Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Past: A Holiday Excerpt from ORIENTATION

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I would share with you a sample from my reincarnation love story, Orientation, which won the EPIC eBook Award in 2009 as the Best GLBT Novel of the Year. This excerpt takes place at Christmas, 1983.

CHRISTMAS NIGHT WAS memorable for Robert, if only because it was the night the one great love of his young life was taken, stolen away by a disease he could never have imagined just a few years before. The night was also memorable because there was a kind of Christmas miracle, even if it lasted only a few moments. Keith came back to him. His Keith, the one who could make him laugh and make him feel “like a million bucks.” For the briefest of moments, the real Keith returned, smiling and making of his death mask face a hint of what had been there before: a handsome, distinguished man whose cheeks were no longer sunken and hollow, whose green irises were rimmed in yellow no more, and whose smile could light up a room.
Maybe seeing the old Keith, handsome, devilish, strong jawed from his Mediterranean heritage, was just a figment of Robert’s imagination, something he wished for so hard it came true. But the lucidity that came late that Christmas night was not his imagination. Something had clicked in Keith’s fevered brain and for just an instant, he came back.
            But it was only to say goodbye.
            Robert had spent the long afternoon cooking. He knew it was pointless. Keith, in his best moments, could only keep things like Jell-o and protein drinks down, and Robert had no appetite himself. But in spite of a decided lack of hunger around the Harris/Jafari household, Robert had made quite a testament to culinary expertise in the marble and glass kitchen. The counters were crammed with cutting boards where Robert had used his Wusthof cutlery to prep a garden of fresh herbs, mincing parsley, sage, basil, and thyme into stacks of fine green confetti. He cut garlic into translucent slices. Halved lemons lined up in an orderly row beneath the windowsill, waiting to release their juices. And there, near the sink, a twelve-pound goose waited for Robert’s touch, ready to have its skin loosened and lifted and for him to infuse it with chopped herbs, to stuff its cavity with lemons and whole garlic cloves, and, finally, to be buttered and rubbed lovingly with extra-virgin olive oil and trussed. It would spend the rest of the day basking in the heat of an oven, religiously basted every forty minutes. Robert had made oyster stuffing, rich with fresh-from-the-sea briny juices, sage, and fennel sausage. He had shorn the bottoms off artichokes, trimmed their leaves, and stuffed them with a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. In the sink, a mound of Yukon gold potatoes awaited peeling. Brussels sprouts needed to be cleaned, steamed, and tossed in butter, lemon juice, and garlic.
            And when the kitchen windows fogged with steam from bubbling pots and the whole first floor of the penthouse was redolent with roasting bird, Robert went into the little powder room off the kitchen and threw up. He sat there by the toilet afterwards, gasping, and wiping angrily at his mouth and nose with Kleenex that left shreds on his stubbled face. He started to sob, the tears coming easily, hating himself for being such a coward, for spending all this time, all this money, to prepare this glorious yuletide feast no one would ever eat. He slapped his own face, punishing himself for being so stupid, stupid, stupid. Who was he trying to kid? Did making a Christmas goose with all the trimmings wipe out a year of love, passion, and happiness? Did all the cooking, decorating, and wrapping of presents put a different face on Death, who paced the penthouse, features furrowed, waiting to take his own Christmas present, which lay, just inches away from “delivery” on sweat-soaked Egyptian cotton sheets?
            Why couldn’t he accept what was happening? It was over. It was only a flame that had flared and then was snuffed out. He forced himself up, gripping the little pedestal sink, and splashed cold water on his face. He looked at himself in the mirror above the sink, hating the vibrant, rosy glow in his cheeks, his fine, small-pored skin, twinkling blue eyes that betrayed not a hint of his exhaustion and despair, and his shining blond hair, in ringlets because of the kitchen humidity.
            Why did Keith have to die?
            Why did Robert have to live?
