Saturday, January 30, 2010

"GingerChakra Pimps a Vid" to be printed in Video Boys (STARBooks Press, October 2010)


Andy (known online as GingerChakra) has an online empire and a complicated homelife.  When he "accidentally" posts a video of himself and his two famous boyfriends on XTube, all hell breaks loose. 

Preorder your copy of Video Boys now from amazon.com.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sometimes the Flame Flickers


If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves. 

(Howard Zinn)


Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them - if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.

(from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger)

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Alex's Adventures in the Land of Wonder China Emporium" - Accepted for publication in Black Fire (Lethe Press)


Follow the rabbit, baby.

I've been hopping back and forth between a romance novella and an erotic short story, working frantically through a headache tonight, trying to get my thoughts to pour out onto the paper in some kind of order.  I was interrupted by an e-mail from one of my favorite editors (Shane Allison) telling me he's accepted my story "Alex's Adventures in the Land of Wonder China Emporium" for an upcoming anthology from Lethe Press called Black Fire.  It's nice to end the night with a little good news.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Random Guys: When in Rome



Today I had a visitor from my 60th country.  Thanks for stopping by; these beauties are for you.  These fellows are from the 2009 and 2010 Roman Priest Calendars.  And yes, they're real Roman Priests.  Get the 2010 Calendar now.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Muscle Men (Cleis Press) Coming in June


My story "The Ambivalent Gardener and the State of Grace" about a former Gator football player who comes rather dramatically out of the closet will be included in Muscle Men, a new anthology by editor Richard Labonte coming in June from Cleis Press.

When I got the email from Richard I had just started playing with this story with the idea of expanding it to novella or novel length.  It's transforming into something bigger.  We'll see where that takes Jericho Thomas, former Gator football player.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Random Guys: Three's Company Too



Just finishing up the edits on a story about a charming threesome.  I like them so much, I may have to move on to a sequel.  I'll let you know if my guys get picked up for publication.  In the meantime, I hope you find this photo as inspiring as I did.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Random Guys: Trying So Hard



When I was a kid I wanted to be a superhero.  I tried and tried to fly.  But no dice.  Keep trying, man.

Hateful "History" Lessons from Pat Robertson (and a 20th Century German Leader)



This is terrifying, heartless and wildly inaccurate in so many ways I literally had to watch it twice to make sure I'd heard it properly. This is yet another in a long line of hateful proclamations from a guy who's giving American Christians a bad name. Why do people continue to buy advertising time during his show? And why does the show appear on ABC Family (a Disney-owned network)?

Napoleon III was elected President in 1848, forty-five years after Haitian independence.  He later became dictator and was crowned Emperor in 1852. He reigned until he was deposed in September 1870.

The island of Saint Dominigue (later Haiti) achieved independence from the French in 1803 after 12 years of violence and upheaval. The French ruler at the time was Napoleon I (Napoleon Bonaparte).

Interestingly, Robertson's story reminded me of this quote from Adolf Hitler:
It is thanks to the German princes that the German nation was unable to redeem itself for good from the Jewish menace. In this, too, unfortunately, nothing changed as time went on; all they obtained from the Jew was the thousandfold reward for the sins they had once committed against their peoples. They made a pact with the devil and landed in hell. 
Mein Kampf (Vol 1, Chapter 11)
Perhaps the lesson to be learned from this is that hate can be disguised as love or faith and cloaked in the trappings of religion as easily as it can be disguised as history or politics and cloaked in the trappings of patriotism.

Question everything.  Look deeper.  Seek your own answers.

Wanna help in Haiti?  Got this from the US State Department Site: "To help with relief efforts, text "HAITI" to "90999" and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill."

UPDATE (1/14/10 7:10pm EST):
On Thursday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said this about Pat Roberts:  "It never ceases to amaze me that in times of amazing human suffering somebody says something that can be so utterly stupid."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Writing about Beauty, Unlikely Heroes, and NOH8



I'm working on an erotic story about beauty.  I am working through an exploration of the ways in which Gen X-ers and Millennials view beauty.  What has reality television and American Idol done to change the way we view ourselves?  I think there is a fundamental generational difference that I plan to plant at the heart of this piece.  We all love the same way; hearts find hearts in the darkness.  But beauty happens in the light of day, in the warm glow of candle light, or under the cool regard of the moon.  Beauty, the poets say, is ineffable, elusive, fleeting.  But in 2010, beauty is a commodity.  Beauty is a tool.  Beauty is currency.  Beauty is business.  So what does that mean for relationships?  What does an imbalance imply?  What does age do to the equation?

I am in a thoughtful mood and I must be feeling hopeful because this story started out fairly dark and evolved into something sweet and sexy and light.

I am going to give credit for my light mood to the fact that several thousand miles away Ted Olson and David Boies are spending their days standing together against Prop 8 and fighting the good fight.  Who would have thought the old Bush v. Gore adversaries would both be fighting to make gay marriage legal?  They have lightened my spirit.  If you have not read Ted Olson's article The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage in the January 18, 2010 issue of Newsweek, check it out.  Facebook it. Tweet it.  Email it to your politcally conservative friends and relations.  It's a cogent, rational argument for basic civil rights.



And speaking of heroes, if you have not visited photographer Adam Bouska's NoH8 Project, you've got to take a look.  In addition to my personal hero Kathy Griffin, thousands of people (celebs and non-celebs) have banded together in a silent protest in direct response to the November 2008 passage of Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to make gay marriage illegal.

