Monday, December 23, 2013

Note: This post originally appeared on author Andrew Q. Gordon's blog on December 22, 2013. 

One of the greatest joys of my life is my son, Nicholas. He’s far away now, living with his husband, Tarik, in Montreal, but I miss him every day. Around the holidays, I think a little more about Nick and the many happy Christmases we shared when we were all living much, much closer together in Chicago.

One Christmas, though, stands out. Because Nick’s mother and I divorced when he was six years old, we had to share him on the holidays. Usually, I got Nick on Christmas Eve and his mom would take him Christmas Day. One year when Nick was in high school, all the forces aligned to make it a very special Christmas Eve for just the two of us.

It’s seldom we can have the luxury of not sharing our children with others, especially on special occasions like Christmas. But this time, this Christmas Eve, it was just Nick and myself. I will always hold this memory close and dear to my heart, not only because it was just us two, but because of the magic of what we experienced.

We started off with a nice dinner in the Wicker Park neighborhood. But then we headed downtown to south Michigan Avenue to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) perform Tchaikovsky’s the Nutcracker Suite. That iconic music was so wondrous and evocative, transporting us both to a yuletide realm that harkened back to both of our childhoods. But then the CSO broke for intermission and did an even more amazing and interesting thing—a holiday twist if you will. When the curtain rose on the second part of the program, the CSO performed in conjunction with a jazz orchestra Duke Ellington’s own riff on the Nutcracker Suite, a vibrant and totally original take on the original.

It was an amazing night of music and togetherness. Nick and I returned to my apartment in the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood, where he stayed over, to be picked up by an uncle in the morning.

We exchanged gifts before going to bed. And Nick gave me one of the best gifts I have ever gotten—he picked his three favorite books and gave them to me. There was To the Lighthouse, All the King’s Men, and Light in August. The gift represented a common bond—a shared passion for reading and great writing. And it was simply a very thoughtful gift that I will always remember. And that Christmas, circa 1999, was one I will always treasure.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Win a FREE Copy of CAREGIVER in Audiobook!

My award-winning love story set at the height of the AIDS crisis, Caregiver, is now available in audiobook. I have ten copies to give away to ten lucky listeners. Usually, I would just have you leave a comment below and I'd pick a winner at random from commenters. This time, though, I'm going to put you to a little test (no worries--it's not too hard).

To win your audiobook copy of Caregiver, follow the four steps below:

1. Go the Caregiver  audiobook page on Amazon and click on "play sample" below cover art to listen to the free preview.

Answer the following questions:
A. The counselor says that "GAY" stands for what?
B. How many times did Dan's HIV ELISA test come back positive?
C. When the counselor offers Dan a handful of condoms, what did they look like to him?

2. Send your answers to me at

3. Optional, but encouraged: Promise to write a fair and honest review on Amazon/Audible after you've listened to the book.

That's it!

I'll take the first ten entries I receive. In the meantime, here's what Caregiver is about and where you can get it.

It's 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark's addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that's how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam.

Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original - witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good mai tai. Adam doesn't let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail.

Each step of Adam's journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it's Adam's lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn't right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend. But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.

Amazon audiobook
Also available in paperback and from

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Give eBooks as Holiday Gifts!

It's very simple and easy to give ebook gifts...and it's great for last-minute shopping (you can send a book to a treasured friend or family member at the very last moment; delivery is immediate. Below is a step-by-step guide for giving ebooks from various booksellers. Wouldn't a Rick R. Reed book be a treat this holiday season?

AMAZON Purchasing from Amazon means your recipient either has a Kindle or uses the Kindle app on their computer or device
1. Find the title on Amazon.
2. In the green box on the right of the title's detail page, you'll see a button marked "Give as Gift."
3. Log into your account (if you're not already) and enter the recipient information.
4. You're done! Celebrate with eggnog! A LOT of eggnog. If your in-laws are visiting, skip the eggnog and just drink the alcohol. If the in-laws are particularly bad, spike their eggnog with NyQuil.

BARNES AND NOBLE Purchases from B&N will NOT work on any Amazon devices or apps, but will work on every other device/computer.
1. Find the title on
2. On the title's detail page, directly to the right of the big orange "Buy Now" button is a small link that says "Buy As Gift." Click the link.
 3. Log into your account (if you're not already) and enter the recipient information.
 4. You're done! Eat an entire gingerbread house and blame it on the dog.

APPLE Purchases from Apple will not work on any Amazon devices or apps, but work perfectly on any Apple device or Apple computer.
1. Find the title in Apple's iBookstore or by searching the iTunes Store.
2. Underneath the cover image on the title's description page will be the price and a little drop-down arrow. Click the arrow and choose "Gift this Book."
3. Log into your account (if you're not already) and enter the recipient information.
4. You're done! Shake all the presents under the tree to figure out what you're getting/returning. The recipient gets to choose which format they'd like to receive: PDF, EPUB or Kindle.
1. Find the title on the site.
2. On the title's description page, in the block that lists the price of the book, choose the button with the present images that says "Gift."
3. Follow the checkout process and the instructions for notifying your recipient.
4. You're done! Sneak over to your neighbor's house and gently unscrew one bulb from their strand (but leave it in) and watch the lights go out. When they finally figure out which bulb isn't in all the way, you'll have had hours of enjoyment. That'll teach them for coming over with their nasty comments about your dog pooping in their yard.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mute Witness Garners a Rave Review!