            He closed his eyes and went into the kitchen, ready to feed the fabulous food to the garbage disposal. The work, just like the preparation of the meal, would take his mind off things.
            And then he heard Keith’s voice, watery, weak, a shadow of its former self, call out. If the garbage disposal had been on, he wouldn’t have heard it. But the sound of his own name coming from his lover’s lips filled him with a kind of insane joy and optimism. The irrational part of him wanted to take it as a sign, a U-turn in the road toward death.
            His Keith was getting better! Getting better in spite of the fact that all these other men with AIDS were dying quick, painful deaths. Keith would be the exception to the rule. He always had been. A sob caught in Robert’s throat and he hurried toward the stairs.
            “Robert?” Keith’s voice sounded again, querulous and weak as a kitten. But it was Keith and he was calling for him.
            Robert rushed up the spiral staircase, tripping once, a startled laugh escaping from his lips. Who knew? This AIDS thing was still so new. Who was to say there weren’t people out there who could beat it? People with imagination and fortitude.
            People like Keith.
            Robert hesitated outside the bedroom door. Inside, it was quiet, and he dreaded going in there and finding Keith on the bed asleep, a sheen of sweat clinging to his sunken cheeks, his breath phlegmy and labored. What if Keith’s call was just a momentary peek through the twin curtains of fever and consciousness? Or worse, the product of his own overly-hopeful imagination?
            What would be, would be (hadn’t some virginal blonde even once sung about it?). Robert steeled himself: deep, cleansing breath, let it out slowly. And entered the room.
            Keith was awake. His face looked even more drawn and tired—the color of ash. Robert would have said it was impossible for him to look any sicker even this morning, but now he did. In the air, despite the cinnamon and vanilla scented candles in the room, was the smell of sickness and shit.
            But oh, Lord! Keith was looking at him. Looking right at Robert. And he was seeing him! For the first time in forever, their gazes met and connected. Robert approached the bed warily, as if a sudden movement would send Keith plummeting back into unconsciousness.
            “Honey? Can you hear me?” Robert stood, wringing his hands, heart fluttering, beating against his ribs.
            “Of course.” Keith’s voice was a croak. Gone were the bass notes that had made him sound so sexy and assured. Keith reached a bruised hand out over the covers and patted the bed. “Would you sit next to me?”
            “Oh, of course!” Robert took two steps and weighed down the bed, reaching out to brush a strand of hair off Keith’s forehead, biting his own lip at the heat radiating off Keith’s flesh. “I’m so happy you’re awake.”
            Keith swallowed. The swallow took a long time and looked as if it took all of the sick man’s effort. He let out a weak sigh and turned his head. He looked up at Robert and managed a wan smile. Robert closed his eyes and gently laid his head atop Keith’s.
            And then Keith began to talk, his old voice suddenly returned, strong and sure. “I have just a few things to say, Robert. And I need you to shut up and listen. No interruptions. The first thing I want to say is ‘Merry Christmas.’ I’m so sorry I couldn’t be a bigger part of things for this, our first Christmas together, but that decision was taken from me and it doesn’t look like Mr. Claus is seeing fit to give me a chance to make it up to you.
“The second thing I want to say is that I love you with all my heart. I searched forty some odd years for you, for what I’ve always dreamed of, and what I thought I couldn’t have when you dropped, like a gift, like an angel, into my life last winter. You were what I hunted for all my life: a family. You are my family. Don’t ever forget how precious that is.
“The third thing I want to say is that you’re an idiot, running around, burying your head in the sand and trying to make a Christmas that neither of us has the capacity to enjoy. And last, I love you for that. I love you so much for trying…for hoping against all odds that this moment would come and I would let you know how much I appreciate you. For hoping that we might share one final kiss before I have to go. And my love, I do have to go.
But I couldn’t leave without you hearing these four words. You. Are. My. Family.”


