Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I'm thankful for

It's a dark, rainy morning here in Seattle and, of course, on this day, I am thinking about what I have to be thankful for.

My mom. She's gone now (two years last month), but her memory stays with me. I will always feel blessed to have such a caring, loving, and funny woman in my life. She always put family first and always made me feel like what happened to me was more important to her than anything.

My son. Smart, handsome, and full of love and compassion, he makes me really proud. Anything else I have done in this life, anything I have created, pales in comparison when I look at him.

My partner. Seven years ago we met and a spark ignited and that has grown into something rare and wonderful: family.

My sisters. I always tell people the kids in my family are all only children because we are so far apart in age (Susan is eight years older and Melissa is eleven years younger), but we are all that's left now of our immediate family. They have always been there for me.

The rest of my family. The older I get, the more I realize how precious these bonds of time and blood are.

My friends. I won't single anyone out, but I think the true ones know who you are and know how much I love you...for being my "chosen" family.

My dog. My little Boston, Lily, packs more joy and devotion into twenty pounds than I could ever hope to find anywhere else.

My creativity. It's been my pride, my curse, my sanctuary and refuge. I am grateful I am able to create people and worlds where I can create order out of chaos and write stories that make me laugh, cry, tremble, and more. It's truly a weird gift and, without it, I truly believe I'd be sitting in a tiny padded room right now.


What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Perfect Date with an AIDS-afflicted Felon

This blog originally appeared on IN COLD BLOG, a true-crime blog where I am a regular contributor.

I’m driving north on Florida State Route 75. It’s August and the flat land stretching out on either side of the highway looks baked. The slash pines, palms, and cypress trees stand like stalwart sentinels against the blistering sun: brave.

The car hums along, the whirr of the air conditioning compressor keeping me company. I’m too jazzed to listen to music.

I’m on my way to a date with Jim. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him, since he moved from the Tampa Bay area up north to Raiford, which is a good three hours away. I can’t blame Jim for the move (it wasn’t his choice), but it’s been hard not being able to see him the past month. Oh sure, we’ve written and Jim’s a great one for letters, especially since he can draw hilarious caricatures of the people he’s meeting in his new home.

But there’s a disturbing edge to his letters, too, and I know some of these people have been less than kind to Jim. The name-calling, for one thing, breaks my heart. But thank God Jim has a sense of humor, otherwise I don’t know how he’d get through each day.

I know he’s been hanging on for this date, which we’ve had planned for a while.

Finally, an afternoon with Jim. I didn’t know, four months ago, that I would grow to love him so quickly.

I drive on, the broad expanses of rough grass and hearty trees being replaced every so often by strip malls and towns with names like Ocala. The pavement shimmers before me in the heat. My tires hum. An armadillo hurries alongside the road. A mosquito splats against the windshield, leaving a swath of blood.


I remember the first time I met Jim. It was another blistering summer day (funny how in my memories of the two years I lived in Florida, it’s always summer, even when the memory took place in December or February). Jim and I had been set up and these kinds of dates always put me on edge: they never worked out.

When Jim answered the door, I was sure that this set-up date would work out like all the others: completely inappropriate. Other people never seemed to have the capacity to pick someone out for myself that I would choose on my own.

And this guy who opened the door immediately put me on my guard. I mean, I enjoy a good drag show at the local bar as much as the next guy, but here in Brandon, Florida (a suburb of Tampa, full of kids, trimmed lawns, and swimming pools), a smart little black dress and pearls just seemed out of place, especially on a very handsome blond man with great blue eyes and a nice, tight build.

But there was Jim, all smiles and beckoning me to come inside. I went into the little bungalow he lived in with a roommate (who was at work). The place was typical Florida, one-story, stucco, with a schefflera bush in the front yard, and that peculiar, tougher-than-nails, fire-ant infested grass on the front lawn. Inside, pastel walls and beige furniture completed the picture. The Golden Girls could have used the place for a set.

