Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cover: Hard Working Men

I'm loving this cover.  Due out in September 2010, this gorgeous little hunk of a book will contain two of my short stories: "Their Blood Shall Be Upon Them" and "The Wages of Sin."  The observant among you might note that both titles are biblical references.  Well, extra points for you.  These two are both from the CSA (Christian States of America) alternate history series.  A little on the dark side, but not quite as brutal as "The D.C. Blues."  Looking forward to this Cleis Press release, edited by Shane Allison.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Great Review of "The Marriage of True Minds" (Dreamspinner Press)

Whipped Cream Erotic Reviews posted a review of "The Marriage of True Minds" yesterday that blew me away.  Five Cherries -- gotta love that.  And the novella is up for "Book of the Week" (Vote here 2/27 and 2/27 only).

Here's the text of the review:

Transported, whisked away, and completely caught off guard—that’s what happened when I read this story. I often avoid the combination ghost story and romance. Things get a little odd, or they’re simply tragic. Here, the author lets you know up front that the love interest died long ago. Never fear. You still get your happily-ever-after ending. This is merely a jumping off point for this heart-seizing romance.

With depth of feeling and wonderful description, the reader travels back and forth with Charlie between his old age in Florida and his youth in WWII Germany where he and Danny, both young officers, meet. The tale gently leads us into the mind of this man, a man who has tried to live his life as honorably as he could, but who has always been left with a sense of being incomplete and restless. His inability to live in the present except with Danny, who now haunts his Florida house, runs as an undercurrent to the romance, beautifully illustrated by this passage:

“I felt disconnected to the world around me as if, at least for the moment, nothing mattered outside the room. It was a rare occurrence for me, to live so intensely that my life narrowed to a single point. No past, no future, no worries, no speculations. Just Danny and me.”

Yes, the sex is hot and steamy but written with a tenderness that tugs at the heart, with desperate emotional poignancy. I felt in the moment as well, reading the WWII passages. Freeman’s portrayal of the period is rendered successfully because of the little details, what sorts of buttons have to be undone, what sorts of songs might be in a German record collection of the time. Having been forced to watch too many hours of WWII documentary, I’ll confess I’m not an avid fan of the era. Usually. But this story has nothing to do with generals and troop movements, and everything to do with conquests of the heart, a look at the conflict from a more human level, tragedy and all. Freeman demonstrates an excellent grasp of the short story medium. Some writers are more comfortable in the short form, but I would be intrigued to see what this author might do in a longer work.

Charlie and Danny’s story is one that will stay with me for a long time, most likely always. Pick an afternoon when the significant other won’t pester you, shoo the kids out of the house, and give yourself a couple of uninterrupted hours with this beautifully crafted story. Immerse yourself in it, and I promise you’ll feel uplifted and fulfilled at the end.
Thanks Phlox for the fantastic review. 

Check out Whipped Cream for a wide variety of erotic romance reviews.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Sean Astin

Happy Birthday Sean.  I've had a crush on you since I was fourteen.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Random Guys: Come and Knock on Our Door

Working on final edits of my story "GingerChakra Pimps a Vid" which is slated to appear in the STARbooks anthology Video Boys, edited by Mickey Erlach.  Nick, Andy and Oliver are the three protagonists of this story and I'll be working again with them soon on a romantic sppoky summer mystery.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Random Guys: Patrick Rukai of Albania

In honor of my first visitor from Albania, I'm posting this great pair of photos by Jospeh Bleu of Albanian model, Patrick Rukai.  If you're not familiar with Mr. Bleu's photography, it's definitely worth a visit to his blog

Bleu's got a stark, romantic way with black and white and an acute eye for fasion.  His tall willowy models are uniformly beautiful and perfect.  Check out his recent post of model Nick Gogel called New Moon Luminous.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dark Days: The Christian States of America

Over the past year I've been working on a series of alternate history stories in which gay men are intimate witnesses to the demise of the American republic and the creation of two separate states:  The USA and the CSA (Christian States of America).  George Bush is the evil mastermind behind the series of events that culminate in a violent division of the country, an escalation of hostilities and eventually the conduct of a Holy War.  The Reds and the Blues take up arms and all hell breaks loose.