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Thursday, December 20, 2012


From OUT IN PRINT REVIEWS: "CHASER is a fine romance, full of good dialogue, interesting turns and sharp, focused writing from a prolific writer not afraid to take a chance or two."

Read the full review here.

If you want a copy of the book, check out the links below.


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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Last week Lily Sawyer tagged me for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.

The Next Big Thing features authors talking about their current works in progress. They then recommend up to five authors to tag and keep the blog hop going. I am tagging Dorien Grey, PA Brown, Jon Michaelsen, and Lloyd Meeker. Click on their hyperlinked names to go to their blogs (and see what each of them are up to next Wednesday, December 26).

We each answer the same questions. Here are mine:

What is the working title of your book?
Raining Men

Where did the idea come from for the book?
After I wrote Chaser, my chubby chaser love story that asks the question, "Is it really what's on the inside that counts?", I felt like there was more story to be told. There's a character in the book that tries very hard to thwart the budding romance between my main characters. His name is Bobby and he's slutty, gorgeous, self-centered and perhaps downright villainous. I wanted to tell his story and set for myself a challenge--to make readers not only understand Bobby, but come to love him.

What genre does your book fall under? 
That's an easy one--contemporary gay romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, it would be fun using the casting couch for this one because most of the male principal characters in this book are gorgeous, which both gets them into trouble and provides the impetus for their personal journeys. Bobby I can see being played by Channing Tatum; one of the two love interests in the book is Wade, an old friend from Bobby's high school days who reappears in Bobby's life and I can see him being played by Charlie Cox, of Boardwalk Empire (Owen Sleater) fame. And then there's Aaron, the older, sexy man who teaches Bobby the difference between sex and love. I dream of Christopher Meloni in this part.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Sure, he can do sex; but can he do love?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. It will be published by the wonderful Dreamspinner Press in early 2013.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Considering I am currently at 60,000 words and consider myself 3/4 of the way done, my best guess is that I will have the manuscript ready to send off to the publisher by the end of January. That would mean it took 4-5 months to write.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The best book to compare it to would be the book that spawned it: Chaser.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Um, didn't I already answer this? See "where did the idea come from" question above.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
It deals in a very real way with the difference between sex and romantic love and how someone who has governed his life by having way too much of the former might find the latter very elusive.

Please stop by next week and check out Next Big Thing and the author above.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

New and Notable: Gay Horror from Anel Viz

It's easy to find gay romance these days, but gay horror is a bit harder to find, secreting itself away in the shadows, sometimes only coming out when night falls. This is why I think it's cause for rejoicing when an established author whose work I respect comes out with not one, but two horror collections (both from Silver Press, buy links below).

Anel Viz's horror falls into two categories. Me being me, I preferred the darker of the two, the one you need to read with the lights on and that will have you double checking that your doors and windows are locked before you toddle off to bed, where the residue of reading Viz's dark collection will keep you tossing and turning or plunge you headfirst into nightmare territory.

But Viz's horror is not inaccessible if you are of a more lighthearted bent. His other collection is more like a roller coaster ride--thrilling, but crazy fun.

Find out more about Anel Viz and his work here.

Horror, Dark & Lite
Silver Publishing, October 2012
Volume 1. Dark Horror 
ISBN # 9781614956266
Volume 2. Horror, Lite  ISBN # 9781614956273


Dark Horror:
The vampires, serial killers and shape-shifters in these three novellas will drain the blood from your heart.  Where it goes from there is no one’s business but your own.
“Val” – For years, Brad has been obsessed with the memory of his dead lover, Val. His obsession takes over his life when he meets another Val, a hustler who looks exactly like the first.
“Slasher” – A man is found in a cubicle at a gay bathhouse with his throat slit. Then another victim turns up. Only Lou’s lover, Jamie, can identify the most likely suspect.
“The Matador” – Soledad de Riquer feels certain that her brother, the celebrated matador El Valiente, has his eye on her young boyfriend, Adulio.