And there was Jim, smiling at me in his sensible matron’s outfit and just putting the finish creases on a little ironing he was doing just before I rang the bell. The whole scene made me think of a cross between June Cleaver and RuPaul.

I wasn’t sure what to say. But that really didn’t matter, because Jim was more than ready to take over (once he’d made certain I had a fruity cocktail in my hand, even though it wasn’t yet noon), telling me all about his recent move down here from Chicago (I had the same story to tell, but I wasn’t to learn until much later how very different our respective moves to the sunshine state were), his love for Barbra (need I add a last name here?), and how his health was improving under the abundant Florida sun.

I learned fast that day that clothes don’t always make the man and that Jim would turn out to be one of the bravest men I’d ever met.


It’s been a long drive and I’m glad to finally be pulling up in front of Jim’s new home. Raiford, Florida is north central Florida…typical of the state, but not the kind of look one usually associates with Florida (white sand beaches, aqua-marine waters, palm trees swaying in the salty breeze): Raiford is kind of grim and parched looking, especially the wide open spaces where Jim’s new home sits. It’s surrounded by dry brown grass…stretching infinitely to a blazing blue sky, where the sun beats down, relentless.

A tall fence surrounds Jim’s new home, with no nod to adornment (Jim, with his graphic design background and his love for the visual arts, I’m sure, did not approve). This fence was made of foreboding chain link and twice the height of a good-sized man, topped with razor-sharp circles of barbed wire. The only thing that looks halfway decent is the curving arch over the entrance drive and the stone monument just beside it. The arch tells visitors, in curving steel, that this is the Florida State Prison. The stone monument spells it out further: Department of Corrections, Florida State Prison.

This is where they send the big boys: the felons.

I can’t imagine Jim inside. He’s been hanging on for our date.

I can’t wait to see him.


When Jim and I went on our first date (after our getting-acquainted morning cocktail hour at his house) we went to Ft. DeSoto beach, a beautiful stretch of white sand just off of St. Petersburg Beach. Because it’s in a state park, the beach is backed up not by high-rises with balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, but with a view that nature intended. Instead of bricks and mortar (and the attendant Florida tourists), Ft. DeSoto beach has only sand dunes, sea grass, and mangroves as a backdrop. It’s another blazing hot day and I’ve brought lunch for Jim and me (with a thermos full of mai tais…Jim’s favorite) and we spend the entire afternoon listening to the waves roll in and watching a matronly pair wade along the shoreline, net bags in hand, collecting starfish and shells.

Jim tells me about the last job he had before he went on this extended period of unemployment and how he worked as a graphic designer. He tells me about what led to his dismissal: picking up a stranger one night and bringing him back to his workplace. Out of lube, and always imaginative, Jim went into his supervisor’s cube and found some very creative use for the waxy (and slippery) substance those in the cosmetology trade call lipstick. The couple made quite a mess, not the least of which was Jim’s being fired the next day.

Jim was like that: a little imp, unable to play by the rules.

Life has a way of getting the attention of those who go against its conventions by biting them in the ass.


Getting into the Florida State Prison is a lot easier than getting out, but there are some obstacles. In order to arrange for my date with Jim, I had to go through the chaplain, who put me on the very short list of visitors who could come and visit him (not that there was a long list of admirers waiting to be put on that list; only Jim’s parents so far had come to check him out in his new digs—and they had made the trip all the way from Downer’s Grove, Illinois). Once inside the prison, I had to go through an anteroom, where I had to sign in and then subject myself to being frisked, right down to removing my boots to ensure I wasn’t securing a file in the heel or something. I understood the precautions, silly as they were. Yet Jim was in no shape to escape, even if I had somehow managed to smuggle in everything he would need to slip through Raiford’s well-guarded walls.

Security wasn’t as tight for my last couple of dates with Jim, which had taken place at the Hillsborough County Jail. There, things weren’t as grim, or as lonely. I would line up with a whole room full of chattering visitors, get checked in, and then be off to converse with Jim through a wall of Plexiglas, under the admiring eyes of some of the other inmates. Jealousy is such a petty thing, and particularly annoying when you’re trying to have an intimate moment with your date, while those behind him wonder what it would take to make you their bitch.

