than a case of jealously. I'd hate to think this would happen. But I'm not naive enough to think it couldn't happen.
Even if the author who made the mean comment is a halfway decent writer, I still find it hard to take them seriously after I see them attack a fellow author in public. It's a tacky thing to do, it shows poor judgement, and it suggests a limited amount of professionalism when it comes to working within the publishing industry as a whole. You don't see doctors attacking other doctors, or cops attacking other cops. Most professionals within specific industries stick together even if it means remaining tastefully quiet sometimes.
I wouldn't go after another author in public unless the author attacked a social issue I know more about than they do. The worst rating I've ever left on goodreads was two stars and I didn't bother to leave a detailed comment. Readers can do that, and in turn they can help other readers in choosing what they may or may not want to read. But when authors do this to other authors, I rarely ever take these authors seriously again. And the funny thing about the Internet is that whatever you write in public never goes away. It's there forever. And people have excellent memories.
Friday, October 15, 2010
We could really use your help. In the next couple weeks, 1RomanceEbooks will become http://1PlaceForRomance.com . The same great romance stories, the same great romance authors and publishers, the same great customer service... we're just changing our name. 1RomanceEbooks appreciates your past support. We would appreciate your continued support during our transition. 1PFR's Facebook and Twitter pages are active and we extend an invitation to you to friend and follow us. 1PlaceForRomance is our new website name: http://1PlaceForRomance.com 1PFR has a Facebook: http://facebook.com/OnePlaceForRomance 1PFR is on Twitter: http://twitter.com/1PFR Please help us get the word out! Please mention the change on your website and in your blogs and email lists. We have included links to some banners to make it easy. We appreciate your business and we appreciate your trust. As a thank you to the authors who blog for us, we'll be putting everyone's name in a hat and will draw 5 names for a special promotion package. This will include highlighting your books and banners in our newsletter and on our blog. We'll also prominently feature your books on our FaceBook page and Twitter feed. Questions? We are happy to help. Just let us know. Email Val at promotion @ 1PlaceForRomance.com and let us know you are willing to help 1RomanceEbooks transition to 1PlaceForRomance.
Wishing you the best of success, The Folks at 1RomanceEbooks (soon to be 1PlaceForRomance.com)
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Although the author of this post has that rare level of high energy we all can't have, I do think it's an important post to read, and then apply to your own situation as an author.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Federal Judge Orders 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Injunction
Updated: 1 hour 2 minutes ago
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The injunction goes into effect immediately, said Dan Woods, the attorney who represented the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay rights group that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban's enforcement.
A federal judge last month in Tacoma, Wash., ruled that a decorated flight nurse discharged from the Air Force for being gay should be given her job back as soon as possible. Barring an appeal, Maj. Margaret Witt who was suspended in 2004, will now be able to serve despite being openly gay.Gay rights advocates have worried they lost a crucial opportunity to change the law when Senate Republicans opposed the defense bill last month because of a "don't ask, don't tell" repeal provision.If Democrats lose seats in the upcoming elections, repealing the ban could prove even more difficult - if not impossible - next year.The "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members but bans those who are openly gay. Under the 1993 policy, service men and women who acknowledge being gay or are discovered engaging in homosexual activity, even in the privacy of their own homes off base, are subject to discharge.Associated Press Writer Anne Flaherty contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.
Filed under: Nation
I'm curious about this. No opinion here. I've just seen this a lot lately on facebook.
Is asking for money on facebook for personal reasons, like to help push a career in the arts forward, a good thing, a bad thing, or just something that shouldn't be taken seriously?
I wanted to see how other people would respond. And I was surprised to see that every single person who left a comment said that if people were asking for money on facebook that was going to charity it was fine. But they all agreed that asking for money on facebook for personal reasons it just downright tacky. And tacky was the word they used.
To take this one step higher, without mentioning names, I've been seeing a lot of this on facebook. There's a young entertainer in New York who has been having a facebook fundraiser in order to make enough money to produce a new CD. He's very aggressive about this and he doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with doing it. While I'm sure it's legit and he's honest about his goal, I'm not so sure how people are going to receive his requests. From what I'm seeing, most people are offended.
He's cute; he has raw talent. But where do we draw the line?