Horror Lite
The vampires, stalkers, aliens, and shape-shifters in these stories prove less threatening than the main characters feared.
“A Layover at Atatürk International” – When their plane is delayed, Chase looks forward to sharing a hotel room with fellow passenger Viet Bloedrank.
“Coffee and Aftershave” – Skyler discovers that the creepy individual who followed him home from the subway is also stalking the men he dates.
“Bryce Olson is Pregnant” – Hoping for benefits, Russell decides to play along when Bryce Olson gets it into his head that his ex- boyfriend is an alien.
“The Stray” – John thought it just coincidence that his housemate and the big grey dog that came by for handouts never crossed paths.  How long would it take him to catch on?

Buy links:  Dark Horror; Horror,Lite

An Interview with Anel Viz

RR: My own writing is shifting from horror to romance, you seem to be headed in the opposite direction with your new releases. What compelled you to dip your toes in the dark, murky waters of horror (where you can't see the bottom and menacing phantoms lurk)?

AV: As far as I know, I’m not shifting to horror; none of my WIPs are horror stories at the moment. I just felt like writing something for Halloween. That, and to do something different. As the reviewer of Horror, Dark & Lite says of me in Wilde Oats: “Someday this reviewer will find a predictable story in a Viz work, then will examine the book to discover that the cover has the author’s name incorrect.” Also, the first story in Dark Horror and the last in Horror, Lite are revisions of two of my earliest publications, and my gang rape story (“The Fire Eaters” in Wilde Oats, April 2009)is darker and more violent than anything in the collection. Nor am I moving away from romance, since I’ve never really been there or done that. At least, I don’t think I’ve written any m/m romances, and certainly not traditional ones. Every reviewer has made the same point. Sure, most of my books contain love stories, but half the time the love story isn’t at the center of the work, which focuses instead on some other issue central to the lives of gay men. And when the story is a love story, it doesn’t conform to the usual romance pattern. For example, I have a love story coming out in the Silver M/M Anthology this January. The lovers have been together for two years when it opens, the problems they face together do not put their relationship at risk, it ends with them having survived the last crisis neither more nor less happy than they were before, and it’s clear they’ll have to face many similar crises in the years to come. The story is called “A Return to Normalcy.”

 To return to my horror anthology, I didn’t want to do something different must by writing horror stories, I wanted to write horror stories that were different. Every one of them is a kind of genre experiment , though not nearly as outrageous experiment as my novel New Lives. It doesn’t matter if the vampires in “Val” (if there are any) are actually vampires; instead, vampirism is a metaphor for sexual obsessions and domination. The story is very much about sex, and I use the sex scenes not to advance the plot or reveal something about the characters, but to tell the story. As they (the lovers or the sex scenes—take your pick) pile one on top of the other, we see what’s happening in the story through how the scene differs from the one that came before and the one that follows. “Slasher”, like “Photographic Memories” in Kaleidoscope, is an homage to Alfred Hitchcock, but the solution to the mystery isn’t a solution. And one could as easily remove the shifter from “The Matador” and still have a story as one could remove the love stories from almost any of my other books and still have a book.

The stories in the “lite” volume stories follow the same order as the “dark” novellas: vampire, stalker/investigation (“Slasher” is both), shifter. “A Layover at Atatürk International” is based on something that actually happened to me, except I was stuck in Paris and my roommate was neither gay nor bloodthirsty. The stalker in “Coffee and Aftershave” is a real stalker, but the men he stalks all react to him differently: some freak out completely, others blow him off. Not until the end of “Bryce Olson is Pregnant” do we learn if the aliens are really aliens, and while the reader knows that the werewolves in “The Stray” are werewolves, the narrator does not. Also, each story draws on a different type of humor. In one I aim to provoke a smile, giggles in another, a belly laugh, a chuckle.

RR: What do you hope to accomplish with these releases, both personally and with your readers? 
AV: Personally? Immortality, perhaps. With my readers—well, I’d like to attract more of them, so if horror fans like what I’ve done, maybe they’ll give my other works a try. Being a basically shy person, I do a pretty lousy job when it comes to promoting myself, but the few readers I do have quickly became fans once they’d read me. It’s the initial self-sale that’s so hard to land. I could never be a real estate agent.