But that was before Jim’s case was adjudicated and they sent him north, to the state prison. That was before Jim began to get really sick.


Now, a guard down a colorless hallway leads me to the prison infirmary. I know this will be my last date with Jim and it’s hard not to recall all the laughs we shared before he was caught (he had violated his parole in Illinois, where he had been convicted of grand theft auto) at various beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, in Cuban restaurants, just listening to music at my apartment.

It’s also hard not to remember the additional details that brought him here: how, in a fit of depression, he had set fire to his roommate’s house. What did he have to be depressed about, anyway? He was only dying from AIDS (this was in the early 1990s and the drug cocktails that would keep many of his brethren living full lives were still on the horizon), isolated, and on the run from the law. Why be sad when he could number his only friends (me) at the number one? Why be sad when my friendship was not borne out of a common love for the arts and sarcastic observations about life, but instead courtesy of the Tampa Aids Network, where I had volunteered to be an AIDS buddy and was assigned to Jim?

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see Jim. He had written me, before he was confined to the infirmary, about how the other inmates taunted him and called him Spot, because of the Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions that covered him from head to toe (and continued, even now, to eat his fragile body and soul alive). I didn’t know what to expect. The last time I had seen him, he was still vibrant, still Jim: a little blond man with a quick smile and bottomless kindness.

I knew he had deteriorated…and I knew it was going to be bad.


Jim was alone in the room of the infirmary where they had done, I suppose, what they could to ensure his comfort. Other beds awaited other inmates, with maladies less deadly, I hoped, than Jim’s.

And there he was. Asleep. He looked frail and vulnerable, not at all what you’d imagine if you thought of the terms “convicted felon” or “state pen inmate.” His face, once tanned and vibrant, was covered with purple sores. My Jim had turned into a monster in the short time that had elapsed since we last saw one another.

He turned to me and opened his eyes. At least his eyes, blue as those waters we once sat beside, had stayed the same. It took him a minute or two to recognize me, but when he did, he smiled. I moved close to the bed and took his hand. With my other hand, I touched his forehead, where a fever raced around inside, hot as the air outside these prison walls.

I don’t remember what we talked about on our last date. Probably not much; Jim drifted in and out of sleep while I stood beside him, sometimes even in the middle of a sentence: mine or even his own. He did manage to tell me about his parents’ visit the day before, how his mother had collapsed in grief the moment she saw him.

I wanted this last time of ours together to be meaningful. But what, really, is there to say, at life’s end? I leaned in close and kissed him, my cheek brushing up against one of the lesions. It felt crusty.

The only thing left to say, really, at the end of life, or even the end of a perfect date are three words: “I love you.” Jim whispered back, “I love you, too,” and then he fell asleep.

I crept away.

Jim died the next day. The chaplain very kindly told me, when he called, that he thought Jim had hung on long enough to see me. I hung up the phone and slipped outside to my patio and looked across the surface of the pond just steps away. A wind rippled across the deep green water, making the grass at the water’s edge sway. A white ibis pecked at something along the shore.

I thought of a silly drawing Jim had sent me a couple months ago. It was a colored pencil caricature of a fat middle-aged woman I had written about; she was naked and riding a surfboard. Jim had called it “Amelia’s Hawaiian Adventure.”

The picture made me laugh when all I really wanted to do was cry. But my eyes were dry. Maybe it was just Jim’s influence as he looked down, trying to replace grief with hilarity. I laughed until I was almost breathless and had to sit down, cross-legged, on the concrete.