Monday, October 11, 2010
If you feel so inclined to come out today or in the near future, I wish you the best. If you have come out because of National Coming Out Day, I applaud you.
In all honesty, I've never met a gay man (can't speak for women) who was inspired to come out because of this day. I'm sure there's someone; I just haven't met him. But I like this day because it creates awareness and offers hope to the millions of closeted gay people all over the world. And comfort to the millions of gay people who don't have options and choices and who can't come out in parts of the world (I've read all your e-mails, too).
Personally, I didn't "come out" to anyone. I was always gay and I just lived my life the way I felt like living it, without offering an explanation to anyone. For me, it was easier this way.
But the experience of acceptance and self-actualization is different for all gay people. And no one shares the same exact experience. So if you find that National Coming Out Day puts more pressure on you than support, please don't think you are alone. You'll get there in time, and on your own schedule.
And in the case of Carl Paladino from New York, I think it's clear from these recent comments he made which is the lesser of the two evils in the state of New York.
But most of all, take a few minutes to find out where your candidates stand on lgbt issues and vote accordingly. The info is out there. All you have to do is a quick search and you can find it.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
What's the difference between a blog and a post? I see people making this mistake all the time. Is it a big thing in the grand scale? No! But when writers make these mistakes it does cause people stop and think about how savy they are when it comes to online communication. Personally, I think it's important to get the terms right.
In other words, a blog is a web site where you post information. What you're reading right now (this article) is a post, not a blog. You're reading the post on the blog.
If you really want to get technical, I think first paragraphs are just as important. But I think this post is helpful for people who are starting out. The first chapter is like the roadmap to the rest of the novel.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I also like to recreate story lines that have been done before. I don't do this all the time (none of my erotic male fiction stories with lyd or other gay publishers are recreations...Missing Jackson's Hole, Kevin Loves Cowboys, etc...) but I will do this with romances because I like recreating the plot lines with gay characters that have already been done with straight characters. Most of the time the dynamics change drastically, and I rewrite scenes and dialogue to fit with the characters. I've posted before about how I believe there are only really seven original storylines out there and almost everything else is a recreation. TV shows do this all the time. They take past story lines and redo them in different ways. Some authors mask it more than I do, which is fine. I applaud them. However, I think that since the lgbt community has been so starved so long for any story lines (you can only take so much of those serious, artistic, literary gay books out there, with all those depressing characters riddle with guilt and angst), it's interesting to recreate some of the more classic pop culture stories and gear them toward the lgbt community and those straight people ( a growing number of readers, male and female) who like reading m/m romance. I think that if Truman Capote had been able to write Breakfast at Tiffany's with gay characters he would have. But he didn't have the choices lgbt authors have today. In the early l960's that would have been taboo and no one would have read it. Actually, they would have laughed at him.
I've taken some heat for recreating stories from the serious, snide literary types...even within the lgbt community. But as long as people...readers...keep reading these books and asking for more, I'll keep writing them. Actually, I wanted to stop a while ago, but I receive so many e-mails from readers asking for more I don't want to let them down.
The scene below is from a chapter where Luis and Jase's mother and grandmother go out for lunch, to a male strip club of all places, and Luis runs into Jase's old "friend" who is now openly gay, too.
By noontime, they walked back toward the docks and stopped in front of a long, flat wooden building with a sign that read, “Dawson’s.” The wooden siding had been left unpainted and it had aged into dull, dishwater gray. The red tin roof had buckled over the years and the outside lamps were all crooked. It appeared to be a restaurant, but Luis couldn’t be sure because the windows were all dark. It reminded Luis of a gay bar back in Tennessee on the edge of town where so-called straight guys used to sneak out on their wives.
Isabelle rubbed her palms together and said, “Here we are. I’ve been looking forward to this all morning. We’re gonna see some hot stuff today!” Her pupils were dilated; she rocked back and forth in her white running shoes.
Mary sighed. “Just don’t get too excited, Mom. The last time we did this you almost fell and broke a hip. I don’t want to spend the rest of the day in the emergency room.”
She smiled at Luis, but her tone was exasperated. Isabelle raised one eyebrow and smirked. “I’m a grown woman. I know how to behave, thank you. And for your information, I was talking about the fact that I’m starved, not the surprise we have planned for Luis.” Then she poked Luis in the ribs and giggled.