RR: What scares YOU? 
AV: Well, just imagining how those three letters in caps sound in your mouth is pretty damn scary. It sounds like an accusation and brings my inner guilt to the surface. Ever since I moved to a none-too-large town in the Midwest move than half a lifetime ago, I’m always afraid that what I’ve said has offended someone. You see, my personality was formed by growing up in New York and many years living in France, so I can’t help but speak my mind, and when it disagrees with what they think, a lot of people here take my words as some sort of criticism. It isn’t; it’s just my opinion. There isn’t a judgmental bone in my body. Why anyone would add to the statement “I didn’t like that movie” something like “and since you do, you must be an idiot” is beyond me. Unless, of course, they’re thinking, “You must be an idiot if you don’t.” But if they think I’m an idiot, why should they care what I say? So no caps, please. I may be brash, but I’m very sensitive.

But that’s not you meant, is it? There isn’t much that does frighten me. I’ve been shot at (by accident), mugged, in a plane that caught fire shortly after takeoff, searched and interrogated by the KGB in the Moscow airport (briefly, I’m happy to say), had a bookcase fall on top of me while I slept, diagnosed with cancer, etc. And I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass if the world ended on December 12th. When I was living in Africa, I came around a bend in the road and almost drove my moped straight into a herd of elephants. Didn’t faze me. Luckily, it didn’t faze them either. Let’s see what else… Oh yes, I was briefly terrified that the Republican might sweep the last elections. I don’t consider myself particularly brave; it’s more like an adrenaline deficiency.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Legally Wed!

Note: The blog below originally appeared on Reviews by Jessewave on December 11, 2012.

My husband, Bruce, and I tie the knot on December 9, 2012!

So yesterday, my now-husband, Bruce and I made history, both personal and on a much bigger stage. We shared our history-making day with many, many other couples in our state, all couples who were coming together for one reason—to commit themselves to one another in love and marriage.

Legal Marriage.

See, Bruce and I wed on the first day marriage became legal in Washington state. This alone is significant, what’s even more significant is the fact that this was the first time in US history that same-sex couples were able to do this because the ability to marry had been voted in by a majority, a popular vote, thwarting those who proposed a referendum that existed for division, prejudice, and discrimination.

Love does triumph.
But this little piece isn’t really about major societal changes or the tide turning toward what is now called “gay marriage,” and what I believe will one day simply be called “marriage.” No, it’s about waking up this morning and saying to Bruce, “I feel different today. Do you?”

And he agreed. Because our small wedding yesterday—and our entering into such a solemn and loving commitment—was a sea change in our lives. Even though we have been together for more than a decade and we have seen each other through good times and bad, sickness and health, and all the other assorted things we call life that committed couples endure and celebrate together, we could never call ourselves married. Not really, not without some modification, like “in our hearts” which is significant indeed, but it does not change the fact that, up until yesterday, saying we were married or calling each other husband seemed a bit like playacting.

But now we are married—for real, witnessed by dear friends, and celebrated, thanks to the wonder of social media, far and wide. And things now feel more contented, more settled, more real. Of course, I love Bruce with all my heart and have always done so, but maybe, just a little, I feel more like we are a family since we took that emotional step yesterday when we slid rings on our fingers, said our “I wills” and kissed as our friend, an ordained minister, pronounced us married in front of our fireplace with our Boston terrier, Lily sitting at our feet, and our friends nearby, alternately weeping and smiling. It was also special that the ceremony was performed by our dear friend, Bruce Harrington, an ordained minister in the UCC church.

It was a big moment and one that will take a while to fully process. But for now, let’s just say I can look at the future with a bit more hope, my heart a bit more grounded, my hands joined with a man who I know will be my best friend, my partner, my lover, my everything, for the rest of my days.


In lieu of vows, I found a poem by Roy Croft called “Love” that I believe so perfectly summed up what I felt and am feeling that I wanted to share it with Bruce over any traditional wedding vows.
In closing, I would like to leave you with that poem, and my sincere hope that you may find or have someone in your life to be able to think of when you hear these words. Because, that my friend, is all that really matters.