Finally my laughs turned to sobs and I faced away from the pond and toward the sliding glass doors. The glass was bright with sun and I swore I could see Jim reflected there. He mouthed some words and I strained to read them through my tears. “Glad you could drop by.” I swallowed, containing myself and think: me too, Jim. Someone else might think our last date was kind of sucky, but for me it was perfect. After all, a perfect date is marked by a timeless connection and an intimacy borne of true love. Maybe I didn’t get the chance to bring you flowers or candy, but this date we had…well, it will be the one that will always stand out in my mind as my best, because I like to think that I sent you off, free, with the words “I love you,” lingering in your mind.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Review for SUPERSTAR...Four Stars!

Note: The following review was published on ReviewsbyJessewave on November 18. Thanks to Jessewave for the review!


rick 6 Superstar
Title and Link: Superstar
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher URL: Amber Allure
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: short story (12k words)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

When Leon first saw him singing in a dive bar, he was mesmerized. But he didn’t know he’d be going home with the dangerously sexy lead singer that night. He couldn’t have predicted he’d fall in love. But then, Leon never expected his love to be reciprocated. Yet the hot singer with the gravely voice told Leon he loved him; told him he’d come back. So, why, three years after that fateful night, is Leon perched at the edge of a bridge, ready to make a fatal leap?

Superstar is the story of a groupie and the rock star he loves. It’s the tale of a man on the edge, both literally and figuratively…and it’s a timeless story of love found and lost lost, all set to a driving rock beat.

Superstar is about promises made, promises broken, and dreams unfulfilled. And, ultimately, it’s about realizing that love can come along when one least expects it—and in the unlikeliest of places…

That night was a dream … one that Leon lived for three years, culminating in what could be his last night on this earth as he surveys the murky waters below the George Washington Bridge in Seattle, preparing to jump. What brought him to this point? One unforgettable night when he met the lead singer of an up and coming rock band and had sex with him on his living room couch. The sex was the greatest he had ever had and he thought that his lover felt the same way but sometimes one hot night of sex is just that – a one night stand. Mentally moving between standing on the bridge contemplating his next move, and thinking about that night, Leon recounts through flashbacks the events that led up to where he was, about to end it all.

Rick Reed is an unusual voice in M/M romance, and in Superstar he lets us into Leon’s despair, tattered self esteem and his feelings of loss that what he wants will never be – the love of the man of his dreams. The author draws you in as Leon tells his poignant tale, admitting at last that what he thought was mutual love was really only lust on the part of the object of his affections.

Leon became what he never thought he would be, just another groupie who couldn’t differentiate between reality and fantasy. I really felt for him as he relived his one moment in the sunlight, baring his soul to the readers, not looking for anything, since all he wants is to be left alone to do what he came to the bridge to do – end his sorry life in spectacular fashion. But sometimes despair can have a silver lining and it’s up to Leon to decide whether to take another chance on life.

Whenever I read a book by Rick R. Reed he never fails to surprise me with the depth of emotions, and his prose is always wonderfully eloquent and poignant. If you’re looking for an  unusual love story you don’t have far to go – get Superstar. Definitely recommended.

Read the original blog and comments on ReviewsbyJessewave.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ten Silly Ones in a Row with Romance Author KC Kendricks

I sat down with KC Kendricks in Manhattan recently, where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Thomas Keller's Per Se restaurant, where we each enjoyed the tasting menu (at $150 per person, but hey, KC claimed to be treating). I was dismayed to find, at the end of our meal, that KC said she had to step outside to make a phone call.

She never returned.

I am posting her interview anyway. And KC, darling, you owe me $300. I'll absorb the $60.00 tip because that's just the kind of guy I am.

1.  If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?
I’d grill up some burgers and franks, maybe make a tossed salad.  They could eat it or starve. Or take me out to dinner on their dime. [RR: This is about the response I'd expect.]

2.  Who do you think you are? 
Hmm. I’m a Gemini. To which of us are you directing this question?

3.  What’s your problem?
Problem? I have no problems, only solutions which do not yet have viable applications.
4.  If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?
Heck, no. Go get your own wish. I worked too hard to get this one and I’m not giving it up. [RR: This is the answer I would expect.]