He looked to Mary for help and she just sent him a hapless glance with half-closed eyelids.
When they entered Dawson’s, Luis noticed a long bar at one end of the room and tables scattered around it. The main room wasn’t very large and the tables were so close together you had to squeeze through chairs to get around. The walls were dark pine, the windows were covered with dark shades, and the lights were dim. And almost every table was filled with women of all ages in groups of four to six. As they passed the bar, Mary and Isabelle stopped to say hello to a young man sitting on a stool at the far end. Other than a few employees, he and Luis seemed to be the only men in the place.
“Long time no see,” Mary said. She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.
Luis recognized the man. It was Trey, Jase’s old friend from the party. He was wearing a tight black shirt and tight low-rise jeans. Though he’d moved back to Alaska for good, Trey still dressed as if he were living in Los Angeles. Though weren’t many men in Dawson’s that afternoon, Trey stood out from the other men there. He was thinner and more toned than the other guys. He had a slicker hair cut and a sharper look in his eyes.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Personally, I've never left a negative comment on anyone's blog thread. It's rude and distasteful. I've left curt comments from time to time. But nothing that could come back to haunt me. Most decent people don't. They read blogs, take into consideration that the author of the blog is inviting them into their personal space, and they are polite. And unless someone is directly attacked on a comment thread and they have no choice but to defend themselves, things go smoothly.
However, I've also seen a few rants and rages that have left me speechless. Some from unpublished authors, and some from published authors. In almost every single case, the rants are not in self-defense. They are pointed at someone directly, and often without any cause or provocation. It's as if something just set them off and they went berserk.
In one particular case, an author went after me on a comment thread and I didn't even find out about it until months later. It happened on a romance review blog. The post wasn't about me, but my name came up in the comment thread and one author whom I've never met or been in contact with started trashing me for no reason. In the original version of this post I inserted the quote here. But I decided to remove it because I'd rather not stoop to that level. I do know who the author is; I've checked her out. She writes m/m romance and I've checked out her blog, too. But I'd rather not mention her name and take the high road. One, because what she thinks means nothing to me. Two, because if she was stupid enough to leave a comment like this on a blog thread there's no use wasting time with her. Clearly, she's been faking it for a long time.
What was even worse is this author didn't know much about me. I tend to be quiet and remain in the background where it's peaceful (smile). When she made this sarcastic remark about me she either assumed she was going after a new writer with no defenses, or that I was publishing under a pen name. In both cases, she was dead wrong. Ryan Field is my name, not a pen name. I'm not a fake. I write m/m fiction because I'm openly gay and I care about the genre. And furthermore, I was published with Alyson Books and other lgbt print publishers in more print books than I can count long before I started writing m/m romances for the digital market. I've been in publishing for over eighteen years now, and my relationship with print publishers and their wonderful editors began long before this author even knew there was a market in writing m/m fiction.
The point of my story isn't about me. This is just an example that actually happened once. The real point is that authors should always be careful where they comment and how they comment, on comment threads or anywhere. And if they can't be careful, they should take a deep breath, go for a long walk, and remain silent until the mood passes. Though I wouldn't post the author's name who tried to trash me in public, I certainly have a low opinion of her both professionally and personally and I always will. Because any author who would go after another author, unprovoked, in such a catty way can't be taken seriously. So please don't make this mistake. It could come back to haunt you one day.
In this romantic sequel to The Virgin Billionaire, Luis and Jase are living happily-ever-after in Jase's luxurious apartment in Trump Tower. It's been almost one year since Luis's unfortunate incident involving a drug dealer and the law, and they've been building a solid relationship based on love and mutual respect. They have engagement rings and are planning a small wedding ceremony in Vermont.
For all intents and purposes, life is perfect. Then Jase decides it's time for Luis to meet his family in Alaska and announce their wedding plans. Though Luis is worried about how Jase's family will accept him, not to mention the fact that he's terrified of flying, he agrees to get on a plane and meet his new in-laws.
Only when they arrive in Alaska, nothing goes as Luis had hoped it would...
As Luis learns things about Jase he never knew existed, Jase's handsome best friend is moving back home to set up a medical practice. He's come out of the closet, he's left his lover in Los Angeles, and he's starting a new life. And Luis can't help noticing this guy is still in love with Jase...