Love by Roy Croft
I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple.
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.
I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Want to see more pictures from our wedding? Go here

And, just so you know, Bruce and I are planning a big celebration in late summer/early fall (when the weather in Seattle is actually gorgeous), so there’s an epilogue I’ll add to this story late in 2013.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Beau & the Beast #1 For November!

Maybe I should write more gay fairy tales.

I was very happy to discover today that my modern-day, gay take on Beauty and the Beast, Beau and the Beast, was the number one bestseller for my publisher, Amber Allure, in the month of November. It's nice to get that kind of validation!

It was also wonderful to get this recent 5-star review from Hearts on Fire reviews, who called Beau and the Beast "as close to a perfect fairy tale as I’ve read..." Read the whole review here.

And, if your interest is piqued, you can get yourself your own copy of Beau and the Beast at

Amber Allure
All Romance Ebooks
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

For Your Holiday Story Consideration--Matches

For your heartwarming holiday story consideration--Matches--my modern-day, gay take on the "The Little Match Girl".

Christmas Eve should be a night filled with magic and love. But for Anderson, down on his luck and homeless in Chicago's frigid chill, it's a fight for survival. Whether he's sleeping on the el, or holed up in an abandoned car, all he really has are his memories to keep him warm-memories of a time when he loved a man named Welk and the world was perfect. When Anderson finds a book of discarded matches on the sidewalk, he pockets them. Later, trying to keep the cold at bay hunkered down in a church entryway, Anderson discovers the matches are the key to bringing his memories of Welk, happiness, and security to life. Within their flames, visions dance-and perhaps a reunion with the man he loved most.

Buy from MLR Press
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Licensed to Wed!

This morning, at 5:30 a.m., Bruce and I became the 279th couple in Seattle to get a marriage license! Today is the first day in Washington State's history that same-sex couples could apply to legally marry.

We are so excited to be able to take this step that neither of us, as little as a few years ago, dreamed could ever happen--and thrilled to be a small part of history.

We plan on marrying on Sunday (small, small wedding) and then having a big party late summer/early fall and are looking into options. A cruise boat? A winery tucked into a hillside? the Space Needle? Stay tuned...

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rainbow Award Winners on Sale at Dreamspinner Press

As the list below attests, Dreamspinner Press authors (myself included) made an amazing showing at this year's Rainbow Awards. Take advantage of the sale prices (just click on the link) and grab some amazing reading.

Dreamspinner Press congratulates all the winners of the 2012 Rainbow Awards!

The following titles received awards this year and will be on sale until Dec. 8.

Sidecar by Amy Lane received The William Neale Award for Best Gay Romance (First Place)
To Touch the Stars by Jeremy Pack received The William Neale Award for Best Gay Romance (Second Place)
Red+Blue by A.B. Gayle received The William Neale Award for Best Gay Romance (Tie for Third Place)
Caregiver by Rick R. Reed received The William Neale Award for Best Gay Romance (Tie for Third Place)
Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane received The William Neale Award for Best Gay Romance (Honorable Mention)
Complete Faith by Sue Brown received The William Neale Award for Best Gay Romance (Honorable Mention)
Infected: Freefall by Andrea Speed received Best Gay Paranormal/Horror (First Place)
Ink by Isabelle Rowan received Best Gay Paranormal/Horror (Honorable Mention). Ink also received Best LGBT Cover (First Place).
Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C. received Best Gay Paranormal/Horror (Honorable Mention)
The Zero Knot by K.Z. Snow received Best LGBT Young Adult / Coming of Age (Second Place)
The Talker Collection by Amy Lane received Best LGBT Young Adult / Coming of Age (Honorable Mention)
Seidman by James Erich received Best LGBT Young Adult / Coming of Age (Honorable Mention). Seidman also received Best Gay Debut Novel/Book (Honorable Mention).
Infected: Shift by Andrea Speed received Best Gay Sci-Fi / Fantasy (Honorable Mention).
King Perry by Edmond Manning received Best Gay Debut Novel/Book (Honorable Mention). King Perry also received Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction (Honorable Mention).
No Quarter by L.J. LaBarthe received Best Gay Debut Novel/Book (Honorable Mention)
Italian Ice by EM Lynley received Best Gay Mystery/Thriller (Honorable Mention)
Whistle Pass by KevaD received Best Gay Historical (Third Place)
Bonds of Earth by G.N. Chevalier received Best Gay Historical (Honorable Mention)
Forgotten Man by Ryan Loveless received Best Gay Historical (Honorable Mention)
The British Devil by Greg Hogben received Best LGBT Biographies and Memoirs Rainbow Awards (Third Place)
Floods and Drought by Zahra Owens received Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction (Honorable Mention).