5.  Where you at?
Oh, somewhere near Latitude = 39, Longitude = -77
6.  If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?
What? I have to get rid of all of them but one? That’s not fair, but for the sake of your questions, I will not give up drinking wine. I know, I know. Not much of a vice, but my life is really pretty vice-free. 

7.  What’s your favorite brand of cereal?
Corn Chex. Except when it’s Frosted Mini-Wheats.

8.  When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?
Lily Munster, and occasionally Rachel Welch. [RR: Me too!]

9.  Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference? 
Rick, hon, as a gay man, I think you are infinitely more acquainted with asses and holes than I. I’ll defer to your greater wisdom and experience on this one. [RR: Uh, thank you. I think.]

10.    Do you have anything you’d like to plug?
Sure! Check out my website. All my books are listed there. I have a new announcement only mailing list I’m trying to grow, so go on over and sign up.

PS. You have donated your brain to science, right? [RR: Define brain.]

KC Kendricks is a bestselling author who makes her home in Maryland. A 2008 Amber Heat Wave Winner, and a 2008 CAPA nominee, KC writes contemporary gay romances that while are adult in nature, celebrate love and hope for mature readers.

Writing more traditional romance under a pseudonym, the author is a two-time EPPIE Finalist, and a 2005 CAPA nominee. With one contemporary title a #1 bestseller, several other top-ten list titles, and a few more recommended reads, the author has established herself as a storyteller that delivers rich, satisfying romantic stories that feature strong themes of love, hope, and redemption with positive, upbeat endings.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Superstar Releases Today

Everything I write affects me emotionally. But there are some stories that do this more than others. Superstar is one such story. Based on the unrequited-groupie-love-song that both Karen Carpenter and Bette Midler made famous, Superstar is a rarity for me: a pure love story about a young man falling for a cad of a rock star.

He told him he loved him. He told him he'd be back.

It's also about the resiliency of life and love and how both can surprise us at the most unlikely of times.

It's the first story I've written that's set in my new home, Seattle and you'll get glimpses of the beauty of the city and the Pacific Northwest as you join my main character on the 180-foot high Aurora Bridge, also known as the "suicide bridge." It's here where Superstar begins and ends as my main character, Leon, reminisces about his love for a grungy rock superstar before taking a fatal plunge. But someone is waiting and watching, and suicides don't always go off as planned...

Hope you'll check out the story, available only in ebook. You can pick up a copy here.

When Leon first saw him singing in a dive bar, he was mesmerized. But he didn’t know he’d be going home with the dangerously sexy lead singer that night. He couldn’t have predicted he’d fall in love. But then, Leon never expected his love to be reciprocated. Yet the hot singer with the gravely voice told Leon he loved him; told him he’d come back.

So, why, three years after that fateful night, is Leon perched at the edge of a bridge, ready to make a fatal leap?

Superstar is the story of a groupie and the rock star he loves. It’s the tale of a man on the edge, both literally and figuratively...and it’s a timeless story of love found and lost lost, all set to a driving rock beat.

Superstar is about promises made, promises broken, and dreams unfulfilled. And, ultimately, it’s about realizing that love can come along when one least expects it—and in the unlikeliest of places...

...I closed Olive’s that night. It wasn’t so much the crowd, or the beer, or even the cute allegedly straight boy in the cargo shorts and Cold Play T-shirt who made eyes at me throughout the night.

No. It was you.

And your music. Back then, you were just the lead singer in a band called Voiles and I was mesmerized by both your look and your sound. A bass guitar and a drummer backed you up, and if I passed either of them on the street today, I would not recognize them. For me, you stood all alone on that tiny plywood stage with a black curtain behind you. When that incredible, melodic, craggy voice emerged, it was as if the physical confines of the room disappeared. I could see only you…and what a view that was. Your tousled auburn hair, streaked through with gold, practically obscured your face. Your rail-thin body, packed into skinny jeans and a Ramones T-shirt, was like some post punk boy’s fantasy. And when you jerked your head to get the hair out of your face, the motion revealed a chiseled face, dark chocolate eyes, and a look that seemed both faraway and incredibly sad.