While the frustration mounts, Luis begins to doubt the strength of his relationship with Jase. And when Jase's father finally drops a bomb about his past the day before their wedding, Luis isn't sure he can go through with it.
When a quick trip home turns into a nightmare, will Jase and Luis be able to salvage the love they thought they had? Or will a controlling father and a few past mistakes destroy the best thing that's ever happened to them?
Thursday, October 7, 2010
But sometimes I receive a letter from a reader that absolutely floors me. It just happened this morning, and I wasn't expecting it. The only thing on my mind was winding up the next book, remembering to put gas in the car, and making sure I fill the gas tanks for the leaf blower.
And then I opened an e-mail from a reader who brought me to tears. Not in a bad way. In a good way that doesn't happen very often. Evidently, I wrote a book that touched him in many ways, and helped him get through a very serious personal crisis in his life.
I write a lot about publishing and writing on this blog. I try to keep it positive because I don't think people want to read negativity and rants here when there's so much negativity and ranting going on in the world. Sometimes it's hard not to rant, because publishing as a business can be stressful and frustrating, and deadlines are killers.
But when I open en e-mail like the one I received this morning, knowing that I helped someone get through rough times, it makes it all worth while.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
And, this blog is going purple for the rest of this month! E-pub agent, Saritza Hernandez, posted about "Spirit Day," a day set aside this month in honor of the gay men who took their lives because they were bullied. Please read her post and support this. It's important to get the message out that we aren't going to be bullied anymore.
Dear friends of Doylestown Pride,The 2010 school year just got underway - and for millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth across the nation this is one of the most difficult times of the year. School can be one of the most dangerous and dreaded places for LGBTQ youth. Bullying, violence and discrimination happen daily - often ignored or encouraged by school staff. Tragically in the first three weeks of the school year at least 5 gay youth in the US have killed themselves in response to homophobic and transphobic bullying at school.Dozens of Doylestown Pride friends who have contacted us via email, phone and Facebook to share your grief, rage and deepest concern about this crisis. Together with LGBTQA area youth, we are planning a vigil/demonstration to take place in Doylestown in the next week. Stay tuned for details - we will also be posting updates on the Facebook page for: Doylestown Pride.Please contact us if you'd like to help or have ideas, questions or concerns. Please also speak up and speak out against homophobia and transphobia - and let the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/questioning youth in your life know they are valued and loved. A great resource locally is the Rainbow Room located in Doylestown - Bucks County's center for LGBTQA youth 14-21 yrs old. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/ppbucks/rainbow-room-28411.htm
Remember and fight for justice in honor of 5 of the gay youth who have killed themselves in the past 3 weeks: 18 yr old Tyler Clementi (NJ), 19 yr old Raymond Chase (RI), 13 yr old Asher Brown (TX), 15 yr old Billy Lucas(Indiana), 13 yr old Seth Walsh (CA), and the many other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth who have taken their lives or had their lives taken from them.
Thank you.marlene Doylestown Pridemarlene pray, MEdDoctoral Candidate, Widener UniversitySocial Justice Sexuality Educator, Trainer & Organizer
** When i dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision,then it becomes less and less important whether i am afraid. ** -Audre Lorde
Monday, October 4, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
But after working outside all day, I wanted to sit down, relax, and go through my news feed on facebook tonight. I haven't had much time to do much with social networks because of deadlines and new releases. And what did I find? A scathing rant about politics. And it was posted by someone with whom I've worked in e-publishing but never actually met in person.
As much as I like the guy on a professional level, I clicked onto his profile, scrolled down, and quickly defriended him from my list.
Facebook is a social network for enjoyment. I love when people post about public services, like my friend Ryan. He's always posting about animal welfare and lgbt issues. But he does it in a positive way, and I know he works hard dedicating his life to these issues.
But when I read a raging political rant on facebook, by someone I know isn't doing anything or working to make the cause he's ranting about any better, I lose patience. Facebook is not a platform, and it's not a place where people want to read negative posts or political rants. It's a place where people want to relax, learn a few things, and have fun. If you want to rant, take the time to start a blog and rant away. But don't do it in my face (smile).
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I wish them the best and I'm going to look forward to reading their new e-book list.
Below is a link to the Publishers Weekly announcement about their plans and what they hope to achieve.