The Dragon Tamer by Ana Bosch received Best LGBT Cover (Tie for Third)
Speechless by Kim Fielding received Best LGBT Cover (Tie for Third)
Tattoos and Teacups by Anna Martin received Best LGBT Cover (Honorable Mention)
Chasing Seth by J.R. Loveless received Best LGBT Cover (Honorable Mention)
Acrobat by Mary Calmes received Best LGBT Cover (Honorable Mention)
Technically Dead by Tia Fielding received Best LGBT Cover (Honorable Mention)

Clear Water by Amy Lane received an Honorable Mention: One Perfect Score
Together Bound by Elizabeth Noble received an Honorable Mention: One Perfect Score
Galley Proof by Eric Arvin received an Honorable Mention: One Perfect Score
The Thunder in His Head by Gene Gant received an Honorable Mention: One Perfect Score
Cop Out by K.C. Burn received an Honorable Mention: One Perfect Score
Unshakeable Faith by Lisa Worrall received an Honorable Mention: One Perfect Score
The Cool Part of His Pillow by Rodney Ross received an Honorable Mention: One Perfect Score
The Melody Thief by Shira Anthony received an Honorable Mention: One Perfect Score Dec 02, 2012 04:49PM

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Gay Pride, A Father's Pride, Just Pride

I was kind of stunned to see the image below on Facebook this morning.

Then, I went into the comments and saw what my son, Nicholas, had written in response to it:

 "How come nobody asked me what I want?..." It's clear to me that no one who was involved in the creation of this BS site ever bothered to ask children of gay parents how we feel about it. Well, even though you scrupulously avoided asking (because you knew you probably wouldn't like the answer, and it certainly wouldn't be useful to this campaign of slander), let me tell you, as the son of a gay man. My father is a remarkable man, he's an accomplished artist, he was a caring and involved father and mentor, and I love him. Therefore, I'm glad he was lucky enough to find love and happiness with someone who loves him back and appreciates him. I certainly don't care what that someone has between his legs; that's your PRURIENT AND WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE CONCERN, and I really wish you'd stop putting it on people like me. You already claim to speak for gay people ("It's a choice," "Every gay relationship is dysfunctional," "No gay person can really be a Christian," etc) is that not enough? Do you need to appropriate the speech of their children too?

His response moved me to tears. Not only did my son demonstrate love and courage, he also demonstrated a willingness to speak out against bigotry and hate. I posted his response on my own Facebook page.


Shortly after my post on Facebook went up, someone commented on my page, wondering where my son's post had gone; seemingly, it had disappeared. I looked and sure enough, it was gone. Then I saw this reply from Nicholas on my Facebook page, regarding the whereabouts of his comment:

They deleted my post and banned me from ever posting there again; it took all of an hour. That's why no one asked that kid what he wanted; actual concern for the experiences of the children of gay people might get in the way of using "concern" for us against gay couples.

What kind of example does this set? My son did not write a hate screed; he was not disprespectful. He simply told his truth as he knows it. I wonder why Heterosexual Awareness Month (who ever heard of such a ridiculous concept? What's next? White Awareness Month?) can't take hearing from the actual child of someone who knows first-hand what it's like to have a gay father?