It made me want to take you in my arms.

I suppose that’s the effect you were after. I hate to think that the mournful gaze and the counter-culture, retro rock star clothes were calculated, just another part of the act as much as the microphone on its stand, the drum kit, the lights, the amps, the electrical cords.

I hate to think that.

But it wasn’t just your look that caught me, entrapping me in a snare that I would find impossible to free myself from for the next three years. It was your song. Your sad, sad song. Your voice was that of a man who had smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for decades: scarred, veering on raspy. It was the voice of a man much older than your years, which appeared to number in the twenties. You were the love child of Leonard Cohen and Rufus Wainwright.

Your lyrics, coal black, smoldered around age-old topics like lost love, loneliness, alienation, and an inability to find home. Cheery stuff.

It had me sobbing into my beer most of the night.

And when I wasn’t sobbing, I was imagining what you’d look like naked.

There was a curious combination pulsing inside me that night: lust, despair, hunger…

But I never had any real hopes that I would actually be meeting you that night. No idea that I would actually see what the wiry body under those clothes looked like. No clue that I would come to know the feel of those swollen lips on my own...

Get your copy of Superstar here.

WIN A FREE COPY OF SUPERSTAR! Simply leave a comment below (with a way to get in touch with you).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Brenna Lyons Gets Silly with Me

Brenna Lyons is probably one of the most profilic, polished, and professional writers around today. She crosses many genres in her work--science fiction, fantasy, romance, erotica, and much more--and all of it keeps readers coming back for more. I caught up with Brenna recently here in Seattle, where we rode a ferry over to Vashon Island and had a weenie roast on a driftwood-choked beach. "When I told you I was fond of faeries and weenies, this was not quite what I had in mind," Brenna said to me. But then she bit into her kosher dog and with her mouth full, said, "But I thank you just the same."

And what did she have to say to my ten impertient, and very silly, questions? Read on:

1. If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?
Prime rib (hold the fixings), baked potato with butter, steamed asparagus with bacon and lemon, and traditional custard with sliced strawberries...and a big glass of cold milk. What *I* want to eat, of course! Bet my horror readers thought I was going to say manburgers, but that would be incorrect.

2.  Who do you think you are?
Every author is somewhat schizophrenic, so I guess...Sybil?

3.  What’s your problem?
I see stupid people...and rude people. Most don't even know they are stupid or rude. If I get surly, that's usually why I am. It's a failing. I have little patience for these sorts of things.

4.  If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?
Depends. Will you use it to get something I want? you desperately need it more than I do? I'd make an exception for that.

5.  Where you at?
In my desk chair...with the window above and to the left of me, a whole wall of bookshelves to the left...paintings, pictures, and awards above...files and shelves of promo gear to the right...and papers stacked everywhere. Said office space is in the Milky Way Galaxy, Planet Earth, United States, Massachusetts... And that's close enough for jazz.

6.  If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?
Hard choice. Lust is the most fun, of course. But a prideful bastard is such a great character to play.
7.  What’s your favorite brand of cereal? 
Am I being a good witch today or bad? Good? Total Raisin Bran. Bad? Cookie Crisp.
8.  When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?
Rosie O'Donnell, complete with snark. I am NOT a morning person.

9.  Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference?
Yep. Cartoon physics being something I don't enjoy the gift of, I can't take the hole in the ground with me...without a shovel and a pot.

10.    Do you have anything you’d like to plug?
My desk lamp, but it's not working. Grumbling... Ah, just check out the site! 

In the last six years, Brenna has finaled for 7 EPPIES, 3 PEARLs, two CAPAs, a Dream Realm Award, and has taken Spinetingler's Book of the Year for 2007. Brenna writes milieu-heavy dark fiction, poetry, articles and essays. Brenna loves talking to readers and can be reached via her site.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trannies and Psychos and Bears...Oh My!

Hey Kids!