Ted Olson, Davi Boies, Adam Bouska and Kathy Griffin:  Keep fighting the good fight.  You inspire me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snowy Day - The Art of Michael Breyette



There are rumors of snow here in North Florida.  The temperature is plunging and I drove home from work under a bleak snow sky.  Time to put on a vat of chili and watch the weather out the window. 
Praying for snow down here in the world below the Bible Belt.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Not Every Lovely Flame Dies - Writing About Love and Marriage

My parents are among my greatest fans.  I talk to so many people in this industry (specifically writing erotica or m/m romance) whose families either don't know what they write, don't care, or don't support their work.  It makes me feel blessed.  My parents encouraged me to start submitting stories for publication a couple of years ago.  They are among the only (four) people on the planet who have read my unpublished Jude novel.  And they keep buying the books and commenting on my work.

In June 2009 they celebrated their 40th Anniversary and, as the eldest son, I was charged with saying something nice in front of their friends and family at the party.  I fretted and fumbled with a couple of biographical sketches, a couple of sincerely written, but ultimately dull and hackneyed speeches about love and the lessons of a life-long marriage.  I read Shakespeare (which I rejected as too easy and too often tragic) and I read Albee (ok, I know, but he says a lot of good things about marriage) and I listened to Sondheim (Being Alive, Marry Me a Little).  And finally one of my wise friends said to me, "Aren't you a writer?  Don't you have some fiction that's about marriage or love or something?"

I blinked and sputtered.  More surprised that she had called me a writer than that she was right.

I dug out a piece that had just been accepted for publication in Richard Labonte's Best Gay Romance 2010 and found the perfect passage.  I had written a scene in which the main character discussed the nature of love and marriage with his aging grandmother (a character based on my father's mother).

I called my friend D in Texas.

"Dude, I think it's a good idea," he drawled.  (God, ya gotta love a smart Southern Boy.)

So I read a bit of the story and gave a short toast and watched tears sliding down cheeks.  My parents, their friends, my aunt, my sobbing little brother (the emotional one).  It was a fine moment.

Here's a bit of the excerpt I read:

Anniversaries make me maudlin, so I’ve been sitting here thinking about the Brooks and myself, two guys who managed to stumble into something lasting. I guess we do have a marriage of sorts, though neither of us would ever call it that. No rings, no flowers, no ceremony, no vows. We’ll never be two tuxedoed grooms sharing a spotlight dance at our reception, or feeding each other pearly white wedding cake, but neither will we be the couple who bring home a third to spice things up, or argue over a houseboy, or hammer out complex ground rules for sexual polygamy (touch this but not that, do this, but not that, and only if I’m there too). And yet, despite the fact that we don’t fit either tradition, we’ve somehow managed to choreograph moves that work for us — a couple of sweaty, basketball-playing, rock-climbing, football-watching, foul-mouthed, cigar-smoking, whisky-drinking men, who happen to be unaccountably, unabashedly in love with each other.

When I think about what we have, I sometimes think of my grandparents, who always laughed with each other like newlyweds, drank bottles of red wine with dinner, sang old Gershwin songs to each other on special occasions, and always waltzed together at family reunions.

I don’t remember my grandfather well, but my grandmother outlived the love of her life by about twenty years. She spent a couple of those years living with my mother and me, usually absorbed in one of her two remaining passions: old paperback mysteries or old musicals.

One night when I’d just turned sixteen, I remember the two of us sitting at the old Formica table in my mom’s kitchen. It was late, maybe one or two in the morning. My grandmother was chain smoking and drinking coffee from a mug shaped like an owl. There was an Ellery Queen on the table in front of her, spine bent to mark her place, and Fred and Ginger were twirling around on the television, the music soft beneath the sounds of the ceiling fans and my grandmother’s smoky breath. She leaned forward and said, “Bishop, your grandfather used to say marriage is like a mystery. You keep looking for clues and hoping for the best.”

She took a drag from her cigarette, eyes drawn away from me to the TV. “But he always had a flair for dramatic pronouncements, even if he knew they were wrong. There’s nothing mysterious about marriage. Marriage is a dance. You choose your partner and sometimes you stumble or you can’t find your rhythm, but sometimes,” she pointed her nicotine-stained fingers across the room, “sometimes it’s just like that.”

We watched Fred and Ginger twirl around the room, he in a tuxedo, she in a stunning low-cut black dress, hands and feet and bodies perfectly aligned, a perfection so simple, but so stunningly beautiful. I felt my eyes tear up.

“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” she said.

“I guess so,” I mumbled, wiping the tears from my eyes.

She looked at me for a long moment, taking another drag on her cigarette. “Huh,” she said when she finally exhaled, then got up to refill her coffee mug. “Some things last, Bishop. Not every lovely flame dies,” she said, reaching for the powdered creamer.

Give in to the romantic fool that dances in your heart.

So buy the book already.  See how it begins.  See how it ends.  Read all the romantic, sexy stuff in the middle.  Come on.  Give in . . .   

Monday, January 4, 2010

Review: Marriage of True Minds & Random Dark Thoughts

A nice review of Marriage of True Minds on Bitten By Books.


Although I've been working on a Christmas story, I think my next piece is going to be on the dark side.  I have another alternate future Civil War piece in mind.  And I'm thinking through a piece about exploitation, aging and fading beauty.  This photo suits my mood. 

Thank you to the dark mind of Massimo Faccini.