It's always a pleasure when an older book gets some attention. Recently, Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books gave a stellar review to my 2009 child abduction/gay love story, Mute Witness

The reviewer, Becky, had this to say:
"My heart is shredded after reading this book...There are a handful of writers who can pull this kind of tale off without alienating the reader, and Rick R. Reed is one of them..."

Read the whole review here.

Sean and Austin have the perfect life. Their new relationship is only made more joyous by weekend visits from Sean’s eight-year-old son, Jason.

 And then their perfect world shatters.

Jason is missing.

When the boy turns up days later, he has been horribly abused and has lost the power to speak. Small town minds turn to the boy’s gay father and his lover as the likely culprits. Sean and Austin struggle to maintain their relationship amid the innuendo and the very real threat that Sean will, at the very least, lose the son he loves. Meanwhile, the real villain is much closer to home, intent on ensuring the boy’s muteness is permanent.

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
MLR Press

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Raining Men a Top Pick from OnTopDownUnder!

On Top Down Under has named my RAINING MEN one of its favorite books of the year!

Reviewer Cindi called it, "my biggest shocker of the year" and went on to say, "Only a truly talented author can take a character like Bobby and make him out to be a good guy in the end. Rick R. Reed did it brilliantly..."

The other books Cindi highlighted were:

  • The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men and Azrael and The Light Bringer Eric Arvin
  • Into this River I Drown TJ Klune 
  • After the End Alex Kidwell
  • Billy's Bones Jamie Fessenden
  • Crack the Darkest Sky Wide Open (antho--multiple contributors)
  • Serenading Stanley John Inman
  • Pudding Jones DC Juris 
  • Lake Thirteen Greg Herren 
  • Bloodlines Robin Saxon & Alex Kidwell 
  • Zombie Boys (atholo--multiple contributors) 
  • Loving Hector John Inman 
  • A Wild Ride Andrew Grey 
  • Stalking You Now Jeff Strand 
  • A Casual Weekend Thing AJ Thomas 
  • Whiskey and Rye Rhys Ford 
  • Hell's Door Sandy DeLuca 
  • Tell Me It's Real TJ Klune 
  • Mountain Prey Lyn Gala 
  • Hunt & Pray Cindy Sutherland 
  • Small Miracles Ellen Holiday 
  • Thick as Thieves Tali Spencer 
  • The Haunting of Timber Manor F.E. Feeley, Jr.

Read the whole column here. I know my reading list has just expanded accordingly. Congratulations to my fellow authors who made her list.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2012: Our Wedding Day

December 9, 2012: Our Wedding Day

December 9, 2013 at 5:48am
Here's a blog I posted shortly after our wedding one year ago. I thought it bore repeating. Happy Anniversary, my love!

Legally Wed--Bruce and Rick Get Hitched
(c) 2012 by Rick R. Reed

On December 9, 2012, 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.
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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Raining Men Wins the Rainbow Award for Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction!

So thrilled!

And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1 (tie) Amy Lane - Dex in Blue
I really enjoyed this book. It's fast paced and keeps you entertained and wanting to know more about each character. Amy writes in such way that you feel as you know or want to know her characters. The setting is wonderful and the plot phenomenal! Well done! (Zeoanne)
This is a different Amy Lane, but yet the same. She’s shown she can move me with devastation, fear, anger, hurt, love, grief. Now she’s shown me, reminded me, there are quiet joys in life again too. (T.A. Webb)
Well written, the setting is very detailed, the characters fully formed and the plot quite compelling. (Jane)

1 (tie) Rick R. Reed - Raining Men
Having read Chasers by the author, I found myself very taken with one of the secondary characters, Bobby. And when i saw that Bobby had his own story to share with us, I was elated. Chasers for me was an emotional ride and Raining Men out did that. Bobby IS as real as real gets and Rick Reed captures his emotions and his view like no one else could. (Michele)
Through Mr. Reed’s eyes/pen (keyboard) we get a feel of what goes on in Bobby's head, his cravings, the uncontrollable desires that drive him. This is a very enjoyable story with likeable characters. (Zeoanne)
Loved this story so I'm giving it a full score. Fleshed out characters, including secondary characters; a difficult and believable journey of overcoming addiction and healing; a setting I cared enough about (Chicago) that that had me visiting Google maps to see the locations the characters were frequenting; and I really liked the fact that there were several false starts before the MC found love. This was a really engrossing and engaging story. (Jane)

Runners Up:

2. Larry Benjamin - Damaged Angels
3. Brad Boney - The Return
4. George Seaton - Saving Skylar Hand
5. Jamie Fessenden - By That Sin Fell The Angels / S.A. McAuley - Crack the Darkest Sky Wide Open
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