My intent was to explore the ways in which public political and criminal policies directly affect the lives of outlawed minority groups.  In this case, President Bush issued a series of Executive Orders called the Levitican Code that revive the traditional death penalties associated with adultery, homosexuality, cross-dressing and rebellion against parents, community and God.  As the stories evolve, the new nation is in the process of transforming from an open society to a closed autocratic theocracy.

It seems an odd choice of subject matter for Gay Erotica, but we have long been a tribe of outlaws, living out our passions at the edges of a world that has only recently (and only in some places) begun to embrace us.  Cruising, bathhouses, public sex, bondage -- all of these are part of our heritage of oppression.  As hot or exciting as they may be, they are also forms of political rebellion and expression.

And of course, evil sometimes wears a beautiful face.

I've sold several stories in this series to date:
Shane Allison (poet, writer, artist, editor, Renaissance man) has been very encouraging about these titles.  He urged me to consider weaving them into a novel length manuscript.  I've been tossing some ideas around and working on some outlines for future stories and/or chapters.  There's more of this world to come.

I just ran across this review of Special Forces by Vincent Diamond in which he spotlights "The DC Blues."  Here's an excerpt of the review.  Read the whole review at the Erotic Readers & Writers Association.
Another strong and unsettling story is "The DC Blues" by James Freeman. Set in the not-too-distant future in the Christian States of America, 2011, the story has references to Homeland Security, President Bush (in office again, gasp! The horror!), and occupied D.C. It's not fully explained in a neat, little package, and it's clear that Freeman wants readers to push a little to keep up. Joshua Davidson is the hero, injured in a bomb blast, captured by the Christian government, and fitted with an ID chip that will never let him go underground again. After a consensual sexual encounter with a fellow "patient," he's betrayed, and the reader is left with a creepy ending and the image of a black doctor's bag. It's a downer ending after the scenes of hot sex, but it fits the piece and the universe Freeman created.
Thanks Vincent for a great review, and for those of you who liked the Blues, check out my other CSA stories and know that there are more coming down the pike.  They are dark, erotic, hot, scary, sad and sometimes hopeful.  Just like life.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Working on Edits for Muscle Men (Cleis Press 2010)

I've been working on edits for my story in Muscle Men (Cleis Press edited by Richard Labonte).  Not too much to be done, but it's nice to read through everthing one more time before it's published.  This one is about a hunky former Gator football player who later in life finally gives in to the erotic yearnings that have haunted him all his life.  It's a fun story and, although it's in an erotic anthology (and has some explicit sex), it's stylistically more like my more romantic stories (My Dreamspinner writings, for instance.).  This is one of the stories I have been slowly working into a longer piece, fleshing out the characters and telling the story beyond the borders of the story as it's written today.  You can pre-order this lovely book today and have it appear on your doorstep in early June.  Look for "The Ambivalent Gardener and the State of Grace."

So who's the guy in the jeans?  Nobody in particular, but he reminds me a little of Jericho, the main character in this story.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stumbling Around In Search of My Story

I'm working on a story about a de-mobbed GI who returns to East Tennessee in 1947 to take over the family business only to be confronted by the (supernatural) echoes of his past.  It's supposed to be a ghost story and I'm struggling a bit to find my way inside the character's head. 

This photo made me think of him sleeing on a cot upstairs above the hardware store, breathing stale air and about to awaken from a nightmare too real to be a dream.

Stumbling, stumbling, stumbling.

A nice mention for "How Could I Not" in a review of Sindustry, Vol I.

"How Could I Not" (Sindustry, Vol, 1) received a positive mention in the Dark Divas Review.  Thanks Kathy.

Kathy’s Review: This story did not start at all in a manner that boded well for a romance. But a funny thing happened when Joshua got to know Ben. An emotionally telling tale is the result and I’m once again intrigued by Jamie Freeman and his adept storytelling. The journey from beginning to end takes an unexpected yet very satisfying turn.

Dark Diva Reviews

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Six More Weeks of Winter: Bring It On

The official word from Punxsutawney Phil is that there's a shadow and we're all in for six more weeks of Winter.  Well, living in Florida, I can't quite get enough of the cold weather.  It'll be up over a hundred soon enough, so thanks Phil.  I for one, will be celebrating the continuing chilly weather, laying in extra logs for the fireplace and extra marshmallows for the cocoa and smores.

Gratuitious Fox Mulder Winter shot.