I seldom ask for action, but I hope you'll consider cutting and pasting this blog (attributing it back to this URL, of course) or Tweeting about it and doing a Facebook status update. These lunatics need to be exposed for their hatred, which is really, very sad. I also encourage you to bombard them with comments on their page, shaming them. I wanted to say ask Facebook to remove them on the grounds of hate speech, but as a champion of free speech, I can't do that. Here's the URL to the Heterosexual Awareness Page:

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CAREGIVER Wins Award as Best Gay Romance Novel of 2012

I'm very excited to announce that my novel Caregiver is one of the winners of the William Neale Award for Best Gay Romance in the 2012 Rainbow Awards, sponsored by Elisa Rolle.

I am honored and thrilled to be in the company of such fine authors and books. If you go to the link below and take a look at some of the authors in whose amazing company I find myself, you'll see that the list reads like a role call of some of today's finest writers of romantic gay fiction.

See all the winners here.

This award has special significance for me because Caregiver it represents a connection to two very special men who left a lasting imprint on my life.

The first is the man for whom the award is named, William Neale, a writer of some great romantic gay fiction who passed away all too soon, way before his potential as a foremost author of gay fiction was fulfilled. I am very proud to call Bill my friend and even more proud of the fact that I had the honor of editing his very first two published novels. Working with Bill was a joy, because he was so dedicated to his craft and willing to do whatever it took to make his stories the best that they could be.

The second is the fact that Caregiver is highly autobiographical in that one of its main characters, and the driving force of the novel's other characters learning the importance of loving oneself before one can love others, was my friend, Jim, who became Adam in the book. Everything that happened to Adam happened to Jim in real life, back when I was his AIDS buddy as a volunteer with the Tampa AIDS Network in the early 1990s, when AIDS was truly a death sentence.

Thanks to Elisa Rolle (and the 150 judges of the Rainbow Awards), the tireless advocate of gay romance fiction, who created the awards and oversaw the months of judging and review of nearly 500 entries. In an odd twist of fate, I was fortunate enough to have had lunch with Elisa and Bill Neale both in 2011, at the first GayRomLit Retreat in New Orleans. Little did I know then that Bill would be gone less than a year later.

And thanks to Dreamspinner Press, who took a chance on a book that might have been viewed as too dark and realistic to work as a gay romance, but saw its inner core of redemption and compassion and saw that out of even tragedy can come love and happiness.

But thanks most of all to Jim, my AIDS buddy from more than twenty years ago. It was his big personality and heart that imprinted on my soul, indelibly, and from his story grew my novel, which I think is one of my best. I like to think that Jim knows about Caregiver and knows that its story is his and that he would be proud to see it recognized as it was this past weekend.
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Big Thrill

Just wanted to share the link with you for an article about my male escort romantic suspense story, RENT, which is featured this month in the International Thriller Writer's monthly magazine, THE BIG THRILL.

In the article, you can find out my favorite genre, favorite writers, and exactly how "the power of love" colors my work.

Read the article here.

On the worst day of his life, Wren Gallagher loses his wallet, his job, and his security. Can a stranger met in a bar deliver on his promises of wealth and meeting Mr. Right?

On a day he will never forget, Wren Gallagher wants oblivion when he steps into Tricks for a drink. He's lost not only his job, but his wallet as well. When a mysterious stranger steps up to pay his tab, he also offers Wren the key to fulfilling his dreams of prosperity and true love. But appearances are not always what they seem....

His savior is the owner of the escort agency, A Louer---and he wants the young and handsome Wren to work for him. So down on his luck, Wren figures---why not? He can use the money. When he joins, though, he hadn't counted on meeting Rufus, another escort with whom he quickly falls hopelessly in love.

But their love story will have to overcome the obstacles of not only trading love for money, but A Louer's dark---and deadly---secrets.

Read an excerpt.

In ebook
In paperback
All Romance Ebooks
Amazon Kindle version

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