Just wanted to let you know that my ebook short, NO PLACE LIKE HOME, is out today and yours for only $2.25. It's a gay romance twist on THE WIZARD OF OZ and, like me, is a little different.

And when you visit the AmberAllure site today (November 8) only, you'll find that my EPPIE-Award winning novel ORIENTATION, is the daily deal...75% off the regular price!


Burl is horny. And his lover, AJ, is in the kind of sleep that approaches comatose. What’s a boy to do? In the middle of the night, Burl slips away from the house he shares with AJ, looking for just a little release for his pent-up passion. AJ won’t mind; after all, he says he doesn’t care where Burl gets his tires pumped, as long as he gets to ride.

But what Burl finds in straying from his own backyard is not quite the kind of excitement he had in mind. From boxer-shorted bears, to men who aren’t quite what they seem, to homicidal ebony gods, Burl doesn’t know quite what to make of the bizarre world outside...and the people in it. From the snow-capped peaks of the Adirondack Mountains (and the Sodom Sin Mountain Ski Resort), to the dangerous streets of the lower east side of Manhattan, Burl discovers that it isn’t always easy—or safe—when you go looking for love in all the wrong places.

What lessons does Burl learn on his quest? Does he discover, really, that there’s no place like home? There’s only one way to find out—start reading!

Check out more details and get your copy here:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Author Jeanne Barrack Gets Silly

I caught up with gay romance author Jeanne Barrack at Steamworks bathhouse in Chicago, where we conducted our interview in the steamroom. Jeanne was the first woman allowed inside these hallowed walls, but she convinced the owner to give her admittance so she could do research on just what gay fellas do.

In between taking notes on various sexual positions and acts, Jeanne offhandedly answered my silly questions.

1. If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?
Depends upon the guest. I love to cook and foreign food is a favorite. So, for Lucrezia Borgia, one of my favorite people, it would be old school Italian dishes from her neck of the woods, Emilia Romagna. An elaborate menu, including: Pasticcio alla Ferrarese. A very fancy dish that would probably take me all day to make. But only the best for Lucrezia. If I want to live to cook another day.

2. Who do you think you are?
Most of the time I haven't a clue!

3. What’s your problem?
What isn't?

4. If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?
Why not? I'm pretty sure you wouldn't kick Antonio Banderas out of your bed.[RR: You'd be right].

5. Where you at?
Wherever I am at the moment. And soon I won't even know that.

6. If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?
Sloth. I like my naps. [RR: Me too; shall we take one now?]

7. What’s your favorite brand of cereal?
Kellogg's Rice Krispies. It really freaks me out what a weird guy the founder was.

8. When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?
Phyllis Diller -- that hair, those bloodshot eyes... [RR: And don't forget the laugh!]

9. Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference?
Mine is more round, more firm, more lily-white

10. Do you have anything you’d like to plug?
Oh, boy, Rick, the punchline that fits this question! But, seriously, Bend in the Road, my current release from MLR Press. I like to think of it as Fiddler on the Roof meets La Cage Aux Folles. Two stories take place within the world of a traveling theater troupe in 19th century eastern Europe. The first story has a cross dressing theme, the second one has jeweled nightingales. Get it? Okay, so I'm no Groucho Marx....wait a minute, I am Groucho!

Jeanne's Bio:
I'm a native New Yorker from Brooklyn, married for thirty-odd years to my high school sweetheart. I now live on a mountain top in rural Pennsylvania but will soon be following a wandering star somewhere over the rainbow. I play guitar and studied voice privately with a coach from Julliard. I sing everything from folk music to Grand Opera - in ten languages including Gaelic and Hebrew. My day job involves music therapy for seniors.

I write paranormal, urban fantasy, contemporary, historical, erotic romance, with both m/f and m/m content. My books are published with Loose Id, Liquid Silver Books, MLR Press, and Aspen Mountain Press You can find me on the web hanging out at my blog, The Sweet Flag and sharing the research I've done for most of my books at Jeanne's Guideposts.